words and photos by bill bodkin
On February 21, Pop-Break presented its first “Shipwrecked at the Shore Music Showcase” of 2013 at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J. Despite the absolutely frigid temperatures, the bar was jamming for a night of grooves, broken drum sticks and luchadors.
Matt Scuteri & The Jive Stewards
This was the band’s first show of 2013 and their first show in Asbury Park since September when they opened for perennial Asbury favorites, Outside the Box. The band, complete with a sax and keyboard, reminded the audience of an E-Street-esque band from the days of yore — a good band that can get a bar crowd moving. Musically, however, they conjured up images of the early-to-mid-90s pop jam scene that Blues Traveler and The Spin Doctors were champions of. And we’re not taking about their days of saccharine-sweet pop radio dominance, we’re talking about their more creative days rocking clubs like the legendary Wetlands in New York City. For more on Matt Scuteri & The Jive Stewards check out Pop-Break’s interview with singer and band leader, Matt Scuteri.
The Mystery Men
In the year we’ve been doing the Pop-Break shows at Wonder Bar, there has never been a band who’s been more fun to watch than The Mystery Men. The band, comprised of many recognizable and respected Asbury Park musicians, whose names will remain secret, came out in full lucha gear and embraced their gimmick of being a rock ‘n’ roll band from “The Grimlak System.” (That’s a Transformers reference for those wondering). But what was most impressive and what literally shocked many in the audience, is that this band is SICK. They band decided to pull out a set of improvised instrumental jams and showed that they’re more than just a gimmick…they are awesome. To read more about The Mystery Men, check out Pop-Break’s interview with them.
Gay Guy/Straight Guy
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these dudes perform before — it’s just we’ve seen them perform like this. The duo of Bob Paulous (Ether Sunday, Give Me Static) and Nick Cucci (ex-River City Extension), came on stage and proved that a duo can be as loud, furious kicker of ass as much as a band double or triple their size. Paulos was absolutely furious on the drums, breaking drumsticks nearly every song — that alone was worth the price of admission. Cucci, who handled guitar and vocal work, was excellent at balancing melody and ferocity evoking thoughts of The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age at times. This is a definitely a band we want to see more of. If you want to find out more about Gay Guy/Straight Guy, check out Pop-Break’s interview with them.