Shoreworld: Wild Adriatic At The Wonder Bar; Asbury Park Live

Wild Adriatic – The Wonder Bar – Thursday, Aug. 20

Talk about timing. Wild Adriatic just reached out to me about their new music as I was getting ready to launch this upcoming show announcement. Elmthree Productions, in conjunction with Dark City Entertainment, present a triple threat of raw, rock and roll treats. Featuring the aforementioned Wild Adriatic, they will also be joined by the supportive magic of The Cold Seas and Wyland.

Wild Adriatic will be winding down their 13-date tour with a pit stop in the park before heading on and finishing things off with an appearance with Buddy Guy, ZZ Top and Gary Clark Jr. somewhere in the wilds of Vermont.

Following in the soulful and dynamic footsteps of ’70s giants such as Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, and Free’s early days, Wild Adriatic has wowed enough industry stalwarts to get early (and eager) acclaim from a number of media mavens.

While the band was first noticed with their 2012 release Lock & Key, real momentum came via their 2014 release, Big Suspicious, a disc that put them on the road and stage with luminaries such as Grand Funk Railroad, Robert Randolph, Blues Traveler, Deer Tick, MuteMath, and more. That powerhouse record was also the lynchpin that solidified their draw power on heavy-duty festival stages for SXSW, Gathering Of The Vibes, Moe Down, Summer Camp and CMJ.

If Big Suspicious launched Wild Adriatic, then their latest EP, Never Enough, is the vehicle steering them full steam ahead down diverse roadways of bluesy, R&B-flavored rock and roll. Featuring four riffed-out examples of addictive and soul-driven odyssey, Never Enough gives plenty of organic oomph.

Songs such as title track “Never Enough” fire off pristine blitzkriegs of Jimmy Page/Paul Kossoff guitar brilliance. Featuring the massive rhythm work of Rich Derbyshire (bass) and Mateo Vosganian (drums), the track is expertly guided by the rock steady vocal supremacy of Travis Gray. Gray reminds me of Lou Gramm back in the early days of Foreigner. His utilization of scale, dynamic and tone makes sure that from start to finish, “Never Enough” has plenty to offer.

The EP track aimed at radio profitability is “Strange Persuasions.” Combining the funk-lined soul of Jeff Lynn’s 1973 smash hit, “Showdown,” with all the rock and roll panache of Gene and Paul’s Animalize period, “Strange Persuasions” grinds with the passionate fury of their influential gods.

Another standout is “Trouble.” Popping and grooving like a funk hybrid of Lenny Kravitz and Free, the pentatonic lines of Gray’s guitar work move this dervish along with purpose and style. Big, bold bar chords mix with blues-inspired ninth chords as they blast tube-driven hooks over the top of frenetic bass and drums. This is trio work at its finest. Simple, dynamic and full of spirit, “Trouble” is an addictive romp that you’ll remember for weeks on end.

            Never Enough is a small, but tightly honed look into a very diverse and talented group fast on their way to the big time. With their tireless roadwork, keen attention to compositional excellence and a growing reputation of recognizable sound, they are an unstoppable group of composers paying original homage to the movers and shakers that started it all.

The Wonder Bar is located on Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park. For more information on the show head over to and check out Wild Adriatic at


Mogo And Lakehouse Present: Asbury Park Live, A Free Summer Concert Series – Every Wednesday At 1st Avenue Green Space At The Asbury Park Boardwalk

In a town full of luxury hotel deals, ridiculously priced condos (being built for rich out-of-towners), and a police force more concerned with handing out $38 parking tickets than with anything else, it’s good to see that many still keep the focus on the reason this town survived in the first place. That focus is music.

From the 1904 launching of Arthur Pryor as the first bona fide music star, up till today’s vibrant scene, original music pioneers are responsible for Asbury Park’s legendary status.

So many great players and rooms have come and gone, but their passionate time frame continues to burn brightly in our memories and the amazing stories that we hear about the people who turned them into household names.

And while today’s local venue presence looks light on paper (there are really only around six or seven full-time rock rooms in the immediate area), the spaces are so famous that A-list musicians trek from all over the world to make Asbury Park part of their tour stops.

Many Nashville and New York City bands have made Asbury their adoptive home thanks to the growing buzz of the “City by the Sea.”

But the truth is that there are several forward-thinking promoters trying new things, and they are being utilized as we speak. The Carousel Room up on the boardwalk has presented some great shows as of late, as is the case over at the Asbury Festhalle on Lake Avenue.

Summertime means outdoors, and the folks over at MOGO Korean Fusion Tacos and Lakehouse Music continue to knock line drives up the middle of the town with weekly offerings at the 1st Avenue Green Space on the boardwalk called Asbury Park Live.

Each show features the very best in area standouts, giving them much-deserved publicity and a voice aimed at a section of the public that might never experience their music in one of the local clubs. That “boardwalk public” has to be identified and catered to if something like this is to work. Much planning is put into these shows, giving optimum listening experience without a loud and out-of-control bombardment.

Asbury Park Music Foundation director Matt Hockenjos tells me in his release, “The stage will be set up on the southwest corner of the 1st Avenue Green Space, so that monitor speakers are facing the Empress Hotel and the main speakers are facing the green space for a more intimate feel of the event. The idea of the event is to have patrons grab a nice seat on the lawn and enjoy free live shows from some of the great bands Asbury Park has to offer. Asbury Audio is providing the PA system and lighting for the event.”

As to the goal of this event, Matt says, “The proceeds will go to the Asbury Park Music Foundation whose youth initiative provides musical education programming, lessons and musical instruments for Asbury Park’s youth, as well as the bands playing at the event as a token of our appreciation for their endeavors and contribution to this city’s music scene.”

Tonight’s show will feature The Color Atlantic. TCA is another in the growing family of Lakehouse-produced bands. TCA features Bryan Haring (vocals/keyboards), Kyle Rinfret (guitar/vocals), Joe Vena (bass), and Ryan Kroon (drums).

Other shows coming up will feature Dolly’s and May Darlings on Aug. 26, and the mighty, mighty sounds of Shoreworld alumni Deal Casino on Sept. 2. For more information on this fresh outdoor offering, head over to