Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, September 6 2018

SOUNDS: David Byrne at Monmouth University

In a late-summer special event — one that’s serendipitously bookended by Asbury Park shows featuring Talking Heads tribute band Start Making Sense — original Heads honcho David Byrne visits the Monmouth University campus for the first time, as a stop on his nationwide American Utopia Tour. Hosted at Monmouth’s OceanFirst Bank Center sports/entertainment arena, the Friday night concert teams Byrne with a big grey-suited ensemble of stage-traveling musicians and dancers, for a choreographed (and maybe just a tad comfort-zone-pushing) retrospective of past signatures and new stuff from the recent American Utopia album. It’s a presentation of Red Bank’s Count Basie Center for the Arts (where Byrne’s numerous appearances have included the filming of his 1994 feature Between the Teeth), and tickets — ranging from $92 to $228 and beyond — can be reserved at

SOUNDS: Black Suburbia series at AP Music Foundation

For someone who brands himself Drew the Recluse, Asbury Park hip-hop artist Drew Christian Barkley has been maintaining a high profile in recent seasons; staking out a Saint-side sanctum via his Black Suburbia Music Show presentations, taking it top-down to Springwood Park’s Music Monday series, and now joining forces with the Asbury Park Music Foundation (coordinators of the Hip Hop Institute program at the local Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County) for the first in an ambitious new monthly series of Suburbia Friday Nights presentations at the org’s Lakehouse Complex HQ. The September 7 inaugural finds Drew joined by Miles NxBxDy and Momo Da Gawd? for a 7:30 pm session (and a $10 ticket at the door) that promises to kick the Suburbia group’s well-earned momentum into overdrive, and allow the homegrown hip-hop scene to assume its rightful place alongside the myriad sounds of this music-mad city.

SOUNDS: Los Tiki Phantoms at Anchor’s Bend

The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival may have receded from shore for another year — but for Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell, the evening of September 7 offers a chance to catch one last wave, as the folks from Hi-Tide extend the international spirit of SurFest with the 2018 series finale of “Aloha Friday” nights at Anchor’s Bend — this one spotlighting the Spanish import Los Tiki Phantoms in their Asbury Park debut. Communicating in the universal language of reverb-drenched instrumental surf-rock, the mysterious skull-masked marvels from Catalan top a bill that begins at 8 pm with Festival veterans Lost Culture — plus between-set spins by DJ Hi-Tide, and cocktail specials that include such period-perfect potables as “the 1940s Mai-Tai, 1950s Singapore Sling and 1970s Tokyo Sour!”

SCENES: Giant Fall Flea Market in Ocean Grove

Breathes there a local soul who hasn’t scored at least one “ultimate find” tchotchke, gewgaw, knick-knack, notion, novelty, or MacGuffin on the open-air aisles of this crossroads of the world known as the Giant Fall Flea Market? Going up “rain or shine” this Saturday, September 8, the Great Flea takes flight once more between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm along the three blocks east of Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium — that’s three l-o-n-g blocks, both sides, plus the area beneath the big gazebo — with a promised 300-plus vendors (flanked by numerous purveyors of food-truck and food-cart foodstuffs) offering a frankly awesome array of antiques/ artifacts, shabby-chic treasures, postcards/ paper ephemera, pop culture items, homewares/ kitchen kitsch, and MORE.

SOUNDS: Father Alphonse at the Great Auditorium

For the final summer concert event of 2018, the Great Auditorium welcomes back a Shore treasure to Ocean Grove’s wooden flagship of family entertainment. Drawing from a talented and awesomely experienced pool of some 50 professional players, the Ocean County-based Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea plays a season-capping program of light classical, soundtrack standards and pop perennials this Saturday night, September 8. Presiding over it all will be the remarkable Father Alphonse Stephenson, whose unique journey found him following up his 1975 ordainment as a Catholic priest with a celebrated career as a conductor (NYC’s Actor’s Chapel, Metropolitan Opera, more than 3,000 performances in the original Broadway run of A Chorus Line), in addition to decades of distinguished service as a National Guard Chaplain. The recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Monmouth University, Reverend Stephenson continues to bridge multiple generations of fans with grace, good humor, and a thoroughly winning joy of music-making. Reserve tickets to the 8 pm event ($25-$30) through or at the Auditorium box office.

SOUNDS: Holly Bowling at the Paramount Theater

While our local stages have seldom lacked for scientifically scrupulous resurrectors of the Grateful Dead setlist scrolls (see, for instance, The Englishtown Project, coming to The Stone Pony this Friday, September 7), nobody but nobody does it quite like Holly Bowling, the award-winning, classically trained concert pianist whose detail-intensive transcriptions of Dead and Phish jams for solo piano have catapulted her from music-mainstream obscurity to a rarefied stratosphere all her own within just a few short years. On Tuesday evening, September 11, the Bay Area keyboard shamaness visits the Paramount Theatre as part of a late-summer northeast swing; the first of a new “Backstage Series” slate of more intimately scaled, up-close-‘n-personal performances at the venerable venue that’s brought a decades-spanning sonic smorgasbord of acts to the Asbury boards in recent months — a program that promises a chance to pin some Bowling originals in addition to those awesome arrangements. Tickets ($20) from

Steve Forbert

Even at all that, you’d have to reckon there’s even MORE life in them thar listings…and it starts this THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, when the altruistic artists of the nonprofit Cabaret for Life cap another successful summer season of events at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club with a performance by charitable chanteuse Samantha Sayah. FRIDAY sets the wayback machine to hot ‘n dusty Raceway Park in the 1970s, as The Englishtown Project channels that legendary Grateful Dead concert set in an Asbury encore at the Stone Pony…even as an intriguing bill of regional bests (The Vansaders, The Cryptkeeper 5, and a rare duet featuring Bobby Mahoney and Chris Brown) finds happy harbor at the Yacht Club.  SATURDAY keynotes with a special event in a literary vein, as honorary Shoreguy (and recent Coaster profilee) Steve Forbert signs copies of his new memoir Big City Cat in a 4 pm sesh at Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery…while Xol Azul brings the hot stuff to some cool nocturnal sets at Langosta Lounge. Take it down to The Columns in Avon on SUNDAY, when “Hardest Working Man in Shore Business” Bobby Bandiera and Friends sing that venerable venue to a long winter’s nap for another gone-too-soon summer…but check in on a year-round favorite on MONDAY, when lounge lord Bob Egan hosts another in his intimately engaging bi-weekly Piano Parties, inside the ground-floor Soundbooth Lounge at the Asbury Hotel. Keep it there at the Asbury on TUESDAY, when the crew from Catsbury Park marks the one-year anniversary of that downtown café of rescue-and-refreshment with a fundraiser event that boasts live music plus the best from the cool-cat collection of DJ Foggy Notion. Hit the beach for one more time at least on WEDNESDAY, when the Predator Dub Assassins close out their successful summer-long stand at Anchor’s Bend — then treat that happening hangover with a little hair-o’-the-dog each and every Thursday, when THE COASTER brings you the full rundown of music, movies, theater, comedy and MORE.