You don’t have to look too hard for the man underneath the beanie and the frontman behind Foes of Fern. Matthew “Fern” Fernicola is a regular, perpetually-bearded face in the Asbury Park scene. So when the former Airacuda guitarist conceived a solo project—something that could feel multilayered and simultaneously folk—he didn’t have to look hard for the Foes. Inspired by the friendships made in the shore side community, Fern decided to let his musical family spread his stories. Yes, while Fern himself is easy to pinpoint, defining the Foes is trickier. In short, they’re everyone.
Ok, that’s a dirty lie: formally the Foes backing band includes frequent party-goers. The V.I.P.S include Andrew Oliva on drums, Dave Chiesa on bass, Jessie McKormick slaying the Uke, Joseph Pomarico picking up the acoustic guitar, and Victoria Laurence blowing the tuba. Less formally, Fern has a rotating door of talent that can morph night to night. With local celebrities Andrew Ludwig, Matt Honold, Victoria Romano, Micheal Squillace and others jumping on various horn and string instruments. It’s not uncommon to have gigs featuring an entirely different band than the show before, adding different instrumental nuances to each show. Good humor, a chorus of Asbury’s finest, and crowd sing-alongs, however, are a constant.
Whether it’s idealizing your Tinder matches (based on a true swipe-right story), dealing with your biggest haters (including yourself) or crying about someone going downtown on what used to be yours (“I miss my bicycle”), the Foes tell tales familiar, irreverent, and warm. And though he draws buckets from his own well of experiences, Fern always has an extra microphone at the ready in case someone else wants to take the stage and lend his or her voice.
The Foes provide a full-bodied experience with an open heart, a lot of soul (or a little bit a soul, an entirely appropriate amount of soul) and a wild head of hair that would make Rubeus Hagrid proud. Don’t hesitate, join right in.