Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, August 2 2018
SOUNDS: Boy George and Culture Club at SummerStage
Here in a local concert season that’s boasted bookings by such 1980s icons as Adam Ant and The Alarm, the Stone Pony SummerStage offers up the Asbury Park debut of a figure who served to define that MTV decade every bit as much as Michael or Madonna. Reunited for a US tour with the classic lineup of Culture Club, Boy George O’Dowd is on the waterfront with a Friday night fandango that promises a retrospective of pond-crossing hits (“I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” “Church of the Poison Mind,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Time”), post-Club excursions (“The Crying Game”) and others that’ll leave you thirsting for a 75 cent kamikaze at Club Xanadu. Gates open 5:30 pm, with tickets ($49.50 and up in advance; $60 d.o.s.) at stoneponyonlinecom, and an opening set by another act you might have caught back in the day at the Garden State Arts Center: Tom Bailey of The Thompson Twins (“Hold Me Now,” “Lies,” “Doctor Doctor”).
SCENES: Universal African Fest at Springwood Park
It’s a second annual celebration of African and African-American heritage, culture, and history, in all its myriad manifestations, as the Universal African Festival returns to Springwood Park (126 Atkins Ave at Springwood in AP) for a daylong display of music, movement, words, wellness, art, awards, crafts, cuisine and community. Going on this Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, the family-friendly fest presented by the Neptune-based Zamirahsaad A. Dunbar Foundation spotlights numerous new and local talents on the event stage, including dance troupes (Asbury Technical Dance Academy), gospel singers (Michelle White), hip hop artists (King Ramses), spoken word poets (Felicia Simmons), R&B crooners (Eric Smith), comedians (Mizchitchat) and a whole lot more. There’s also a vendor market, vegan and soul food, art exhibits, kids’ activities (face painting, inflatables) plus special presentations of scholarships and Unsung Heroes awards. Admission to the park is free, and more information can be found at universalafricanfestival.com or 732-523-4152.
SOUNDS: Bouncing Souls at the Stoney SummerStage
Their long-running tradition of Home for the Holidays multi-show stands may have been put on perma-frost ice — but with Saturday’s “Stoked for the Summer” card at the Stone Pony SummerStage, the Bouncing Souls inaugurate a hopeful new tradition that brings a touch of Christmas-in-July cheer (well, actually, January in August) to the band’s adopted city. Lest we forget, the nationwide punkpop institution that cut its teeth on the New Brunswick scene has made Asbury Park (specifically, their “Little Eden” studio and world HQ on Fourth Ave) its intergalactic base of operations here in the nutty new century; a love affair that’s expressed itself through song (“Ghosts on the Boardwalk”), extracurricular projects, and a general sense of oneness with the community. Greg, Pete, Bryan, and George preside over a full afternoon and evening’s worth of entertainment keynoted by Against Me!, Titus Andonicus, The Smoking Popes, and Tim Barry. It all goes down when the gates open at 430 pm, with available tickets ($35 and up) from stoneponyonline.com — then take it to the Wonder Bar for an after-party that features The Ratchets, The Battery Electric, and DJ Ari Katz.
SOUNDS: Dion and Lovett at the Paramount
One’s a Bronx-born Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame legend whose legacy spans the most sublime streetcorner serenades (“Teenager in Love”), swaggering rockers (“The Wanderer,” “Runaround Sue”), heartfelt folk-pop (“Abraham Martin and John”), gospel, blues, new-wavey roots, and collaborations with everyone from Springsteen and Spector to Paul Simon and Lou Reed. The other’s a bronco-bustin’ Texan whose “no hat/all cattle” cred and sublime songcraft (“Cowboy Man,” “God Will,” “I Loved You Yesterday”) helped earned him a long-playing country/Americana career (and one short-lived showbiz marriage). Together, they’re…well, actually Dion DiMucci and Lyle Lovett are playing separate shows this week, as Madison Marquette’s season of American music originals continues beneath the Paramount proscenium with Dion on Sunday at 6:30 (tickets $33-$97), and the Grammy winning Lovett spreading out with his Large Band at 7 pm on Wednesday (tickets $25-$117). Take it to ticketmaster.com to reserve.
STAGES: Rock Wilk at the Crane House
It was always an unlikely pairing at first glance: the Brooklyn-based streetwise singer, scribe and spoken-word sensei Rock Wilk, and the intimate Lecture Room space at Asbury Park’s historic Stephen Crane House. But, having workshopped early versions of his acclaimed one-man theatrical works Broke Wide Open and Brooklyn Quartet at the literary landmark — both of which went on to respectable Off Broadway runs and national media acclaim — the playwright and performance poet “fell in love” with the house at 508 Fourth Avenue, and on the evening of Monday, August 6, Wilk returns to “one of my favorite places and former stomping grounds,” with a first look at an all new solo, tentatively titled What Judith Might Have Said, and based on the adoptee’s intensive (and ultimately successful) search for his birth mother. Set to start at 7:30 pm, and offering complimentary refreshments, it’s a “pay what you can” event for which doors open at 7 pm, and from which some exciting things are poised to spring.
All that said, there’s just no way in heck you’re going to get out of the next seven days and nights without a whole slew of additional recommendations. THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 brings The Spill Canvas to the House of Independents, while FRIDAY matches The Burns with Levy and the Oaks in an Asbury Lanes wildfire…SATURDAY sees the return of Monmouth County’s own dance DJ legend Louie De Vito, making a Dance Factory of Convention Hall with the help of special guests, chart topper Ultra Naté (“Free,” “Desire,”) and her “Stars on 54” teammate, Korea-based popstar Amber (“If You Could Read My Mind”). In an artier vein, veteran engineer/ entrepreneur/ financier/ philanthropist Howard Schoor turns rookie artists for a display of his “trianglist” paintings that opens Saturday evening at Parlor Gallery. SUNDAY finds all those undaunted by sold-out sets from Anthony Green (House of Indies) and The Alarm (Wonder Bar) heading to the Stone Pony SummerStage for Rise Against, while MONDAY finds that same forum hosting sibling metal act Halestorm in a reschedule from this past rainy May (and a special program of New York Times OP-DOC films gets a pair of screenings at The Showroom). TUESDAY brings 90s swing revivalists/ gypsy-jazz-klezmeroids The Squirrel Nut Zippers (pictured) to town for the first time in a House of Indies hoedown, while WEDNESDAY finds The Garcia Project recreating a classic 1970s setlist from the Jerry Garcia Band (maybe even their 1977 whistlestop at Convention Hall?). All this plus a Friday full-band homecoming by adopted Son of the Shore Steve Forbert, subject of a full-length feature elsewheres on this site. Take it to the printed pages of THE COASTER for a full litany ‘n layout of music, movies, comedy, art, and theater!