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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...1/30/14

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 01/30/2014

Welcome to my musical world! This is one man's attempt to alert you to the best in area entertainment!

Lately I've lamented my feelings as they relate to opinions, both of my own and some of my fellow musician friends who call the Trenton Music scene their home. I've related our feelings on cover bands, original bands, venues (or lack there of) and the trials and tribulations of various genres and the generation gap that faces music and in general, our culture today.

First on the list is the lack of venues. This topic is continually broached by musicians both young and old; as I wrote in a recent piece, the clubs/bars just are not there any longer. This past Sunday, veteran Trenton music man, Paul "The Bishop of The Blues" Plumeri was on my radio program "Rock On Radio." Paul and I discussed the once vibrant night life that existed in our city and what has occurred to alter that. We discussed drunk driving laws, smoking bans and housing busts as major contributing factors to the demise of music venues in Trenton; many of the same issues that are driving restaurants out of once vibrant neighborhoods, drove the bar business under long ago.

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Recently I was afforded the opportunity to talk music with some of our area's elite players. I was privy to a rehearsal at Tom Reock's Squirrel Ranch Studio in Hamilton as he and his top notch assembly of players prepare for his next album showcase; Eric Clapton's "Journeyman." Without giving too much of next week's column away, Reock (one of the most respected multi-instrumentalists around), guitarist Mario DiBartolo and drummer Joe D'Angelo also spoke of the demise of various venues and Joe even took it a step further, giving me an honest opinion of today's "internet culture" and its effect on our youth and how it relates to music communities all over. "The culture is so different," he explained. "When we were eighteen years old the drinking age was eighteen; we were able to go out. You were either hanging in bars or a "jock" playing sports. Now if you were in bars, you were there to see bands and check out the girls (laughs); today's text and internet culture keeps kids on the couch. My generation was much more social, if I wanted to meet my friends or my girl, I had to shower, get ready and go out. We couldn't text or e-mail a picture of whose where or what was going on; we had to see for ourselves. We would go to these places and see drummers and guitarists and bands that would blow us away; it drove our passion to play and make music. Today's technology, well, the '90's, took a lot out of the music scene, seems they took the emotion out of music; it all changed with technology." Not quite as adamant but no less passionate, Reock added, "Have you noticed the age of the players? The majority of performers are us guys who've been around, why is that? There are several younger artists but I'm waiting for that new blood to come in like we did when we were younger. There's a lot of great talent in this area; I'm just waiting for it to blossom."

Perhaps, as D'Angelo said, it's an instant gratification via texts and internet, or maybe it's a lack of enthusiasm; whichever it may be (I'll go out on a limb here), I and all of my fellow musicians know one thing; we are not in it for the money! Once again, Plumeri and (in an earlier interview)his Blues In Disguise band mate T.J. Nix spoke of how "back in the day" we were making so called "good money." Nix chuckled as he said, "Gosh remember those days? A bar on every corner in Trenton and we were making a decent buck to do what we do. I recall what I was making then, thirty plus years ago and I remember thinking, I'm doing pretty well. Now here I am all these years later and the pay scale hasn't changed (laughs)! I mean, don't we get a cost of living increase? Something? Anything?"

This sentiment is echoed often by musicians of all skill levels, genres and styles. Earlier this week I spoke with a musician who elaborated on how many venue owners like to use a "sliding pay scale." That is the practice of paying the entertainment based on how many people they draw into the venue; even after they've agreed upon a set price prior to the act's appearance. This is usually done to the newer acts or the bands/solo artists who are afraid to stand their ground out of fear of not being re-booked at that establishment; hence, shrinking venues, more demand. "Well, you know," and "You guys didn't do as well as I'd hoped" are perhaps the most dreaded words when the end of a long night comes around. When those words are spoken, there's a good chance the club owner or bar manager is going to want to negotiate. "Seeing since you guys didn't bring anybody..." and "Where were all of your people?" These are guaranteed to be the prelude to being asked to take a cut in the previously set pay amount. Never mind that very few of these same business men refuse to spend a dime on any advertising promoting the artist's appearance or update their web sites to reflect the current month let alone a recent entertainment schedule; many place that burden on the musicians. I've heard these individuals say, "Have you seen the cost of advertising?!" "Nobody reads newspapers today." "If your band is any good you shouldn't need advertising." Yes, I've heard all of these; my personal favorite is, "What? Who needs advertising? Between the internet, Facebook, Twitter; we shouldn't have to worry about advertising."

So there it is my friends, musicians blame the venues and venues the musicians. A vicious cycle created long before I ever hit my first drum; a cycle which continues today and will continue far into the future. These complaints are not just localized; many of the Jersey shore area players and those across the river in PA. have the same issues as well.

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Earlier I said that none of us are in it for the money; we are all however, in it for the passion. I've heard non musicians say that "all musicians and entertainers are narcissistic." I've heard my ilk called "egotistical," "snobbish" and "holier than thou" and this may be very well true for some but most are hard working, passionate , creative people who enjoy sharing their talent with any and all who are willing to listen.

So please, keep that in mind when your child asks to play an instrument or you venture out this weekend and beyond to support live music; passion in what they do motivates them to play for you. We've all got something to say, some of us express it through song.

Friday evening, the "Fast Freddy Birthday Bash" is taking place at The Sticky Wicket located on South Broad St. in Hamilton. Come join Freddy and his Dawgs band mates Doug and Monty as they rock the rafters loose with classic rock cover tunes.

Just down the street, Gunsmoke takes over The Ivy Tavern with their brand of southern style classic rock and original material. These guys are fantastic and some of the best performers that our area has to offer.

Shall neither of those choices be to your liking, one of my two favorite original bands, Honey Spot Blvd. will be at Cedar Pub on Rte 33 in Hamilton. HSB gets the mention often in this space because like Saturday's band at this establishment, Charles Laurita & The Mischief; they just flat out rock! Yes, Cedar is the place to be either or both nights for original music performed by talented players.

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Tuesday evenings, mega talented Shaun Ruymen hosts an open mic. at Dubh Lin Square on Rte. 130 North in Bordentown. Shaun recruits some great artists for your listening pleasure.

This space welcomes any suggestions and/or comments. Please send them 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

Sun. 9 p.m. Princeton Area Bluegrass

Wed. 10 p.m. Open mic. night Hosted by Eric Puliti

All shows 21+

Amarones Windsor Inn

29 Church St. Windsor

(609) 448-714

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Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Pizza Party Night feat.Scott Gager & Debbie

Fri. 8 p.m. Phaze

Sat. 7:30 p.m. Sounds of the Street

Tues. 7 p.m. Texas Hold'em


911 Rte. 33 Hamilton

(609) 245-8887

Sat. 9 p.m. Some Assembly Required

Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612

Sat. 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Lee Hogan Trumpet Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)

Cedar Gardens Pub
661 Hwy. 33 Hamilton
(609) 587-0930

Fri. 9 p.m. Honey Spot Blvd.

Sat. 9 p.m. Charles Laurita & The Mischief

All shows 21+

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Centro Bar And Grille

2360 Rte. 33 Robbinsville

(609) 208-9300

Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Jerry Monk

Chambers Walk Cafe
2667 Main St. Lawrenceville
(609) 896-5995

Fri./Sat. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton

The Backstage at Championship Bar
931 Chambers St. Trenton

(609) 394-7437

Fri. 7 p.m. Our Wrecked Machine, Know Your Roots, And Shepherds We Shall Be. All ages, $10

Sun. 10 p.m. King Don & Mr. Popula, Liz Cisco, Diz, Scatta R. Pee. Ages 21+, $5

Dubh Linn Square
167 Rte. 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-7100

Fri. 9 p.m. Class A Kings

Sat. (3 p.m.) Andrew Pitman (9 p.m.) Nog Bhoys

Sun. 4 p.m. Irish Sessions w/ Billy O'Neal

Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night hosted by Shaun Ruymen

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Erini Restaurant

1140 River Rd. Ewing

(609) 882-0303

Fri. 8:30 p.m. Paul Plumeri, Jerry Monk, Joe Kramer

Sat. 8:30 p.m. Mike Matisa & Karly Coleman w/ Bob O

Halo Pub

4617 Nottingham Way Hamilton Square

(609) 586-1811

Sat. 7 p.m. Kim Yarson

Havana New Hope
105 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-9897

Thurs. "Beat The Clock" College Night DJ Dance Party

Fri. 9:30 p.m. DJ Dance Party

Sat. 8:30 p.m. Animal House

Sun. 1:30 p.m. Midnight Sun Orchestra

Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron Sherr and Bridget

Wed. 8 p.m. CTA the Band feat. Danny Seraphine and Bill Champlin. $60 (advance)

All shows 21+

Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435

Fri. 10 p.m. Gunsmoke

Sat. 10 p.m. Jeff Palmer & Friends
All shows 21+

John & Peter's
96 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981

Thurs. 9 p.m. Tim Nayfield

Fri. 9 p.m. Skip's Museum

Mon. Open Mic.

Wed. The Invitational (Featuring John & Peter's House Band)
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern

2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton

(609) 586-2678

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke

Olde Nottingham Tavern

9 Mercer St. Hamilton Square

(609) 890-9819

Sat. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri Blues Band

All shows 21+

Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979

Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Tues. Trivia Night

All shows 21+

Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Kindred Spirit

Sat. 9:30 p.m. Infinite Bandwith

The Revere Ristorante

802 River Rd. West Trenton

(609) 882-6365

Sat. 8 p.m. Deb & Mike

RHO Waterfront

50 Riverview Plaza Trenton

(609) 393-7300

Thurs. 9 p.m. College Night w/ DJ Jeff Scott

Fri. (6 p.m.) Dennise Rogers (9 p.m.) DJ Jimmie Palumbo. $10 (cover charge includes buffet, bands and DJs)

Sat. (8 p.m.) Latin Dance Event-Sabado Sabroson (9 p.m.) DJ / Live Band. $20 (all inclusive)

All Shows 21+

Spigola Ristorante

3817 Crosswicks Hamilton Square Rd. Hamilton

Fri. 8:30 p.m. DJ Dan Murphy

Sat. 8:30 p.m. DJ John Rossi

Star Subs Café

621 Rte. 130 Buckley Plaza Hamilton

(609) 333-1230

Wed. 7 p.m. Acoustic Open Mic. Night hosted by Bri LoBue

Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345

Fri. (8 p.m.) Sarcasm Comedy Night (9 p.m.) DJ Night

Sat. 9 p.m. NFN (Not For Nothing)

Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night

The Cool Cricket

216 4th St. Fieldsboro

(609) 291-9110

Thurs. 8 p.m. Kinky Bingo

Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Sat. 9 p.m. Alright Alright

The Record Collector

358 Farnsworth Ave. Bordentown

(609) 324-0880

Sat. 8 p.m. Charlene McPherson & Mo Goldner / Sad Bastards of Brooklyn (CD Release Party) All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $12 (advance)

The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007

Fri. 9 p.m. "Fast Freddy Birthday Bash" w/ The Dawgs

All shows 21+

The Sun National Bank Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200

Thurs. 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic. Doors 6 p.m., $15, $40 (VIP), $65 (rink side)

Fri. 7 p.m. Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic. Doors 6 p.m., $15, $40 (VIP), $65 (rink side)

Sat. 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic. Doors 6 p.m., $15, $40 (VIP), $65 (rink side)

Sun. 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic. Doors 6 p.m., $15, $40 (VIP), $65 (rink side)

Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554

Fri. 9 p.m. Birmingham 6

Sat. 9 p.m. Mike Barniskas

Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Chris Pinto

All shows 21+

Trenton Social

449 South Broad Street Trenton

(609) 989-7777

Thurs. 7 p.m. Social Thursdays w/ DJ Tangency

Fri. 7 p.m. Social First Fridays

Mon. 10 p.m. Service Industry Night w/ DJ-JayKountree

Tues. 9 p.m. LiveMusic/Open Mic.

Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300

Thurs. 10 p.m. The Sun Parade

Fri. 10 p.m. Stroamata. $5 (coverage)

Sat. 10 p.m. Quimby Mountain Band. $5 (cover charge)

Sun. 6:30 p.m. Super Bowl Party
All shows 21+

Villa Romanza

429 Rte. 156 Hamilton

(609) 585-1717

Fri. (6 p.m.) Arturo Romay. (9 p.m.) DJ Big Red

Wed. 7:30 p.m. Texas Hold'em

Wildflowers Inn

2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington

Sat. 9 p.m. Live Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke

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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