Jim James of My Morning Jacket @ On The Beach ’13 (Photo: C. Rotolo)
On The Beach: A Sandy Relief Concert
The circumstances encompassing Asbury Park’s Paramount Theatre, and the Jersey Shore as whole, on Wednesday evening were less than favorable.
200 miles to the south, House Speaker John Boehner placed a much needed $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package to the back burner, while 10 miles north on Ocean Avenue Sea Bright homes once again sat soggy from flooding after a recent holiday storm, as fences on Asbury’s storied boardwalk kept from view the shredded planks that not so long ago would have welcomed the hustle on bustle of foot traffic on a magical evening such as this.
However, New Jersey and it’s residents carry with them a resolve without equal. In the face of injustice, tragedy, shock and awe, we take action: like Governor Chris Christie who unknotted his GOP ties when his public was wronged.
We take action: like the good people at Rebuild Recover, Coastal Habitat For Humanity, The Food Bank Of Monmouth & Ocean Counties, Food For Thought by the Sea, and Waves For Water, who have worked tirelessly to help restore hope, lives, and our coastal communities. These groups and those who fly under their gracious flags possess a true calling, and it’s inspiring to say the absolute least.
We take action: like Danny Clinch, Tim Donnelly, and Tony Pallagrosi, the founders of On The Beach: A Sandy Relief Benefit, who stared down devastation in their hometowns and then looked toward one another with a single question on their tongues…”If not us, then who?”
California resident, and Waves For Water founder, Jon Rose may have put it best referring to the efforts along the Jersey Shore as a “shining example” of a community standing up in the face of disaster to construct a path toward recovery, a road to restoration, and traveling down it into the heart of Asbury’s East Side were the likes of My Morning Jacket, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Steve Earl, Joseph Arthur, Tangiers Blues Band, and lauded members of the Garden State music scene’s new guard in the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, River City Extension, and Nicole Atkins.
Tangiers Blues Band, who feature Clinch on harmonica and backing vocals, opened the evening offering a modest assemblage swampy Rock renditions of such classic cuts as The Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right To Party” and a sloppily seductive rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up.” Toms River’s own River City Extension and Neptune’s Nicole Atkins followed, adjusting their usually lengthy live performances of grit-riddled Americana and vintage Blues-Pop balladry to time-shortened four-song sets featuring eruptive selections from the former’s sophomore LP, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger (2012), including the surging “Point Of Surrender” and the latter’s thunderous “Neptune City.”
The Akron-based Ben Harper collaborator, Joseph Arthur, and his wealth of flame-licked and effects-drenched Rock N’ Roll prefaced the Red Bank-bred and New Brunswick basement-honed Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, who dipped into the well of his inked-up, flannel cloaked, Punk persona and removed soulful, acoustic guitar-led renditions of “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts,” “Great Expectations,” and the soon-to-be classic Handwritten composition “National Anthem.”
Fallon performed a short, intimate, solo acoustic set which, as SIMGE can attest to after witnessing the artist’s solo offering this past year at the recently defunct Press Room night club, is an impressive showcase of gritty artistic beauty.
Eddie Vedder recently joined Fallon and company onstage at Deluna Festival this past September for a rendition of the classic Pearl Jam cut “State Of Love & Trust,” a possible collaboration, pending Vedder’s availability, isn’t out of the question.
Activist, actor, and Folk auteur Steve Earle plucked away on his acoustic six string an ode to the grounds and the man who put Asbury Park on the musical map with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper” before offering a series of songs from a forthcoming release that will, according to Earle, “piss a lot of people off.” The Nashville artist gave way to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band who acted as a key cog in this musical fundraising machine, providing a brass-coated demonstration in Dixieland Jazz while backing Earle on his post-Hurricane Katrina anthem, “This City,” in which the songsmith uttered the all too appropriate poetics “this city won’t wash away/this city won’t ever drown,” as well as allowing My Morning Jacket’s caped crooner, Jim James, the opportunity too jam upon “Louisiana Fairytale” and “St. James Infirmary.”
And the Preservation Hall collective, six members of which lost their homes in Katrina, wasn’t finished as My Morning Jacket would call upon the group, after distributing such laser-caked, psychedelia-laced Southern-Rock epics as “Victory Dance,” “I’m Amazed,” and “First Light,” to finish out its nearly two-hour performance with “Highly Suspicious,” jams on Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell,” and the concluding, theatre-quaking, “One Big Holiday.
Junot Diaz once wrote “The Boardwalk is where all of New Jersey came together. Where New Jersey, for better or worse, met itself.” On The Beach allowed us to congregate once again, in the face of tremendous devastation, hardships, and even tougher times ahead. But like Chris Christie, like the non-profit organizations and volunteers giving of themselves in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and like Clinch, Donnelly, and Pallagrosi, we’ll continue to act, to bolster, rebuild, and restore our beloved Jersey Shore.
NOTE: As reported last week, Eddie Vedder signed on as an underwriter of the On The Beach: A Sandy Relief Concert which took place on January 2nd in Asbury Park’s Paramount Theatre with My Morning Jacket, The Gaslight Anthem, Steve Earle, Tangiers Blues Band, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, River City Extension, Nicole Atkins, and more…maybe next year Ten Club members received a live recording from this monumental event.