SEA.HEAR.NOW MUSIC/ART/SURF FEST PUSHES THE SUMMER ENVELOPE

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, September 27 2018

If you somehow thought that the season of the top-down, open-air entertainment event ended when the calendar flipped to Fall…if you assumed that the era of sprawling music festivals was a thing of the past here in a bustling, busy, ever-evolving Asbury Park…and if you’re adamant that parents and teens would NEVER share a minivan ride to the same destination concert attraction, then “See here now, buddy” — a certain Music, Art and Surf Festival is primed to prove you wrong on all counts.

Going up this Saturday and Sunday on three outdoor stages (two by the sea; one beneath the watchful gaze of the Founder’s statue in Bradley Park), as well as the northern stretch of Asbury Park’s boardwalk and the September swells of the Atlantic Ocean, the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now Festival aims to summon a level of excitement that evokes the WNEW beach concerts of decades past, or the Warped Tours and the Bamboozles of more recent memory — in a way that’s a lot more in sync with the community, a lick less crazy/crowded, and in the words of co-producer Danny Clinch, “a little more family.”

“Family” in this case is an acknowledgment of the generation that grew up on those legendary festivals, and a nod to the fact that many of these young old-timers are still dedicated concertgoers, even as the next generation stakes out some sonic turf of its own. With an eclectic bill headlined by pro surfer turned soft rocker Jack Johnson, and emo-ey California alt-rockers Incubus, it’s a rain-or-shine affair that spotlights a sampling of some of the Asbury area’s standout performers (including Neptune City-to-Nashville native Nicole Atkins), alongside veterans like Blondie (still a great live act, thanks to the core of Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and super drummer Clem Burke) and Social Distortion — and, as Clinch touts it, such hyper-currently hot bands as Highly Suspect and The Menzingers.

For Clinch — the photographer, artist and blues harpist whose images of Bruce Springsteen, Tupac and other music legends have shown a deeply rooted affinity for the American creative spirit — the ambitious event represents an increased commitment to Asbury Park that exploded in recent seasons with the opening of his Transparent Gallery; the exhibit space (and merch/music shop, and intimate venue for small-room concerts, book signings, lectures, or what-have-you) that beckons from the Kingsley Street side of the Asbury Hotel.

It’s also a major expansion of the Sea.Hear.Now brand for Danny and his local producing partner Tim Donnelly, whose previous presentations in Asbury Park included a smaller-scale surf-centric event in 2011, as well as a 2012 followup that took place a week before an even bigger event named Sandy (the pair also produced a post-Sandy “On the Beach” benefit at the Paramount, headlined by My Morning Jacket). For this weekend’s festivities, Clinch and Donnelly joined forces with C3 Presents, the Texas-based nationwide promoter whose major endeavors have included the Austin City Limits Festival and Lollapalooza.

“We’ve made a lot of friends in the industry, and we got to the point where we thought that we could produce something really special for Asbury Park,” says Clinch. “The city really embraced it, too…we’re coming in with a specifically curated rock and roll event that’s a good manageable size, and we’ve worked very well together with Mayor Moor and his crew.”

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ASBURY PARK PORCHFEST STOOPS TO CONQUER

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, September 20 2018

Never underestimate the prominence of the PORCH in the evolution of American music. Long before an enraptured young Elvis learned the secrets of the old bluesmen on the wooden steps of Tupelo, MS, the front and back porches of this great land were the laboratory, the rehearsal studio, and the fantasy concert hall where generations of blue-note benders, country pickers and rocking-chair crooners worked out their magic to an audience that often consisted of a sleepy old hound-dog and a couple of chickens.

Even today, there’s something unique about a porch-bound jam; a thing that works at an altogether different pace than a suburban garage rave-up, or a friendly-competition freestyle on a city streetcorner. It’s a two-way form of communication too; one that draws inspiration from the passing parade, even as it draws in an audience of stop-look-and-listeners from all over. With that in mind — and with the additional knowledge that Asbury Park is home to a whole lot of pretty impressive porches — a group of musically minded neighbors have assembled a recent addition to the town’s action-packed cultural calendar; a little thing called PORCHFEST.

Call it an “anti-festival” if you will; a city-spanning music event that swaps the big outdoor stages and scale of happenings like Bamboozle or All Tomorrow’s Parties — plus Sea.Hear.Now, the inaugural edition of which goes up next weekend here in Asbury Park — for a stay-at-home vibe, and a street-level view of some purely homegrown talent.

That said, the second annual Asbury Park Porchfest stoops to conquer…by connecting the myriad music makers of our own big (front) yard with a passing parade of casual, committed, even delightfully accidental listeners. Going on this Saturday, September 22 from 1 to 5 pm (with an official kickoff set for 12 pm at Booskerdoo, inside the Shops at Sunset on 1321-A Memorial Drive), the event spotlights more than 70 bands and solo performers in a walkable itinerary that showcases 18 of the city’s grandest and most inviting porches — a matchup of venue and vaudeville that, in the words of festival founder Jordan Modell, “fits in perfectly with the spirit of Asbury Park.”

A co-chair of the Asbury Park Homeowners Association, the nonprofit entity that organizes and produces the relatively laid-back late-summer event, Modell was previously involved with the Porchfest project hosted in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain; a successful offering that presented its fifth annual edition this past July.

Like that Beantown brouhaha (and any of the dozens of sister Porchfests that have sprouted up from coast to coast), the local event owes its inspiration to an idea that took root in the collegey community of Ithaca, NY back in 2007. Asbury Park — with its bumper crop of musical talent, its reputation as a magnet for arts-minded endeavors and the artists who create them, and its side streets packed with beautiful old Shore “cottages” — was simply made to order for a happening that Modell calls “a truly amazing mix of music, culture, and history.”

“We’ve got almost double the number of bands this year than we did in 2017,” adds Modell. “We’ve also added porches — and we’ve made a real effort to include a lot more locations on the west side, a part of town that a lot of visitors to Asbury Park have never really been familiar with.”

As the festival founder explains, the organizing committee “got an overwhelming response” from musicians and homeowners who wanted to be part of the 2018 event — and while the roster of participating properties has grown beyond the membership of the Homeowners Association (including two local lodgings — the Hotel Tides and the Asbury Park Inn — among the list of private homes), “we’d love to be able to get up to 20 or 21 different locations on board in the future…that way, everyone who wants to play would be able to play.”

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IT’S WHAT’S UP FOR WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 20-26

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, September 20 2018

SOUNDS: Birch Hill Reunion at the Stone Pony

BIRCH HILL! The name elicits quivers of reverence from Jersey rock fans of (ahem) “a certain age” — as Art Stock’s old-school Old Bridge nightclub achieved its destiny as a destination venue for major national/international (and lovably localoid) metal, alternative, post-punk, and classic-rock acts around the turn of the new century. On Friday, September 21 — almost 15 years after the legally beleaguered Route 9 rendezvous hosted its “Wrecking Ball” finale — an all-star squad of veterans from such back-in-the-day club favorites as White Tiger, TT Quick, Split Sydney and Faith Healer commandeers the stage of the Stone Pony (where a number of Birch-baptized bands have found a Shoreside harbor in recent seasons), assembling Avengers-style under the name Dark Horse, for a Birch Hill Metal Reunion that promises a raucous retrospective of the sounds that made the Middlesex-Monmouth corridor a regional capital of hell-yeah headbang. Tickets to the 7 pm senior earlybird ($17 advance; $20 d.o.s.) available at stoneponyonline.com.

SOUNDS: Talib Kweli at Asbury Lanes

One of the first of the high-profile acts announced for the recent reboot/ ramp-up of Asbury Lanes — and the last of that inaugural slate to arrive on the stage of the reborn rec room — Talib Kweli brings his passionate perspectives on the day’s headlines (while making some headlines of his own in recent months) to a long-awaited Asbury area debut. Coming off a busy 2017 that saw the release of the album Radio Silence, the Brooklyn-based veteran and master-of-much-media has been equally busy in 2018; performing all over the map and finding collaborative common ground with everyone from Black Star colleague Yasiin Bey — to Grateful Dead charter member Phil Lesh, with whom he guested on “Shakedown Street” at a recent Apollo Theatre GOTV benefit. On Friday, September 21, Kweli visits the hometown of the Hip Hop Institute in the company of Brazilian rapper Niko Is, and Jersey City’s own Mazzi, with doors open at 8 pm and tickets ($25) available at asburylanes.com. Continue reading

IT’S WHAT’S UP FOR WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13-19

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, September 13 2018

STAGES: CARMEN at the Axelrod PAC

It was shocking and scandalous when it premiered in 1875 — and here in the time of #metoo and #timesup, the canonical opera Carmen still has something new to say to contemporary audiences. Energized with instantly familiar music (“The Toreador Song,” “The Flower Song,” “The Habanera”) — plus a passion-filled story of a gypsy woman, a seduced-and-abandoned soldier, and an obsessive love that turns to jealous rage — Georges Bizet’s masterwork comes to the stage of the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in a bold new production from director Andrea DelGuidice, with the action transported to 1970s New York City, and a perspective shift in which “Carmen is no longer the victim;” a concept based in part on the real-life story of “Black Widow” Griselda Blanco. Augusta Caro and Victor Starsky (pictured) star as Carmen and Don José, with Devony Smith and Gustavo Feulien co-starring in the cast under the musical direction of Ocean Grove’s Jason Tramm. Performances (sung in French, with English supertitles) are at 8 pm on September 15 and 3 pm on September 16, and tickets ($35-$42) can be reserved at axelrodartscenter.com or at 732-531-9106 ext. 14.

SOUNDS/ SCENES: Indian Summer Festival at Convention Hall

We’ve never been quite certain of just whatever it means — or just whenever it exactly is — but one thing we know for sure is that here in Asbury Park, Indian Summer heralds the annual beach music festival (plus attendant vendor bazaar) of that same name, going on this weekend within Convention Hall’s Grand Arcade and (weathergods permitting) the north-beach stage and sandy dance floor outside the Anchor’s Bend bar. With more than 100 vendors of handcrafted goods open for business at 12 pm on both September 15 and 16, the event also represents one more grand opportunity to enjoy the priceless vibe of the surfside stage, with Saturday’s live band lineup starting at 5 pm and featuring Philly-based headliners Purling Hiss plus Ecstatic Vision, gods (pictured here in silhouette at a previous salt-air soiree), Heaven, Birthwater, latewaves, Brother Andrew and DJ Foggy Notion for a ten-buck ticket. Sunday’s bill of FREE entertainment starts at 1 pm, and offers the reggae/ ska/ rocksteady DJs of the Steady Sound System, plus the eminently intriguing Holdfast Sound (a project of downtown’s own Holdfast Records). There’s MORE to the tune of beach bonfires, beach camping/glamping, and beach yoga, with full details available at indiansummerap.com.

SOUNDS: Bruce Wacker Memorial Tribute at the Stone Pony

When the next class of Asbury Angels inductees is announced, there will surely be room in that rock ‘n roll heaven for Bruce Wacker, the veteran Shore blues-rocker guitarist and Middletown native who passed away at the age of 61 this past June. This Sunday afternoon, September 16, the Stone Pony is the setting for a special memorial concert that brings together an all-Shore lineup of colleagues and contemporaries of “that other Bruce.”

Running between 4 and 9 pm, the tribute show is being organized by Wacker’s family members with Stormin’ Norman Seldin; the piano man making a too-rare Asbury Park return as he joins his Big New Orleans Band on the famous stage. It’s part of a bill that features championship blues guy (and BonJovi tour guitarist) Matt O’Ree and his combo, an organization that further boasts a pair of headliner-in-her-own-right vocalists in Eryn O’Ree and Layonne Holmes. The Bobby Donofrio Band also appears, and Pat Guadagno teams with fellow saloon-singer veteran Rich Oddo, while harpin’ jam-master ringmaster Sandy Mack heads up a cast of jam-ready juggernauts that include Vic Cappetta, Damian Cremisio, Ed Dougherty, Gerry Gironda, Ray Johnson, Neil Perkins, Eric Safka, and Taz. Plenty of additional guest players are also promised, in an evening of heartfelt tribute and “joyful noize” for which tickets (a $15 donation) can be reserved at stoneponyonline.com.

SOUNDS: Nils Lofgren Acoustic Duo at the Stone Pony

A 2008 double hip replacement may have curtailed his trademark aerial flips and trampoline tricks, but Nils Lofgren has always been much more than the sum of his onstage “Rockletics” — and when the Honorary ShoreCat returns to the Stone Pony this Tuesday, September 18, it will be in an Acoustic Duo setting that confirms the veteran guitar great as a generator of energy and excitement even when planted on the terra firma of the famous stage. A continuation of a 20-year exploration that began in earnest with the 1997 album Acoustic Live — and extended to The Loner, his 2008 LP of stripped-down Neil Young signatures — the E Streeter’s intimately scaled sets provide a cool counterpoint to the electric pyrotechnics of his bigger-than-life stage work with Bruce and company. It’s also a real-time companion to Face the Music, the 2014 box set that showcased the long career highlights of the man whose standout songs have included “White Lies,” “Keith Don’t Go,’ and “Valentine.” Expect a retrospective re-imagining of all these and more, along with a sample of multi-instrumental mastery, a taste of the improv instincts that power his recent Blind Date Jam Project endeavors, and a feel for the qualities that have allowed this ever-versatile frontman/sideman to forge such productive partnerships with Springsteen, Young, and a gallery of greats that range from Ringo, Rod, Stills, Nash, Willie, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee, to Tim Curry and Sesame Street’s Bob McGrath. Tickets for the 7 pm session ($35) reserved at stoneponyonline.com.

SOUNDS: Fear at the House of Independents

Reunited around the 1970s-era core trio of founding frontman Lee Ving, guitarist Philo Cramer, and drummer Spit Stix, the SoCal punk institution Fear brings its new 2018 edition to downtown Asbury’s all-purpose auditorium House of Independents, in a Humpday hardcore hootenanny that promises a raucous retrospective of heirloom classics from the seldom-sedate band’s erratic but entertaining career, with maybe just a rocking-chair squeak of the branded mayhem that famously saw the group banned from SNL and many a liability-fearing venue. Veteran NYC punks Murphy’s Law bolster a bi-coastal bill that further features Lower East Side Stitches and Nervous Triggers, with tickets to the September 19 show (ranging from $25 to a truly hardcore $100) available from houseofindependents.com, or across Cookman Ave at Lola’s Café.

All well and fine, we suppose, but the forecast calls for MORE where that came from, each and every day-night of the week, and you’ll inhale the fine particulars in the printed pages of this week’s COASTER paper (and as far as THIS weekend goes, with the caveat that some potentially wild weather can yet scotch many of these announced events, such as the Jawbreaker set postponed from its originally announced Saturday perch on the Stone Pony SummerStage. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 finds the Shore’s class-act next-generation songbook/saloon singer Chris Pinnella channeling the Chairman at his Vegassy best, in a salute to the classic album “Sinatra at the Sands” that swings upside Tim McLoone’s Supper Club. FRIDAY finds Will Sheff and his long-running indie-rock institution Okkervil River making a rare area appearance behind their 2018 album In the Rainbow Rain at Asbury Lanes, while SATURDAY sees the Saint hosting an all-day This Is Hip Hop showcase showdown that drops its first couplet/gauntlet at 4 pm. SUNDAY offers up Alec Ounsworth (pictured) and his current lineup of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, in a House of Independents show re-scheduled from a couple of months back (and joined for the occasion by Asbury Park faves Dentist)…while MONDAY afternoon brings one more chance for hard-working locals to enjoy an Industry Pool Party at the Asbury Hotel, soundtracked by Dean “DJ Values” BornscheinRand Hubiak highlights a TUESDAY night return to Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center for the ongoing Café Artiste Songwriters Series…while WEDNESDAY sees the Asbury solo debut of lately legendary indie-rock singer, songwriter, and superproducer Butch Walker at the Lanes. Pick yourself up and do it all over again each and every Thursday, when THE COASTER hits the streets and diner counter-tops with your deeply detailed docket of Asbury area arts ‘n entertainment listings!

THERE’S LIFE AFTER LABOR DAY, WITH OYSTERFEST AND BOND ST. BLOCK PARTY

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

It seems no one got the memo; the one that explains exactly how a Jersey Shore town is expected to conduct itself in the “off” season. Yet even now, as several of our sister Shore communities all but roll up the sidewalks and boardwalks, the city of Asbury Park dials it up to 11 with a September slate that climaxes in the weekend-long music/ art/ surf soiree that is the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now Festival — and that doesn’t even make its first concession to a more autumnal vibe until early October’s Zombie Walk.

In other words, it’s still not a fashion faux pas to wear LIFE after Labor Day — and this weekend, the centerpiece pearl of local life will once again be the Asbury Park Oysterfest, the yearly presentation of the city Chamber of Commerce that pitches its tents for three days (Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9) in Bradley Park, across Ocean Avenue from Convention Hall.

This is the second annual stand beneath the stern and stony gaze of Founder Bradley’s statue, for the event that worked its way northward from its previous berths in the downtown business district and the Carousel parking area. It’s a logical progression as well, for a happening that’s evolved from a food-festival-plus-music-and-other-stuff, to an extended-weekend celebration of cuisine, craft, culture, and the community at large.

None of which is to suggest that we’ve forgotten all about the oyster, the briny bivalve that’s a fabled food-of-love aphrodisiac to many (and maybe a must-to-avoid mollusk for some). But whether you shuck ‘em or shun ‘em, the oyster and its fellow shellfish will be represented within the festival grounds by an array of food trucks and tented stands purveying a strolling smorgasbord of “festival fare” and edible eclecticism. Indeed, the festival could very well be themed around some very interesting things that one could do with a potato, or the always-fascinating frontiers of Things That Taste Amazing When You Deep-Fry Them.

Festivalgoers who are of legal drinking age can select from a menu of hyper-local hoppy brews by Asbury Park Brewery, inside the Asbury Park Beer Tent. Bluepoint Brewing Company will return as well to the event, which also boasts a vendor’s alley spotlighting locally made goods, fun activities for the kids, and informational booths operated by a variety of city-based nonprofits.

With the move to Bradley Park, the musical menu has assumed an even greater role in the three-day weekend — and with so many of the scene’s stylistic flavors represented on the open-air festival stage, the 2018 event doesn’t skimp on the music-city recipe. Friday evening keynotes with a 5 pm performance by the students of the Lakehouse Academy, followed at 7:15 by SOAP stalwart (and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, as the Springsteen band’s foundational drummer) Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, and an 8:45 nitecap by the darkly psychedelic alterna-pop  of Asbury’s own The Cold Seas.

Friday, by the way, is an “Asbury Park Open House” night featuring free admission to the festival grounds for all — while Saturday and Sunday find a portion of the modest $3 entry fee dedicated to the social services programs of the Community Affairs and Resource Center (carcnj.org). Saturday’s eight hour slate of programming includes a 5 pm set by PRIDE: Misfit Johnny Plays the music of U2, as well as an 8 pm turn by the seven-piece, full-tilt funksoul showband Waiting On Mongo. Sunday’s wrap-day schedule is bookended with an 11 am performance by AP High School faculty member and jazz flautist Karen Lee, and a 4:30 pm closer starring the fantastic funk/soul unit Des and the Swagmatics. Take it to The Coaster’s Live Music listings for a full day-by-day schedule breakdown — and take it to the nearby Wonder Bar at the close of the Saturday’s Oysterfestivities, where an After Party commences under the bespectacled eyes of those most pocket-protected of party-starting institutions, The Nerds.

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IT’S WHAT’S UP FOR WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6-12

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 thebasie.org.

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. Continue reading

SURF’s UP…UP…UP…UP (‘n UP!!) AT 5TH ANNUAL FEST

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

It was a well-known left-handed guitarist (Jimi Hendrix) who famously said, “You’ll never hear surf music again.” It was another, brilliant if not-quite-so-famous southpaw (Allenhurst native John McBain, of Monster Magnet and Wellwater Conspiracy) who countered with, “Jazz ain’t the only American art form…(surf) was a musical apex for this once great nation.” And of course, it was a legendary leftie Fender-bender and surfer by the name of Dick Dale who best captured the thunder and lightning of the wild ride with the majestic “Miserlou,” first in 1962 and again in the opening moments of Pulp Fiction.

Although that 1994 Tarantino film helped re-ignite an interest in Surf Rock that continues unabated to this day — and that’s spread like California wildfire from subtropical South America, to sub-zero Scandinavia — the subgenre has historically been thought of as a left-coast thing; a phenomenon that couldn’t compete for precious Atlantic waterfront real estate with the sandy soul of Carolina beach music, Miami dance rhythms, or the SOAPy swells of the Asbury sound. But here in 2018, a married couple of enterprising, entrepreneurial impresarios from Monmouth County have successfully wed the epic thrill of surf music with the amped-up excitement of the Jersey Shore’s one true music city — and when the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival paddles out for its fifth annual edition this weekend, it’ll be an extended-play affair that can legitimately claim to be the largest such salt-water soiree, not just on the east coast, but in the entire surfin’ USA. Continue reading

IT’S WHAT’S UP FOR WEEK OF AUGUST 2 – 8

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!