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Going Dark to Rock the LHS Stage After Battle of the Bands

Danielle Santola

Thursday, April 3, 2014 • 8:56pm

LIVINGSTON, NJ  – Local rock band Going Dark will play a concert in the Livingston High School auditorium following the annual Battle of the Bands, in which all proceeds will benefit the class of 2014 senior prom. Battle of the Bands, featuring Going Dark, will run from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4, with an $8.00 cover at the door. Going Dark will also be performing at this year’s “Teachers Who Rock” on April 28, sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association. Those interested in more information can visit www.goingdarkband.com.

With three players, the band consisting of Livingston resident Alex Fogg, 17, on drums, Hackettstown guitarist Tom Santos, 17, and Essex Fells bassist and lead vocalist Oliver Shaw, 14, Going Dark has been called one of the most successful teen bands in the state. In fact, The Star Ledger selected Going Dark as one of the top local bands in New Jersey.

“Fronted by a 14-year-old, this band defies logic,” The Ledger said. “There are only three of them, but these guys produce a huge sound with a classic, hard-rock edge.”

Being honored by The Star Ledger led the boys to be invited to the Break Invitational, where the top bands in the state will compete to play at the Skate and Surf Festival for 2014. Practicing for three hours per session, three times a week in his garage, Fogg said it was amazing to be acknowledged for all of their hard work.

“I was happily surprised to be named one of the top local bands,” Shaw said. “It was great to get that kind of recognition.”

Santos, who joined the band shortly after the Ledger recognized them, said he “knew the band had a lot of potential and felt that he would have something to add moving forward.”

“I was very excited to hear about the Break Invitational,” Santos said. “Skate and Surf is the goal obviously, it’s what we all want, but we’re happy to play anywhere for anyone.”

Skate and Surf is the festival that has taken the place of Bamboozle, which Going Dark played in both 2011 and 2012, alongside the “Foo Fighters” and “Motley Crue.” According to Shaw, the band has always played a great show at the break and can’t wait to do it again this year.

Performing on television networks NBC and Fox and opening for artists like Sebastian Bach and Big Time Rush, Going Dark has done more in their short careers than most teens could even dream of. With original music and lyrics that deal with contemporary subjects like bullying and being yourself—their classic-rock feel is bound to attract followers.

“We just try to write songs people can relate to,” Shaw said when the band was featured on Teen Kids News. “People like a song better if they can relate to it and say ‘oh that happened to me.’”

According to the band, many of their lyrics come from personal experiences, which they also try to relay in their self-edited music videos. In fact, the band was named “Going Dark” because they write music with a message, shining a light on serious issues.

“They’re really talented for their age,” said David Colicchio, an LHS graduate who is no stranger to Livingston’s Battle of the Bands stage. “They’re socially conscious but also have this infectious energy that makes me want to get up and full-body dance until I can’t feel my arms."

According to Fogg, the band’s biggest success so far was opening for “Big Time Rush” at Great Adventure in front of 10,000 people, but his biggest dream is to someday play at Madison Square Garden. Newcomer Santos said he is thrilled the other guys gave him a shot because music is his greatest passion and couldn’t be happier to be able to perform for people every once in a while.

“My biggest hope for the band is to be able to do this for a living,” Shaw said. “That would really be a dream-come-true.”

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