Joe Harvard has been working his own side of the street for several years now, lending lap steel, production and experience to other locals while maintaining his own musical career filled with solo discs and book projects concerning adventures with rock’s most interesting figures. But his focus these days is also on The Long Weekend, held every Monday at The Parthenon Lounge on Cookman Ave and his monthly interview series, RockN’Talk.
There have been other shows in town that tend to focus on intimate acoustic performance and quiet ambience (shhh!) but Harvard’s barrelhouse cacophony slaps down hard across intimacy’s cheek as he yells from the stage to the back of the bar, “Hey Bobby, come on up here and do a song!” With echoes of Andy Kaufman, Uncle Floyd and John Valby, Joe unravels his night with enthusiastic flair. The Long Weekend is based on a series developed back in Joe’s Boston days, and the format was refined after Joe’s authorship of The Velvet Underground And Nico (for Continuum’s 33-1/3 series) left him intrigued by certain ideas of Andy Warhol, particularly the concept of a show with no boundaries between band and audience.
And while music and poetry readings are the focus here, trivia also takes place throughout the night. Supervised by co-host Mallory Massara, whose Today’s Trivia included a table full of prizes from her own collections as well as some vintage vinyl donated by Holdfast (another cool Cookman Ave establishment) for their Holdfast question of the week segment.
Tonight’s show included impromptu performances by Mike Black, Glen Burtnick, Bobby Strange, Sheli Aarden, Michael Brett, Geena, Sandy Mack, Don Haney, Jimmy Curran and even yours truly, who got up there for a few precious moments with Joe’s ‘60s Telecaster. I especially liked seeing Glen Burtnick playing guitar behind his head at one point and Geena behind the drum kit. It’s a no pressure romp and the audience loves the untucked shirt gracefulness of the night. Joe acts as head conductor, yelling out chord changes and switching up obscure B-sides and delightful old school oddities.
The audience is a mix of everyone. You had painters, photographers, poets and musicians. I saw models and actors and pizza delivery guys all mixed under one roof and getting a turn (if they wanted it) onstage with Joe. No one can ever claim that they walked away dissed. This is like being in gym class and even though you’re the last undesirable left for dodgeball, you’re still gonna get picked.
Harvard and Masarra have also unveiled a performance and interview segment that give the crowd an inside look at performers and media pros alike. Whether its radio, press or music, Joe picks at their psyche from the outside in, taking off the layers and extracting a real interview done in person. They call it RockN’Talk and it’s a once a month event on a Friday at The Parthenon Lounge. After a 20 minute performance, each guest joins Joe Harvard for an interview-cum-conversation about the creative process, the work itself and the survival strategies adopted in a not-so-artist friendly world. Expect intriguing personalities, great music, surprise guests and surprises in general in these dialogues, ranging from serene to the bizarre. My pick of the week, The Long Weekend is definitely worth stretching out for. For more info on RockN’Talk or The Long Weekend, head over to myspace.com/joeharvardband.
Wishlist Foundation Gets The “Heat”
April 10 at The Stone Pony
Team McCready is a division of the Wishlist Foundation, Pearl Jam’s fan-run non-profit, and they’re teaming up with the Advocacy For Patients group to host a one-day, worldwide benefit event on Saturday, April 10 stretching from the United Kingdom to the United States. Sound complicated? Go grab a coffee and a donut, and we’ll explain the whole deal to ya. The fundraiser’s purpose is to help people with chronic illnesses that may be in need of legal help or health and disability insurance issues, including Social Security disability, employment discrimination and more.
The New Jersey event will be held at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park from 4 p.m. til whenever, and as is the case whenever the call is made, our musicians answer it in droves. Event coordinator Lisa Cressman tells me they will also feature a walk through historic areas of Asbury Park finishing at the Stone Pony for show time. Don’t forget to take in my personal favorite, The Adriatic, right on Kingsley. Stop in and have Stanley fix you some Beef Stroganoff and pour you a glass of house wine. It’s the best in the state.
Musical performances are varied, with full bore rock and roll with B&G recording artist Heat (featuring Joe Ciid, Steven Wright and Gerry Mack) as well as a rousing return of Sinopoli. Other interesting guests include great acoustic performances from Dennis Coughlin, Christian Beach, John Fagan and Lisa Bouchelle, whose new CD, Bleu Room With A Red Vase, will be available.
And yes, it’s true, I’ll be wowing folks with a guest appearance at the end of the night with an unhealthy dose of Marshall-stacked bravado, so get those lighters ready.
Attendees will be able to make donations at the event, win raffled items (including fan-donated Pearl Jam memorabilia) and more. Folks are also asked to bring a non-perishable canned or boxed item as well. All proceeds benefit Advocacy for Patients and the Food Bank of Monmouth County. All ages are welcome to attend the walk and fundraiser at the Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Ave on Saturday, April 10 4 p.m. – close. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at stoneponyonline.com.
A Heapin’ Helping Of Harpin
The very next day about four miles south is Sandy Mack’s “Harpin’ Help 2010” at Bar A and this event proves that even that summertime playground in South Belmar—oh sorry, Lake Cuomo—can get the blues. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see guys like Sonny Kenn, Chuck Lambert, Billy Hector or Stringbean go check it out. These musicians have been around for years and are the real McCoy. They call it the Guitar/Harmonica Smackdown and it’s chock full of the best blues men around just a burnin’ up the fretboard and blowing mouth harp all over the front row, and what could be better than that? A towel maybe, but that’s about it. Event kingpin Sandy Mack is one of the best harp men in the business, so check him out! There is also other forms of music such as rock, acoustic folk, experimental and jam interspersed throughout the day and night.
In other words, you’ll like something unless you’re just a grumpy bastard and even then there’s lots of food so you can just eat and take a nap. Music starts at 12:30 p.m. and goes till 8 p.m. so come prepared to stuff your face, drink some beers and listen to a never ending parade of the area’s best musicians all coming together to support the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation as well as the Lunch Break organization of Red Bank. Once again, people coming together to lend a hand. Admission is $15.00 plus two non-perishable food or food related items (paper towels, etc) or $20.00 without food. Located in beautiful Lake Como (formerly S. Belmar), this is an All ages get together. bar-a.com.