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Music Cities: Asbury Park, NJ

Asbury Park is the music capital of New Jersey. Hosting over 5 venues within the span of one mile, the city shelters musicians and bands of all genres, bringing different kinds of people together. Venues like the Asbury Park Brewery host punk and indie shows with a house party vibe, while the House of Independents provides a spot for major label talent to stop by on their full US tours. In terms of improvement there is a bottomless supply of talent, but not as much business and representation as there should be. Hopefully the city will attract management’s attention as more major label talent comes through.

In the past, major festivals such as Bamboozle, Skate and Surf, Shadow of the City, Sea Hear Now, and the Champagne Jam have also attracted outsiders to the city and provided an outlet for local talent to work up to. Not only is Asbury Park known to be the home of Bruce Springsteen’s music and career, but  it’s also remained the base for more recent major successes such as The Front Bottoms and Brick + Mortar.

This Jersey Shore beach town has survived hurricanes, drug epidemics, and street crime, but over the past few decades it managed to shaped itself into a promising community that takes pride in its art and culture. There are local cafes, craft breweries and biergartens, multicultural restaurants, art galleries, and a growing entrepreneurial market all taking part in the city’s rich creative culture. Not to mention, Asbury Park is one of the only cities in New Jersey to host an annual Pride Parade, as well as various Women’s Marches.

During the summer the beach community is vibrant, with an active boardwalk and the Stone Pony Outdoor Summer Stage. For years the Summer Stage has featured acts such as Gary Clark Jr, Rise Against, Coheed and Cambria, New Found Glory, Bleachers, Dashboard Confessional, and many more. But even when the summer traffic dies down, the bars and indoor venues continue to entertain. Over the past few years, The Stone Pony has hosted Franz Ferdinand, Prophets of Rage, and a secret Panic! At the Disco pop up show.

A block from the Stone Pony, the Wonder Bar reps the face of Asbury Park, affectionately known as “Tillie”. The Wonder Bar is renowned for its free admission “Happy Mondays” shows that showcase local talent on a weekly basis. Across the street is the legendary Convention Hall and Paramount theatre.  Overtime, Convention Hall has housed bands such as Led Zeppelin and the Doors. Acts who stopped by the Paramount theatre this year were Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

In addition to the music community, the city is fueled by youth culture and nightlife. Bars such as Johnny Mac’s Pub offers a complimentary personal pizza with a purchase of any drink while bar goers reminisce on the music they grew up with. You can also stop by the Biergarten to enjoy a selection of over 50 imported European beers as well as fine German cuisine. For a more basement party vibe, there is Bond Street Bar, which has recently started throwing their own local shows. People can also try Porta, a gorgeous homemade Italian restaurant by day and a true Jersey Shore nightclub on the weekends. This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the service of the thriving bar scene the city has.

Asbury Park is not just a town with music venues. It is a place that embraces and brings together all forms of art, life and culture. I’m so happy to be a part of the music scene here, and getting to perform with other local bands like Deal Casino, The Ones You Forgot, Latewaves and America Part Two, just to name a few, have allowed me to build amazing relationships and become a better musician. Any lover of music with the opportunity to visit should to experience what this town has to offer.

LISTEN: Asbury Park Playlist

Idle Wave is a pop punk band from Asbury Park, NJ who just released their self titled EP in December 2018. Developing their sound in basement shows and the Asbury Park music scene, Idle Wave combines the anthemic garage rock sound of Weezer with the hard-truth lyricism of The Wonder Years. Departing from their college project Flammable Animals, the band shifted their sound from what was normally basement recordings to bigger live rooms and louder amps through the help of John Ferrara (Trophy Scars) at Portrait Recording Studios. The single ” You Caught Me” was mastered by Scott Hull (Nirvana, Childish Gambino) and puts pressure on the conversation regarding guilt and false accusations. The band’s natural attraction to dynamics are exemplified in the song “Heaven Knows” while their punk roots are exhibited in their fastest song to date “Calm”. This EP also hones in on depression and the idea of things being out of your control, but not beyond repair. “If I could turn this light on when I need to, I’ll be alright”.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/idlewavenj/

Instagram: @idlewavenj

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/713cTGQdjFE6R3oir2atOn

You Caught Me Official Music Video:


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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Founder of Infectious Magazine & Muddy Paw Public Relations. Lover of passion, ice cream, and books.

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