They gathered right over our artfully mussed haircuts around six in the evening, coming down on the portable tent set ups outside Mattison Park where we just finished watching an excellent set by New Jersey’s own Status Green. Especially given that they were supposed to play on the outdoor stage before the deluge ended that plan a half hour before they started, those dudes were pro all the way, and the crowd was with ’em.
We had the pleasure of returning to the Jersey Shore for the second time in a month, to play Asbury Park’s Wave Gathering Emerging Music Festival. Three days of rocking, schmoozing, drinking and getting turned on to new bands. All right, we were only there for Saturday, but we stuffed three days of activity into one to make up for it. On the drive down, I discovered that the van’s cruise control buttons are actually not just for show. Four years to figure out that Tim has cruise control! In my defense, we’ve only begun logging serious highway miles recently, so the opportunity never presented itself to try it out. Still. I like to leave myself headroom to be pleasantly surprised by life, I guess.
We arrived to Adam’s parents’ house and a massive steak dinner with salad, fries, asparagus and buttered rolls. And apple pie with cheddar cheese (because apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze). And we must have had a good impact on Adam’s dad Thom from our first trip down last month, because when we got back this time, we discovered he had since busted out his long, loooonng unused clear acrylic Vistalite drum set and set it up in the man cave again. Awesome! It’s a beautiful instrument, and we also got to see some of the old Southside posters from when Thom was out doing what we’re doing now.
Into Asbury Park, Status Green, heavy rain. We were happy to have access to expert panelists at this thing. Adam had a high school reunion to be at, so I dropped him off while Matt and Jesse heard from yet another industry insider that signing to a major label just ain’t what it used to be, surprise surprise. By the time I got back we were hearing about the nuts and bolts of press, booking, management. Good stuff, especially talking to Joe Rapolla of Warner Brothers, and from Joe Rapolla and the Perfect Square, a roots rock outfit that plays around New Jersey.
Around ten we figured to get to the club and see some of the other bands on before us. We were bummed indeed to see a dude sitting in the middle of Main Street holding his head with the police there to help out. Someone got careless crossing the street, but he was talking to the cops, so we think and hope that guy is all right, whoever he was.
Adam met us back at The Saint. Just like our first time there, The Saint made us feel right at home immediately. They like their rock down there (and their hot dogs, from Randy the Hot Dog Guy‘s wagon parked right outside), and Hinge especially knows how to mix the room just right and give you a better light show than you’ll get almost anywhere else until you’re hiring union guys. Plus he announces the bands before and after they play, a nice touch. And I’ll always associate the smell of fog juice fondly with The Saint. The show was one of our stronger efforts, playing to Adam’s reunion buddies and the hardy souls who stuck it out til one o’clock to see our set, including Joe Rapolla, festival organizers Scott, Lynne and Michelle, Eat Sleep Breathe Music blogger Alison and her two sisters and Adam’s dad. And also fellow Bostonians The Honors, who went on just before us. And I should just say a word or two about those guys: we’ve never played with them before, but we’re definitely going to do it again, because they were exceptional. Great stage presence, classy playing (particularly by their guitar player, but everyone was really good), good songs, good guys. And we only had to drive to New Jersey to meet them.
By the time we finished unpacking, hanging out a the boardwalk in the driving drizzle next to Madam Marie’s, and driving back to Freehold, it was four in the morning. Of course, we didn’t escape back to Boston the next day without being fed like kings and sent on our way with sandwiches for later. All the way around, this was a good one. We made some new friends and turned some heads. And oh yeah, we busted out the most excellent band merch trunk anyone has ever seen anywhere. Designed by our very own Jesse James, and coming to your town. Even if you hated us, you’d still have to admit, our merch trunk can kick your merch trunk’s butt!