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Rick Barry / Hammel On Trial / Tara Elliott & the Red Velvets

By Gary Wien

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - February 24, 2009) - Since I had seen Hammel on Trial several times before, I knew tonight was going to be an interesting show, but I wasn't expecting Tara Elliott and the Red Velvets to be so good. It's a shame that the crowd had thinned out a bit before Tara's band closed out the night, because they missed a truly awesome performance.

Rick Barry started off the night with a set that blended his popular "hits" with several new tunes. The set included "All Your Mistakes Have Names," "Graphic Narrative," "Perfect Portrait of a Coward," "Atlantis," and "Stupid American Song."

As Rick stood on stage, dressed in a fine suit and tie, I wondered why it always seems as though he dresses like a million bucks when he's an opening act yet dresses like shit as the headliner.

There was an unfortunate - yet hilarious - moment when the microphone began shocking Rick. Each time he got buzzed in the face, he began smiling. Many of us were wondering what was going on and looked around to see if anyone was making faces at Rick or something. Finally, after he finished the song, he explained the situation.

"I'm being shocked by the mike here," said Rick Barry. "I think people are confused because they may be seeing me smile for the first time during a show." The mike was then adjusted and Rick went on with his traditionally smile free show!

Hammel on Trial is one man who plays a mean punk guitar, writes hilarious lyrics, and likes to tell crude jokes while on stage. It's a performance unlike anybody else you will ever see. It's also a combination that doesn't sound like it should work, but does.

"When I got here this morning, I told Scott the place was too bare," said Hammel. "It was just these plain walls. So we spent the morning putting up stickers everywhere. So now you can see at least a dozen stickers of made up band names on the walls."

Telling a song about drugs he mentioned doing crack then said, "Oh come on, it's crack cocaine. You've all done it -- Asbury Park was founded on crack!"

His set contained songs about sex, drugs, money, remotes that wouldn't work, Brilliant rants such as a hilarious one about television and stories about how President Obama got his wife to agree to do anal sex.

If you've ever seen Hammel live then you know about his famous "Pussy" song. Towards the end of the night he said, "We're getting to the end of the show and I know you're thinking he didn't do any pussy eating songs. We came here for some pussy eating songs. Did he have one? Well yes I do... Everybody loves this song except gay guys.

"I love when people walk in at this point. They're out walking and see this revitalized neighborhood. Maybe they see The Saint and say 'let's see what this place is like' -- maybe they think it's a Christian place. They walk in and were all screaming pussy!"

Songs included "When Yer Young," "Inquiring Minds," "Global Tattoo," "A Little Concerned," "Halfway," "Ain't That Love," "Magic", "John Lennon," and "Mom's Hot."

Your mom's hot
Your a little shorty, but your moms hot for forty.
She's got a slamming body, she must have done Pilates

Simply hilarious lines, fucked up rhymes, and full-blown rocking solo on stage with a mixture of 50s sound and punk rock. There were shades of Duane Eddy twang guitar along with some of the loudest and fastest acoustic guitar you'll ever hear. He's definitely one of a kind, which is good because I don't think the world is big enough for two Hammels.

Tara Elliott and the Velvets closed out the night. With a booming voice and a solid rocking/punk band behind her she kicked ass! She was one part Meat Loaf, one part Romeo Void, one part Janis Joplin, and one part Iggy Pop. She's definitely someone to keep an eye on. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a future Asbury Music Award nomination for top female vocalist for her and that tremendously powerful voice. She's from Jersey, but has been concentrating on gigs in New York City for the past few years. She said she's trying to build a following around Asbury Park now.

For some reason, I kept wanting to hear her sing "Time Warp". Maybe it was her theatrical voice. I'd love to see them tackle a Romeo Void tune like "A Woman In Trouble" or "Never Say Never." The band did throw out a few interesting covers among their originals. Covers from The Stooges to The Searchers were part of the set.

This was a good example of what makes Tuesday nights so special. Tonight was a grab bag of genres that all seemed to work together and, like most Tuesdays, there's always a surprise at the end. Tonight, that surprise was Tara Elliott and the Red Velvets. I look forward to their return to the area. They rock!

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State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.

"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!

Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm


PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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