Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, August 16 2018

SOUNDS: The Blasters at the Wonder Bar

In an interview we did several years ago with yelping, yodeling musicologist (and Ph.D-level math genius) Phil Alvin, the lead singer of The Blasters framed his hometown of Downey, CA as a true crossroads for what his band famously branded American Music: the roadhouse C&W, R&B, hard blues, Western swing, rockabilly, and saloon jazz that form the foundation for all to come. The four-piece band re-takes the famous stage of the Wonder Bar TONIGHT, August 16, for another raucous session of the kind of stuff that transmits anywhere, and transmutes leaden days into golden-age good times. And, while Alvin has expressed his disdain for the “clown” show of cowboy-hatted country (“If you told Bob Wills back in his early days that he played ‘cowboy’ music, he’d’a kicked your ass”), he’ll surely be pleased to share the bill with swingin’ singing cowboy Jet Weston and His Atomic Ranch Hands, in a bill (further featuring Lara Hope) that opens its doors at 7 pm, with tickets ($25) available at

SOUNDS: Guided By Voices at Asbury Lanes

When they returned to Asbury Park for the first time in a while, with an August 2014 gig at the Stone Pony, Guided By Voices delivered a now-legendary show (preserved for posterity on live Yahoo simulcast) that saw the dissolution of the band’s reunited “classic” lineup amid superhuman consumption of alcohol, epic rants, and onstage collapse on the part of frontman Robert Pollard, the sixty-something former schoolteacher whose astonishingly prolific GBV/ solo/ side-gig output numbers in the literal hundreds of albums, EPs, singles, and surprises. Of course, none of that failed to stem the ongoing tide of record releases — and when Guided By Voices materialized for a September 2017 date at House of Independents, a re-energized Pollard re-teamed with guitarist Doug Gillard for a satisfying revamp of the band’s mid/late 90s configuration that climaxed with an arena-ready cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” With a man-made mountain of material to draw from, the elder statesman master of the lo-fi two minute masterpiece goes positively Fourth Ave for a Friday night fracas at Asbury Lanes on August 17— and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if he doesn’t put forth another five albums between the bus and the back door. Available tickets for the 8:30 pm show ($25) at

SOUNDS: Dick Dale at the Wonder Bar

He’s as apt to regale his audience with an extended monologue on his latest ride through the pipeline of the American healthcare system — or to whip out his trumpet for a rousing workout on “When the Saints Come Marching In” — as he is to fireball nonstop through his formidable folio of speed-demon surf instrumentals and beach-party stompers. At the age of 81, Dick Dale “tours to stay alive” and does as he dang well pleases — and when he returns to the Circuit staple Wonder Bar for the latest in a string of annual Asbury appearances, the King of the Surf Guitar will once again sound the unofficial keynote for the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival (about which you’ll find a full length feature story on this selfsame space); displaying the southpaw stuff that transformed the world-music drama of “Misirlou” into a supercharged new subgenre soundtrack to an ascendant sport (and attendant lifestyle). The Volcanics open the 7:30 pm show, for which tickets ($37.50 advance; $40 d.o.s.) can be reserved at — and attendees can follow the current to The Asbury Hotel’s Soundbooth Lounge, for an APSMF Dick Dale Afterparty that features Ninth Wave and DJ C Cow from 11 pm.

SOUNDS: The Gaslight Anthem at the Stoney SummerStage 

Like a certain album from a certain Mr. Springsteen, the summer of 2018 marks a milestone anniversary for a pivotal “breakthrough” album that served to catapult a bunch of Brunswick area guys into the next-level bigs. It’s been a whole ten years since The Gaslight Anthem dropped The ‘59 Sound — and for one big weekend on the Asbury waterfront the disc, with its mix of smartly literate and passionately purveyed punk-poet rockers (“Great Expectations,” “Miles Davis and the Cool,”  “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” ), will be celebrated in its entirety via an unprecedented three-evening stand at the Stone Pony Summerstage. On the heels of an expanded 59 Sound Sessions record release, Brian Fallon, Alex Rosamillia, Alex Levine, and Benny Horowitz present a trio of top-down open air shows, for which Dave Huse and Mermaid support the set on Friday, August 17, with Chuck Ragan and Jared Hart serving the first volley for the Saturday and (just-added) Sunday sets. Gates open at 5 pm each day, with available tickets ($45-$135) at Then take it over to House of Independents following each show, where The Two Alex’s host a trio of after parties for which doors open at 10:30 pm, with admission $10 (or $5 with proof of entry at the Pony show).

SOUNDS: The Beach Boys at the Great Auditorium

In an interview we conducted with Mike Love several years back, the founding frontman of the American institution The Beach Boys expressed a fondness for their occasional tour stops in Ocean Grove — although he also confessed that “we play new venues…and we play old places that pre-date the invention of air conditioning.” Here on a weekend in which the best of 21stcentury instrumental Surf Music is being celebrated on the other side of Wesley Lake, the vocal band that truly brought surf culture to the masses returns to that wooden flagship of family entertainment the Great Auditorium, scene of some sellout shows from summers past. Skippered by the 77-year old Love and 76-year old Bruce Johnston (the successful singer/ songwriter/ producer whose 53-year history with the band hasn’t stopped him from being the eternal “New Guy”), the 2018 edition of the crowdpleasing roadshow delivers the decades-spanning hits, as should rightly be expected — and also a fair share of surprises, courtesy of some deep album cuts, covers of their hitmaking contemporaries, and new arrangements of set-staple perennials. Tickets for the 8 pm show ($45-$60) are still available via

SOUNDS: Glenn Tilbrook at the House of Indies  

His work with Chris Difford, longtime songwriting partner in the band Squeeze, set Glenn Tilbrook well apart from the pack of skinny-tie New Wavers back in the picture-disc era — and decades after their initial release, such wryly sophisticated alterna-pop hits like “Another Nail In My Heart,” “Pulling Mussels from the Shell,” “Black Coffee in Bed,” and “Tempted” continue to resonate. In recent years, the vocalist and guitarist has preferred to hit the road in more intimate fashion, whether as a self-contained solo, a duet with Difford, or — when he comes to downtown Asbury’s all-purpose auditorium House of Independents on Saturday night — half of a multi-generational program that teams him with his son, guitarist Leon Tilbrook. It’s an “electric and acoustic mash-up” of Squeeze signatures and sly surprises that goes up at 7:30 pm — and tickets  ($18) can be purchased at, or in person at Lola’s European Café on Cookman Ave.

SOUNDS: Zebra at the Wonder Bar

They came from N’awlins, by way of their adopted homeland of Long Island — and more than 40 years after gigging their first, the power trio known as Zebra is still gigging/going strong, with Randy Jackson and company returning to the area for the first time in a long time for a Saturday set at the Wonder Bar that promises a rocking retrospective of milestones (including Top Ten‘er “Who’s Behind the Door”). It’s a benefit for the forever-home friends of Asbury Boardwalk Rescue, and tix ($33 advance; $38 d.o.s.) can be had at

SOUNDS: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at Asbury Lanes

He hasn’t put out a new album in a while — and doesn’t seem to have one in the pipeline at present — but Jersey-bred indie rock icon Ted Leo has a retrospective Rx for what ails ya, when he sails into the revamped tenpins taproom Asbury Lanes this Saturday, August 18. The WFMU regular is back fronting his combo The Pharmacists following a solo excursion (plus team-up with Aimee Mann), and is joined by Frankie Rose in a 9 pm tour stop for which available tickets ($20) can be found at

STAGES: HAIR in Concert at Axelrod PAC

The groundbreaking Rado-Ragni-McDermott rock musical HAIR — a game-changer that marked the golden anniversary of its Broadway debut here in 2018 — continues at Deal Park’s Axelrod Performing Arts Center stage in a concert-format production co-produced, directed by and co-starring the dynamic and ubiquitous Remember Jones (aka Tony D’Amato). The “Tony treatment” extends to the casting of Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (American Idol; Broadway’s Rock of Ages and Spring Awakening) as Berger — and the show’s very limited run extends to two more (very likely to see out) performances; a Saturday 8/18 night-owl at 10 pm, and a Sunday 8/19 closer at 8 pm. Find available tickets ($37-45) at — and be sure to check out our conversation with Remember Jones, posted last week to this very site!

SIGHTS: Art on the Boardwalk 

Now more than ever, the famous Asbury Park boardwalk is that special place where the cherished memories of the past go hand-in-hand with the excitement of one of the most popular waterfront areas on the East Coast. And for more than a decade, the Asbury Park Historical Society has played a part in the colorful summer-time pageant, courtesy of the outdoor art fair known as Art on the Boardwalk. Returning on Sunday, August 19 to the place that’s inspired generations of painters, poets and musical performers, the 14th annual event showcases the original creations of dozens of artists (including Ray Sternesky, pictured), working in a variety of media — and including makers of unique craft items. Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and extending along the “beach” side of the boards, beginning at the south entrance to Convention Hall — Art on the Boardwalk represents a one-of-a-kind marketplace for anyone on the lookout for a unique gift or accent for their home.

SOUNDS: Fishbone at the House of Independents 

On Tuesday, August 21, the House of Indies comes full circle, when Fishbone, the featured band at the venue’s official opening — and a crowdpleasing organization that breaks down all resistance through its patented brand of tightly controlled chaos, class-clown humor, and SKAthing social commentary — Fishbone takes its catalog of partystarting favorites (“Party at Ground Zero,” “Everyday Sunshine”) back to the Cookman Ave corridor as headliners of an event that’s co-presented by the upcoming Sea.Hear.Now Festival. Original members Angelo Moore, Christopher Dowd and the Fisher brothers highlight the classic configuration of the 1980s and 90s, still winning over fervent new fans without having ever scored a huge hit record. The LA-based ‘boners are joined by local dudes Eastbourne and P-Funk North — in a full evening that also includes a screening of Generations: The Movie. Tickets  ($18 Tilbrook; $25-$99 Fishbone) can be purchased at, or in person at Lola’s European Café on Cookman Ave.

Well, that certainly wraps it up for…Hah! We almost HAD you there for a minnit, dinnit?…but if you’re a regular reader of The Coaster’s What’s Up rave-up, you’ll know all too well that there ain’t enough twine in the land to bundle this thing neatly for curbside pickup, as THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 also sees country traveler Billy Currington take in the sea air at the Stoney SummerStage…FRIDAY finds our favorite masters of the “detached garage” rock template, The Ribeye Brothers, topping the mixed-grill menu specials at Langosta Lounge…while another localoid fave, The Rock ‘N Roll Hi Fives, heads the SATURDAY night soiree at Langosta’s sister site AP Yacht Club. SUNDAY sees Tim McLoone’s Supper Club hosting Ian McDonald — a founding father of both King Crimson and Foreigner — with his all new project, Honey West…while JT Bowen, the man whose vocals supercharged Clarence Clemons’ original Red Bank Rockers, brings his new lineup of RBRs to Asbury’s Springwood Park as another fabulously free entry in the MUSIC MONDAYS series.

Fans of TV’s The Voice can catch up with past contestant J Soul in one of his occasional TUESDAY night stands at The Headliner on Route 35 in Neptune, while WEDNESDAY brings a special treat topside to McLoone’s, courtesy of the folks at the nonprofit Cabaret for Life: The Housewives of Monmouth County, back for a ninth season (centered around the timely  theme of “#MEthree”) that stars Heather Brown Varley (as Nicole Marshall of Brielle), Kelly Ross (as Baroness Kelli-anne St. Claire of Rumson), Jodi Woolley (as Ruth Levitz of Deal), Leonie Higgins (as Connie Lombardi of Marlboro), Kristen Butcher Babcock (as Leslie Lohan of Fair Haven), and Mary O’Keefe (as Carmella Mazzolla of Spring Lake) for the first of two performances (followed by August 29), with tickets by $35 donation reserved at 732-774-1155 or It all begins anew every Thursday, when THE COASTER brings the area’s most complete listing of music, movies, theater, comedy and MORE, to your doorstep!