Let’s say you’re walking down Main Street in Bloomfield today looking for entertainment. And there at The Shop you see something curious.
“This is three skinny white dudes bringing out these giant amps,” said Justin Tuck, guitarist and vocalist for Bardus, the band playing at The Shop tonight.
“I guess that might be entertaining in itself to watch happen. There’s no roadies. No one’s running up to us saying, ‘Hey, let us help you get those giant things out of your van?’”
Once they get their gear set up, Mr. Tuck, drummer Kyle Pierce and bassist Ari Rosenberg will be playing their hard-hitting — and ear-hammering — punk for an all-ages show.
“We’re happy this is an all-ages show tonight, especially for a Monday night,” Mr. Tuck said.
“It’s fun to play in front of 30-year-old jaded metal heads. But it’s a lot more exciting to have kids who are more passionate and have a lot more fun.
“I was here like seven years ago as part of the old Roboto Project. Back then the kids were crazy. Usually, we look out and most of the audience is staring at the ground, banging their heads, running around.”
That is the Bardus fan base.
“We’re from dead-center Philadelphia,” Mr. Tuck said. “People always say they’re from Philadelphia, but they’re an hour away or something like. I understand you want to use a reference point, but you gotta be real sometimes. It’s a city. It definitely gives you that perspective on things. It gives you a style.
“Philadelphia definitely has its own scene and style. Very short and very forward, which kind of keeps it aggressive. Bang your head, that’s about it. Play loud and see who reacts to it.”
Bardus was formed by Mr. Tuck and Mr. Pierce almost three years ago and is just finishing up a weeklong tour that took the band and its van to gigs in Baltimore, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio.
“All of us have been here and there playing music for 15 years, one way or another,” Mr. Tuck said.
“All of us playing with crappy punk bands. It’s always been heavy bands. Popularity is not our priority. We’re not trying to get on the radio. You don’t have any real goals when you’re playing heavy music.
“I think with any relationship, you learn from the past ones — what you don’t want to do, and what does and what does not work. You have to be conscious, be self-aware. You try to work with people and try to keep it on a positive level. Making sure we all have an equal voice.”
But what about this music they’re playing?
Take a listen to the songs. I challenge you to figure out what Mr. Tuck is saying.
“I have a hard time myself,” he admitted. “I mean, the vocals are there to assist, that’s all it is. Not to say that there’s not a relative message, but it’s not anything important. It’s usually about drugs or Satan or zombies or something like that. The vocals are there to just keep it fun.
“For us, playing is cathartic. We all work full-time jobs, we have houses and have bills to pay. Everyone needs to do something. This is the release. It’s rewarding. And we get all the aggression out, so we can be pleasant people to be around. Some people have therapy, we have a band to go to.
“Of course, the idea is to get your name out there. That’s why you hit the road. The Internet is fine, but you do like playing in front of an audience. There’s raw energy. It’s animalistic. I think that something happens to your left brain when you hear distorted guitars and loud drums and bass that makes your chest feel funny — and you can’t get that from just listening to your stereo.”
And who doesn’t want their chest to feel funny?
“We’re more than happy if kids show up,” Mr. Tuck said. “From a personal perspective, we don’t think anybody knows anything about us at all. We’re surprised somebody wants to interview us. We’re literally just a no-name band driving around just trying to play some music for people. Well, what we call music. It’s all relative.”
Sharing the bill with Bardus tonight at The Shop will be local bands Slaves BC and Cyrus Gold.
“Slaves BC joined up with us down in Asheville, N.C., and been with us for about three days,” Mr. Tuck said this afternoon before venturing out to find coffee in Bloomfield.
“Those guys have been ripping it. They’re a great local band.”
And they might help the guys set up their equipment.
The show at The Shop, 4312 Main St., begins at 8 p.m. There’s a $5 cover.
Dan Majors: firstname.lastname@example.org