Who could ever forget that punk rock underdog called The Stranglers? Well, according to the packed crowd at the Brighton Bar, not many. And while Hugh Cornwell doesn’t dwell 24-hours a day on his old band’s contribution to the anarchy, he does give his faithful fans a lip full of 1970s snot and sneer during his shows. Hugh and crew showed that even the original old guys still call the big shots when it comes to gritty rock and roll panache.
With Blondie’s Clem Burke joining him for some October and November dates, Hugh Cornwell thundered the Long Branch room from top to bottom, pulling out alternate solo material mixed with classics from The Stranglers 1977 gem Rattus Norvegicus and wooing the safety-pin and spiked haired faithful quite well. Clem Burke was a visual and audio high point, breaking out all the stops with breaks, fills, blistering hot flams and paradiddles galore. Cornwell was gracious and funny, allowing free interaction with his fans all set long. I was impressed both with his energy and clean-cut playing talent. I guess like all guitarists, the more you do it, the better it gets.
Whatever Greg Macolino has been doing over there is working well as I’ve seen more old school alumni hanging out and a cool vibe of nostalgia than ever before. Mixing nationals with Brighton “Wall of Fame” regulars makes perfect sense and is a sign of respect for bands that really forged the original movement in New Jersey. It was nice to notice Debbie Harry of Blondie hanging in the Brighton crowd, proving once again that when it comes to Jersey rock rooms, The Brighton Bar is a king among princes.
That brings me to one of the opening bands that I wanted to mention as well. Ziggy Shock is a guy who has always been a peripheral player, starting off in the early days of the Brighton bar playing alongside bands like The Wallbangers, Surfers From The Future and even my band, In Between Dreams. Old school guys that still appear today, some 30 years later. Ziggy’s new band officially started sometime early 2007 in a rehearsal place dubbed “Lousyland.” That’s good news because he had pretty much disappeared after forming early 1980s Brighton bands like Holy Trinity and New Day.
As long as I’ve known Ziggy he’s been in a trio situation, and this band continues that tradition with the assistance of Kriss Kaboom on Bass and J. Drum on, uh… drums. Going through a dozen originals that ranged from blues-powered riff rock to post-punk and power pop, Shock and crew impressed with their knowledge and use of traditional styles. Ziggy was always a decent guitarists and after a few decades he’s even better, brandishing not one but two 1962 re-issue Stratocasters thru a Riviera combo and playing tightly on songs such as “Burn,” a cool mix of scary ‘60s eyeball grunge and rockabilly angst as well as the Billy Squire-bite of “Fallen.”
“Cats Keep Swingin” rolls with that 1980s rockabilly thing and the able assist of Kriss kaboom and J. Drum are felt all along this pompadour-laden track. While not a singer in the true sense of the word, Ziggy’s attitude laden monotone gets the point across from a cool player that is part of our original innovators club of the New Jersey music scene. If you like bands like Sham 69, Reverend Horton Heat, The Who, Stray Cats and early Cheap Trick, then come check out Ziggy Shock. Reverbnation.com/ziggyshock 18th annual Asbury Music Awards-November 13
Every year the folks over at Asbury Music Company get together to nominate people that have worked hard all year to bring the best entertainment to the Asbury Park area. From bands to highlighted events and openings, they all get the nod on this special day. The Asbury Music Awards have always been an interesting focus of praise, pride and reinforcement since Scott Stamper, owner of The Saint in Asbury Park, along with Peter Mantas, Langosta Lounge’s entertainment director, founded and designed the Asbury Music Awards in 1993.
One of the many things you can take away from the night is a cutting and comprehensive line up of entertainment on the Stone Pony stage. The coordinators always put 150 percent into coming up with a superb grouping, and this year’s line-up is even more diverse than ever, bringing in great new bands like Scott Liss & The Sixty-Six, The F Bombers and Captain James and The Pain, as well as long time local vets like Dub Proof, Quincy Mumford, Erin Shewell, Outside the Box, End of An Era, Mike Montrey, Almost There and poet extraordinaire John “Lunar” Richey. Newcomers to the night are Michael Patrick and Carl Chesna, who will kick things off. Everybody gets their fifteen minutes of local fame and from what I know about the bands, they’re going to use them all to their advantage.
Hosted by WRAT personality Rockin Robyn, the 18th annual Asbury Music Awards looks to be an interesting free-for-all night of “anything goes rock and roll.” And believe me, that’s what usually happens as bands, players and fans wait anxiously for the envelope and that well-known exclamation of, “And the winner is…” With over 30 awards and even more surprises the 2010 AMA’s look to be an all out top shelf pick in the park.
In addition to the recognition the Asbury Music Awards provides to local musicians, singers and songwriters, the shows have also proven a great opportunity for music fans, promoters, artists, media, local venues and the music community on a whole to experience the incredibly diverse talent in a wide variety of ways in one very special and intimate evening of music and merit.
Tickets available now on ticketweb.com and at The Saint Box Office, 601 Main Street, Asbury Park, NJ for this all-ages, 21 to drink show. Doors 6 p.m. For more information on voting ballots or bands, head over to thesaintnj.com.
Remember The Coop! A Tribute To Alice Coopers “Killer” Classics
Man, I’m on a Brighton Bar tangent this week! If you’re in the mood for a little old school pre-celebration, those wacky guitar slingers over at Main Man Records want to invite all of you to celebrate the release of Remember the Coop! It’s a disk with over 28 songs with contributions ranging from actual band members of Alice Cooper such as Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce to Former Bongos mainman Richard Barone, Sim Cain and well-known (no pun intended) 1990s rockers, Well Of Souls.
This Nov. 12 show features all the bands on the double-disk set that was released on Nov. 9. Disk one is the best of Alice and disk two is dedicated solely to the Killer album. Interesting as usual, from the mind of the guys with the best track record in grassroots intelligence. Each band will have around fifteen minutes to strut their stuff before making way for the next act.
The schedule at press time is as follows: Gin House Bandits 7:10, Johnny Dey 7:35, The Swales 8:00, Mad Man Moon 8:25, Stag 8:50, Blue Fox 9:15, Jack Brag 9:40, Deena & The Laughing Boys 10:05, Richard Barone 10:30, Richard w/Frankenstein 3000 10:40, Frankenstein 3000 10:50, Dead Elvi 11:10, Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets 11:35, Christian Beach 12:00,Well Of Souls 12:10,Scream 12:35 plus special guests
The Brighton Bar is at 121 Brighton Ave. in Long Branch, NJ for further info please go to mainmanrecords.com or brightonbar.com.