The Light Of Day Festival returned to Asbury Park for its 13th year battling the cruelties of Parkinson’s Disease with the healing, and fundraising, powers of music inserting an eclectic collection of performances at various Boardwalk establishments and night clubs including a sold out main event on Saturday evening at the storied Paramount Theatre which featured Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Famer Darlene Love, as well as audience amping sets by LOD staples Willie Nile and Jesse Malin as well as Light Of Day Foundation Board of Trustees members Joe Grushecky, Rob Dye, and Joe D’Urso with appearances by The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, James Maddock, Garland Jeffreys, Dramarama, Glen Burtnik, and more.
SIMGE was on hand the entire weekend, experiencing the Festival and all it had to offer. Check out of Best Of LOD ’13 selections below:
Best performance in Asbury Park after having a heart attack during a performance in Asbury Park – Darlene Love
When one ponders the hallowed dwellings of the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Darlene Love isn’t the first name that comes to mind. However, the 2010 inductee may just epitomize the spirit of the entire group. This past July, Love ventured to Asbury’s boardwalk to perform an intimate set at Tim McLoone’s lavish seaside Supper Club and experienced what would be diagnosed as a mild heart attack prior to taking the stage. The celebrated songbird proceeded to take pain killers and go on with her show before being seen by doctors the following morning when symptoms worsened. If that’s not the most awesome display of Rock N’ Roll then I don’t know what is.
Love returned to the boardwalk to headline the Light Of Day Festival’s main event and did so in grandiose fashion, leading the capacity congregate through sing alongs on such famed Phil Spector cuts as “A Fine Fine Boy,” “Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home,” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.”
The one woman wall of sound also went in on Such Marvin Gaye classics as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “What’s Going On” before cueing up another Spector spectacle with a rocking cover of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
For a closing salvo Love called upon the controversial “River Deep-Mountain High,” yet another Spector recording the famed producer tapped Ike & Tina Turner to track, rather than recognize to the pleads of Love to tackle the featured vocal role. The song is considered to be Spector’s finest work, one which love was left out of, which cast a sort of uneasy cloud over the well received number for those with knowledge of the backstory.
The Best Asbury Debut – Ether Sunday
The Boardwalk-based Supergroup of sorts that is Ether Sunday, featuring Rob Blake (The Obvious), Mike Smith (The Obvious, Last Perfect Thing, Earthman), Bob Paulos (GayGuy/StraightGuy, Give Me Static), and other area artists of note, embarked on its maiden voyage during Friday evening’s showcase at The Saint, unleashing a pulsating chorus of charred guitars and gnarled howls via Blake and Smith that set a ravenous tone unmatched by any act that followed. The mystery surrounding what this group had to offer led to Ether Sunday being penciled into the event’s leadoff spot. However, with such a barbarous and captivating display of spacious, hardcore, offerings this group will soon be recognized as a main draw.
Best Collaborative Effort – Jesse Malin and Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem)
With Bruce Springsteen’s announcement on Friday that he would not be in attendance for Saturday evening’s main event, many festival patrons figured the sold out showing would lack star power…and they were sorely mistaken. Jesse Malin’s uproarious Garage-Rock performance transformed the classic room’s elegant setting and decor into something resembling the crusty basement dwelling of CBGB, or something out of New Brunswick’s storied underground scene, which made the emergence of The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon that much more appropriate. Fallon joined Malin and his backing band, The Saint Marks Social, for inspiring renditions of “TKO” and “Winter” calming Garden State music fan’s unsure of what will become of its community once Bruce decides to fade away. For when The Boss does leave the scene, he does so with a proper flag bearer to fill the role.
Honorable Mention: One of the most alluring aspects of the Light Of Day Festival is the wonderful sideshows, not in a freaky way, but rather those eclectic showcases in the less publicized back rooms and boardwalk abodes, much like Saturday afternoon’s Mixed Bag which featured the internationally renowned James Maddock, who played an intimate, candle-lit, set to a modest midday assemblage in an unknown dining hall behind the Berkeley Carteret Hotel’s Dauphin Grille. The set included a crowd pleasing rendition of Maddock’s reminiscent cut “Beautiful Now,” which drew the multi-faceted songsmith Garland Jeffery’s from a nearby table to assists on a refrain of “You were beautiful then, but you’re more beautiful now.”
Best World Renown Photographer Covering A Blues Cut From The ’60s – Danny Clinch
Saturday afternoon saw Tangiers Blues Band insert its swampy missives into The Wonder Bar’s storied ether as a close to capacity crowd experienced the the outfit’s raunchy rendition of the Beastie Boys classic “Fight For You’re Right To Party” as well as such original’s as “Welcome Home Blues” and an untitled ode to the wrongly criminalized green herb. However, one of the more intriguing offerings of the show was when Toms River denizen and internationally renowned music photographer Danny Clinch stepped from behind the harmonica and up to the mic to croon on the 1960s Junior Wells cut “Messin’ With The Kid.”
Best Cranberries Cover – Emily Grove
Local songstress Emily Grove took to a side stage on Friday evening at The Stone Pony-hosted induction of the Asbury Angels Class Of 2013 (a group that included such founders of the East Side music scene as lauded music journalist Chris Barry as well as musicians like Big Danny Gallagher, Kevin Kavanaugh, Gervis Tillman, Madame Era Tagnoli, Bobby Williams, and more) as the sole member of our scene’s new guard in attendance…and what’s more, a lone representative left to serenade Asbury’s old school. With such classic colleagues as Marc Ribbler, Nick Clemons, Bebe Buell, Boccigallupe & The Bad Boys, and Philly’s own Bobby Rydell looking on, Grove brought forth a stunning set of cuts from her 2011 EP Way Across The Sea and a form-fitting rendition of The Cranberries’ “Dreams.”
Best rendition of the “Goldfinger Theme Song” – Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets
Emily Grove found herself on stage yet again on Saturday, this time in full gold body paint wearing a golden bikini while the playing the golden girl to Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets uproarious rendition of the “Goldfinger Theme Song,” at Asbury Lanes for a local showcase of epic proportions featuring Chemtrail, The Obvious, and GayGuy/StraightGuy.
Best Punk Performance – The X-Men
The Best Punk-Rock performance of Light Of Day 2013 doesn’t go to some baby faced Pop purveyor or Hardcore basement dweller but a throwback outfit and Jersey Shore legend from Long Branch’s Brighton Avenue, the X-Men. The group, led by Brighton Bar owner Greg Macolino, performed with a youthful jubilance that sent its frontman airborn on several occasions, and all members playing to the camera in the midst of the first and second songs the collective ever wrote together…three chord party rock monsters that need to be dusted off again soon.
Best Metal Performance – Dramarama
Dramarama returned to Asbury Park to headline Light Of Day’s homage to the recently defunct late night Rock N’ Roll staple, The Fast Lane, at Rich Russo’s Anything Anything showcase. Hosted by Asbury Lanes, Dramarama brought out all the colorful creatures of the night as the man in black, frontman John Easdale in his jet black garb, cowboy hat, and sunglasses, played to the cougars in the front row the headbangers at their hip. The Wayne, NJ outfit successfully rekindled the ever flickering flame and spirit of that lauded Rock N’ Roll establishment with such offerings as “Last Cigarette,” “Haven’t Got A Clue,” and of course the evening’s title track “Anything Anything.”
Hardest Working Artist Award – Mike Smith
Asbury’s own Mike Smith takes home the Hardest Working Artist award as the bass plucker displayed his status as, not os much a hired gun as a respected collaborator of various tempos, genres, and musical capabilities, lending his vocals and an unknown face-painted ferocity to Ether Sunday’s Friday night set at The Saint, before heading to the Berkeley Bar on Saturday for Last Perfect Thing’s subdued and stripped down midday meanderings, before skipping out to prepare for The Obvious’ headlining set of riot inducing Grunge-Punk compositions at Asbury Lanes that night. On behalf of this weekend’s festival patrons, may I extend a huge thank to Mike Smith for his vast efforts at Light Of Day ’13.