IT’S JUST AROUND THE CORNER: LIGHT OF DAY KEEPS THE AP HOME FIRES LIT

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, January 17 2019

To hear the man tell it, “Longevity is a benchmark of greatness” — and given that the speaker is Tony Pallagrosi, the words are no mere fridge-magnet platitude. After all, this is the veteran music scene mover ‘n shaker whose unimpeachable cred extends from his days as one of the cats in the band (The Shots, The Asbury Jukes), to host of some much-missed Shore nightspots (The FastLane, Xanadu), to co-founder of major concert venues and promotion entities (Starland Ballroom, Concerts East), to manager of The Weeklings — and quite possibly all the way to “the other side,” thanks to Asbury Angels, the musical memorial initiative that he chairs.

Pallagrosi, however, isn’t referring to himself, or to any of those aforementioned feathers in his cap, but to the endeavor that may ultimately stand as his most lasting legacy: Light of Day, the music-driven fundraising vehicle that’s  illuminated some of the darkest winter days and nights in this City of Summers for well nigh two decades.

Co-founded by Pallagrosi with music promo/ management pro Bob Benjamin as an awareness resource for Parkinson’s Disease research — and inspired by Benjamin’s own diagnosis with the disorder — the annual slate of star-studded happenings grew out of a 40th birthday party for Bob at the Stone Pony; taking its name from the Springsteen soundtrack song “Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day” on its way to becoming a sprawling affair that’s spanned several continents, major North American cities and additional satellite events throughout the calendar year.

Of course, along the way Light of Day became indelibly identified with the stamp of Benjamin’s long-time friend Bruce Springsteen — not just via the organization’s name, but in the very real presence of The Boss as an onstage participant and de facto ringmaster for the majority of those all-star Bob’s Birthday concerts. As an undeniable draw (and a focal point for some tantalizing will-he-or-won’t-he buzz each year), the Bard of the boardwalk has generously shared the stage with a core cast of frequent-flyer performers (including Joe Grushecky, Willie Nile, and Steve Forbert), as well as drop-in guest stars that have ranged from Southside Johnny, Darlene Love and Gary US Bonds, to Light of Day movie star (plus high-profile person with Parkinson’s) Michael J. Fox, and  The Sopranos’ Vincent Pastore.

While the nonprofit Light of Day Foundation is a year-round entity upon which the sun never sets, the heart and soul of the positively charged enterprise remains LOD Winterfest, the mid-January jamboree of activity that commandeers the stages, storefronts and saloons of Asbury Park during the post-holiday “off season” interlude when most other Shore towns are deep into a long winter’s nap. Having offered up a couple of preliminary pace-setter events on January 13 (see the feature on Bob Burger in last week’s Coaster), the circus comes to town in full force for a long weekend that begins tonight, January 17, with a choice of tuneful entertainments that includes a “Hall of Fame Jam” featuring veteran Bruce drummer Vini Lopez (Langosta Lounge), a special edition of Sandy Mack’s Wonder Jam at the Wonder Bar, and an official kickoff concert at downtown’s House of Independents that spotlights such next-gen talents as Williams Honor and Anthony “Remember Jones” D’Amato.

“No other town this small has such a vibrant music scene,” says Pallagrosi. “And at the end of the day, I want everyone involved.”

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STILL THE KING: BURGER GETS BUSY, BY NIGHT ‘N LIGHT OF DAY

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, January 10 2019

For a self-described “working musician with a day job,” Bob Burger has always seemed a bit devil-may-care about the impact on his workaday grind, from those many long weekends, out-of-town jaunts, and late nights spent in the company of  folks who like to raise a glass and have themselves a rocking good time.

But as a special counsel in the Newark offices of the prestigious law firm McCarter & English, the Eatontown resident is all business; an award winning attorney with go-to specialties in the fields of intellectual property/ copyright law, NDAs, and software-related issues.

That same scrupulous attention to detail is evident in Burger’s myriad musical projects and live gigs, whether he’s performing in solo, duo, or combo contexts at any of a number of favorite watering holes up and down the Shore — or even jetting off across the pond with The Weeklings, that sublime salute to The Beatles co-founded by Burger with fellow paladin of the pop playbook (and original Beatlemania cast member) Glen Burtnik. And for validation, look no further than that time that Paul McCartney himself hit the dance floor to Bob’s rendition of “Back in the USSR” at a star-studded private party.

If anything, the bespectacled Burger has long stood as a “thinking man’s” version of the stereotypical Guy in the Corner with a Guitar; an impression based not so much on those signature specs (or on the fact that he was valedictorian of his class at Penn State), as it is on his very evident knowledge of and facility with a panorama of pop music styles — an encylopedic, but never dryly academic, mastery of the music that shook the world in the latter half of the last century.

“I do know a lot of songs,” says Burger in what might prove to be one of the understatements of the current millennium. “But you have to be really versatile to survive in the music business these days.”

That quality of versatility has been the special sauce that’s set apart such Burger projects as a full-length Fleetwood Mac tribute show, as well as a heartfelt homage to the One Hit Wonders that defined the 1970s — and it’s a big part of the reason that, when it came time for Max Weinberg to recruit a band for his crowd-pleasingly interactive Jukebox live shows, he called upon Burger and his Weekling mates Burtnik and John Merjave.

Max Weinberg’s Jukebox plays Schenectady, NY this Friday, January 11, as one of the affiliated events in Light of Day XIX Winterfest, the  annual slate of benefit concerts for Parkinson’s Disease research that has burst the borders of its Jersey origins; expanding into satellite events at venues in NYC, Philadelphia and other North American cities, as well as several well-received whistlestops in Australia and Europe. On Saturday the 12th, The Weeklings reconvene for a set of Beatles deep cuts and inner grooves (as well as some celebrated Burtnik/ Burger-penned originals) in another Light of Day barnstormer, this time at the World Cafe in Philly.

Then on Sunday, January 13, Bob Burger switches fab gears once more, as he returns to Asbury Park to perform the music of Tom Petty in a special Light of Day “Cover Me” program at the Stone Pony.

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IT’S WHAT’S UP FOR WEEK OF JANUARY 10-16

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ,January 10 2019

SOUNDS: Big Man’s Birthday at the Headliner 

The old Big Man’s West nightclub may have long predeceased the iconic signifier of the sax who presided over the party, but over on Route 35 South in Neptune, The Headliner keeps said party proliferating, with a seventh annual salute to the enduring spirit of Clarence Clemons — who would have been 77 years old on January 11 — on that selfsame Friday evening. A collection of Jersey’s fave jam-masters is highlighted by the Dead-on interpretations of Splintered Sunlight, with Secret Sound, Woodfish, the Pat Roddy Band, and — in a too-rare local appearance — next-gen bandleader Nick Clemons (pictured). Special guests are rightly promised as well, for the event that floats its first note at 4 pm. Proceeds benefit the Monmouth County SPCA, as well as the nonprofit CFC (Coming Full Circle) Loud  N CLEAR Foundation for recovery support and relapse prevention — and tickets ($25) can be reserved online at bigroad.ticketbud.com.

THEATER: GODSPELL at Jersey Shore Arts 

Long before he composed the songs for the Broadway mega-hit Wicked, Stephen Schwartz gifted America’s great big community stage with Godspell, the youth-powered 1971 perennial based on parables from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The show that birthed the hit “Day By Day” puts forth and Age-of-Aquarius message of love and tolerance via an eclectic score that ranges from folk-infused pop to vintage vaudeville — and it’s back on the local stage for one weekend only, in a 2012 revised version that boasted new songs from the award winning composer. Presented January 11-13 at the Palaia Theater inside Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center, it’s a guest production of The Ashley Lauren Foundation Theatre Ensemble, a traveling performance arm of the non-profit organization “dedicated to bringing hope and help to children throughout New Jersey who suffer from cancer.”  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, with a 2 pm Sunday matinee closing out the engagement, and tickets ($20 adultys; $15 seniors and students) can be reserved online at k4k.booktix.com.

 

SOUNDS: Anthony Krizan Band at the Wonder Bar 

Arriving back in town with the calling cards of his mid-90s tenure in jam-scape hitmakers The Spin Doctors — and a songwriterly sidegig that’s seen him pen successful tunes for Lenny Kravitz, John Waite, and others — Jersey-fresh singer/guitarist/producer Anthony Krizan takes the Wonder Bar stage this Friday evening, January 11, with a band of buddies that includes Asbury’s own Sandy Mack (see last week’s profile in this space). Krizan kollaborator/ ko-headliner and Hammond B3 ace John Ginty — himself a road scholar whose credentials include The Dixie Chicks and The Allman-Betts Band — bolsters the bill, with special guest Marcus Randolph (of his cousin Robert’s Randolph Family Band) keeping it all in the jamily via sit-ins with both bands.

SOUNDS: “Cover Me” at the Stone Pony

It’s “just around the corner” to Light of Day Winterfest,the annual mega-slate of musical benefits that commandeers NJ’s most music-minded municipality next weekend — and on Sunday, January 13, the 2019 edition of LOD sounds an advance keynote with an afternoon event that spotlights some of the region’s top talents on the bar-band and tribute-act circuit. Taking the Stone Ponystage are The Carl Gentry Band (2:30 pm), Clapton tribute Bell Bottom Blues (3:30), Moroccan Sheepherders (4:30), The Weeklings’ Bob Burger (paying homage here to Tom Petty at 5:30), CSN Songs (pictured) performing the sonic signatures of Croby, Stills, Nash AND Young at 6:30, and a 7:45 headline set by Best of the Eagles. Check stoneponyonline.com for available tickets ($18 in advance) — and check back here on January 17, for much MORE on Light of Day activities all around Asbury ACTION Park!

SCREENS: SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY at Monmouth U

The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music presents a FREE public screening of the film based on the Boss’s super-successful Broadway solo show, recorded live at the Walter Kerr Theatre and streaming currently on Netflix. It’s a chance to experience the acclaimed production on the big screen of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth U, with Emmy winning producer and director Thom Zimny appeaing in person for a special extended introduction. The one-time screening event takes place this Sunday, January 13 at 4 pm, with ticket reservations available online and required for entry (limit two reservations per guest). Admission of registered guests begins at 3 pm on a first come/ first served basis (seats are not guaranteed), and non-perishable food items will be accepted in support of The Nest, Monmouth’s food pantry for students in need.

SOUNDS: Albert Lee Band at Tim McLoone’s 

Even if you’ve never heard Albert Lee play, you might have encountered some monumental praise and awe-struck odes to the Brit-born country/ blues “guitarist’s guitarist” from a number of people who are considered guitar-gods in their own right. To watch this veteran best-kept-secret at work is to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt — and this Sunday night, January 13, Asbury Park receives an exceedingly rare audience with the lightning-powered picker, as Lee and band take it topside at Mr. McLoone’s Supper Club. It’s one of the opening salvos of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest (about which much more to come in this space) — and it’s an occasion further illuminated by one of our own fave best-kept-secrets of the Shore scenescape: Michael Patrick, ace frontman of the Cash tribute Ring of Fire Band and a savvy songsmith who’s gigging behind his latest, John Wayne Movies. Available reservations for the 7:30 pm show ($25-$35) at timmcloonessupperclub.com.

MACK DADDY: THE ‘JAMILY’ PATRIARCH’S AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE IN JANUARY

Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, January 3 2019

For a couple of generations’ worth of Shore music fans, he’s a scene stalwart and a living landmark whose presence remains every bit as reassuring as a favorite club or neighborhood watering hole. To his fellow music makers, he’s the go-to man for all manner of sessions and sitting-in situations; a blues harp ace who can stake out harmonious common ground with acoustic old-schoolers, supercharged axslingers, roots rockers and alt-Americana songsmiths alike — or as local radio linchpin Rich Robinson said, “he could sit in with anybody like he’s played with them forever.”.

But perhaps above all else, Sanford “Sandy” Mack is the keeper of a weekly ritual that rivals any family’s most cherished Sunday-sauce tradition. At 4 pm, during every so-called “day of rest” on the calendar, an extended “jamily” of musical regulars, guest players, fans, friends, and drop-in passersby convenes inside the lobby lounge of the Asbury Hotel for a little gathering known as Sunday Jam— a lovably loose but enviably organized afternoon-into-evening that offers up a sonic smorgasbord of danceable Dead, concise classics, and some often wild workouts on things you’d least expect. All of it presided over by Mr. Mack, the patriarch of this Jamily and the founder of the feast that’s been an Asbury Park fixture for the better part of a decade.

“I’ve been doing Sundays around town for about eight years now,” says Mack, speaking amid the game tables, ultra-designey bar and conversation pit of The Asbury’s Soundbooth Lounge. “I started at Asbury Blues, and continued there when it became The Press Room…it was the first place where I ever did Grateful Dead music…and then (Stone Pony honcho) Kyle Brendle asked me if I would do a Wonder Jam event each week at the Wonder Bar.”

Those Sunday sessions at Lance and Debbie’s Circuit landmark became the stuff of latter-day legend in themselves; happenings that generated their own momentum, drew a fairly fervent fanbase, and soon had a whole lot of top-shelf talents expressing a desire to sit in. But when it came time once again to relocate the moveable feast, Mack was momentarily at a loss as to where to go next.

“I was curious about The Asbury…it didn’t look like my kind of place;; kind of upper crusty, you know…but I reached out to them,” he recalls. “They originally gave me three dates, to see what happens…that was a year and a half ago, and as you can see we’re still going strong!”

Sandy Mack will once more sit at the head of the figurative table this Soundbooth Sunday, January 6 — but before that, the harpist and a crew of his fellow Jam-mates will be performing a very special gig that’s required an unusual degree of rehearsal: a set paying tribute to The Allman Brothers, scheduled as part of A Celebration of Jam Bands.

Going up this Friday, January 4 at Asbury Lanes (where Mack and company were one of the first acts to play the reborn bowl-a-rama in a “soft opening” event last spring), the program further features the Grateful channelings of The Cosmic Jerry Band, as well as a Phish tribute featuring members of Secret Sound.

It also represents a return to the Duane/Gregg catalog for Mack, who teamed with Marc Ribler for a classic Allmans tribute a couple of years back. Joining in for the occasion will be Jam standby Mike Flynn, key man Arne Wendt, guitarist Big John Perry,  plus bassists Mike Caruso and Mike McKernan, drummers Kevin Johnson and Dan Donovan, and special guest Matt O’Ree. Stu Coogan of 90.5 The Night Brookdale Public Radio hosts the tenpins taproom throwdown, with doors at 7 pm and admission a positively spit-take-inducing five bucks.

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STRICTLY BALLROOM: KEITH ROTH MARKS AN ELECTRIC ANNIVERSARY

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

“The thing about those years before the internet, is that it was so much more fun seeking out the info instead of finding it online,” observes Keith Roth of the crucial interlude that straddled the heyday of the arena-rock goliaths, and the rise of the scrappy punk bands who dared to topple the big guys to earth.

“You would read CREEM Magazine, you would see what your classmates and your older brother had in their collection…and every Friday, you went to the local Korvettes store, where they had a punk rock wall in their record department!”

“I grew up in the Bronx…I mean, the first album I bought with my own money was The Dictators Go Girl Crazy,” says the 52-year old resident of Tinton Falls, in reference to the 1975 masterpiece of cheerfully offensive outer-boroughs wrestle-punk slobrock. “And when I moved to New Jersey, I kind of assumed that everybody knew who the MC5 was!”

As it turned out, not everyone in the suburban Jersey milieu could automatically name the band who did “Kick Out the Jams” on demand. And so, the aspiring rock star and record mogul Keith Roth became a man on a self-appointed mission; a calling to elucidate, illuminate and educate his new neighbors as to the rich legacy of rock and roll music’s most frantically fertile period — that beyond-the-Beatles/ way-after-Woodstock moment when classic tour-gods traversed the skies in custom jets and landed luxury automobiles in hotel pools; when the glittering stars of “glam” gleefully pushed at every pop-culture boundary of gender roles and sexual identity; when the music’s gigantic tent simultaneously housed symphonically inclined artistes, meat-and-potatoes traditionalists, and those lords and ladies of mischief who wanted nothing more than to see that big top come crashing down.

The vehicle for Roth’s supercharged passions was The Electric Ballroom, a weekly blast of words and wax that marked its twentieth year on the air (Sunday nights on 95.9 WRAT-FM out of Lake Como) this past October — and that celebrates the milestone with a special Anniversary Party next Sunday, December 30; a ringing out of the fast-fading year that finds its brick-and-mortar Ballroom inside the all-purpose auditorium of downtown Asbury’s House of Independents.

Scheduled to get underway at 7 pm, the multi-band blast is a presentation of Pat Schiavino’s Asbury Underground brand, one that represents an expansion of the twice yearly free festival of storefront music and art (returning in January with an edition keyed to Light of Day 2019, about which more to come in this space) into the realm of special concert events. As such, it’s a showcase for Roth, his own band Frankenstein 3000, and some of his favorite regional or international acts — a chance to take stock, before sprinting ahead to the next waltz on the dance card.

“This event is going to be run pretty tightly and quickly,” observes Roth of the live show; contrasting the onstage action with the Sunday-sauce studio affair that, after all these years, “follows no format…we could have (legendary Dolemite star) Rudy Ray Moore one week, and one of the Sex Pistols the next. It’s whatever’s cool; we don’t bother with playlists…so the format is that there is no format!”

All in a night’s work for an endeavor that represented “a baptism of fire” for its host back in the late 1990s; a project in which “we did everything wrong the first night…and for our first guest, we had a vampire. An actual vampire.”

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PICTURE OF DORIAN: THE SAX MAN BRIDGES ASBURY’S MUSICAL THEN & NOW

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

As Dorian Parreott recalls, it was Frank Bryan — longtime conductor of the Asbury Park Concert Band summer sessions on the boardwalk, and the heir to the baton passed down by the legendary march-meister Arthur Pryor — who gave the aspiring musician an early and crucial lesson in patience and persistence.

“He’d see me coming down to the boardwalk every week to watch the band, and he knew I wanted to play,” says the veteran jazz cat who would spend his school year performing under Mr. Bryan’s direction in the Asbury Park High School band. “Finally he told me, ‘when one of the drummers passes away…you got the job!’.”

It was the saxophone, rather than the skins, that would eventually capture young Dorian’s fancy; a decision that was inspired by his admiration for such mighty reed men as Charlie Parker, Illinois Jacquet, and Frank Foster — but mostly by his uncle George Fauntleroy, who played the sax in New York nightspots, and who came down from the big city to accompany his nephew when he bought his first instrument at Scott’s Music on Springwood Avenue.

More than sixty years on from that summer, Dorian Parreott is himself a longtime core component of the summertime Concert Band that’s now skippered by John Luckenbill; a retired educator who would go on to take up Bryan’s mantle as director of the APHS musical program, and who in between semesters would earn a reputation as a leader of professional jazz combos, and as an ambassador for the homegrown music scene of his native West Side Asbury.

None of which is to suggest that Parreott is wont to rest on his well-earned laurels — in fact, the seasoned saxophonist is arguably more plugged in to the city’s deliriously diverse soundscape than he’s been in years, with a ringside seat on the board of the Asbury Park Music Foundation, and a renewed spurt of activity that finds him still open to new artistic challenges. One of those opportunities came his way just this past weekend, when the saxman joined an all-star house band (under the direction of Tony Perruso) for A Very Asbury Holiday Show; playing to a jam-packed Paramount Theatre audience (and enjoying “ a first-time experience with the rock and rollers”) as he backed a battalion of singers who ranged from Circuit stalwarts (Bobby Bandiera, JT Bowen, Lance Larson), to next-generation stars in the Asbury firmament (Remember Jones, Williams Honor, Desiree Spinks).

This Sunday afternoon, December 16, Dorian switches gears back to the cool and cozy context of small-combo jazz, as The Dorian Parreott Trio entertains during a special Jazz Brunch that’s hosted at one of the newest additions to the city’s timeline of “best kept secret” treasures: the Brown Performing Arts Center. Bill Brown’s intimately scaled storefront space (located next to Santander Bank at 312 Main Street) is the setting for a catered affair that promises a sublime avenue of momentary escape from the hyper-kinetic holiday rush, with Trio colleagues Mark Cohn (keyboards) and Jimmy Givens (drums) contributing to the mix, and seating ($30) reserved by calling 732-320-1660.

“It’s a little something that Asbury needs right now; a room that’s an alternative to the big rock clubs,” says the performer whose long résumé includes numerous sets at a previous musician-managed space, Chico’s House of Jazz. Continue reading

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

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

SOUNDS: Project/Object at The Saint 

Frank Zappa described the grand concept behind his work, as one in which “each project (in whatever realm), or interview connected to it, is part of a larger object, for which there is no ‘technical name’.” In the decades since FZ’s passing, Project/Object staked a claim to being the premier gatekeepers of the Zappa/Mothers legacy, by virtue of the fact that each lineup has spotlighted the skills of Zappa band alumni. These days, singer-saxman-flautist Napoleon Murphy Brock and guitarist Denny Walley are the 1970s/80s-era originals carrying the torch — and when the 2018 edition of P/O arrives at The Saint TONIGHT, December 13, they’ll be channeling the Chunga via a set of concert favorites, many of which (“Village of the Sun,” “Cheepnis”) were vocalized by Brock in their first incarnations. Doors open at 7, with tickets ($20 advance; $25 at the door) at thesaintnj.com.

SOUNDS: Old 97s at the Wonder Bar

Celebrating a silver-jubilee 25th anniversary  — and returning Shoreside in the midst of a special year-end Holiday Party tour — the Texas-based alt-country/ roots-rock/ loud-folk locomotive that is the Old 97s  brings the tinsel and the turned-up-to-11 twang to the Tillie-grin stage of the Wonder Bar TONIGHT, December 13. With doors opening at 7 pm, it’s a wonderland whistlestop in which frontman Rhett Miller is scheduled to deliver a solo acoustic set, and there’s punk-rock prestidigitation byCaseymagic as well. Tickets ($25) at wonderbarasburypark.com.

STAGES: The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Paramount 

Tell Tchaikovsky the news: The Hip Hop Nutcracker is indeed a thing; a traveling stage spectacle that re-imagines the Russian composer’s classic ballet score “with a distinctly urban twist.” It’s a suite supercharged by Jennifer Weber’s choreography, plus a cast that includes a dozen dynamic dancers, a DJ, a violin soloist — and special guest Kurtis Blow (pictured), the old-school rap trailblazer whose milestone records “The Breaks” and “If I Ruled the World” set the pace for a musical millennium to come (and who, lest we forget, debuted with “Christmas Rappin’”). A production of Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center (and a presentation of NJPAC’s partnership with Madison Marquette in Asbury Park), the show lights up the Paramount proscenium for the first time TONIGHT, December 13, in its third annual tour of regional stages. Take it to Ticketmaster. Com for available seating (priced from $17-$77) to the 7:30 pm event.

SOUNDS: Puddles Pity Party at Asbury Lanes

A favorite out-of-towner visitor on the local scene, thanks to past appearances at House of Indies and elsewhere (and supercharged by widespread exposure on America’s Got Talent, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, the “immersive theater” project Sleep No More, and the virtual vaudeville of virally viewed video) Puddles the clown brings his romantic baritone, his leaky-glass-empty outlook on life, and his unerring instinct for a compelling cover version of a pop song standard back to Asbury Park, in a two-night stand at Asbury Lanes that continues TONIGHT, December 13.

Big Mike Geier’s king-sized character project is no joke when it comes to his skills as a singer and frontman, and even if Puddles doesn’t exactly brighten one’s holiday season, there’s a good chance that he’ll invest a seasonal standard or two with the stuff that infuses his transcendent take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Tickets ($35) at asburylanes.com. Continue reading

HAVE YOURSELF ASBURY LI’L CHRISTMAS: A GRAB-BAG OF MUSIC ‘N MORE

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

‘Tis the season when carols of Yuletide fill the chill air; when local houses of worship, halls of learning and points of purchase ring out with traditional hymns, choral cantatas and orchestral chestnuts of well-roasted resonance and enduring appeal. Here in Asbury Park, however, the sounds of the season boast a decidedly more jingle-bell RAUCous bent — coming in from all angles, and continuing well on through the gloriously un-silent nights of the holiday interlude. It’s a souped-up Santa sleighload slate of sonic ‘citement; a multi-genre mashup of merry wassailing  (and maybe a bit of cheerful assailing  of stodgy sensibilities) that fairly glows with civic pride and positive vibes, here in this place Where Music Lives.

It all begins this weekend — with The Big Event (and the hottest ticket in town) being the first-ever edition of A Very Asbury Holiday Show. Hosted at the Paramount Theatre  on Sunday, December 9, and produced (by those most proactive preservers and promoters of the city’s principal export to the world) The Asbury Park Music Foundation, the 7 pm extravaganza assembles a multi-generational mixtape of performers with deep Asbury roots. Featured are some of the living-legend architects of the classic SOAP scene (Bobby Bandiera, JT Bowen, Billy Hector, Lance Larson), next-wave singer/ songwriters (Emily Grove, Taylor Tote, Williams Honor), veteran master entertainers of the Shore clubscape (Jo Bonanno, Layonne Holmes, Brian Kirk, Jillian Rhys McCoy, Pat Roddy, Eddie Testa) and representatives of the dynamic new generation of Asbury-centric show bands (Remember Jones, Desiree Spinks, Waiting On Mongo).

This plus The Weeklings, Danny Clinch and the Tangiers Blues Band (as well as whatever looking-for-a-gig friends might show up), the kids from Lakehouse Music Academy, and some promised appearances by members of 60s heavyweights Vanilla Fudge and The Rascals (schedule subject to change, natch) — all under the direction of bandleader Tony Perruso, and with the helpful services of iconic Pony DJ Lee Mrowicki and guest emcee/ WABC-TV newscaster Michelle Charlesworth to keep track of the players. Proceeds benefit the APMF, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (there’s also an invitation to donate new unwrapped items to the Asbury Park Toy Drive) — and info on available tickets can be had at asburyparkmusiclives.org. Continue reading