It’s a one-of-a-kind show at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park tonight as “scenes collide.” Yes, the best from the Asbury Park and New Brunswick scenes will come together on one bill for a night celebrating original, New Jersey music.
This show is truly near and dear to our hearts. Pop-Break.com was born in the streets of New Brunswick, as myself and co-founder Brent Johnson came up with the site will hanging out in the Hub City, the city where we both attended college. During our collegiate days the Hub was the scene with Thursday, Little T & One Track Mic, Midtown, and ill Nino all coming out of the city with major record deals. Of course the Hub City is known musically for so much more — most notably as the home of The Smithereens, the famed (but not forgotten) Melody Bar and the place where iconic alt radio DJ Matt Pinfield got his start.
Asbury Park has always been a haven for original music, but lost some of its luster in the late 90s/early 2000s. However, the pendulum swung back to Asbury Park in the mid-2000s (and remained there) as the scene for live music. Names like Nicole Atkins, River City Extension, The Front Bottoms and Brick + Mortar all repaved the once tarnished golden streets that Bruce built and today the city has once again taken its place amongst one of the musical cities in the country.
In the past few years, New Brunswick has re-emerged as a city for music once again too with The Court Tavern thriving and the basement scene being re-born. Names like Modern Chemistry, Semiotics and Dollys (amongst others) are killing it on the nightly.
However, there’s always been a natural connect between the two cities. The Gaslight Anthem and The Bouncing Souls have called both cities home — and for good reason. They are both cities that foster musical talent and they have unique, intimate underground sense of fraternity.
Christine Feola, the boss lady of Dark City Entertainment and one of the biggest advocates and purveyors of original music in Asbury Park decided to bring the two scenes together for one special night dubbed ‘Scenes Collide.’ We spoke with Christine about the show as well as her one-year anniversary running her promotional company.
What was the inspiration to do a show featuring bands from these two scenes?
The past couple of months I have started to book a lot of New Brunswick bands. They are all young, eager and really hone into their own unique sounds. I started to realize their tight knit community when all of their friends and fans would show up in carpools to catch their favorite NB bands play the Wonder Bar. A lot of the local Asbury Park bands have been traveling up to New Brunswick as well to play basement shows so I thought it would be cool to bring the two scenes together for an ultimate showcase at the legendary Stone Pony.
Can you compare the two scenes?
The two scenes are quite different from one another. I went to Rutgers in New Brunswick and had the opportunity to frequent some of the underground basement shows. It’s such a tight knit scene and you really have to know where the good shows are going to be for the night. The Court Tavern puts on some great shows as well, showcasing some of the best local talent they have on a weekly basis.
Asbury Park is unique and different in its own way. With so many venues within a mile, the local scene here has a lot of legendary rooms and stages to play on. Any given Friday night you can catch local bands playing from The Saint to the Wonder Bar then take a walk down the boardwalk to APYC or Langosta and finish off at The Lanes. Most of the bands all frequent the same watering hole, the ever so lovely Bond St., and all support one another. Both scenes have one thing in common for damn sure, comradery. Without that, their would be no scene.
Which bands from the New Brunswick scene are you most stoked about the Asbury crowd seeing?
I’m pretty excited about all of the bands but especially for NGHTCRWLRS and Feeny. I’ve heard some good things about both of the bands from the New Brunswick bands that have been playing Dark City’s Happy Mondays and I am really excited to see them take on the Pony stage.
Which bands representing the Asbury scene do you feel are the most under the radar and deserve a little more love from the masses?
I definitely think Amy Malkoff & The Moonshines have kept under the radar for quite a bit now. Every time they do play, its a damn good show. They are always picking up new fans with their moody heavy dynamic and live performance. They are releasing a new record in June and I couldn’t be more excited for them. Another band would be Monterey. They are a newer band to the area and I can’t wait to see them really grow their roots here in Asbury Park.
You’ll be celebrating one year of Dark City this year — what’s been the highest of highs you have and what’s been the most important thing you’ve learned from doing this gig.
Ah yes! One year Dark City! The time has really been flying by. My highest of highs would probably be two of my favorite shows to date, the Halloween Local Legends show and the 90s New Years, both at the Wonder Bar, both with bands covering legendary bands. It was so amazing to see all of the bands cover their influences, and watch all of them pull it off flawlessly was absolutely amazing. Being able to ring in the New Year with GayGuy/StraightGuy and friends as Nirvana to a sold out room will be a moment hard to top!
I’ve also learned a couple of lessons over the past year. I’ve learned that catering to a band, hospitality wise and promotional before hand always makes for a good show. If a band is happy then the show will be great and the crowd will have an awesome time. I’ve learned that the relationships I am creating with some of the promoters that have been in town are really valuable. They all respect what I am doing and I take their advice to heart. I know I have a lot more lessons to learn and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!
Scenes Collide featuring Deal Casino, Amy Malkoff & The Moonshines, Monterey, Plato Zorba, Black Sox Scandal, City Limits, Feeny and NGHTCRWLERS takes place tonight at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Tickets are available at the door.