(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- With one day in the books it was time for the longest day of the festival to begin. Of course, Gordon Brown roped me into doing a panel at 11:30am, so the long day would have to be a little longer for some of us. Personally, I hate doing panels. I don't even like attending panels - reminds me too much of going to school I think.
This was a panel about the media consisting of me, Donnie from The Rag, Jon Pfeiffer from the Aquarian, and Jeff Raspe from 90.5 The Night. Jeff was "supposed" to be the moderator but managed to squeeze his way out of that job and had Gordon Brown take over. His punishment was apparently being placed on a second panel!
The panel took place in the bottom floor of Trillium's Antique store. Gotta say, there was some crazy stuff all around and Jeff and I learned why we don't go shopping much. Neither one of us could understand the pricing between a giant piece of furniture and something incredibly small. The idea of mass produce versus hand made never really places into my world I guess, but hand made is apparently worth an awful lot more.
Yes, there was some people at the panel and we had some questions and even the threat of adversity but I won't go into that. The less said the better.
Anyway, after the panel I rushed off to catch Lanky at Twisted Tree. Ever since moving to Texas, he only seems to manage a show or two per year locally so I didn't want to miss this one. And he was good. Very good. Played the "hits" as well as some new tunes for a record he's working on. I had a crazy blast of deja vu entering the cafe to the chorus of "Lovesick" as it was that very song that inspired Upstage Magazine to create its first ever compiliation a few years ago.
I was bummed that I missed catching Anthony D?Amato when I ran into him on the street. He had started his set a little before Lanky and I missed most of his set while at the panel. Anthony has been writing for Upstage and AsburyMusic.com for several years now and it?s great to see both his writing career and musical career going places.
Met up with my wife for lunch at Twisted Tree and got back there just in time to see Joseph Parsons from Philly. Joseph was in more of a 4 Way Street mood than I expected, which was cool since I love that band. He played several of the tunes from their album and gave a preview of some of their upcoming songs as US Rails (the band?s new name).
From there it was on to the moment I had been waiting for ? Arlan Feiles? special ?NJ?s Got Roots? show at the Stone Pony (or the Legendary Stone Pony, I always forget if I legally have to say that or not). All I have to say is that the show exceeded any hype anyone could ever have given it. It was exactly what I expected from Arlan and the stellar lineup of musicians on board for the show. The idea for the show was to mix in songs by Arlan while highlighting many of the greatest artists to come from New Jersey and have many of the area?s favorite musicians all take their stab at covering someone?s work.
The list of performers included such names as April Smith, Rick Barry, Greg D, Anthony Fiumano, Rob Tannico, Lou Montessano, and Val Emmich. Highlights for me included Arlan?s brilliant ? utterly brilliant ? cover of ?Jungleland? by Bruce Springsteen; Greg D doing ?Dancing Barefoot? by Patti Smith; April Smith covering ?Brand New Skate Key? by Melanie and the valiant and impressive covers of Frank Sinatra by Val Emmich and Frankie Valli by Lou Montessano.
We were all wondering what song Rick Barry would cover by Paul Simon. My guess was ?50 Ways To Leave Your Lover? - instead he chose another appropriate one for him and did a great job with ?Kodakrome?.
Some of the other tunes in the show included Anthony Fiumano and the band did a wonderful job with an old Count Basie tune; James Dalton doing Blues Traveler; and Rob Tannico covering Donald Fagen. All in all, it was the highlight of the festival. I only wish more people had known about it. While the Stone Pony had a very good crowd, this show easily would have been completely sold out with enough press coverage and I can?t see why any music writer in the state (and possibly elsewhere) wouldn?t have wanted to preview this show. So, memo to musicians ? myspace and online marketing is good, but don?t forget the traditional media. It?s the best way to reach people you don?t know and when you think about it things like myspace marketing has a tendency to reach the people most likely to know about the event anyway. Do a mixture of both!!
Afterwards I headed over to the Wonder Bar for the Upstage Magazine presents the Near Records Stage (yeah, it?s a mouthful) and The Crayons. We had a great lineup of bands ? mostly from New York City ? and I knew I?d most likely be there for a lot of the night. Highlights for me at the WB included Goodfinger who were just as good as Gordon Brown said they?d be and Mink ? who is only the best band on the planet right now. I swear, I can?t remember the last time I?ve ever been so excited to get a new CD as I am for the debut disc by Mink (should be out in August I think). I really enjoyed the Ruling Party as well. That?s Ron Haney (Churchills) other band. We?d have the Churchills on stage a little later.
I caught some of the Capitol Years and flew over to the Stone Pony for the rest of Val Emmich?s set and the beginning of Earl Greyhound. Val was fantastic and Earl Greyhound was very cool as well. They?ve kind of got this classic rock / jamband thing going ? it?s like Led Zeppelin mixed with psychedelia kind of jam, but the coolest thing about them is just looking at them. The trio has a very distinctive look. Go to their website to see what I mean.
Got back to the WB for most of The Churchills and was ready to stay for the rest of the night. Paperback Radio was up next and it was interesting seeing them on back to back nights. I really expected something different from the Rick Barry & Days Awake stuff and both nights that?s all I heard. So, if you loved what they were doing together don?t worry ? it looks like they only changed their name. The funny thing is that several people told me they had really changed things up a lot. I just didn?t see it. I was hoping to hear tons of brand new songs and didn?t hear one original I hadn?t heard for months, if not years. [EDIT - According to Rick Barry, 3 brand new original songs were played] Oh well?
Maybe Pete wrapped up the night with an absolutely killer set. They were totally on! Doing a mix of their greatest hits and several (more than I thought they?d play) new tunes, they were one of the highlights of the day.
Day two in the books. Once again, the Wave Gathering was an incredible experience. Even a steady rain didn?t stop people from hanging out and moving from venue to venue. This is what it?s all about. Day three wrap up coming soon?
Tons and tons of photos from Saturday are online at http://www.upstagemagazine.com/photos/photos.php?directory=Wave2007b
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at email@example.com.