Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

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!

Willie Nile

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 locally.”

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 the chorus.

Robert Gordon

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 ( 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 stores.
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 one!
“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’ roll!
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’ roll!

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!” is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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