Monday, November 10th, 2008

2008 Asbury Music Awards Followup

We had a really great time talking to all of you last Saturday night at the Stone Pony. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at this year's awards ceremony. Here's what the Asbury Park Press had to say about the night:

ASBURY PARK — Unbowed in the face of national economic turmoil, the Asbury Park music community rallied firm Saturday in its resolve to continue to stand behind the city's renaissance and to carry it into the future.

"In the end, it's all about the song and the performance," said Scott Stamper, co-owner of The Saint nightclub, as he and Adam Weisberg kicked off their 16th annual Asbury Music Awards celebration at The Stone Pony. "There certainly are hard times ahead, but music and entertainment will see us through."

The event provided fans, artists and insiders the opportunity to reflect on what many believe was a banner year for the Asbury Park music scene.

"We're coming off an incredible summer," said Kyle Brendle, Stone Pony house promoter. "A sold-out Fourth of July weekend with Southside (Johnny) and Moe. Billy Idol, which, from the fans' perspective, couldn't have gotten much better. We had Bob Dylan in August, that was like a papal blessing for us.

"I think our biggest achievement this year, though, has been re-establishing Asbury Park as a national market, through Live Nation scheduling Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre in conjunction with Madison Marquette fully opening the Grand Arcade," added Brendle, who was honored at the show with this year's Living Legend award. "There are amenities now that really provide a support system for concertgoers. The pavilions are coming alive. The Asbury Park boardwalk is full-on again. To see throngs of people out there, it's definitely the brightest spot in our music scene right now."

Escorted to The Stone Pony stage by a duet of kimono-clad beauties, host Joe Harvard maintained an upbeat, comedic tone throughout the show.

Harvard began the evening by introducing a short film by Mallory Massara of Asbury Park, which re-edited a portion of the Bruce Lee classic "Fist of Fury" to star various Asbury Music Award nominees.

With event regulars such as Status Green and Last Perfect Thing away on tour, the live-performance portion of this year's awards featured a host of younger up-and-coming acts, including Lost in Society, Last Days of Empire, The Eryn Shewell Band, Delft and Outside the Box.

The Stone Pony's summer 2008 house band, Outside the Box — Jeff Cafone, Warren Thieleman, Mark Masefield and Francis Valentino — took home awards for Top Young Band and Top Blues Band.

The popular "Best Thing to Happen . . . " award this year went to Asbury favorite Rick Barry, for launching his "Night in Progress" live performance series at The Saint. Barry's monthly event spotlights new material from local songwriters that so far have included George Wirth, Keith Monacchio, Bret Mosley, Justin Hillman, Tommy Strazza, Kelly Carvin and Glen Burtnik.

"This award really goes to Scott (Stamper) and all the artists who played and made it a great night," Barry said.

The more than 30 awards given out at the ceremony included nods to Top Rock Band (Last Perfect Thing), Top Local Release (Arlan Feiles' "Come Sunday Morning"), Top Punk/Ska Band (The Sex Zombies), Top Indie Rock Band (The Obvious), Top Jersey Roots Band (Maybe Pete), Top Heavy Rock Band (Sekond Skyn), Top Jam Band (Green Tag Sale), Top Live Performance (Status Green) and Top Groove Band (Turtle Soup).

"Being recognized at the AMAs (Asbury Music Awards), that does mean something," said Turtle Soup keyboardist Ben Feld. "When you're trying to get noticed by different venues, yeah, people do pay attention to these types of things."

"Winning here is huge in helping us take what we do from a local to a regional level," said Jeff "Mudd" Mahajan, the band's guitarist. "Larger jam band festivals, for example, are definitely responsive to our success. I mean, the better we do, the better they do."

Winners

(Taken From The Asbury Park Press)

ASBURY PARK — Top Male Acoustic Act: Keith Kenny
Top Female Acoustic Act: Divine Sign
Top Male Vocalist: Lou Montesano
Top Female Vocalist: Kerry McNulty (Divine Sign)
Top Guitarist: Jeremy Korpas: (Green Tag Sale)
Top Bassist: Jay Walker(Colie Brice & The New Age Blues Experience)
Top Drummer: Andrew Lenaghan (Green Tag Sale)
Top Keyboard Player: Arlan Feiles & The Lone Howdys
Song of The Year: “Firebomb” (Status Green)
Top Journalist In Support Of Live Music: John Pfeiffer (Aquarian Weekly/ECR)
Top News Publication in Support Of Live Music: (Aquarian Weekly/ ECR)
Top Local Release: “Come Sunday Morning” (Arlan Feiles)
Top Radio Personality: Jeff Raspe (90.5 “The Night”)
Top Radio Station: 90.5 “The Night” (Brookdale Public Radio)
Best Thing To Happen in 2007/2008: “A Night In Progress Series” Hosted by Rick Barry
Top Pop Band: Status Green
Top Indie Rock Band: The Obvious
Top Jersey Roots Band: Maybe Pete
Top Rock Band: Last Perfect Thing
Top Heavy Rock Band: Sekond Skyn
Top Young Band (under 21): Outside The Box
Top Live Performance: Status Green
Top Jam Band: Green Tag Sale
Top Advant Garde Act: Colie Brice & New Age Blues Experience
Top Americana: Arlan Feiles & The Lone Howdys
Top Groove Band: Turtle Soup
Top Blues Band: Outside The Box
Top Punk/Ska Band: The Sex Zombies
Poet Laureate: Jessi Smith
Top Music Website To Support Live Original Music: AsburyMusic.com
Living Legend 2008: Kyle Brendle
James M. MacDonald Musician’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Billy McKelvey