Ithaca, N.Y. — Michael Hunter spent seven years honing his sound in Ithaca.

Then he went to NYC, where his indie folk rock band 5j Barrow captured victory at the 2014 WNYC Battle of the Boroughs and has won serious critical acclaim.

Now Hunter — formerly a drummer for The Gunpoets — is coming home to Ithaca.

5j Barrow will play Lot 10 on Friday, September 5 at 10 p.m. as part of the release tour for their first major album, “From the Dim, Sweet Light.”

(Courtesy of 5j Barrow’s Facebook page)
(Courtesy of 5j Barrow’s Facebook page)
Hunter’s the one with the violin. (Courtesy of 5j Barrow’s Facebook page)
Hunter’s the one with the violin. (Courtesy of 5j Barrow’s Facebook page)

We asked Hunter for 5 reasons to be excited for 5j Barrow’s show. Here are his answers for why you should help his band “blow the roof off:”

1 — We’re an Ithaca band at heart

I spent 7 years after college playing music in the Ithaca scene, and there’s a reason why I suggested Ithaca be our first stop on tour: it’s because I know Ithacans will LOVE this band.

We’re self-described as an earth folk-rock band because our energy is all about an organic, honest sound and that’s something I think anyone who takes pride in the local music scene will connect to.

2 — We put on an eclectic, energetic, wild live show

Our live show is our biggest strength. … We take full advantage of our acoustic instruments to stage a dynamic and theatrical set; we can go from precious, intimate moments to everyone in the venue jumping around and dancing like mad, oftenin the same song. It’s an unpredictable, beautiful thing to be a part of and we’re so excited to share that experience with people we know will appreciate it.

3 — Just check out these rave reviews

The purpose of this tour is to promote our album “From the Dim, Sweet Light”, which we just released. We’re incredibly proud of how the album turned out; Steven Goldman of Four Legs Records (who produced the recent Gunpoets live album and their debut “Shoot the Stars) produced it and we feel it successfully captures the energy of our live show and still has that clarity and power you want in a studio album. We’ll have hard copies at the show of course, and until then you can stream it online through Spotify, Bandcamp, and you can download it through iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.

“5j Barrow celebrates the dramatic, dynamic and collaborative nature of storytelling with the release of From the Dim, Sweet Light. From top to bottom, the players provide a wide and diverse range of skills and instrumentation that not only makes this album appealing to musicians, but accessible to fans.”

“5j Barrow is a delicious combination of genres, not easily defined, richly textured instrumentation and honest lyrics woven together by a talented duet of voices. Fresh off a win at the Ultimate Battle of the Boroughs, this New York band is ready to take on the world.”

4 — Local friends will kick things off

Lot 10 is just the place to be on Friday Sept 4th. Our good friends in Nate and Kate will be kicking things off, and DJ Cappel will be throwing down all night long so you can satisfy your live music needs and get your dance on all in the same place. Grab a nice cocktail and enjoy an intimate performance from Nate and Kate, head downstairs and shake your legs out to DJ Cappel’s beats, then hop back up and rock out with 5j Barrow.

That’s a whole lot of fun in one place on the same night. It’s $5 at the door for entry.

5 — Let’s pack Lot 10 to the rafters

Like I said earlier, I feel strongly that Ithaca has the type of music scene 5j Barrow was made for. It is also, unfortunately, a long drive from NYC. So in order for us to come back and visit, we need to really blow the roof off Lot 10 with our debut Ithaca show.

We always give our live shows everything we’ve got, and the bigger and better the crowd, the more we can give. So let’s pack Lot 10 to the rafters and have an epic night together, that way we can come back soon and do it all again, even bigger and better.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.