Back in the day – that would be the mid-sixties – when the teenage girl must-haves included a Max Factor “Strawberry Meringue” lipstick, a pair of Marks & Spencer’s “Sweet Pepper” shade of stockings and the latest copy of the Jackie, the absolute top-of-the-list from my point of view was a trannie, aka the portable means by which one could listen to the popular music of the day.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes earned the title of being “The Greatest Bar Band in the World”, waaaaay back in the day when they became famous for playing the legendary bar scene that speckles the Jersey Shore.
I would imagine that existing Billy Walton Band fans reading this are probably adopting a nodding-dog-on-back-parcel-shelf-of-car-mode as they quietly smile at my thoughts here. For sure, I had heard of the band and they were on my bucket list but I hadn’t quite gotten to see them until very recently, that is… so please forgive me if I appear to be preaching to the converted, as it were!
I’ve never been in the USA at this time of year so I was interested to check out all the things we Europeans have come to associate with July 4th weekend i.e. the parades, the fireworks and um… the hotdogs?! I never actually imagined that I would be taking part in any of the parades but since Save Tillie was participating at both the Ocean Grove as well as the first-ever Asbury Park parades this year, I was advised to pack my “Tillie” t-shirts.
Tillie” was of course the star of the show and it was amazing to see the great reception he got from old and young alike as the cavalcades progressed through the streets of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park on their respective parade days. Another popular personality was Asbury Park Councilwoman, Kate Mellina, who also got a huge reaction as she paraded in her customized “Anti-litter bug” vehicle. And for sure, a great time was had by all at both events especially the children of both communities who had a whale of a time collecting the candy that was gently thrown their way from the passing floats.
Red Bank Fireworks
New York City and/or Red Bank are apparently the places to go to see the best
firework displays in this corner of the Eastern Seaboard. Since it is the same company, Grucci, that is responsible for the orchestration of both displays that statement does tend to make sense. The Red Bank display was billed as “Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink” and as you’d expect, there were lots of things goin’ on including live music – see below.
The actual firework display began just as dusk was falling and lasted about 15 minutes; from the first whoooooooosh to the last kabooooooooom, it was spectacular in every way. I have seen similar displays here in Hannover at different Fests but what distinguished the Red Bank display from anything I have ever seen before was the accompanying soundtrack. Here in Germany we tend to have a classical accompaniment, which often ends with the resounding 1812 Overture; in Red Bank however, the musical flavour was very much American. Ranging from “Big Band” to the more traditional “Yankee Doodle” sounds, this particular soundtrack also had an edited version of Bruce Springsteen’s, The Rising – we’re talkin’ serious goosebumps stuff here, I can tell you. But yes, the display was fantastic and it more than lived up to my expectations.
Side To Side
Ed Soles – guitar, lead vocals
Gerry Gironda – bass, vocals
J.J. Pesciotta – guitar, vocals
Eddie Dougherty – drums
Andy McDonough – keyboards, vocals
Now here was a band I was interested in seeing perform. Side To Side have a
reputation for playing roots-rock-Americana-with-a-twang type music… or in other words, it’s the sort of sound that will have you on the dance floor all night long!
My connection to Side To Side goes back to Cheers, the now defunct bar in Long
Branch. Back when this place was in its heyday, a lot of its customers were also musicians and they would simply swap their places at the bar for a place on the stage as and when the mood took them. That’s how I met Side To Side’s bass player, Gerry Gironda, and since I have been promising to come and see this band for about the last three years, it was a nice coincidence that the band were booked to perform at the firework display.
Side to Side’s new CD, My Next Second Chance, demonstrates perfectly the definition I attempted earlier. All of the songs were written by Ed Soles, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, and from start to finish this is a collection of non-stop, feel-good music that ranges in tempo from rock/pop get-up-and-groove tunes to mellow ballads. Copies are available from CD Universe together with some well-deserved, compliments about the band.
Now here was a surprise! And no, I had never heard of these guys until I saw
them in Red Bank. Apparently, Asbury Fever was formed in the Spring of 2002 by a group of musicians who shared a passion for the music of Jersey Shore influences such as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, etc. And from what I saw of Asbury Fever, they seemed to focus on the popular Jersey Shore sounds from the 70’s and 80’s.
Was I impressed? Yes, I was. And if you check out: http://www.asburyfever.com
you’ll find out everything there is to know about the band including the members, their bios, dates, repertoire, video clips etc.
Just by way of a taster, here are the songs the band played prior to the firework display: Better Days,10th Avenue Freeze Out,Glory Days, I Don’t Wanna Go Home, Born To Run, Havin’ A Party, Out In The Street ,Rosalita and Dark Side.
The Background: When Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes decided to play their historic New Year’s Eve show on December 31st, 1999 they had no idea they were inadvertently triggering off the sequence of events that would ultimately become “Jukestock”.