What an interesting time to be in and around Asbury Park these days. With unprecedented development leading to the shuttering and opening of new living spaces and businesses seemingly every day, the once relatively quiet Asbury winters may just begin to heat up starting this season.
With the closing and uncertain future of Asbury Lanes, there was left a gap in the market for which the just opened House of Independents seeks to fill, and then some. Readers of this site know that I split my time between where I grew up in Central NJ and my current residence in Brooklyn, so I know not to get overly excited by fresh paint, lights and the overall non-stickiness of shiny new venues. That said, House of Independents appears to be the real deal.
Walking in you’ll find a bar to your right that distracts only for a moment as you continue towards the actual stage which only then will you realize is set below your feet with a healthy sized GA area. The balcony perch also rests on top of pull out, plush seating which will be used in upcoming comedy, theater, etc performances. Walk down the stairs and you’ll find another bar and, yes, sparkling white bathrooms.
The night’s talent for the big House of Independents debut included freaky heavy funk rockers Fishbone and punk-ska outfit Murphy’s Law. The show presented an interesting dichotomy in what’s possible for the venue, as those who did not want to enter the foray in GA below were able to observe from that top level space, although that didn’t stop Murphy’s Law from crashing that space anyway as Mike Petzinger captured in his shots below.
As far as debuts go, there were some growing pains that are easily solve-able; the choice of canned beer options dwindled over time, the sound had some holding their ears and the brand new floors were made crazy slick by Murphy’s Laws shotgunning of beers. Aside from these, very minor, issues, I entered and left House of Independents feeling like I had just seen the future of live performances in this renewed Asbury Park.
With its prime location on Cookman Ave, it’s likely Asbury has just seen the opening of its own Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg with better accommodations. Spotting several industry types in the room, the sizing up has begun, and we’ll start to see the level and frequency of bookings going forward as House of Independents begins to establish its identity beyond its, great and uniform, graphic design.
Congratulations to everyone over at House of Independents. I can’t wait to see what happens in these upcoming months.
Oh yeah, Fishbone and Murphy’s Law were fucking TIGHT. Check out photos of all of the action below.