Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, August 9 2018

SOUNDS: Donavon Frankenreiter at the Pony

It’s become something of a more or less annual event in Asbury town, to welcome Donavon Frankenreiter for a summer concert — and when the veteran pro surfer turned singer-songster returns to the Stone Pony TONIGHT, August 9, it will be part of a tour leg that catches some major East Coast current (although, for whatever reason, he detours over to Seattle for a Friday evening one-off). With no brand new product to push, expect a retrospective (with maybe a few cover-tune curveballs thrown in) of the artist’s laid-back, highly personal songcraft, keynoted with opening sets by David Luning and returning Shore-fave chanteuse Lisa Bouchelle. Tickets for the 7 pm show ($22 advance; $28 d.o.s.) at

SOUNDS: Franz Ferdinand at the Stone Pony

Their previous time out of the gate, the Grammy nominated UK band Franz Ferdinand teamed with veteran LA-based eccentrics Sparks to form the “supergroup” project known as FFS. But having disengaged once more to record and release an all new album (Always Ascending) here in 2018 — and having lost the services of guitarist Nick McCarthy for the time being — the guys from Glasgow hit the North American pavement with a reconfigured five-man formation and an extensive coast-to-coast tour that comes to the Stone Pony on Friday, August 9 for one of its last dates before wrapping up in Nashville on Tuesday. Reports from the road indicate that frontman Alex Kapranos and company are confidently integrating the new material into a set of standards (“Darts of Pleasure,” “Do You Want To,” “Dark of the Matinee”), in a way that speaks both of continuity and the coming-out cotillion for a new chapter of a still-evolving organization. Tickets for the 8 pm show ($28 advance; $30 d.o.s.) at

SOUNDS: Prisoners of Second Ave at House of Indies

Their football-field list of credits takes in Conan O’Brien’s longtime TV show band, Southside’s Asbury Jukes, tributes ranging from Early Elton to The Fab Faux, and all those fondly recalled live appearances by Uncle Floyd. When Jimmy Vivino (guitar, vocals), John Conte (bass, vocals) and Rich Pagano (drums, vocals) take the stage of the House of Independents on Saturday, they’ll be transforming downtown Asbury’s all-purpose auditorium into one of the most venerated venues in classic rock history: Bill Graham’s Fillmore East. As the Prisoners of Second Avenue, the in-demand session cats and producers reach into their unabridged encyclopedia of pop for a salute to the many acts who lit up the stage at that long-gone NYC landmark — from Blind Faith to The Band, Johnny Winter to Jethro Tull, Buffalo Springfield to The Byrds, Procol Harum to Cream to Dylan to Traffic and The Who. It’s a passionately purveyed project that’s inspired regular sell-out performances at big-city locales, and it comes to Conte’s home turf for the first time in a 7:30 pm show for which tix ($30) can be purchased at, or in person at Lola’s European Café on Cookman Ave.

STAGES: ‘Murder They Wrote’ at Jersey Shore Arts

It’s Murder Most Fun, as the crazy-prolific La Strada Ensemble Theater people partner with Murder Mystery USA Inc., for a dinner/show fundraiser benefitting Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center (the old high school building at Main Street and Main Ave) and its resident stage troupe. Script writer Gian Carlo Durland (pictured) stars as intrepid sleuth Rocco DiCarlo — and attempts to investigate a string of unsolved murders, with some assistance from the audience — in the interactive comic caper that’s served up with a full dinner buffet at 6 pm on Saturday, August 11, as well as a brunch buffet at 1 pm on Sunday, August 12, with the show starting at 2. He’s supported by a cast of La Strada co-founders and regulars that include A.J. Ciccotelli, Evan Black, and Donna Knowlton, with all performances in the JSAC’s third floor Café space, and tickets ($45 in advance from, or $50 at the door) including meal and show, plus dessert and coffee.

SOUNDS: Cake ‘n Folds on the SummerStage

They don’t come much more “ironic” than this Wednesday double bill that pairs California’s Cake — the long running, occasionally chartbusting outfit fronted by snarky songsmith John McCrea and horn-blaring multi-instrumentalist Vince DiFiore — with Ben Folds, the insanely eclectic piano bandleader, symphonic composer, internet trickster, and collaborator with everyone from Neil Gaiman to William Shatner. With a long-overdue new Cake LP (Sinking Ship) being teased — the last one turned out to be a false alarm — and Folds detouring off into projects that include a serious sidegig as a photographer, the fact that it’s anyone’s guess what shape this tour (which kicks off Monday in Boston) will take makes it a worthy ticket ($54.50 advance; $60 d.o.s. from, and an excellent opportunity for pasty-faced alt-geek rock to get some well deserved sun and sea air.

Best Bets, we’ve had a few…but then again, way too many to mention. Lets just say that the greater/greatest Asbury Park area has a diversion foe every direction in which you can point yourself, any day of the week…and the cycle starts anew this THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, when strollers on our famous boards can home in on either of two concerts as free as the salt sea air: Ikebe Shakedown presiding over the ongoing Jams on the Sand series, off the north end of Convention Hall…while just SOUTH of the ConHall complex, John Luckenbill and the Asbury Park Concert Band are joined by a true Legendary Local, Dorian Parreott. All who recall the madcap glory days of the 1980s Jersey Shore clubscape should hie themselves to the Headliner on Route 35 FRIDAY, for a nostalgic reunion party of staff and regulars of Belmar’s Montego Bay (plus Tsunami of Long Branch) that’s presided over by the iconic “BEADA” himself (aka Don Ward). SATURDAY night sees the return of Dark Star Orchestra to the Stone Pony Summerstage, even as that harpin’ helper Sandy Mack invites the Jamily over to the AP Yacht Club for a session that presages his regular Sunday afternoon stand at the Asbury’s Soundbooth Lounge…speaking of SUNDAY, The Saint offers a first local look/listen to Channeling Cornell, an homage to the late Soundgarden/solo singer Chris Cornell, and a band that aims to wrest tribute-act treasure from the jaws of tragedy. Speaking of homages, the crazy-cat swinging legacy of “The Wildest Act in Vegas” is recreated (and for FREE, yet) when The Louis Prima Jr. Band takes it to Springwood Park as part of the Music Mondays series. TUESDAY finds the SummerStage maintaining the momentum of a busy week with a hitch-up by Band of Horses; WEDNESDAY sees The Predator Dub Assassins keeping the vibes voluptuous on the sandy stage just off the Anchors Bend…and every Thursday brings the full rundown of music, movies, theater, comedy and MORE (including the ongoing Jersey Shore Film Festival AND the annual Italian Festival in Ocean Township), exclusively in the paper pages of THE COASTER!