15-minutes down the road from my place of business sits the birthplace of the storied Asbury Park music culture, The Stone Pony, and last Saturday, under its roof , a congress of the scene’s new blood and old guard had amassed for the 18th Annual Asbury Music Awards presented by The Saint and The Asbury Music Company.
My objective was simple, get out of work and down to the The Pony before one of the more promising young bands to recently emerge from our scene, Almost There, that was nominated for Top Rock Band, took the stage.
[For fear of losing my job and prosecution by the full extent of New Jersey law, I am unable to go into detail about how I got to the show on time. Just know, I did.]
Rockin Robyn Lane’s voice road down Asbury Avenue on the back of the bucking winds that swirled in off the boardwalk.
“This next band opened up our WRAT Fest at PNC this Summer and are truly a talented group of musicians from Ocean Township and Old Bridge,” said Lane. “Please welcome, my friends, Almost There!”
I walked in the door just as the Pop-Punk act extended its introduction by cueing up the 20th Century Fox Theme into the band’s single “I Cried Wolf” off its recently released Silver Lake EP, watch it below.
I’ve found that a simple way to identify and separate the good acts from the rest is by the crowd reaction (Novel idea right?). Seriously though, everyone has their own tastes and opinions, but, there’s no truer testament to a band’s worth than an audience’s collective roar for “One more song!”
Ask and yee shall receive for this band of brothers tore through an encore of “Last Laugh,” a face charring tale of triumph in a world of naysaying snakes, parasites, and scavengers, off the band’s sophomore EP Losing Someone To Find Yourself.
Buy the EP and listen to more at www.myspace.com/almostthererock
East Windsor, NJ Blues Rocker Eryn Shewell, nominated for Top Female Vocalist, showcased her acclaimed pipe work during a collaboration with the Top Rock Band award winner Outside The Box in what was one of the most memorable sets of the evening.
Shewell’s booming voice exploded out of the sound system like a thunderbolt rolling across the plains of Tennessee.
And the accompaniment of Outside The Box completely enhanced the experience. Most impressive was the band’s bluesy six-string bandit and frontman Jeff Cafone. The feelings Cafone spilled out upon his strings were substantial. You could sense the emotion as it flew past you into the atmosphere. Outside the Box has a few shows coming up. You can check out that schedule and some tunes on the band’s Myspace page.
A bonfire at the beach on a summer evening with cold beer, good friends, and maybe some other unmentionable party favors…this is the type of environment one was transported to when the Top Young Band award winner, Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why, took the stage on that cold winter night.
Thanks to this collective of Surf Rockers and their Reggae influenced jams we were lucky enough to bask in the warmth of that familiar memory one more time before the holidays hit. And for that Mr. Mumford and sons, and daughter on the keys, I thank you.
Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why are a coveted commodity around the shore and play regularly up and down Ocean Avenue and even down in Red Bank. Check out the band’s schedule and listen to some tunes on its Myspace page, including this one:
My favorite performance of the night came from End Of An Era. Unfortunately this band’s set was placed later in the schedule when most of those in audience were more interested in booze than music.
And maybe the fact that this band still played recklessly, still thrashed around the stage without regard, and still gave a shit despite small audience, was the most endearing aspect of the performance. That, and End Of An Era’s ability to fuse heavy Thrash-Metal verses with big, sing along choruses made this set a joy to be a part of.
Although the recordings really don’t do End Of An Era’s live show justice, check out some their tracks here.
From the start my agenda was set, I wanted to see three bands specifically, and everything else was a bonus. Those bands were Almost There (Check), Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why (Check), and the punk rock outfit The F Bombers (Check thrice times).
This hardcore Punk-Rock trio played loose and loud, transforming this laid back awards banquet into a cramped basement show with its vicious, bone trampling sound.
And when front-woman Kim Pulsive cued up the band’s alternate version of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” it even got the drunks at the bar excited. You may be asking yourself “Why?” Answer: The F Bombers track is titled “Bad Situation” and rips on Jersey Shore for two and a half minutes.
The lyrics are simple and had everyone singing along by the second verse. “I don’t give a damn about The Situation/When he’s on the TV I change the station/And I can do what I want to do, and that’s what I’m gonna do/Because I don’t give a damn about The Situation/And every summer it’s fucking invasion…” and so and so forth.
The F Bombers haven’t laid that track down yet but has recently released its debut album and you can listen to some of those songs here.