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The intoxicating synthesized electro rock heavy beats of Jimkata swirled all around the dance floor of the iconic Wonder Bar on Thursday night. The long awaited return of Jimkata to Asbury Park had finally come to an end. Formed in 2005 by middle school buddies Evan Friedell (guitar/vocals), Aaron Gorsch (synth/guitar/vocals), and Packy Lunn (drums/vocals), these cats combine inspiring vibes and lyrics, upbeat funky dance beats, along with synthy hooks and big guitars to create their unique blend of what I can only describe as a musical and spiritual journey.

The crowd's anticipation was palpable and they erupted into screams and cheers when they took the stage. After a four year long hiatus, the band's faithful have been itching for the live experience only Jimkata can deliver, and they got exactly what they paid their hard earned money to see. The first heavy beats from Packy's electronic drum machine started the hook for "Wild Ride" and we were off and running. The mixture of all the band's influences are on full display and the organic chemistry of the guys in their element is unmatched. Smiles all around on stage as they witnessed everyone singing along to their infectious pop hook.

"Wanna Go" off their new album was next. The songwriting skills of Evan is unparalleled and really entices the fans to think and feel, experience life and not let anything slow you down. "Feelin Light" is the song that started my Jimkata story, suggested to me by one of my best buds Paul Giza. This song got me hooked the moment I heard it, and I have been a fan ever since. This has everything you need in a song, positive up beat lyrics, put in a blender with funky heavy beats, synthesizers galor and hard rocking guitars, mixed to perfection:

"I remember hearin rock ‘n roll feeling on top, Like there wasn’t nothing that could stop it, No shattered glass could keep my feet from movin', And it brought the light in through the window, Give me that rock feelin so high no ceiling I feel in light, And when the dark night is comin', We feel in light" 

My dance shoes were also ready for "Night Shade".  This upbeat tune has that catchy pop vibe, mixed with their signature synth rock style. The crowd was jumping around and couldn't get enough. "Ride the Wave" has a little darker and edgier sound to it, and is an example of the band's diversity and is not a one trick pony. It still has the classic Jimkata sound, but also adds a more hard rock sound and lyrics. One of my all time favs, "Die Digital" the title track of the bands 3rd album, blew the audience's minds. This song is a musical masterpiece that brings you on a spiritual journey with some incredibly uplifting lyrics:

"Cause all the best things seem to surface after the worst times, All the worst things seem to come around after the best time, Lose your patience, lose your past, post the present and make it fast, And die digital."

"Jumping out of Airplanes" was up next, each one of the songs on the setlist flows into the next, it's like a rollercoaster you don't ever want to get off, and you keep getting back in line for more. "Weight of Paradise" is another one off the new album written during the pandemic when the band reunited. Evan and Packy had moved to the Los Angeles area and began making music again. These songs are now part of the Jimkata history, added to the humble beginnings back in Ithaca, in upstate NY, playing local house parties and small clubs. The band's unique style can not be compared to any other, the beats, the grooves, mixed with raging guitar solos and synthesizers is something you have to see live and experience for yourself.

As the show progressed we were blessed to hear the title track off the new album "Bonfires". This one has it all, with a message that is so inspiring and uplifting. Reminiscing on old times good and bad, Evan came up with this tune, spreading the positive vibes of understanding we all have a past, somethings we like, somethings we don't, but tomorrow is a brighter day and to never give up.  "Bonfires" the song and album are a testament to the bands persistence to keep going and rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

The band encored the show with two songs that mean so much to all the Jimkata faithful, first was "Sweet Glory" which I can only describe as going to church. It is an upbeat spiritual spectacle, which sends chills down your spine and you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up:

"Sweet Glory coming down to take me off the ground. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm not going Down" 

And finally was "Release" This song has a real rockin' vibe to it, and really allows members of this power trio to shine. It's rock and roll with a Jimkata twist, so you know the beats are funky, the synthesizers are synthing and the guitars are screaming. What a way to end the night, just a straight electro rock anthem, and left the crowd shouting 'More, More, More'

Jimkata puts on a live musical experience that leaves you feeling alive, free, inspired, and with an ear to ear grin on your face. Evan, Packy, and Aaron deliver the goods, with so many unique blends of jamtronica, funk, electro rock, and synthy grooves, the dance party can't stop. Here is a link to their website to find out all the info you need about them and all their upcoming shows. I highly recommend going through the band's catalog. Every album is life changing music. When these guys come to your town, be sure to come out to a show, you wont be disappointed. Trust me when I say Jimkata is a Can't Miss!

For more information on Jimkata, click HERE

Matthew Lang

Photojournalist - New Jersey

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