Words & Photos by Bill Bodkin
Last Thursday, Feb. 16, Pop-Break.com presented its second Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at the famed Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J. Despite the early rainstorms, the Wonder Bar filled up with locals and lovers of original music alike. It was a night of funk, rock and acoustic soul. And there was even an old fashioned sing-a-long. It was an awesome time.
On a personal note, it was such an honor to put on this show. Being able to produce a concert featuring one of your best friends and the person you co-founded a website with is something I am extremely proud of.
The New Brunswick funksters opened the show up with a bang. Lead vocalist Dave Moroney has an absolutely dynamite voice — he can hit some unbelievable high notes. As a band, Root Glen really knows how to provide a soundtrack of groovy and toe-tapping tunes — ambient one moment, driving the next. They can also throw down on covers — they absolutely killed it with their version of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” where guitarist Ross Griswold did a dead-on Bowie impersonation. Root Glen reappeared later in the night when their mascot, Glen the bear, came out for an impromptu dance number during The Clydes’ set.
Read Brent Johnson’s interview with Root Glen.
Pop-Break’s house band, The Clydes co-headlined the show — and it was a true honor to introduce the New Brunswick alt-rockers, especially because lead singer Brent Johnson helped create this website with me. Their set was also something of a reunion: With bassist Andrew Lord Chandler out of town, filling in was Jake Dombroski, who previously played with members of The Clydes in Rest Assured, a successful group from Rutgers University in the mid-2000s. Thursday, they sprinkled some old RA songs in between selections from The Clydes’ diverse, melodic catalog. They were super-tight all night long and really impressed the crowd with one of their newer tracks, the funky, Smiths-like “Nerve Damage.” The Clydes converted a lot of fans down the Shore this night.
Read Bill Bodkin’s interview with The Clydes.
CHRIS BROWN & LAST NIGHT’S DISASTERS
Asbury Park local legend Chris Brown closed the night, playing a few acoustic songs and then jamming with his band, Last Night’s Disasters. His acoustic opening set was a wonderful contrast to the electricity of The Clydes. The song he wrote about his father actually brought tears to my eyes — it was poetic and heartfelt. Last Night’s Disasters — drummer Joe Chyb (Dibs) and Howie Cohen and Jimmy Boyce of The Athletics — were a very cool electric band that brought out a rockier side of Brown’s music. Then came the showstopper. Brown performed his new song, “Sailor Jerry” — a love letter to drinking rum under a hot summer sun — and the crowd was handed words to the chorus printed on sheets of paper. The audience surrounded the front of the stage and sang along. It was truly a magical music moment.
Read Bill Bodkin’s interview with Chris Brown & Last Night’s Disasters.