Before the show, drummers from the various bands hung out and discussed their pre-show ritual.
"Whiskey," said Jim Connolly from Motel Creeps.
"Drinkin' some beer and smokin' some cigarettes" offered Sean Patton from High Speed Chase. "Don't you find that beer slows you down?" asked Trezzi.
Patton assured him that it didn't.
Nobody was slowed down. The energy that filled the room later in the night would have woken your grandma and made her dance.
Marc Gianotti started the show promptly at 8 p.m., and the empty room filled up quickly.
"This is Hoboken Rocks, and we have some really amazing bands tonight," said Gianotti amidst the guitar feedback that ended his first song.
The band Eugene headlined and was promptly joined onstage for an impromptu 20-minute jam session.
Wearing a shirt with the words "Wake and Bake" and occasional jewelry around his fingers and wrists, Dominick Della Fave - Eugene's spiritual leader and guitarist - sang uptempo versions of popular rap songs by Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Beastie Boys. Ross Sandler, who had performed earlier in the evening with Crewman Number Six, helped Della Fave onstage by spitting rhymes into the microphone and breakdancing. Meanwhile, Hoboken notable Chris "Gibby" Gibson of High Speed Chase stood next to Eugene's bassist Ed Jude Smith. Gibson continued his power-chord performance from moments earlier, with more high-energy riffs.
The evening was a celebration of Hoboken's finest in the town's Mecca for original sounds.
"Growing up in Hoboken, I remember music and arts," said Jamie Rose Della Fave, Dominick's little sister and Eugene's lead singer. "That was before the aliens invaded it."
Dominick Della Fave's angry hippie appearance contradicted that of his sister, who after years in the shadow of her brother, was now becoming the leader of Hoboken's hardest working band.
Jamie Rose, looking like a junior rock princess in a black tank top and camouflage pants, mesmerized the more than 120 people inside the uptown rock venue on Washington Street with her delicate voice and sexy persona.
Eugene started their set with "Wade Into the Deep End," the band's strongest song, about achieving goals and holding on to dreams. For many months it had been the last song they played at shows. During "Wade," Eugene's essence was revealed: A band whose music is full of hope, exhaustion, anger, frustration, and peace.
Jaime Rose's voice has matured since the last time Eugene headlined Maxwell's, and she has gained more confidence onstage. When the audience seemed tranquil after Eugene's fourth song, Jamie Rose sprayed water at the crowd. Afterward, she was apologetic to the unlucky fans who were wet.
Friday night was also Dominick's birthday, and "Wade Into the Deep End," has become his anthem. "This song is about me and anyone who cares about their dreams," Della Fave had said at a prior show.
The lively jam session proved Eugene's versatility to rock when it counts and party on for the amusement of fans. For four years, the Della Faves, Smith, and quiet drummer Drew Berman have performed at almost every venue and outing in the area. The album "Escaping the Paparazzi" received modest feedback, but Eugene plays on.
If Eugene came out with alternative indie rock sounds Friday night, High Speed Chase gave the crowd a dose of the hard stuff.
With "Gibby" yelling lyrics, a few die-hard fans violently moved their heads to the beats. Gibson gave every ounce of energy he had into his set. Loud drums and smooth bass allowed for the heavy power chords to breakthrough the amps - "Gibby's" trademark.
Before him, indie cult favorite Karyn Kuhl and her band hammered through their catalogue of standards from the independent effort "The Beautiful Glow."
Kuhl's Patti Smith-like vocals were seductive and intimate. For several years, Kuhl captured audiences in the tri-state area. Kuhl, a longtime Hobokenite, spends time rehearsing with her band at a small garage space in the mile-square city. Once a punk metalhead with psychedelic influences, Kuhl had said she rejoices in the freedoms of a lead singer and primary songwriter in a band with melodies reminiscent to early '90s mellow modern rock.
On stage on Friday, she was surrounded by drummer Tom Costagliola, bassist Kurt Ritta, and Alicia Godsberg on guitar. Rounding out Friday's show, were forgettable performances by The Motel Creeps, Butterspy, and Marc Giannotti. Eugene Mulero is a staff writer at the Daily Record in Morristown. He can be reached at (973) 428-6610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.