Published in The Coaster (Asbury Park, NJ) and The Link (Long Branch, NJ), November 14, 2019

 LOYALTY! It’s a concept that only truly functions as a two-way street — mind you don’t get thrown ‘neath one of those passing buses — and one that arguably attains its highest calling in that special relationship between singer/ band and audience. And, as Jeff Warshauer puts it, “in a time where 40,000 tracks get uploaded to Spotify every day and music is being relegated to the background, it is very important that we facilitate a deeper connection between artist and fan, and elevate the local music scene.”

Here along the Monmouth County Shore, that epicenter of the NJ music community (where sounds are a cash crop and principal export), the emergence and influx of new musical acts in recent years (added to an already substantial scene’s worth of veteran acts) fairly cries out for a reliable guide — and with that in mind, Warshauer developed Asbury Park-based Live Music Loyalty as a mobile app that focuses on “helping musicians connect with their fans and grow their audience” — a mission accomplished via comprehensive live music listings, detailed artist profiles, and an option that encourages fans “to check in to events so artists know who come see them play” (there’s also a recommended playlist each week, spotlighting tacts who are locally based, or who’ve paid a recent visit).

Having made its mark, with remarkable momentum, upon the scene’s screens, Live Music Loyalty takes its next quantum leap into the brick and mortar meatworld, with a pair of (concurrent but connected) multi-band “takeover” events this Saturday night, November 16. Beginning at 9:30 pm, the hallway between a pair of sister saloons on the Asbury boardwalk (Marilyn Schlossbach’s Langosta Lounge, and Asbury Park Yacht Club) is the two-way street that allows access to two stages worth of “Scene by the Sea” sounds, with Langosta serving up ace showband Secret Sound, plus the Mike Montrey Band and Matt Cook — while APYC sets sail with The Shoobies, Natalie Farrell, and The Foes of Fern. There’s no cover charge, and proceeds from purchases of products from drink special sponsors Last Wave Brewery and Shipwreck Rum go directly to the youth music education programs of the Asbury Park Music Foundation.

As Warshauer explains it, “Asbury Park is such an unbelievable community, and we need to make sure our artists don’t get drowned out by the noise” — but if ever a scene kicked up a glorious noise of its own, it’s this one; a year-round bash that spans the genres and the generations, and that anymore refuses to abide by the tired old concept of the “off season.”

Embedded within the evolution of the present-day scene is the phenomenon of the musician turned impresario/ promoter/ ringmaster of their own branded events — and the coming nights offer two exciting examples at live music venues in Long Branch. Tonight, November 14, the Freehold-based folks behind the fast-growing surf/ tiki label Hi-Tide Recordings (that’s Magdalena O’Connell and her husband, Black Flamingos drummer Vincent Minervino) return to Whitechapel Projects, as they welcome Rochester, NY’s retro pop trio The Hi-Risers (with some set-up spins by the ever-enigmatic DJ Hi-Tide). Then on Friday, the forever Home of Original Music on the Jersey Shore — that’s Greg Macolino’s Brighton Bar in wild West End — gives the floor to pioneer punk/crunch/skronk drummer Reg “Satana” Hogan, as the veteran pacesetter and recently minted promoter showcases a bill toplined by the buzzed-about band Shut Up, and featuring Reg’s own recent project, the trio 19DRT.

Another homegrown performer whose skills in both nightclub/concert and theatrical settings have served him well as a showman — the ever-industrious Anthony “Remember Jones” D’Amato — takes the Stone Pony stage on Saturday night, as frontman for the latest feather in his career cap; a little combo known as Everyone Orchestra. Under the baton of Matt Butler, it’s “a blissful, masterfully conducted, fully spontaneous explosion of live music created by a rotating cast of world renowned musicians” — in this case including such awesome instrumentalists as pedal-steel paragon Robert Randolph and sought-after session guitarist Vernon (Living Colour) Reid. Check our music listings on page 31 for particulars — and check in around town that night for no-cover sets by local lights Quincy Mumford (Robinson Ale House) and Alex English (Soundbooth Lounge at The Asbury Hotel).

Secret Sound headlines the Live Music Loyalty “Scene by the Sea” show at Langosta Lounge on Saturday, November 16.

An occasional Sunday afternoon series of Stone Pony Showcase matinees gets going at 2 pm on November 17, with a bill headed by Thelonious Funk — and then at 3 pm, Bobby Bandiera (who performs on Friday at McLoone’s Pier House in LB) returns to the Lake Avenue HQ of the Asbury Park Music Foundation to host another in the Sunday Sessions series; this one a special tribute to a recent (and posthumous) inductee of the NJ Hall of Fame: the late Smithereens frontman Pat Di Nizio.

Of course, locals in the know can tell you that three of the best regularly scheduled showcases for homegrown talent occur in the deceptively drab foothills of the working-week hump — and this week sees Cranston Dean heading the bill during a special edition of the free Happy Mondays series at the Wonder Bar (this one programmed by musician, bandleader, and host of the “One More” YouTube series Brian Erickson), while one of the scene’s best kept “secrets” — Tuesday’s Cafe Artiste Songwriters Showcase at Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center — boasts a sextet of acts headlined this week by Mark John Alan. Then on Wednesday, the free sounds inside the Asbury Hotel include another breakout songwriter on the scene, Lincroft’s Avery Mandeville. Plenty more where all that came from, naturally, so be sure to scan our weekly rundown of live and DJ music on page 31.

The Jerseyfied musical excitement continues throughout the week of November 21-27 (which just happens to fold in one of the busiest bar nights of the year) — with the returns of Avery Mandeville, Secret Sound, Bobby Bandiera, and Foes of Fern; always welcome apprearances by Jarod Clemons, Des & the Swagmatics, Kirk & the Jirks, The Ribeye Brothers, George Wirth, The X-Men, Wreaths, Josh Zuckerman, Ziggy Shock — and even a long-awaited reunion for those legendary and entirely earnest exponents of the straightedge lifestyle, Crucial Youth (featuring Gentleman Jim Norton). Check this space next week for all the gravy and trimmings —and stay tuned for details on the first annual Tallie Fest, a six-course banquet (two nights at Langosta; two nights at AP Yacht Club; two matinees at The Saint) in which co-producers Brittney Dixon and Bob Makin spotlight some of the finest from the Garden State’s current crop of female artists, for the benefit of Food For Thought and the 2020 Asbury Park Women’s Convention.