These kids are more than all right. They are spectacular.
Saturday's inaugural #TAKEBACKYOURVOICE anti-bullying fundraiser concert at the State Theatre was a rousing and eye-opening start to what will hopefully become an annual showcase of homegrown music talent.
The show's headliner, singer-songwriter Flintface (real name Joe Scorsone) and his band, capped the evening with a solid, rocking set. The set was punctuated in dramatic fashion when throngs of students from Phillipsburg and North Hunterdon High School's respective choirs joined the band to sing the final choruses of Flintface's song, "Ready for It." It was electrifying.
As good as Flintface was, the students stole the show. Watching them perform was a truly remarkable experience.
Their abilities and musicianship speak volumes to the Lehigh Valley's extraordinary musical diversity -- be it the fuzzy, indie garage rock of Counting Clockwise or the explosive, stiff upper lip punk of Blind Choice (whose singer sounded eerily like Dookie-era Billie Joe Armstrong, which is definitely not a bad thing).
Thirteen-year-old Rhys Williams worked his keyboard with the mastery and smoothness of players twice his age, as he serenaded the crowd with "Hallelujah" and, fittingly, Billy Joel's "Piano Man."
Teen singer-guitarists Julia Gross and Abby Illingworth and singer-keyboardist Alyssa Garcia each wowed during their individual sets. Their stunningly strong, and powerful, voices channeled much older, more rustic soul;. Illingworth's folk-country original "Mountain Song" sounded like it could have been plucked directly out of a Cameron Crowe film. Garcia's two originals, the lilting "Better Life" and the perky "Sincerely Me" impressed with uncanny craftsmanship and lyrical depth. The latter tune should be on the radio, now.
Female duo Beautiful Oblivion -- bringing a bit more of a Taylor Swift vibe to the proceedings -- reached a fever pitch with a spin through Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," while rapper Jameek Jones (who would also join Flintface on "Ready for It") showed off serious rhyming chops and lyrical flow.
The positive vibes shared by the student performers and Flintface made for a fun, energetic night filled with memorable performances and moments -- proof that the legacy of Lehigh Valley songwriters is in good hands.