Chris Neptune Debuts as Headliner Act at The Crossroads
By: Julie Shilling
Everyone wants to know the key to happiness. For me, it’s a long drive down a winding road without a destination in mind. My windows are down and I’m feeling the soothing breeze against my face. I insert my favorite CD in the car stereo. I am contented. There’s no set formula for one’s happiness, yet certain music can take you away and help you to escape from a stressful day.
Chris Neptune, a new alternative artist, plays inspirational music (not to be confused with religious music). He creates a positive atmosphere to make the listener forget their troubles and make their worries melt away.
Neptune debuted on November 29th at The Crossroads in Garwood, New Jersey. He headlined with his backing band, which contains five other musicians: Rich Fischer (guitar), Gene Morriello (bass guitar), Keith Place (keyboards), Kevin Place (keyboards), and Johnny “Leather” Albanese (drums). They performed six songs, which included one cover and five of his songs from his upcoming debut album, Chance For A New Beginning.
During his show his promotional EP was available for sale along with other souvenir goodies. He performed to a crowd of roughly 50 men and women whose ages varied. Chris Neptune’s music, which can be classified as “space rock” or “ambient pop,” is especially unique because it makes you feel like you are being sent to a faraway galaxy.
“My all-time favorite band is Toto. Their songs have inspired me because they are the most impressive and talented musicians I’ve ever seen,” said Neptune. “Yet, I feel I sound like Angels and Airwaves, Anberlin, Starship, and Journey.”
Neptune has several musical skills, including singing lead vocals, playing guitar, and playing piano.
“I write, record, mix, and master the songs myself,” said Neptune.
He’s a one-man band when it comes to recording, yet he has his five backup musicians for performing concerts.
“I’ve been friends with him for years and this was my first concert of his I attended,” said Brandon Ellis, age 25, of West Orange, N.J. “I found his performance deep and refreshing to the ears.”
Neptune’s music has an 80’s style soft rock flow, and he matched his style perfectly with his gnarly 80’s style sunglasses which he wore that night. He grabbed the audience’s attention when he set the stage wearing a brightly colored turquoise shirt and white pants. Neptune performed proudly, as he sang loudly, and displayed confidence by using eye contact and hand gestures. He encouraged everyone on the floor to clap along to his catchy songs.
The band wasn’t in any hurry during their performance to finish. The members took their time and played gracefully with such enthusiasm. Layers of music weaved together and moved through, under, and into the listener.
“The service was slow during his singing. Guests were entertained and focused on his performance. They did not want to leave their seat to buy a drink,” said Stephanie, who bartends at The Crossroads. “His show was very up-beat and powerful. I really enjoyed it! It was a nice change and very different from other bands that performed tonight.”
During his performance, he used his soft voice to soothe the audience. The songs geared around inspiration and hardship and sent out a positive message to all which sums up an attitude of:
If I can do it, so can you!
At the same time, some of his lyrics made unusual references. For example, his opening song Freedom contained the following lyrics:
I’m sitting down at the lounge with a caramel macchiato,
your favorite drink that you introduced to me.
Then you burst through the door all dressed up like Demi Lovato.
Maybe I should’ve stayed home with Sara Lee.
He made a reference to Demi Lovato, a famous artist who’s known for her 2011 hit, Give Your Heart a Break, and Camp Rock, a 2008 film.
Is Neptune talking about staying home with a cup of Sara Lee coffee, or staying home with an actual girl named Sara Lee? Either interpretation is appropriate, and this contributes to the cleverness of his lyrics.
Neptune continued with We Can Find Our Way, I’ll Look Back On You, and Drifted Apart. All three of those songs geared around relationships. The audience cheered as each song ended and then the next one immediately started afterwards.
Neptune then closed with his hit, You’ll Be Surprised, a spiritual song that had the crowd singing along with a chorus we can all relate to:
You can run, but you cannot hide from the things that make you frown. Try not to feel so scared…Never hesitate to roll the dice. Keep your eyes on the prize and just do it! You’ll be surprised.
Shockingly, one of his songs he promotes on his Facebook page, For the Common Man, was not performed at the concert. The lyrics of the song were inspired by Neil Armstrong’s famous quote when he landed on the moon:
Just one small step for man could be one giant leap for mankind…
The song then continues…if everybody does their part. If we all take a stand for the common man, they can’t keep us in the dark.
“I was surprised and disappointed because I didn’t hear For The Common Man,” said Trisha Kern of Verona, N.J. “I find that song to be very strong and worth listening to.”
2013 will be an eventful year for Neptune, for he has ambitions to promote his debut album, Chance For A New Beginning, in addition to performing on a mini-tour.
“I can guarantee that I will play in the upcoming year,” said Neptune.
He also plans on creating a music video and settling a record deal. Later in life, in addition to writing music, Neptune wants to write a book offering solutions to modern ethical issues. He also wants to travel the country promoting a second album.
“I don’t want to limit my life to one pursuit. I have a wide variety of goals that I am eager to accomplish.”
Chris Neptune resides in Livingston and comes from a rich family heritage of music. He graduated from Rutgers State University with Highest Honors (Summa Cum Laude), and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He teaches music to young children in New Jersey, and he is also a freelance composer and record producer.
“I would like to dedicate my music to my parents, for providing me with the confidence and skills I need to succeed,” stated Neptune, “along with my sister, Jenna, for inspiring me to become a songwriter and producer at such a young age.”
He also wants to thank his backing band, his friends, and his fans for their continuing support. To find out more about Chris Neptune and his upcoming concerts, you can visit any of the following websites:
Neptune plans to perform again at The Crossroads, located at 78 North Avenue in Garwood. Along with its Chicago city vibe, the bar contains brass and wooden statues that hang on the walls. The two-toned black and red colors make a splash over the wooden paneling. Bright neon lights shine through, making the venue easily visible from the street. To read more about The Crossroads you can visit the official website: www.xxroads.com.
Photos by: Mike Distress
Find Mike Distress at: Facebook.com/mike.distress