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Outside The Box Hits Upon Winning Formula

By Gary Wien


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- House bands at The Stone Pony are part of a pretty interesting history. Some have gone on to get major label record deals or regularly jammed with the Jersey Shore's top musicians or even wound up performing stadium shows themselves, but whoever holds the title knows they are part of something special. Outside The Box, the current placeholder, is not only building upon the club's history, but finding new ways to continue the story. And on Wednesday, August 17, another chapter was born...

I arrived at the Pony just as the band was playing their first song. Everywhere I looked I saw people, but largely unfamiliar faces. This was not the typical Wednesday night crowd comprised of Asbury Park regulars. These were people hoping to see a little of that Stone Pony magic. Outside The Box was continuing their trend of playing a complete album side from one of the albums that first inspired them as musicians and tonight's choice was a good one: "The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" by Bruce Springsteen.

Now, it's easy to say people came hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr. Springsteen, but this was the first show in Asbury Park where I can honestly say I don't think that was the case. These people came to HEAR Bruce's music. They didn't scream "Bruuuuucccceee!" throughout the night and I'd bet few people, if any, expected Springsteen to show. These were his fans, but it was the idea of hearing this wonderful album performed from start to end that brought them out to the club.

Sometimes I forget just how amazing this album is when performed live. This might have been Bruce's zenith when it comes to musical creativity. The songs combine the power of rock and roll with the smooth stylings of jazz. Performed live, the songs practically beg for improvisation. Thankfully, OTB embraced the songs and chose to infuse their own stamp on the tunes rather than attempt to play them note for note.

As a fan of the E Street Band, the show also provided a glimpse of what the music might sound like in the post Clarence Clemons era. It was hard not to think of the Big Man when it was time for the sax to take over. Nevertheless, the band did a stellar job with such classic numbers as "Incident on 57th Street", "Rosalita", and "Kitty's Back". As a bonus, the band not only played the complete album, but performed "Thundercrack" with Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez (the original E Street drummer) helping out on vocals.

OTB has definitely found an interesting angle for themselves with the perfect album side series. While many bands trying something like this would be walking a fine line of being known solely as a cover band, I think it works for Outside The Box. The band's original tunes stem from an unabashed love of 70s rock and roll. In fact, there's almost a sense that OTB songs are what Graham Parker would have written had he lived along the Shore. When the originals are played before and after these classic albums, they fit in perfectly. Instead of being a cover band inserting their own songs, the show actually makes their originals stand out.

OTB deserves full credit for making this night work. They not only work with a good publicist who made sure the press was aware of the show, but did some national promotion on E Street Radio (Sirius). When hundreds of people turn out on a Wednesday night, it dispels the idea that nobody will go to shows anymore. Their success proves that bands may have to work a bit harder at promoting shows these days, but people will come out... even on a Wednesday.



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Arijit Singh's New North American Tour Will Include Single Stop In Tri-State Region At Prudential Center on April 13
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Bright Brain Productions, the leading entertainment company based in California announced the “Arijit Singh LIVE Tour” in 12 cities all across the U.S. This is the first of its kind and largest tour done by Arijit Singh or any Indian artist. The tour beings on April 5 and travels through major U.S. cities culminating on May 5.  The tour stops at Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, April 13 at 7:00pm.
Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.


Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!










Event calendar
Friday, Jan 18, 2019


MUSIC

John Forster at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

David Massengill - Folk Concert @ Christ Congregation Church, Princeton - 8:00pm

SAL "THE VOICE" VALENTINETTI @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Elvis Birthday Bash @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm







COMEDY

Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


MISC

The Jason Bishop Show to Benefit CASA @ Pfleeger Concert Hall, Rowan University, Glassboro - 7:00pm

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