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Recap of the Upstage Radio Benefit

By Gary Wien


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- February 11, 2006 - As the season's first major snowstorm barreled through the tri-state area, the benefit for Upstage Radio took place at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park in front of a crowd of die-hard music fans who were treated to an exceptional night of music.

The show started shortly after 5pm with "Jersey Storytellers", a special look at several artists in an acoustic setting. One by one, the artists took turns telling stories and playing tunes. The set kicked off with Joe Harvard who proceeded to tell an amusing but very long story about his past in Boston and Ohio and how he came to Asbury. Afterwards Smiles Again (formerly of Green Machine) joked about setting up a short story instead of a book. When Joe's turn came around again he promised to try keeping it to a novella that time!

The "Jersey Storytellers" segment featured Joe Harvard, Smiles Again, Jason Mather, Brian Amsterdam, Tommy Anton, and JPAT. It was set up somewhat in the style of the popular "Writers In The Raw" series and managed to evoke many of the old WITR memories - especially during moments like when JPAT interrupted a Brian Amsterdam story. The two musicians share a long history together and it was moments like that which made the segment truly special.

Mike Black gave the introductions for the Jersey Storytellers and served as host for the night. He also took tons of great pictures throughout the show.

At 7pm, the night kicked into full band mode with a wonderful set by the Jon Caspi Band - one of the most popular artists played on Upstage Radio. He was followed by Meagan Brothers who did a solo acoustic set. Divine Sign was up next and showed why they're starting to make a great name for themselves in the scene.

An incredible stretch of music was led off by Cool Days End into Steven Baggs and his band. Steven Baggs was making his first appearance in Asbury Park and we thought he might be the surprise hit of the night and he did not disappoint. The New York City performer is shopping around for a label and with the way his band played on Saturday night, I'd say they just might find themselves in a bidding war shortly.

Tony Tedesco, one of four Upstage Magazine writers to perform during the night, was up next and played several of his recently written tunes - some of which are currently being played in rotation at Upstage Radio.

After Tony came the headliner of the night - Val Emmich. It was a hybrid band of sorts for Val with another guitarist and a drummer using a very basic drum kit. Val's set showed why so many people around New Jersey have their fingers crossed for the artist. He was totally on! Val played several cuts from his debut record for Epic and was brought back for an encore where he played "Absolutely Still", one of his newer songs. I've seen Val about a dozen times now, and this was one of my favorite performances by far.

Aeria Records, Agency (formerly known as Republic) kept the music going with a high energy set comprised of songs from their soon-to-be-released debut record. Brian Saint and the boys continue to show that the Jersey Shore has a much more diverse mix of sounds that it gets credit for. The band will return to the Wonder Bar on March 4th for the official record release party.

After Agency was supposed to be The Successful Failures, a side project for Mick Chorbo of the Dipsomaniacs, but the snowstorm forced them to cancel. The band is was coming from the Trenton/Philly area, which had the storm long before the shore did. Amazingly, the benefit only had one cancellation on a bill of nearly 17 artists!

Maybe Pete followed with an explosive set - something that has become the norm for them. It had a little of everything from the classic Maybe Pete tunes to Frankie playing guitar on the merch table (and breaking one of the tables!) to setting up the highlight of the night - a closing cover of Neil Young's "Rocking In The Free World" with a mini-all star jam. On stage along with the band was Rick Barry, Smiles Again, Brian Saint and Meagan Brothers. You really had to see and hear Meagan's blistering guitar work to fully comprehend just how awesome it was. Neil Young would not only have been proud but would have bowed his head in awe.

Rick Barry stayed on stage to close out the night with a wonderful set as the snow began really falling. The crowd had thinned out quite a bit, but there were still dozens of people as Rick took us to bar closing time. The Asbury Music Award winner's set was a great way to finish 7 hours of music. All in all, the benefit was a tremendous success. The show was set up to help raise money for Upstage Radio to pay for construction and electrical costs associated with a fire at the end of 2005. In addition to those who came to the show and those who purchased raffle tickets, funds are still being raised as people who wanted to see the show but could not due to the storm have been mailing checks and sending money through Paypal. If you would like to make a donation, here is the information to do so:

Mailing address: Upstage Magazine, PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762
Paypal: gary@upstagemagazine.com


Click here to see photos from the show by Mike Black. And click here for photos from Maureen Nevin of AsburyRadio.com.


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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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