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Field Trip Edition: Balloon Squad at the Clash Bar, 8/15

Robin Williams is dead. That sad knowledge is only a few hours old and sinking in as I sit down to look toward the weekend and wonder if there’s a chance it doesn’t include a wine bender and a Godfather marathon, or playing that goddamn Milky Chance song that’s been stuck in my head all week on a loop while I count down the seconds until this rotten summer expires.

But no. We’re not doing that this weekend friends, at least I’m not. And I’ve got a way out for you. A time warp. What better way to get away from the present than to teleport back to the past? To the 1990s. Everything was going along so swimmingly there for a bit, wasn’t it? In 1994 a local New Jersey band named Balloon Squad released their first EP “May Pangs, June Forays.” The band stuck around for a couple more years, putting out one more EP but eventually split up.

Bassist Cindi Merklee—who has remained a fixture on the scene playing with Speed the Plough most recently as well as performing her own material—her brother Joe, and drummer Marc Garella decided it was time to reunite and give themselves a proper sendoff by celebrating the first appearance of both EPs on vinyl.

Now look, I realize I’m cheating a little here and I know no one will confuse Clifton N.J. with Asbury Park—especially in the summer—but the Clash Bar is a sleek venue, and one of the last true outlets for original music in Northern New Jersey and there will be plenty of it—the show also features performances by Ghostpal, Brixton Riot, and the fittingly ’90s-named Harmonica Lewinskis as wells as EP giveaways.

So, maybe it’s worth a trip up the spine of the state to bask in a little nostalgia and say goodbye to the Balloon Squad as they float away.

Balloon Squad featuring Ghostpal, Brixton Riot, and the Harmonica Lewinskis at the Clash Bar, Friday, August 15th. Show starts at 9pm. For more information, head here.

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