Despite opinions to the contrary I feel my youth was not “misspent.”
True, I was usually in concert halls, stadiums, arenas and clubs sometimes to the wee hours listening to music and enjoying the lifestyle that came with working in the “biz.”
Even as I grew older and went into other endeavors, the lure of a great band playing late into the night was still appealing.
Now as time moves on and the dawn seems to come too soon even when I go to bed ‘round midnight instead of heading out, I still enjoy and support live music.
Sure, pool and waterfront bar happy hours are one way to go, and we will talk about them as well this summer. But there’s something about music in the twilight hours that seems to makes it sound better to me.
Fortunately, there are a lot of folks in the area that feel the same way, and they host a wide range of early evening concerts in Mainland and Island towns.
These family friendly events are sponsored by municipalities, non-profits or other groups in various locations all week long. The best parts are they are outdoors and free to the general public. The perfect price now days for locals and vacationers alike.
SEVEN NIGHTS OF FUN
Mondays the music plays in the gazebo on the lake at Manahawkin Lake Park on Route 9 in Stafford. Sponsored by a grant from the state historical society and hosted by the Stafford Historical Society. This year’s line up runs the gamut from traditional Irish Folk to Sinatra tributes. Check the schedule online at http://staffordhistory.org/stafevents.html
Bleachers are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs.
Tuesdays, Long Beach Township hosts its “The Bay, The Beach, The Best” series in Bayview Park at 68th Street across from the municipal complex. Enjoy some great sounds while watching the sunset over the bay. There will be a special show on Aug. 7th for the National Night Out.
The full schedule can be found at http://www.longbeachtownship.com/specialactivities.html
Wednesdays there are usually two choices on Long Beach Island. On the south end at Beach Haven’s Veterans Bicentennial Park at Engleside and Beach avenues hosts concerts presented by the Borough’s Community Arts Program. Once the site of only traditional brass band concerts the CAC now offers a host of musical genres, including country, Doo-Wop and jazz.
Their line-up is online at http://www.beachhaven-nj.gov/attr-concerts.htm
Up north in Harvey Cedars the tunes ring out with Sunset Cove in the background. Sunset Park’s, Salem Avenue and the Boulevard, playground is usually filled with kids, and there are kayak demos out on the water, where many folks take in the show from their boats.
The music leans more toward rock and blues with Ska/socca favorite, Verdict’s annual appearance always a big hit.
Check the monthly schedule at: http://harveycedars.org/events/default.aspx?view=2&date=
Thursdays the island sounds continue in Ship Bottom and Barnegat Light. In Ship Bottom, the borough holds shows at the boat ramp on 10th Street, while in Barnegat Light the concerts are also on the bay at gazebo at the end of 7th Street.
Face Down, LBI’s perennial classic rock band, is playing this summer at almost every location. John, Dave, Tony and Steve haven’t been together as long as the Rolling Stones, but it’s close. They also put on just as good a show that has the whole crowd dancing and singing along.
I caught the boys last night in Ship Botom and they delivered the same kind of knockout show I’ve experienced from them for the past 20 years. Only now they have another two decades of songs to add to the repertoire.
Their Beatles medley that was the crowd favorite last night. There is something magical about seeing toddlers to teens dancing with their parents to songs their grandparents still have on vinyl.
That’s another thing I love about these shows, the reaction and interaction of the kids. Rarely at these shows do I see gaggles of teens with “Whatever” expressions on their faces.
They are smiling, spinning and dancing, their hands not clutching smart phones and texting, but being waved in the air or clapping to the beat.
It does an old rocker’s heart good to see the appreciation of live music being shared by the next generation.
This year, Ship Bottom also hosts Shorty Long and the Jersey Horns, one of the only chances to see this popular club act in an all ages environment on LBI.
Check the boroughs’ Web sites for schedules: http://www.shipbottom.org/cal.htm fro Ship Bottom and http://www.barnegatlight.org/2012CalendarOfEvents.pdf for Barnegat Light.
You can round out the week and head into the weekend with three nights of music in Barnegat Township. Thursdays, Custom Blend will play a weekly mix of bluegrass, classic country and light rock at the gazebo in center of town at Route 9 and Bay Avenue. Take time to stroll amongst the antique shops or get some pizza or ice cream while enjoying the sounds
Fridays and Saturdays the Barnegat Dock rocks at the bayfront and East Bay Avenue.
Plenty of local bands on hand each weekend including Mid-Life Crisis, who I plan to catch as I think we have a lot in common.
So there you have it a week full of free music that will let you get your groove on and still be home in time to put the kids to bed and fall asleep in front of Letterman or Leno.
Check the websites for exact times and performances, but here some general info that is generally true for all shows.
Most shows go from 7-9 p.m.
Lawn chairs and/or blankets are the best way to go.
Coolers are allowed, but no alcohol.
There is usually some type of food or snacks available. I usually bring a sub or some type of light dinner.
Venues feature on site bathroom facilities.
There are alternate locations in case of rain.
You will have a chance to give back, as like in Ship Bottom, the volunteer fire company or first aid squad will be selling T-shirts or raffle tickets. In addition, there’ll be an opportunity to throw a few bucks in the bucket to help support the programs that pay the bands.
“Nothing But Treble” is a twice monthly column written for the Patch by Steve Moran, retired roadie and former entertainment editor.