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.

Asbury Fever
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.

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