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REVIEW: King of the Blues Returns To The Saint

By Gary Wien


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - On July 27th, the Saint in Asbury Park welcomed back the newly crowned "King of the Blues" - Matt O'Ree - with a great night of blues and power rock performances.

Robert from the band Crash started off the night with a nice mix of singer-songwriter tunes ending with a good cover of "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles. He was solo tonight due to a bit of a medical emergency. The band is normally a trio that just started playing out about a month ago. Keep an eye out for Crash because it seems like they've got some intelligent and lyrically strong songs.

The Bruce Wacker Band was up next. I had heard this band's name around so I was glad to be able to catch them live. And they did not disappoint! They came out guitars blazing like a late 60s power trio. If you like classic rock bands like Cream you should check these guys out. Their set was a cool blend of heavy blues-infused rock and roll with tasteful solos and straight-ahead in-your-face guitar playing. While watching them I started wondering why power trios always seem to rock harder than full bands?

Bruce Wacker and his band showed they could easily turn it up and down during a bluesy number that roamed from mellow blues to power rock and back featuring the work of Bruce Wacker on guitar. This guy can definitely play! I liked how his solos were strong but always stayed within the song - complimenting it rather than dominating the music. It's a fine line that many bands cross too often in my opinion.

After a stellar set of originals the Bruce Wacker Band closed with a nice cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles. A great ending to a great set.

Following Wacker was Matt O'Ree, the headliner of the night, who started off with "Coming Home" from his CD. With recent wins in the Acoustic Showdown and Guitar Center's "King of the Blues" competitions, Matt seems to have confidence bursting out of every cell in his body right now. If you ever wish you had seen someone like Stevie Ray Vaughn on the way up you have to see Matt live. He's beyond being the real deal. He's proof that music is still an art form; proof that music can still make you gasp in wonder; and proof that genius can still come from Jersey!

The blues just come so naturally for Matt. He makes it look easy even during the most intense guitar solos. He's a natural. It's great to see him starting to make a name on the national stage and things like winning the "King of the Blues" competition may lead him to bigger and bigger things. Catch him in a local bar while you still can. Someday you'll be able to impress someone by telling them you remember seeing Matt O'Ree back when he started.

Watching the crowd love Matt's set (and the entire night) made me wonder why it is that the Jersey Shore loves the blues but has always had so much of a difficult time keeping blues clubs alive. Maybe the idea of having clubs like the Saint feature a blues night once a week would work out better than a pure blues club. Regardless, the blues and summer go hand and hand and tonight was a great night of blues music.



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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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