Makin Waves Scene Report with Light of Day Winterfest, Windows of Understanding, The Brighton Bar & More

Also featured are John Ginty, Deal Casino, Big Man’s Birthday Bash, Project REAL, Cold Weather Company and Karma Gambit.

    Light of Day Winterfest returns to Asbury Park and the metropolitan area with dozens of shows to support the Light of Day Foundation, a nonprofit that has battled Parkinson’s Disease for 20 years by raising more than $4.5 million. This 19th addition of the fest will be anchored by Bob’s Birthday Bash on Jan. 19 at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. The annual celebration of Light of Day founder Bob Benjamin will feature performances by Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers, Willie Nile Band, Low Cut Connie, Jesse Malin, John Eddie & His Dirty Ol’ Band, James Maddock Band, Steve Forbert & the Renditions, and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan.

  In Asbury, Winterfest also will feature Makin Waves’ curation of LOD@APYC with Little Vicious, Rachel Ana Dobken, Molly Rhythm and Erotic Novels on Jan. 18 and Avery Mandeville & the Man Devils, American Trappist and Nalani & Sarina.

  Other Asbury shows include Albert Lee, McLoone’s Supper Club, and tributes to The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton and more, Stone Pony, both Jan. 13; Remember Jones, Williams Honor; Marc Ribler’s tribute to The Who with members of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul, and John Pisano’s Punk Rock Pizzeria, House of Independents; Sandy Mack’s Wonder Jam with Karmic Juggernaut, Kevin Hill of Secret Sound, Waiting on Mongo, Dogs in a Pile, Strumberry Pie, Cosmic Jerry, Predator Dub Assassins and more, Wonder Bar; and Monmouth University’s Blue Hawk Records with Vini Lopez of the E Street Band, Ricky Byrd of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Dan Amato & the Sentimental Gentlemen, Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son and more, Langosta Lounge; all Jan. 17; Asbury Angels Induction of Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens, Springsteen assistant Obie Dziedzic, Asbury musician Gladstone Trott, and music writer “Uncle Mike” Lisa with performances by The Ventures, The Weeklings, Black Flamingos, Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son, Black Flamingos, Billy Walton Band, Bocci & the Bad Boys, Stone Pony; “A Night of Covers” with Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan and more, Silverball Museum Arcade; Acoustic Carousel with Peter Scherer, Langosta Lounge; Dramarama, The Grp Weeds and The Easy Outs, House of Independents, The Saint, and Jackson Pines, Sam Sims Band, and The Burns, The Asbury hotel, all Jan. 18; The Weight Band, Stone Pony; Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why and Colossal Street Jam, House of Independents; Asbury Underground acoustic pop-up at 20 downtown venues; Women of Song with Pam McCoy, The Wag, Joe Wymer, Strumberry Pie, Taylor Tote and more; Full Tilt Boogie Bash with Popa Chubby, Billy Hector Band and Chrstine Martucci, 7 p.m., Wonder Bar; Asbury Blues with Norman Seldin, Joe Bonanno, Sharon Lasher Trio and more, noon, Wonder Bar; Jeffrey Gaines, McLoone’s Supper Club; Rock Heavy, The Saint; Levy & the Oaks and Lowlight, Langosta Lounge, and Virago, Pamela Flores, and Hideaway, The Asbury, all Jan. 19; Kids Rock with Vendetta Rose, Ham by the Pound, Avery Rose, School of Rock, Rockit and more, Stone Pony; Dan Amato & the Sentimental Gentlemen, High Season, The Well Wish, The Extensions, and Sonic Blume, The Saint; Songwriters by the Sea Boardwalk Crawls, Watermark, Langosta Lounge, and McLoone’s, and Des & the Swagmatics and Shady Street Show Band, The Asbury Music Hall, all Jan. 20, and Goodbye Brunch, McLoone’s, Jan. 21.

  LOD North Jersey will feature Nile, Maddock, Martucci, Daniella Cotton, Williams Honor, D’Urso, Jon Caspi, Laura Crisci, and Rick Winowski, Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair; LOD Philadelphia will feature Willie Nile Band, Jesse Malin Band, James Maddock Band, The Weeklings, and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, The World Café. And LOD NYC will feature Steve Forbert Band, The Weeklings, John Eddie & His Dirty Ol’ Band, and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, The Cutting Room.

  In other Light of Day news, the Italian band Mardi Gras has released a benefit single of Willie Nile’s “One Guitar.” Along with Bruce Springsteen’s “Light of Day,” the tune has been an anthem for the foundation, often ending Winterfest in an all-star jam. The track is available online everywhere.

  New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and Highland Park Arts Commission announce the second annual “Windows of Understanding.” The public art project unites local artists, organizations and businesses to promote compassion and awareness around social justice issues impacting their community. Nearly 40 store-front windows across New Brunswick and Highland Park will be activated as part of the initiative, nearly doubling the amount of original installations produced last year. Most installations will be on view along Church, George and French streets in New Brunswick, as well as Raritan Avenue in Highland Park. The project launches Jan. 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as a way of paying homage to King’s legacy. Family-friendly guided art crawls throughout the day will complement a communal lunch hosted at Harvest Moon Brewery & Cafe by Elijah’s Promise, a New Brunswick-based food justice and empowerment program.

  The run culminates on Feb. 28 with a reception at the American Hungarian Foundation in New Brunswick. Throughout, “Windows of Understanding” will address cultural identity, faith-based initiatives, gender and sexuality, environmental justice, homelessness, food insecurity and youth mentoring. Once again, the exhibition gives voice to art created by New Brunswick and Highland Park middle school and high school students grappling with these issues every day. Danielle Fleming, facilitator of New Brunswick Middle School Art Club, encouraged students to show an awareness of tolerance and make a statement that no one should be excluded or discriminated against. Sixth grade student Angela Villanueva said, “The LGBTQ+ community should be respected not hated.”

  Organizers paired artists with local organizations, such as the Brady Campaign, Muslim Feminists for the Arts, D.I.R.E., Interfaith Rise, Pride Center of New Jersey, NAACP, New Labor, Women Aware, Elijah’s Promise, Civic League of Greater New Brunswick, and Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership. A diverse range of cultural centers at Rutgers University also are represented. Each team collaborated on a piece in response to the central prompt: “How do you see through hate?” to be displayed in windows for the public to actively engage.

  “We are proud to participate in this vital initiative,” said George B. Stauffer, dean of the Mason Gross School of the Arts. “The Mason Gross School is not a cloistered arts conservatory. We’re deeply invested in the cultural life of New Brunswick and Highland Park, and the Windows of Understanding project allows our artists to collaborate with the community to address issues of social justice in a creative and compassionate way.”

  In conjunction with the project, the Highland Park Arts Commission is populating a Digital Art Walk Tour, which will permit pedestrians in Highland Park, as well as those at home, to read and hear about the art in the windows of local businesses. Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler said, “Highland Park, as a culturally, racially and income-diverse community, truly attempts to ‘see through hate’ at every level of our civic engagement. Public art is critical to enriching the lives of ALL of our residents. Our downtown store windows are the perfect environment for sharing public art. We look forward to seeing the socially relevant art in the Windows of Understanding Project and to breaking bread with others in meaningful, if sometimes difficult, conversation at the Tables of Understanding communal dining events in our local restaurants. My hope is that these conversations about the content, vision and challenges before us can aid us in serving our neighbors better in 2019.”

  The project’s Jan. 21 kickoff features guided walking tours of the installations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. departing from Kilmer Square and Kim’s Bike Shop respectively. The aforementioned “Tables of Understanding” events at local restaurants, as well as film screenings, a diversity workshop, and live performances will complement the public art throughout the run in both New Brunswick and Highland Park. For a complete schedule, visit

  “The City of New Brunswick is proud to be home to a vibrant network of arts and cultural organizations dedicated to the use of creative expression to further unite our community,” Mayor Jim Cahill said. “We are pleased to be able to welcome this project back for another exhibition in tandem with our partners at Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Borough of Highland Park.”

  One of the most important, influential and nurturing New Jersey venues has been The Brighton Bar in Long Branch. Two upcoming events signify that impact. On Jan. 11, the award-winning student documentary, “The Brighton Bar: The Home of Original Music,” will be screened in the historic auditorium of Old Long Branch High School, 200 Eastbourne Ave. The film was made by current students at today’s Long Branch High School, which now is on Indian Avenue. The free all-ages event is open to the public and will include live performances by alumni, including the reggae-ska-dub band Eastbourne, named for the street the old school was on, as well as Ricky Elderidge of the Class of 1969 and Ashley DeLima of the Class of 2016.

  To help keep the Brighton Makin Waves, a benefit will be held on Jan. 19 at the club. Minister of Metal in association with Bull Spike Radio and Militia Nation will present Purgatory, Metal Life Crisis, Metalland, Mark Mayers, Tight Lipped and DJ Turbo.

  Congrats to Morris County Hammond B3 wizard John Ginty (Robert Randolph, Citizen Cope), who’s been tapped as organist for the inaugural spring tour of the new Allman Betts Band. The band is led by Devon Allman and Duane Betts, the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts and the nephew and namesake of Allman Brothers Band founder, Duane Allman. They will play March 31 at Hopewell Theatre in Hopewell and April 12 at Newton Theatre in Newton. But first John Ginty Band, featuring Randolph band mate/cousin Marcus Randolph, will share the bill with Anthony Krizan Band on Jan. 12 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.

  Congrats to Asbury Park-based Deal Casino who are tapped to play Governor’s Ball on May 31 at Randall’s Island in New York City. Other performers throughout the annual three-day festival will include Tyler the Creator, Florence + the Machine, The Strokes, Nas, The 1975, Lil Wayne and Jersey’s own SZA. In appreciation for their best year ever, Deal Casino are donating a portion of their music sales on Bandcamp to help Southern Poverty Law Center with their social justice efforts.

  The Seventh Annual Big Man’s Birthday Bash Weekend in tribute to late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons will be Jan. 11 at The Headliner in Neptune and Jan. 12 at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como. The first day will focus on the Big Man’s jam years with Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead with Splintered Sunlight, Pat Roddy Band, Nick Clemons Band, Secret Sound, Waiting On Mongo, Woodfish and a recreation of a legendary jam by Garcia, Clemons and John Fogerty from a 1987 concert. The second show will focus on the Jersey Shore rock ‘n’ soul sound he was a part of for so many years with performances by Brue Crew, Moroccan Sheepherders, Colossal Street Jam, Holme, Matt O’Ree Band, Mr. LoveJoy feat. Tommy Jannarone, Bob Polding Band, Nick Clemons Band, feat. another of his sons, Jarod Clemons, and Big Man Bash All-Star Band feat. Polding, Eddie Testa, Jobonanno, Joe Bezzone (Turnstiles), Lisa Sherman, Phil DeZago(Whiskey Fueled), Mark Leimbach (Gary “U.S.” Bonds), Killer Joe Ferraro, “The Philly Elvis” Nick Ferraro, Pat Roddy, Vinny Daniele (Cats on a Smooth Surface/Best of the Eagles), Joe Vadalla (Best of the Eagles) and special guests. An acoustic stage will feature Deedee Pie, Taylor Tote, Rich Meyer and much more. Proceeds from $25 or $40 combo tickets will go to CFC Loud N Clear Corporation, which supports those suffering from addiction, and Monmouth County SPCA. 

    Here’s a stacked show if there ever was one: Hot Blood, The Cryptkeeper Five, Lowlight and Shaune Pony Heath on Jan. 11 at The Saint. They are banding together to benefit Project R.E.A.L. (Real Empowerment on All Levels), an Asbury Park safe space for LBGT young adults to relax, meet and support each other within the community.

  Cold Weather Company will be celebrate the release of their latest LP, Find Light, on Jan. 23 at Mercury Lounge in New York City with their old New Brunswick pal Evangelia. Check out a Record of the Week review of Find Light here on Jan. 24.

    Karma Gambit, featuring the Linden brothers of Rose Boulevard and the Black Spot Society, has a new album out, This Is Probably a Mistake, But … They’ll be playing in support of the 1song punk-pop effort on Jan. 11 at The Brighton Bar with Highwind, Cardinals, Alive in Fiction, and Highschool Superstars. That show also will serve as an EP release party for Highwind and a farewell for Cardinals. Karma Gambit also will play Feb. 10 with The Afraid Brigade and Whispers.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at