(Written in 2003)
It seems today that youth in New Jersey have plenty of things to keep them occupied. You can call up some friends and catch a movie or chill at the mall or Red Bank and just have a swell time. Say you and your posse feel like going to a show to see some kick ass bands, but you can’t find any good venues to go to. Then, you wonder to yourself, “What’s happening to the scene? Has it changed in any way? Could it be actually dying?”
If you live on the shore, sure enough, you have heard of Birch Hill in Old Bridge, NJ. Formerly a swim club/picnic grounds, the Birch Hill grew to become a venue in which many of New Jersey’s best and brightest have performed. A little over a week ago, Elyse Jankowski (Editor-in-Chief of Stars and Scars) and I went to a show where we interviewed Scott Windsor, the lead singer of The Lyndsay Diaries. Later that night, Elyse interviewed New Direxion.
However, it was particularly the interview with Scott that I took a lot of notice to. He brought a handful of people from inside the show out back to an abandoned snack bar to listen to him play some of his songs. It was such an amazing atmosphere with the cracked concrete and faded paint that the music had a new life to it. I’m not even that big of a fan of his band, but it didn’t matter out there. I noticed my surroundings, and I knew for sure that not many people had come out there, let alone know that the place existed. It made me sad to know that in the not too distant future, Birch Hill would be shut down.
I asked a few people what they thought about this. Some thought that it totally sucked and that people should try and do more to preserve it. What made me laugh was that a couple people didn’t know what Birch Hill was, and when I told them, one replied, “Oh, that old, dirty place by Marlboro?” It isn’t their fault that they don’t know too much about Birch Hill. They love music in general but aren’t exactly what you would call “scenesters.”
Birch Hill played a great part in the lives of anyone who has ever gone to a show there. Ok, maybe I am getting a little melodramatic, but if you say that you have never had an awesome time there with your friends, then you should not consider yourself an emo kid, metalhead, or a punk at all. Birch Hill has hosted countless good times for many different concert-goers in the state of New Jersey. However, its legacy will probably be forgotten. It isn’t like you’ll be telling your children and grandchildren about Birch Hill and how sweet it was. In a number of years, it will seem as though it never existed. But we have to try and keep the memories we have of it and hold them close because, to be blunt, that venue kicked some major ass.