Shoreworld: The Valentine’s Day Massacre; Couch By Couchwest

The Valentine’s Day Massacre – Fetish Style

Valentine’s Day. That one holiday that puts as much pressure per square inch on a relationship as the depths of the ocean does on a submarine. Be dumb enough to show up unprepared and the pent up disappointment will come hissing in through unrealized avenues, building with power until the whole thing implodes and sinks to the bottom of Dr. Phil’s couch. Honestly, I may be a bit of a grouch, but we all know that this is one of those holidays that commercialism has sunk its teeth into, and the sheer genius of utilizing guilt and conformity through flowers, candy, dinners and other forms of momentary adulation has been working for generations.

But the true origins of our lovey-dovey holiday are a bit darker than most know. Those zany Romans celebrated Lupercalia from Feb. 13-15. The celebration is described by noted historian Noel Lenski (University Of Colorado Boulder) as thus: “The Roman romantics were drunk. They were naked. Young women would actually line up for men to hit them. They believed this would make them fertile.” There you go, those zany Romans, at it again. The men would sacrifice a dog and a goat and then beat the gal pals with the animal skins. Apparently, they loved it.

Those nutty Romans muddled the meaning further with the execution of two different men named Valentine. Apparently, Emperor Claudius II had nothing better to do one lost weekend and so he executed two men on or around Feb. 14 on different years in the third century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the “day late and a dollar short” Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.

Eventually, the holiday was softened through cutting edge prose from hipsters like Shakespeare and Chaucer, who probably became the first to realize romantic potential and include the holiday in their wordy work. And as the years rolled on, the stealthy commercial beast snuck in and dressed the whole thing in a pink fancy heart complete with angels and Hallmark cards.

But not everyone is satisfied to sit back and wait for their mushy lace cards and bow and arrow equipped angel candy. That’s why Fetish, Asbury Park’s most stylish “magasin de vêtements,” has decided to throw their own version of the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Unlike the 1929 Capone/Moran scuffle that featured seven dead gangsters, the Valentine’s Day Massacre, sponsored by Fetish, will feature three of the area’s liveliest rock and roll bands. Fetish is what can be best described as a 180-degree departure from the typical cookie-cutter clothing store found in a mall near you. Fetish is style; Fetish is pure rock and roll.

The event will be held at The Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday, Feb. 16, and will feature Graveyard School, The Disconnects and The F Bombers.

All three of these unique bands have been featured here in the Aquarian at one time or another and I make no bones about being a colossal F Bombers fan. Lead singer/guitarist Kim Pulsive was born to snarl, and she does plenty of that with The F Bombers. With a style that combines The Runaways with The Dead Boys, her raw and powerful voice is an attention-getter from the precise first bar chord explosion. Graveyard School are an old “School” group first heralded here by journalist Chris Barry. Their time at Wayne’s Broadway Central Cafe was legendary. Based off of the six-string frenetics of Larry Gray and the junkyard vocal prowess of Kim Kaos, Graveyard School are a natural choice for a punk rock show. Newest comers, The Disconnects snap it all into place for what is sure to be a highlighted weekend event.

When I spoke to Fetish owner Diane Bowman, you could readily understand her history and love of all things rock and roll. She’s been tied to the music scene since the early days of punk, and everyone looks to her for acquiring knowledge and the right look. When I visited Fetish, I had visions of New York City’s Trash and Vaudeville, or Philly’s now defunct Zipperhead on South Street. Located right here on Cookman Avenue in downtown Asbury Park, Fetish looks and feels right at home.

Diane also told me that the show will feature notable guest surprises, and models wandering around dressed in Fetish wares. The girls are all drop-dead gorgeous, so that is another glorious reason that makes me glad I’ll be there.

So don’t miss the introduction of “Asbury Park’s premiere rock & roll clothing and adult boutique” with their Valentine’s Day Massacre at The Saint on Feb. 16. The only excuse you would have for missing this is if you decided that you rather I beat you with an animal pelt, which can be arranged.

Tickets are available at The Saint door, or direct from Fetish at 644 Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park at 732-898-9215. For more information, go to


CXCW – Music Festival Savvy From The Living Room La-Z-Boy

When I first heard about this idea, I praised the lord out loud. Who would even think up something that could be so effortlessly done without leaving the house? But it’s a brilliant idea that has been picking up steam since its inception.

This is yet another grassroots event that was born from necessity. Unreasonably high prices and even rarer chances of getting picked for that other Texas festival are resulting in the old “water seeking its own level” style of attack. In this case, it’s called, Couch By Couchwest.

Their website bio tells the whole story. “CXCW is the slackers alternative to SXSW. During the week of March 11-18, 2012, musicians from around the world submit videos recorded on a couch, porch, bathroom…anywhere but the stage…for our enjoyment from the comfort of our living rooms. We hope to bring together as many people as possible who are stuck home while all their friends are stuck in the crowds of Austin, TX. So crack open a beer, crank up the volume, and enjoy the couch!”

2011 saw artists of all types, from novice to pro, with a performance by Neko Case and other well-known luminaries. Contests are hosted, and participation is cultivated and welcome. They even made their own “CouchSquare” button (Foursquare allegedly had ignored their request for one from them) that shows check-ins from people all over the globe. This is a serious contender to the shut outs in Austin. I say this because I went to their site and saw the list of CXCW friends. And while still small and humble, when companies such as Gibson start showing up, you know corporate America is starting to pay attention.

The reason I mention this here is because it’s something that can be accessed by anyone looking to perform from their living room. Many rising Jersey groups are on board, including buzz band Tony Tedesco & Full Fathom 5. Hell, you could be in some swanky penthouse living room in Manhattan, or a down-home sofa in Forked River, and you’ll still get equal billing. The idea and success to date is awe-inspiring, and I applaud anything that puts its thumb in the face of the VIP giants.

SXSW once focused on young, up-and-coming hopefuls. Now it elbows them out of the way in favor of money heavy major labels pushing flagging rock stars and rappers/sports stars looking for a second chance in life. That’s no good and it’s not why something like that came into existence.

Couch By Couchwest is a funny, enthusiastic dodge around the big, slow ox, and we wish them continued success.

For information on how to submit your song from the sofa, head over to their site and follow the instructions. The only thing you have to lose is about four commercials on the boob tube.