On Saturday night, Days Awake played at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and they succeeded in delighting a crowd that was there to see headliner Dickie Betts. Though this is a young band, I continue to be impressed by their knowledge and respect for the music and musicians that came before them. In their sound you can hear echoes of great seventies band like The Faces, and yet their sound is all their own, with great songwriting skills, and finely tuned performances.
Today I was back in Asbury Park for the annual Clearwater Festival. The final act of the day was the Bergen County based band Maybe Pete. I’ve seen this band perform a number of times over the past couple of years, and they just keep getting better every time. After changing drummers a few times, they seem to have found the final piece to the puzzle with new member Johnny Macko. Frankie McGrath continues to provide an incendiary presence as the band’s frontman, and Kelly McGrath shows that practice pays off, as her guitar playing is markedly improved, as is her confidence on stage. Bassist Marc Gambino remains solid as a rock in holding down the bottom end of things. The band released a terrific album, "Between the City and the Stratosphere" earlier this year.
These bands represent the best of the current original music scene here in New Jersey, but they’re certainly not the only ones. Go out to a club. Buy a cd. Support original music in New Jersey. It’s the only hope there is to keep the music alive.