2007 Asbury Music Awards

Fans Gather For Awards Night In Asbury Park

The collection of fans that lined the Stone Pony (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, NJ) on Nov. 17 differed vastly from what one might see there on any given night. Some had the standard blue jeans with collared or button down shirt look, as others scampered around its floors in multi-colored hair, tattoos and lip rings.

It let one witness the scene's growth towards diversity with both eyes.

At the Asbury Music Awards held that night, Twine left blisters on the audience's ears with its set of riff-driven, sharp metal. They were eventually followed by the softer, yet still ballsy straight-ahead stomp of Readymade Break Up.

While mainstream radio continues to sink into a state of monotony, the scene here in Asbury Park remains filled with fresh, new sounds played by an eclectic crop of bands.

The crowd stretched deep into the large and legendary venue, leaving one to ponder if events like these should be held more than annually. The turnout was indicative of the scene's success and hopefully the area's bands and promoters will build upon the benefit of this cohesive merger of talent put together annually by a group led by Scott Stamper, co-owner of the Saint, 601 Main St., Asbury Park.

While veterans like Last Perfect Thing (who took home awards for Top Rock Band, Top Drummer: Chris Donofrio) and Divine Sign (the Top Female Acoustic Act) received some well-deserved recognition, the night played host to the emergence of numerous scene newcomers like Status Green (Top Pop Band and Top Live Performance).

Asbury's glory days were recalled in the form of a Living Legend Award 2007 for the one and only Bobby Bandiera, who has been part of the party that is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' for many years. Die hard blues man Sonny Kenn won the James M. MacDonald Musician's Lifetime Achievement Award, and his guitar licks have blasted across the Jersey Shore for decades.

Since the days of Asbury's Upstage, when music lovers would travel in on bicycles, motorcycles or what some might now consider classic cars, Asbury has been the creative heart of the state that brought us Springsteen, Sinatra and Nicholson. In those days, fans and musicians would pack area clubs from the night until morning to catch an earful of rock 'n' roll's future. The Asbury Music Awards finely exemplified the result of a cooperative spirit between the bands and club owners in the area, a necessary building block for the nourishment of young talent.

Many Upstage-era fans and musicians were present that night. They reunited with old friends, met new fans and caught up and coming bands. It was a night to reflect on the legends of a past generation and possibly a glance at those of the future.

[ Website: www.thesaintnj.com ]

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.