Shaman’s Harvest @ Wonder Bar, Asbury Park

You know, I haven’t been in the Wonder Bar for a show in years. I don’t know exactly how many. I have to use life landmarks to try to figure it out.  The last show I saw there was Bowling for Soup with Patent Pending and the Dollyrots. Now, when could that have been? Well, the friend who joined me now has a toddler, and she definitely wasn’t pregnant yet. I’m not sure if she was even married. It was pre-mohawk for Joe Pending, and I believe pre-Second Family album. I remember buying the I’m Not Alone EP at that show, which was their most recent release at the time. The internet tells me that that was released in 2010. Since Second Family was released the following year, that narrows things down.

Ergo, I haven’t been to that particular venue in at least 5 years. Wow, that’s longer than I thought.  Where a lot of the Asbury venues are small concert venue meets bar, the Wonderbar is the opposite – it’s a bar first, a concert venue second.  There’s a teeny little stage stuffed into the corner.  That doesn’t make it a bad place to go see a show; the small venues are my favorite ones. It is worth noting on acoustics, though.  Up close to the stage, you’re just not going to make out a lot of…you know…words.

Mind, it’s the nature of concerts that the first band has the lowest sound quality and the headliners have the best, almost without exception, but I’m not joking when I say the first band said their name at least 5 times during their set. I’m still not 100% certain what that name is. I did look it up at the time, but relying on my sometimes shaky memory, I believe the opener’s name was Ropetree. Or something that a game of telephone would turn into that.

This was another concert that I was going into semi-blind.  I’ve heard some Failure Anthem stuff, but I don’t particularly know them well enough to have had any opinion of them one way or the other. There were one or two songs that sounded vaguely familiar, but I’m honestly not sure. Shaman’s Harvest I discovered after falling into a Facebook rabbit hole followed by a Youtube sidebar rabbit hole several months ago.  I liked what I heard quite a bit, though was only familiar enough to recognize maybe 3 or 4 songs when I heard them.

I like ‘Dangerous’ best, of the ones I kind of know.


Tickets were quite cheap, coming to around $15 all said, add to that the cost of parking, and the cost of hunting down something open along the boardwalk that I can actually eat (the salad/smoothie bar is apparently only open in the summer. Darn. I found a place that had tacos, so though that would be safe, and ended up spending six bucks and change to eat just taco filling. All this time I figured if something said ‘taco’ it implied the hard corn shell I grew up on. Not so. The thing was a soft taco. Soft taco=flour=not Shelby safe. I didn’t feel like making a fuss, when I ought to have asked, so I just grabbed a fork and picked out what filling wasn’t touching the shell, better that than starving.), and it ends up still being a cheap night out, since I don’t drink.

It was in the 50s, so I thought in a hoodie I’d be good to get some exercise in along the boardwalk, and went down way earlier than I needed to with that in mind.

The Beach @ Asbury Park.

What a BAD idea that was! I always underestimate how much the wind off the water chills things up along the beach this time of year. The sea hasn’t warmed up from the winter yet, even if the day is warm, so the sea air is quite bitter.  I ended up killing time wandering through a few of the shops that were actually open – anything that could get me indoors for a few minutes.  I did take a short walk, because damn it, that’s what I’d planned to do, but it wasn’t really enough that I can comfortably call it exercise.  Mostly I just bounced up and down outside the venue. I tried to read my ebook to take my mind off the cold, but putting my hands in the pockets of my hoodie won out until the doors opened at 7.

And, THANK YOU Wonder Bar, for actually opening on time.  I’ve been to too many venues recently that have a flexible idea of when doors ought to be, and as chilly as it was, punctual opening is all the more appreciated.

So, being a shorty, I normally make a b-line toward the stage, but I decided to plunk in a chair with my ebook instead. I had thought it might be better for acoustics to not be right on top of the stage, but it became clear that that wasn’t going to be feasible for someone my height if I wanted to take even a single picture, or see…anything. At all. So once the first act came to the stage I moved right on up to the front.  The sound quality here is sketchy, but at least I’m not staring at the back of someone’s head all night.

Shaman’s Harvest (for the full photo album, check the facebook page: here)

As you can see from the above, any closer and I’d have been sitting in the band’s lap.  I always have mixed feelings about being way up front. I aim for it, because I like not having to maneuver my view around someone’s head all night. But, I also know I’m not exactly big on audience participation, so I kind of feel guilty. I just never seem to look as happy about much of anything as I actually am, and when you’re in the super-front of the audience, that makes you a bit of a sore thumb. (Especially when you happen to be standing next to High-Five girl.)  I’m just not…I dunno, bouncy. It’s not in my nature, so I guess it’s probably a good thing there’s always someone else in the front of the audience that’s bouncy and energetic enough for five people.

…I just wish I wasn’t always right next to her…because yeah, it sort of makes my lack of outward energy all the more glaring by comparison. I take some pictures, though. That’s sign enough that I’m happy to be there, right?

It was a pretty good night out, over all, though due to where I was located I will have to do some youtubing before I really have a feel for the bands I wasn’t very familiar with. On youtube, the vocals won’t sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown, and I’ll be able to make out more than 30% of the words. 🙂

I don’t have any particular plans for concerts in the immediate future. There’s a little local thing I might do next weekend, but at the moment I think it’s probably likely I’m going to be feeling introverty and flake on it. If I go, I’ll talk about it. We’ll see.

I have some stuff not related to concerts to talk about, too, but I’ll save that for another post. Will have another ‘Shelby learns stuff’ post up in the next few days.

Until Next Time, I have more bands on the ‘to investigate further’ list.

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