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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...10/29/15

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 10/29/2015
"The Future Is Now," read the marquis on the revamped and revitalized former "Carlton" movie theater turned entertainment venue known simply as "The Basie" as it welcomed media, alumni and guests to an 11 a.m. press conference on Monday October 26.
The historic Red Bank landmark is primed for a change; a change that will not only enhance the allure of the beautiful old building but the entire block and community it serves as well. "The Future," is a massive expansion project which includes a makeover and east and west additions to the existing property including a new glass walled lobby, an upgrade for the backstage area, a second "Multi-use venue for up and coming artists" and a new spot for the area arts nonprofits, partner programs and the Performing Arts Academy. In the words of the theatre's board of directors and trustees Chairman Tom Widener, "We are here to unveil our plans to transform The Basie into a regional center for arts and education." 
Honorary campaign co-chairs Maureen and Steven Van Zandt both have a long association with the famed stage and are now the faces of the project which will take an estimated $20,000,000 to complete. "I danced "The Nutcracker" on this stage, back in the days when my knees still worked," joked an enthusiastic Maureen. "Just a couple of months ago I performed in a production of The Who's "Tommy" which was done by the "RockIt" program which is an amazing program for young musicians here." 
Quickly turning the podium over to her favorite E Street Band member and guitarist; Maureen stepped back and Steven wasted no time recounting the reasons why he is solidly behind the expansion. Speaking of his mother marrying "Wild Bill Van Zandt" and as a child moving to New Jersey from Boston, MA; Steven took a trip down memory lane. "New Monmouth was still kind of rural and so this was our big city; you know, Red Bank. This is where we went quite a ways away or it felt like it when you were young. This is where we came; this is where I bought my first guitar in Jack's Music Store; which is still there incredibly. That's where I bought all my records and this is where we came to the movies; this was the movie theater; called The Carlton back then. You know, where I saw "Hard Days Night" and "Help" and the real "Nutty Professor" movie, "Bye Bye Birdie," you know, right here. So it's meant a lot to me growing up and we're very happy to see the plan for this thing; it's really quite exciting. We've been involved, as Maureen mentioned, with the "RockIt" kids program for the last few years and that is a really remarkable accomplishment already and a wonderful example for what's going to happen going forward in an even bigger way with the Performing Arts Center and all the plans. Basically it's really a very exciting time and I think it's going to be a great example of what should happen in every community across this country in terms of the city, the civilians if you will, creating a performing arts center so that we're not dependent on anybody else to do it. This is something that is separate from schools, separate from government if you will and more dependent on private support and more consistent; you're more in control of your own destiny." 
Fundraising efforts are already in full swing with "Several major donations" already in place including a generous gift of $1,000,000 from board member and philanthropist Nancy Mulheren and her family. "We know it's ambitious but we also feel very optimistic," says Basie President and CEO Adam Philipson. "When I arrived which was almost three years ago to the day, I was shown a photo and I was asked; how do we make this happen? We didn't have the land to the west, that was one big piece; we knew the west was the back of our house and one of our biggest issues. The plan was to finish the back of the house and then raise a lot of money for the interior and then the facade of the building fell off and when that happened they had to stop work on that part and take care of the facade but we knew we had the back of the house. We had issues, trucks couldn't get in appropriately, there were some big shows that we wanted to do, some Broadway shows and they'd look at our technical specs and they'd say, "I'm sorry we can't fit" and if you've gone back there we have the old hemp rope system, it's antiquated, it hasn't been touched since 1926. So we knew we wanted to do all of that, it was just a matter of taking care of a lot of issues internally; getting a unified board, getting a unified team, becoming really transparent with our desire and getting people on board. We have a lot of money to raise and a lot of these things happen based on momentum and people have already expressed their interest and that's before we even went public. What's really great about our venue is that we have more than 200,000 people a year, so our goal was to be public because we never know who's sitting in here or who says, I want to help. The plan that the board has expressed is that we're going to be conservative and we're only going to build to what we've raised. We have seven commitments now and they'll be announced when the time comes but for now I can not say who that is; there's a nice chunk that's come in already but we'd rather not say just yet or exactly how much. We can't get any better help from the community, especially the music community like having Steven Van Zandt on our board. Steven has expressed not only will he be involved with helping us but he's decided to artistically and creatively help us; so we'll leave it at that for the moment. I mean, really, we are so thrilled that he and Maureen wanted to be involved and be our honorary chairs." 
The economic impact of this project has current Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna glowing with excitement over the possibilities that await his city. "The facility will be enhanced and we have to enhance the parking situation. The Basie provides almost a quarter of a million visitors to Red Bank; it's amazing. Now you're not going to have a quarter of a million people going out to dinner every night but you will have ten percent of the flow at the theatre going to dinner, or for a drink, or a coffee and that drives the local economy; so the arts are a driving force for that. We're never going to get manufacturing back to the extent that we had in the 1950's, fortunately most of the factories have been converted to office space or eating establishments and this is it; extraordinarily so. The current estimated economic impact that The Basie provides is approximately $17,000,000 and that will rise to approximately $30,000,000 upon the project's completion and more than 100 new jobs; that is a positive, positive for our entire area." 
New stage and lighting technologies, a hydraulic orchestra pit, modernized and contemporary dressing and gathering areas for the artists and performers, along with an improved loading dock/load in area will vastly increase the size and types of productions which the building can host. Since the theatre, when complete will encompass almost, if not the entire city block on which it sits; the value as an entertainment complex has risen dramatically. A second multi-use space for an educational facility and a "Smaller cabaret-style venue" with an anticipated standing room capacity of 550 are also planned as part of the expansion. The latter hosting smaller music shows, culinary events, film festivals and various other arts related soirees; all of which have piqued the interest of Mr. Van Zandt. "What's going on across the country is that all of the great clubs are closing, live music is really becoming an endangered species; it's terrible. I was just in L.A. the other day where "House Of Blues," one of the most beautiful clubs in the country is closing to make room for yet another high rise; just what we need in the world,"  he stated obviously saddened. "It's happening all over," he continued, "We lost The Bottom Line years ago in New York and so many others. So to actually have a club here and what that will be with something like a capacity of 350 to 500 or so for rock shows once you take the seats out; it's extremely important to have a place like that especially somewhere that kids can develop and perform." 
One of those "Kids" now a young adult is Jacquie Lee, who after participating in The Basie "Rockit" program went on to be declared "2nd Place" in Season 5 of "The Voice." Lee spoke fondly of being a "Brace face" kid performing Michael Jackson's "I'll Be There" and how far she's come thanks to The Basie and its programs. "This is obviously an amazing day," she said post press conference in the crowded lobby. "Everything is expanding and getting bigger, more resources; hopefully the program will just continue to grow and do great in the future and inspire more kids just like it did for me."  Now an Atlantic Records recording artist with a tour under her belt; Lee plans on continuing the career built off of her Basie foundation. "It was a really good ride, a lot of fun. I learned a lot, I gained a lot of experience from doing the show and now I am just happy to be home and working on a new album; things are great!" 
With the Theatre's centennial celebration only a decade away; hope is that the expansion will be completed in plenty of time but for now the fundraising efforts, awareness and performances continue as scheduled. A venue without a "Bad seat in the house" and a stage that has handled the likes of Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ringo Starr, Melissa Etheridge and Tony Bennett to name a few can only continue to enhance its value to the entertainment and area communities with this undertaking and just like the man whose name it bears, the late, great, William James "Count" Basie; it may just become legendary.
To discover more about the Count Basie Theatre, please go to 
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Thursday Jazz" feat. Josh Lawrence Trio
All shows 21+
Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Halloween Party w/ Papa Delux
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Fri. 8 p.m. Ernie White & Tom Reock
Sat. 8 p.m. Tony Malandro
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
 Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
The Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 4 p.m. The Bunny The Bear, Vanity Strikes, The Things They Carried, Chasing Utopia, Endless Lament, Zorigami, Stories Of Living, Get Him To the Throne. All ages, $12/$14
Sat. 5 p.m. Experiment 34, Uprise Shadow, Vestibule, Weird Parents, Blackout, Crosshead, Abandon Earth. All ages, $10
Tues. 5 p.m. Sirens, The Fine Constant, Djinn, The Great Airport Mystery, Cyderian Son, Into The Infinite, Ocean Of Illusions. All ages, $10/$12
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. James Stewart Sax Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Soul Kitchen
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Visoon (9 p.m.) Heather Heather
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Dave Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Kevin Toft & The All Stars
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton. (3 p.m.) TBA
Mon. 8 p.m. The Keith Lesnik Trio
Tues. 8 p.m. Joe Robinson
Wed. 8 p.m. Dane Rosenfeld
Dr. Lou's Place
1501 Hornberger Avenue Roebling
(609) 447-0158
Sat. 9 p.m. "Halloween Party" w/ Privileged Few 
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+  
Freddie's Tavern 
12 Railroad Avenue West Trenton 
(609) 882-9845
Fri. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri & Jerry Monk
Halo Pub
4617 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-1811
Sat. 7 p.m. Deb & Mike
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa. 
(215) 862-9897
Thurs. 10 p.m."Beat The Clock" College Night DJ Dance Party
Fri. (7 p.m.) Al DiMeola "Elegant Gypsy and more Electric Guitar Tour. Doors at 6 p.m., $59 (advance) $69 (day of show), VIP Available (10 p.m.) Al DiMeola "Elegant Gypsy and more Electric Guitar Tour. Doors at 6 p.m., $59 (advance) $69 (day of show), VIP Available
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Se7en
Sun. (2 p.m.) Midnight Sun Orchestra (6:30 p.m.) JB Kline Band
Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Tues. 7 p.m. Paint & Sip Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran & Friends
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. JP3 
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. Gunsmoke 
Sat. 10 p.m. Kindred Spirit
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. John & Peter's Comedy Night
Fri. 9 p.m. Ammunition
Sat. 9 p.m. "Halloween Party" w/ Mixxtape 
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. 
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Please check web pages for upcoming events. 
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. "3rd Annual Halloween Bash" w/ Out Of the Red
Sat. 9 p.m. Polish Nannies
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 7 p.m. Jack Tannehill / Acidic Solution
Sat. 8 p.m. DT & The Burnerz
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Tangled
Sat. 9:30 p.m. "Halloween Party" w/ F2 & The Anchovy Brothers
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Please check web pages for upcoming events. 
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 9 p.m. "College Night" w/ DJ Paul Desisito
Fri. (4 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (9 p.m.) "Halloween Party" w/ Shorty Long and the Jersey Horns. Prizes for sexiest, scariest, best costume.
Sat. 10 p.m. "The Scorpio Masquerade Party" w/ DJ Big Jae. Dress to Impress (No boots), $20 (advance) $30 (door)

Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 7:30 p.m. Jazz Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
 Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
 Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. The Diablo Sandwich Band
Sat. 10 p.m. "Halloween Party" w/ DJ Darius
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. (8:30 p.m.) Tune Trivia (10:30 p.m.) DJ Rockn Ron
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Fri. 8 p.m. Kofi Baker's "Cream Experience." All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $20 (advance)
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Fri. 9 p.m. No Way Out
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. Papa Delux
Sat. 9 p.m. Drunk Monkeys
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Derry Brigade
Sat. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
All shows  21+

Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Hek Cat
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
 Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Cinema Thursday Presents: (TBA)
Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic.
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Thurs. 10 p.m. Ian Fitzgerald
Fri. 10 p.m. Beaucoup Blue. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. "Halloween Party" w/ Tigerman. ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign ups 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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