There’s no doubt that New Jersey has a rich heritage when it comes to producing great musical acts. Bon Jovi, Springsteen, My Chemical Romance and the Misfits would be just the tip of the iceberg of the talent that the Garden State has pumped out over the years. I’m sure you’ve come across someone that has seen any of those bands in their early days and when you bring them up, will immediately say “Oh I remember seeing them play at a bar before they got big” or “at a small club”. Fans love being able to get in on the ground floor with an up and coming band that really resonates with them. And Huxley is certainly in that conversation.
The Jersey haled five piece formed back in 2020 and started to gain notoriety right out of the gate. Philly rock station 93.3 WMMR gave them Artist of the Month honors only a few months after their inception. They were gaining momentum and like so many other musicians, it all came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. But that down time gave this band the time to take their music to the next level, pumping out one killer single after another and building a really solid fan base.
And when the dust settled and the music world was back in full force, Huxley made their presence known. Over the last month, the band locked in yet another WMMR title with Local Shot of the Month and released a crushing new single Flesh & Bone that has soared over 25,000 views and over 30,000 streams. And tonight at the Levoy Theater, you’ll get a first hand look at what the hype is all about.
Much like the MMRBQ, the waves of fans wearing Huxley shirts are hard to miss as they walk into the theater. Once in the lobby it’s almost shoulder to shoulder as people make their way to their seats. The Levoy Theater Executive Director Amanda Goldspiel makes her way across the stage to greet the eager crowd. When she announces the band, Drummer Bill Finocchiaro, Bassist Matt Williams and Guitarist Mike Lamplugh storm the stage. As the intro for Dirty Ugly starts to play out, Singer Doug Goldspiel gets hyped up backstage and when the band drops in, Goldspiel explodes onto the stage.
Huxley’s stage presence and energy was obvious before the first verse had even ended. As the heavy handed riffs and bludgeoning power of the drums all but shake the walls, Doug’s showmanship locks in the fans attention as he works the entire stage while throwing in some flare with his impressive microphone tosses. It doesn’t matter if it’s thousands at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion or the few hundred that packed into the Levoy Theater, Huxley delivers the same high powered performance.
The first half of their set was riddled with upbeat and edgy tracks like Second Chances, Evol and What Have I Done, showcasing just a fraction of what this band has to offer. As the breakdown in the middle of Girl Thang got the blood going not only in the crowd, but the band themselves. Goldspiel notices that there were a few empty seats up front and decided to fill one himself as he steps off stage and sings a few bars as he stands on the arm of the chairs while fans gather in to be a part of the action around him.
Something that really stood out to me at this point of the show is how engaging Doug is with the fans. Throughout the show he really made an effort to make the fans feel like not only that they were a part of the show. But to show an appreciation to everyone that comes out to support this band. With fist pumps and hand shakes from the stage, to even dedicated a song to a young lady named Melissa.
Doug made sure to make that dedication a good one as Huxley would let loose the head banging juggernaut Hate Me off the chain . As a big metal fan, this is the song that had me jumping up and down and just wanted to incite a mosh pit. But being in an upscale theater and more importantly, the seats were bolted to the floor, I had to retrain. This was a great example of the multi-layered vocal texture created between Goldspiel and Bassist Matt Williams. Williams’ screams play perfectly off of Doug’s commanding yells and at times the harmonies between the two are flawless.
Regression would have Drummer Bill Finocchiaro putting on a clinic behind the kit. His lightning fast fills, machine gun style double pass play and his ability to change tempos on the drop of a dime make it impossible not to air drum along with him. Afterwards, Doug tells the crowd “This next one is one of our favorites. It’s not released yet, so congrats. You’re one of the first people to hear it.”.
While the fans cheer with excitement, Huxley continues their musical assault with the adrenaline fueled Super Zero. It’s no surprise that this would be one of their favorite songs to play. It has everything you could want. A pounding bassline, soaring vocals, killer fast paced two steps and of course… a killer guitar solo. Guitarist Mike Lamplugh puts on a six string spectacle as he dances around the fretboard while every blistering note is more furious than the next.
It really felt like time flew by as we got the disappointing announcement that this would be their last song. The crowd showed their displeasure with a mixture of boos and no’s. But those reactions quickly turn to yells of approval when Doug tells them “This last song is called Flesh & Bone.”. It’s very clear how this song has taken off the way that it has. The song is powerful both musically and lyrically while Goldspiel’s vocals really drive the emotional tone. Looking around the theater you could see the effect that it had on the fans as they pound their fists in the air and scream back to the stage.
Huxley very well could have easily made this a headlining show. The entire set was just stacked with great tunes and the audience was locked in for every second. Their performance was stellar from start to finish and seeing these guys live really shows they have what it takes to make it in this business. But before the band would leave the stage, Doug would ask his wife Executive Director Amanda Goldspiel to come out. Yes, it wasn’t a coincidence when you first saw her name in the beginning of the article. But they used this awesome occasion to announce their having a daughter! So on behalf of Dread Music Review, I want to say congratulations to the new parents to be!!!
Lucky for fans of Huxley, they won’t have to wait long for the next time they hit the stage. Make sure you catch them this Saturday June 11th at the legendary Dobbs on South and don’t forget to check out their latest video for Flesh & Bones!