Emmer Releases Her New EP - ACHE - at Asbury Lanes

By Diane DiMemmo

June 1, 2019

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Asbury Lanes hosted a very special night of musical celebration on June 1st with four local bands on the rise here in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Emmer, Lauren Gill (with Dress Code), Vendetta Rose, and The Fusions were perfect examples of what happens when you have young talent under the tutelage of the Lakehouse Music Academy, a dynamic music school that teaches and develops budding musicians with promise.

The centerpiece of the evening was the release of Emmer’s brand-new EP, Ache, and the premiere of Lauren’s music video of the single, “I Don’t Care.” Both projects are most definitely worthy of discussion and praise as they showed impressive musicianship, maturity, and a defined message. Bookending the new releases, were bands Vendetta Rose and The Fusions who both also premiered new music just a few months ago.

Now this wouldn’t be an accurate article if I didn’t mention the ages of the performers of this show, most of whom were teenagers or young adults. It’s an important talking point because there was a level of professionalism and matureness in each and every one of them that is not typically characteristic of the age. What also defined the entire group was their intent to share a message through their music; a message of inclusion and support for anyone who is currently struggling. Taking it one step further, their message addressed the effects of bullying and the heartbreak of suicide, along with a theme of “we need to take a stand.”

Have I got your attention yet as to how amazing these young artists are? Read on to learn more about them and where you can catch them performing in the future.


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Beginning our evening with a bang was the rock band The Fusions, who formed just two short years ago. The group consists of Tyler Partnow (Vocals, Guitar), Joe Massa (Bass, Vocals), and Matt Ramos (Drums, Vocals). Fresh off the release of their self-titled EP, the guys covered the stage and produced a full sound that was quite impressive for only three musicians.

They describe their genre as a “60’s rock/pop” sound but I also heard a cool garage punk undercurrent. They’ve blended the rock, pop, and punk genres into a fresh, new sound making me wonder if their band name was chosen to represent how they take various musical styles and mix them into their own unique music. The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and Prince are influencers of theirs, yet I heard some Green Day elements as well.

Despite these references, The Fusions have a very original sound that is enjoyable, fun, and uplifting. I love how all three band members take turns singing lead vocals and they also have great harmonies within their tunes. Listen to “Right Here Now” on Spotify to get a sense of their aptitude for harmonizing. The guys covered the songs that make up their EP – The Fusions - which was released in April. “Step Back” (which Joe Massa jokingly dubbed the “National Anthem of NJ”) was a favorite of mine and of the crowd’s as well. Their tunes consist of playful intertwining lines between guitar, bass and drums, and the fast, energetic percussion makes you really move to the music.

 The Fusions recently stated on social media that they plan on putting out new music soon and by the favorable crowd reaction Saturday night, I’m guessing many fans can’t wait to hear it. Check out The Fusions' music on Spotify and follow them on Instagram for gig and music updates. 

The Fusions Photo Gallery

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This was my second time seeing Lauren Gill perform with Dress Code and I absolutely love her as a performer. The impression you get is that she is totally authentic and genuine in how she interacts with others. Who you see on stage is who she really is. There is no fake front, no act. Her connection to music runs deep as she’s said that certain songs, notes and beats just “make her heart melt.”

She began her segment by coming onstage and discussing the meaning behind her new video of the single, “I Don’t Care.” She confidently discussed its origin and how it came about, describing negative experiences with judgmental people and her ultimate realization that it was most important to accept and like herself. Lauren said she writes about experiences like these so that when others (who have gone through similar struggles) listen to her music, they don’t have to feel alone.

The video, music, and lyrics are extremely powerful and very relevant to what many of today’s youth are experiencing. Make sure to watch the video below in its entirety and share with those who are important to you. Lauren insisted that the crowd chant, “I Don’t Care,” “I Don’t Care,” “I Don’t Care” over and over again to drive her point home that it’s a waste of energy to pay attention to negativity. Her passion for sharing her message was very inspirational and moving.

Following the video premiere which wowed the crowd, Dress Code took the stage next. The musicians of this band in addition to Lauren are Ryan Graci (guitar), Daniel Pagano (guitar), Jake Marrotta (percussion), and Anthony Petraccoro (Bass). Finding each other through the Lakehouse Music Academy, these bandmates (and good friends) really mesh well together. As I listened to them work through their setlist, the one thought that kept coming to mind was, “Damn, these kids are good!” I actually wrote those words on my notepad that night!

Lauren’s voice is smooth and light giving her tone a most unique sound. You can tell she loves fronting her band in the way she speaks to the audience and interacts with her bandmates on stage. She seems very comfortable in her skin and gives each song every ounce of energy she’s got! When I asked her what she loves about performing on stage she answered, “The adrenaline. The rush that you’re given when you look out and see a crowd waiting to be entertained. The feeling that you own that stage for a period of time and you can make whatever experience you want out of it.”

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The guitar trio of Ryan, Daniel, and Anthony is absolutely a winning combination. These young musicians work together to produce a hard rock sound filled with sweet guitar jams and running bass lines. They performed like more seasoned musicians in the way that they’d pair up on stage and play off of the energy of each other’s riffs. And special mention to Jake Marrotta on drums that night. He pounded that set like a beast making it impossible to not notice his skill and aptitude for the instrument. He definitely brought it home on “Leaving” which was the last song of their set.

Although together for a short time, the members of Dress Code have already played in front of thousands at the PNC Bank Arts Center and the Prudential Arena as well as many shows at The Stone Pony, The Saint and The Brighton Bar. Lauren and Ryan have had the privilege of sharing the stage at the Paramount Theatre with Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt and their side band (The Junior Pro’s) were in the documentary “Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption and Rock & Roll!” But with all of these amazing experiences under their belts, the band members continue to set their sights high. When I asked what venues they’d like to play one day, each one of them said, “Madison Square Garden.” Who knows … maybe one day we just might see them there!

Keep up to date on the band’s latest gigs through their website and follow  them on Instagram for cool pics of their  shows.

SetlistProblem/Down and Wasted/Ballad/Man In the Box (Alice in Chains cover)/Far From Home/Dropout/Leaving  

Dress Code Gallery

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Next up was singer/song-writer EmmaLynne DeRoss and the debut of her brand new EP, Ache. Inspired by real life experiences that have caused true heartache, Emmer has crafted three masterful songs that are as meaningful as they are soothing. The crowd showed a lot of emotion and excitement for Emmer as they continually reached out to touch her hand and raucously applauded throughout her performance. It was quite evident that she was truly touched by the support of her family and friends, as she has stated in the past that her musical journey is a family affair and the support of her audience “makes me feel like I’m flying!”

She started her set with an acoustic and artful version of “Monster,” and then brought the rest of her backing musicians onto the stage for the remainder of the performance. The outstanding bandmates who joined her on stage were Shreeya Mehta, Aiden Villa, Anthony Petrocorro, Jeremy Orienza, and Ryder Solomon. Collectively, they produced a beautiful musical backdrop for Emmer’s vocal style. It was important for them to not overpower her delicate vocals and they showed a maturity in the way that they blended their sounds together without drowning out her voice. Kudos to them on their musicality which belies their years. Watch the video below of "Willow Tree" from that evening.

Video: Courtesy of Aiden Villa Music

Inspired by the complexity and appeal of The Beatles’ and The Beach Boys’ music, Emmer has this knack for taking heavy topics and creating lyrics that are relatable to others within captivating melodies. Her vocals were sweet and rich that night and seemed to come from deep within her. She spoke of some difficult issues she’s faced in her life that served as inspiration for her music. Specifically, her song, “Sign Language,” was written to help her deal with a friend’s suicide. The lyric “You were speaking sign language and I was blind” was her musical expression of not seeing the signs of depression, although at her young age that would be a pretty difficult thing to do. She spoke tenderly about the friend’s upbeat personality that masked what was really going on. Her tribute to her friend through music was extremely touching.

Emmer has already performed at many local venues including The Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, The Brighton Bar, Downtown Freehold events and Busking on the Boardwalk. She is setting high goals for herself with dreams of performing at Madison Square Garden one day, as well as being asked “to write and work with top charting musicians in all genres.” Additional new music is “already in her head” and she would love to create a music video sometime in the future. For now, though, she is taking all of the right steps to becoming a well-known vocalist and the sky’s the limit as to how far she will go!

Setlist: Monster/Misery Business (Paramore cover)/Sign Language/Monster/Heaven Knows (Pretty Reckless cover)/Trunk of a Willow Tree/Borderline/Spider Webs (No Doubt cover)

Follow Emmer on Instagram and make sure to listen to her new music on Spotify!

Emmer Photo Gallery

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It’s been only two short months since I first saw Vendetta Rose at their album premiere party and I’m here to say they just keep getting better and better! They dominated the stage in seasoned rocker fashion and filled the role of headliner quite nicely. It is so easy to forget the ages of these musicians when you watch and listen to them perform live. I kept rolling the question over in my mind, “How can they be this good already?”

Vendetta Rose is comprised of Alec Demello (vocals, keyboard), Nick Marrotta (guitar), Ryan Graci (guitar), Kyle Crowley (bass), and John Matlosz (percussion). Similar to the other groups, they originally met at the Lakehouse Music Academy. All band members have been involved in music since they were much younger and along with playing many major venues in New Jersey and New York, several members of Vendetta Rose have had opportunity to play alongside musical powerhouses such as Rob Trujillo of Metallica, Doug Wimbish and Corey Glover of Living Color, as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers John Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen! That’s quite the resumé!

Demello’s voice reminds me of a smoother version of Green Day’s Billy Armstrong yet with more versatility. He knows how to work the stage and his fans, never staying in one place for very long, traveling through the crowd while singing, and giving out roses to the girls. For a new band, Vendetta Rose certainly has a very large contingent of screaming fans.

Marrotta, Graci, and Crowley each possess incredible chops on their respective instruments and, when combined, are a true powerhouse of guitarists. There is a real innovation in the searing guitar solos, great musical interplay between the three, and a prominent bass presence that gives this group a mature, polished sound. Crowley was given some time to shine during the show and played a bass solo that really highlighted his advanced proficiency and skill.

Matlosz, in addition to being an incredible drummer who reminds me of Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, is just so much fun to watch. He absolutely loves being on stage and is very involved in connecting with his fans and delivering a kick-ass show.

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The band worked their way through a well-balanced setlist of originals and covers, including the hit “Shallows” (a Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper cover) for the first time. Guest vocalist Torie Gulizio joined the band to give a very moving rendition along with Demello. Their voices blended beautifully and it was a really great add-on to their set being such a “hot” single right now.

Following the recent release of their EP Tilted Directions, the band is making their rounds and heavily promoting their material. Make sure to catch them this Friday, June 7th at The Stanhope House and also on June 21st at The Stone Pony!!

Setlist: Silent Letter/Ghost Of Me/King and Army/Evil Genius/Blend/Cupid’s Arrow/Shallows (Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper cover)/Over and Under

Follow the band on Instagram and download their amazing music from Spotify!

Vendetta Rose Gallery

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