Asbury Lanes Lights Up For January:
Two Nights of Light Of Day Benefits
January 12: Robert Gordon/Willie Nile/Outside the Box/The
Naturals and featuring DJ Jack The Ripper
January 13: Manitoba/Blacktop Kids/Wyldlife/ The Obvious/Ruby
The Hatchet featuding DJ Jack The Ripper
Story & Photos By Phil Rainone
The Light of Day Foundation raises money for treatment and
seeks cures for Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease,
along with related illnesses.
With a packed house, and all the available bowling lanes full,
the crowd was shaking their collective tail feathers to DJ
Jack The Ripper’s vault of vinyl records like Freddy
Cannon’s garage rock cover of the Doors’ “Twentieth
Century Fox,” or an out-of-this-universe, one-hit-wonder
like The Rubinoos’ “I Wanna be Your Boyfriend.”
With sponsors like Shoprite and Toast, the Bowl-A-Thon was
more of a marathon, featuring professional bowlers like Ashley
Dupree, Johnny Petraglia, and Kelly Kulick, as well pro wrestler
Diamond Dallas Page, who rubbed elbows with musicians like
Vinny Lopez (original drummer for The E Street Band), Willie
Nile, and 90.5 The Night program director Jeff Raspe.
Besides the bowling, what set The Lanes apart from
the from the rest of the Light of Days shows was that they
lean more towards punk rock and rockabilly.
DJ Jack The Ripper
Asbury Lanes: The Best Kept Secret on the East Coast?
Besides the bowling and the bands, you could also
hangout into the bar area where the movie “King Pin”
was playing (these Lanes cats leave no stone unturned - so
cool!), or you could get a double order of The Lanes world-famous
tater tots at the snack bar.
When The Naturals and Maybe Pete each took their turn on stage,
they both commented that this was their first times at The
Lanes and that they would love to come back and play sometime.
Even Willie Nile, when he got on stage to join Joe D’Urso
for their encore said, “Welcome to 1961,” a reference
to The Lanes history that hasn’t changed much since
then. What’s interesting about their comments is that
Asbury Lanes has been a club for over five years and counting,
and both bands are local. But it’s always cool to see
bands as well as fans appreciate a venue and everyone that
helps to run it no matter when it comes to light.
Is There a Jersey Shore Sound?
That question has been raised over and over again, and two
of the many bands that always seem to be at the top of the
list are Springsteen & The E Street Band, and Southside
Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and rightly so. But on this
night, after being affectionately introduced by Tony Pallagrosi
(Tony and Bob Benjamin started the Light of Day concerts back
in 2000 with what has seemingly turned into an army of volunteers),
Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan gave a drop-jaw performance,
proving once and for all that along with the other local bands
like Sonny Kenn and Billy Hector who played that night and
all through the five days of shows that there is indeed a
“Jersey Shore Sound.” Blues, and rock ‘n’roll
never sounded more at home!
I Don’t Wanna Hang Up My Rock ‘N’
Roll (Bowling) Shoes!
As I mentioned, all the bowling lanes were full, except for
lanes 12, 13, & 14 where the stage sits. The marathon
bowling that had started around 7:30 pm was still going strong
after Robert Gordon left the stage ‘round midnight.
There wasn’t any real competiton as each team seemed
to have a blast bowling and vibing out to the music all night.
Perfect example: Willie Nile, who would go on to play The
Paramount Theatre the next night, and Jeff Raspe mugged for
the cameras, and put on an exhibition in bowling (don’t
give up your day jobs just yet guys) that defies description.
All total the bowlers and bands were way cool, Jersey style!
You got the feeling from all the people from all the different
walks of life that joined together for a good cause that it
was like Pete Seeger had said, “Think globally, act
Commenting that “It’s nice to be back in 1961!”
(this was Willie Nile’s first time at the Lanes,) he
jumped up on stage with Joe D’urso to sing one of his
most memorable and passionate tunes, “Song Unsong,”
that got the energenic crowd singing along boisterously on
Then it was Robert Gordon’s turn. Opening with a tribute
to Danny Gatton (he play guitar with Robert on a couple of
studio albums and passed away a few years ago), “Lover
Boy” got an already vibrating crowd rockin’. Elvis’
“Don’t be Cruel,” Willie Nelson’s
“Hello Walls,” and “I Wanna Play House”
formed the hat trick that sparked the dance floor rush. A
smoldering, passionate reading of Springsteen’s “I’m
On Fire” was followed by Link Wray’s “Red
Cadillac and Black Mustache” that had the joint boppin’
to the beat!
With only a short 45 minute set, Robert Gordon and his young
3-piece band (probably in their late 20’s-early 30’s),
encored with “Rock-a-Billy Boogie,” and a short,
aborted version of Marshall Crenshaw’s rockabilly masterpiece,
“Someday, Someway,” which morphed into a cover
of “All For The Love of Rock ’n’ Roll”
which had the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs!
After that sweat-producing set, Jack the Ripper was the keeper
of the faith as he kept the rock-a-billy spirit alive spinning
obvious-to-the-obscure hot wax ‘ til the club was empty.
A great night for a great cause!
January 13 – Manitoba/ Blacktop Kids / Wyldlife/The
Obvious/Ruby The Hatchet
Hosted by Rich Russo’s Anything Anything
The Punks Meet the Godfather
On the second night for the Light of Day series of shows (which
lasted over five days, mostly in Asbury Park clubs with one
in NYC,) the theme was definitely punk rock. The scorching,
hardcore punk of the Blacktop Kids (blacktopkidsnj.com) proved
to be a great choice to show exactly where Asbury Lanes is
anchored musically. With just a 5 song EP, and a handful of
new unreleased songs, The Kids played their collective hearts
and souls out for their brief but electrifying 30 minute set.
Once again, like the night before, DJ Jack The Ripper presented
vinyl platters of pure pleasure, mixing obvious-to-the-obscure
soul/punk/rock & roll, and whatever other cool records
he may have found at garage sales, and mom and pop record
Wyldlife’s hard-edged glam punk was a nice flip of the
musical switch, showing yet more cool roots of punk rock.
One of their best new songs which they said was yet untitled
was “Cowboys and Sluts.” It had the menacing punk
vocals of 60’s one-hit-wonders the Music Machine, but
the band’s originality was front and center. Wyldlife
plays drop-dead georgous, spot-on rock ‘n’ roll!
This was Manitoba’s first gig together, and you could
tell that the band had a story to tell, and that they wanted
to get the rock ‘n’ roll party started now! Comprised
of veteran punksters “Handsome Dick” Manitoba
on vocals, Ross the Boss on bass, Thunderbolt Paterson on
drums, with Daniel Rey and Dean Pispler on guitars, they open
with - what else? - “The Party Starts Now,” a
rock ’n’ roll party starter if ever there was
“Who Will Save Rock “n’ Roll was like a
call to arms, while “Baby Let’s Twist” got
the cats and kittens out on the dance floor shakin’
their money makers! Handsome Dick talked a few times in between
songs, and at one time talking about how the way music is
available - for better or worse these days - comparing vinyl
records to iPods (Dick went on a small tirade, but in a nut
shell, vinyl is God-sent / iPods are the work of the Devil)
and how Facebook is like “Penpals on steroids,”
compared to how bands kept in touch with their fan bases back
in the day.
Then, Manitoba proceeded with a cover of The Flamin’
Groovies’ “Slow Death.” It was an over-the-top
rocker, as they kicked out the jams, and our collective butts,
all at the same time!
Willie Nile and Jeff Raspe
After hearing their hour-long set, I got the feeling that
Manitoba is to music what oxygen is to breathing. You can’t
live without either! Neanderthalic, knuckle-dragging rock’n’
Or to paraphrase what Springsteen said of rock ‘n’
roll: Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t from America,
Europe, or the world - rock ‘n’ roll is from MARS!!
I don’t know if they had got there late, or if they
were scheduled to be the closer, but hard as it may have seemed,
Ruby The Hatchet closed the show after a devastating set of
Rock ‘n’ Roll 101 by Manitoba.
Most of the crowd stayed, as the Philadelphia based four piece
took the stage after about 15 minutes between breaking down
and setting up. The band has a female-fronted lead singer,
and within ten minutes they brought the crowd pretty close
to the musical high that Manitoba had left us. For a lack
of better comparison, they sounded like a danceable Blue Cheer
(60’s metal/hard rock Gods)! Maximum rock ’n’
The Light of Day series of shows featured 16 shows at various
venues and clubs from January 11th to the 15th, featuring
over 100 performers. They not only attracted tri-state music
lovers but also from around the country and Europe, raising
awareness, money, and most of all, hope! You just couldn’t
help but feel that we all were doing some good, and like Bob
Marley said, “Light up the darkness!”
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