This is a different sort of Uke Fest than the Morissiville Ukulele Festival, so don’t worry, I won’t waste posts upon posts about it. It was a concert event, not a workshop event.
Actually, I’ve been down to Asbury Park for concerts several times, but generally along Ocean Avenue and thereabouts. It’s a pretty central concert location along the beach, with the Stone Pony right there. Up the street you’ve got the Wonderbar. Around the block you’ve got the Asbury Lanes. But, in spite of knowing it’s there I’ve actually never ended up a few blocks up on Main Street at the Saint.
I have to admit, the Ocean Avenue concert venues are easier due to the beach – there’s lots of parking, so while, during the busy season, you might have some trouble finding a spot, at least where to park is fairly obvious. The Saint is all street parking, so I found myself wondering the entire time I was inside if I parked in an appropriate spot, or if I was going to have an unpleasant surprise at the end of the night. Since I didn’t arrive in town until 7pm, I figured I was probably safe – parking cops in the area are typically a bit more lax after 6 pm, and once the stores close, even more so. Even so, as I drove up Main Street I saw a whole lot of ‘2 hr parking’ signs, and while it would have been a fun story to talk about going out of the venue every two hours to play musical cars: No.
The second adventure was locating the appropriate front door. The door you would assume is the front door (the one on the corner), that LOOKS like a front door, is NOT, in fact, the front door. The “Front Door” is this unlabeled thing covered in stickers around the corner. I stared at it for 10 seconds before opening it because it just looked like ‘this can’t be right, can it? It is.
As per my post of the other day, I only even found out about this ukulele event by accident, since I had a ukulele repair issue that afternoon when I should have been at the free punk concert up in New Brunswick, if the weatherman hadn’t lied to me, so I was going in pretty much blind.
When I walked into the bar, the girl first asked to see ID. Fine. I get carded everywhere and have just accepted that, in my mid 30s, that is just my lot in life. She looked at it rather intensely though, not sure what THAT was about. Then I was asked which band I was here to say. The conversation went pretty much like this:
Me: I have to pick one?
Me: But, I don’t know any of them!
Then, she let me off the hook. I just saw ‘ukulele concert’ and ‘$13 entry’, and was like. ‘Fuck it, I’m there. I missed the concert I was supposed to go to today.’
Full Album of Photos (just a few, really): here
This was another one of those shows like the typhoon day Halo Concert a few months back, where walking in I found myself wondering ‘crap, is it just me and all the people in the bands again?’ Well, whatever.
First up was Colin Coleman, who I believe they said was from PA, playing some very technically proficient cover tunes. I believe he said he was a photographer by day, uke player by night.
Next we had a guy from Brick, NJ who I am fairly sure was called One L, but I can not find him online so am now questioning whether or not I heard his name wrong. I know he said he had an album out, but I forget the name of it. If someone locates him and can provide me a link, I will make a happy link for him in this post, like the others.
This was a weirdly fascinating set for me. Partially because: Ukulele Hip Hop. A) WTF??? B) I love seeing the uke being used for things that people don’t expect, because it proves the instrument is just plain more versatile than people think.
Now, I’m not into hip hop, at all, but there was enough going on here to make it a pretty interesting set. Also, he just happened to be using the eleuke I was considering adding eventually. It’s a primarily hollow uke, and has the knobs placed in one of the sound holes, so I’ve been glancing at it as, possibly, the one that would cause the least lefty conversion issues. So, it was cool to hear and see it in person.
After that was Motion Ocean. The tagline on their website is ‘the world’s cutest ukulele band.’ They’re not kidding, they were adorable. I’m not quite sure how to describe the music. Peppy Island-Pop??? They were cute and bouncy. ’nuff said.
After that was Cousin Earth (formerly Ukulelein, apparently). I had a sticker shot at me. Two actually. I put one of them in my band sticker collection (aka-stuck to my desk next to my feline & strange sticker. given they’re both alien bands, weirdly appropriate placement), and I call it a collection, but really, there are 3. Just 3. lol.
These guys were really interesting. The first song had a very vaguely gypsy-jazz feel, then they moved on to things that were more latin, more rock, and yet, somehow the genre-crossing didn’t cause them to abandon what would be considered their unique sound. We all know I’m not bothered by genre-crossing, but this Brooklyn Band struck me somehow as like…maybe the illegitimate love child of Humanwine & a Halo Called Fred. Between playful use of weird instruments (okay, maybe no tupperware, but kazoos, and some kind of keyboard that you had to blow into…and a few other things), and the bohemian sort of vibe, it was a pretty cool set.
Weird aside, the one guy reminded me of poet, Shane Koyczan, but that was probably just the beard choice.
Last up was Fun While You Wait, and you’ll have to excuse some necessary brevity, but I have to go to work like…five minutes ago. Fun little uke-pop band.
Weird thing, the head of the band happens to have the exact same name as one of the employees at one of our South Jersey locations. I’ve never met her in person, but now I feel half tempted to ask that employee if she plays the ukulele. 🙂
Anyway, when the music was over, I flew out of there, in part because of parking ticket paranoia, but mostly because I’d been yawning since 10 pm (I must be getting old), and, okay mostly because I was starving and my stomach was not being nice about that.
Until Next Time, check out the local music stuff. It’ll keep you occupied while waiting for more foolery.