Tango Machina At The Court Tavern…The Last Tango

Brian Winters

You always remember the “firsts” in your life.  There are the cliches, the first kiss, the first ballgame, the first family Christmas, to name a few.  But in specific occupations one always encounters their own personal firsts, the milestones in his or her career that are never forgotten.  Those are the types of stories told around the dinner table by parent to kin.

Tango Machina rambled together last Saturday as the headlining act of The Court Tavern.  It was the original lineup’s last stand as the band’s drum machine, Brian Winters, will be departing for personal reasons…

Winters and Paul Caffrey

Let’s rewind for a moment so that the opening’s relevancy may be unveiled.  This hard rocking trio opened for The Batusis way back in July during Sylvain Sylvain and Cheetah Chrome’s Brighton Bar stop.  That was the very first show I ever covered down the Jersey Shore and I have to be honest, I was more than a little bit intimidated by my surroundings.

Yes, I had been to shows before, but was never quite in the proverbial “shit” like that one.  I stood inches away from the musicians, there was human interaction, you could drink beers with them after their set.  That was completely alien to me.  All the distinct boundaries separating the observer from the band, the ones set up by mammoth stages and green rooms guarded by security, had been torn down.

Damion DeStefano

So when I stepped forward to greet this triad that had just dealt the audience a sonic lambasting, to say the least, I was fucking surprised when Brian Winters, Damion DeStefano, and Paul Caffrey took an interest in my presence and actually took the time to converse for a few minutes.

This small interaction helped more than any of these guys understand.  It instilled a confidence in me.  It shattered the dogma built up over the years about the type of discourse that is “allowed” between fans and musicians.  It revealed to me that there can actually be something meaningful there, more than the hollow and pointless “Hey, nice set dude,” many are accustomed to tossing at the front-man as he passes you by on the way to the bar.

Paul Caffrey

Tango Machina was the first band to give me the time of day and I owe a lot of this blog’s success to the soul singeing tunes and kindness bestowed upon me by these three that evening, and for that, I thank you guys…


And now, back to Saturday night.  Brian Winters went out on top as I believe this was the band’s first headlining gig, and at such a prestigious establishment no less.  During Tango’s hour-long set the band’s amps acted as missile silos, deploying electrified smart-bombs into the center of the dance floor, tearing down the water damaged ceiling panels with each shrapnel bomb of a note.

Denver: Drunk, Dancing, and Distracting the band Lipstick & Cigarettes

And yes, there were laughs in droves brought about by Tango’s awkward interaction with an obnoxious and intoxicated Englishman named Denver, who’s single dance move was best described by DeStefano as “the Magilla Gorilla dance.”

Skeleton Bear Hat

Also, Caffrey donned what can best be described as a grizzly bear hat during “Skeleton Bear,” which many found to be hilarious.


When the final string was struck, the last bass line plucked, and the concluding high hat crushed, Brian Winters, possessed by the ghosts of Punk-Rock past that still linger down in the basement, kicked the shit out of his drum-set in true, knocking Denver back a few feet as he avoided a flying snare drum.

Tango Machina will roll on.  The band is trying out new drummers as you read.  But we will never forget Mr. Brian Winters and the work he put in upon his throne.  You will be missed Sir.


  1. The Combination Is Explosive
  2. Evil Twin
  3. Warning Sign
  4. Espana
  5. Dynamo
  6. Pirate
  7. Bite It You Scum (G.G. Allin)
  8. Skeleton Bear
  9. Miles
  10. Rock N’ Roll Part 4

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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