August 12, 2010

On the Beat: Aug. 12-19

Violinist and modern-rock radio darling Tracy Bonham headlines The Record Collector in Bordentown on Saturday night.

Billy J. Kramer

The Merseybeat singer turned unused Beatles songs into chart toppers in the early ’60s. Kramer - headlining The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) tonight - shared manager Brian Epstein with The Fab Four, which gave the now 66-year-old Brit access to some of John and Paul’s leftover jingles and songwriting talents. You can even hear a jovial Lennon in the background of a recording of “I’m In Love” – a song Kramer originally passed on – released on a ’90s career compilation. Kramer’s been appearing at a select few Garden State rock ’n’ roll expos this summer. His show tonight – his final here before heading across the pond for two shows at The Cavern in Liverpool - features Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel’s band on drums. Show starts at 7:30. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. All-ages.

This Or The Apocalypse

The Lancaster skull crashers, who ravage souls with hair whipping scream core, focus their energy on speedy breakdowns and harmony-enraged choruses. The hardliners - a new disc, “Haunt What’s Life,” recorded in Chris Adler and John Wilbur’s (Lamb Of God) Spin Studio as their arsenal - headline Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) tomorrow afternoon (Friday the 13th BTW). For fans of Texas In July, God Forbid and Trivium. Show starts at noon. Consumer, A Dream Worth Dying For, Then Falls Caesar, Sicker Than Most, Moran’s Accident, Within Cold Blood and My Heart To Fear round out the bill. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. All-ages.

Raymond Strife

Like a rubber-room coated courtroom presided by Harvey Birdman with MC Paul Barman of defense, the Ewing emcee’s maroon-mental-tudes can roll out of order. The trip-ballsy self-loathing egomaniac’s gooey rap whit-wet-spits are too legit to quit also – making for a fly time for all at The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) tomorrow night. Show starts at 10. Gilateen Gilly plays, too. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.


The Trenton emcee - whose flow bears semblance to a streetwise/commercial-minded Chiddy Bang - headlines McGuinn’s Place (1781 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence) tomorrow night. Show starts at 9. Black Collar Biz, Bottom Line, Cap City, KV Jetson and J. Smoothe round out the bill. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

Bebe Buell

Liv Tyler’s Playboy Playmate momma and Cameron Crow’s inspirationto the “Penny Lane” character in “Almost Famous” stars at The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) tomorrow night. Known to shack up with rock stars, Buell started recording music in the early ’80s with her band The Gargoyles – even having at one point The Cars and then boyfriend John Taylor (Duran Duran/Power Station) backing her up. But rumor has it, her music career was pre-empted when the singer’s secret spawn to the Aerosmith frontman – and possible scandal - turned off record execs. Liv didn’t know of her father until she was 11, and has been quoted as seeing both “more as human beings than parents.” Buell’s touring with a new single “Sugar.” Has a melodic new wave feel to it that’s sort of Blondie mixed with Heart. Show starts at 7:30. Frankenstein 3000 open. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at the door. All-ages.

Kid Is Qual

Jon Sullivan’s (Jack’s Mannequin) robot-rocking side project is a dance-flowing, Daft Punk-y wet dream for fans of biting, 8-bit audio automations. The trio shake-shake-shake it out at Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park) tomorrow night. Also features Alabama Thuderpussy’s Mike Bryant. Show starts at 8. The Black Birds and Kid Charlemagne open. Tickets cost $8. 18-plus. A 21-plus show is also slated for The Court Tavern (124 Church St., New Brunswick) Saturday night. That performance starts 6 with Tangomachina and Bryan Hansen opening. Tickets cost $8.

Ruckus at the Zoo

The Philly pop punks headline Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) Saturday afternoon. Show starts at noon. Divide & Conquer, The Pleasure, The Frontrunner, Ripping X-Ray, Massively Ill and Weigh The Wind play, too. Tickets cost $10. All-ages.

Wise Intelligent

The Trenton rap legend gets his rocky-funky-joint-on at TerraCycle’s (121 New York Ave., Trenton) annual Graffiti jam after party at McGuinn’s Place (1781 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence) Saturday night. Rarely does the iconic hip-hop figure do shows in a small venue like McGuinn’s, but it seems like that juxtaposition of lyrical wordplay and artistic urban expression the showcase represents has become an appealing tradition to the local truth speaker from Poor Righteous Teachers who finds time in his busy schedule to hit up this event each summer. Show starts at 9. To Live & Die In NJ, Roebus One and Surg & Hellfire open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

Fairway Drive

The punk-proggers’ mix of high-pitchy vocals, guitar slices-and-dices and aggressive background howls blend everything the emo kids at school love about Mars Volta, Choidos and Circa Survive. The Tuckerton troop headline The Mill Hill Basement (300 S. Broad St., Trenton) Saturday night. Show starts at 5. At Daybreak!, The Cretins and Christopher James open. Tickets cost $10. All-ages.

Stomping Ground

The cop-hating, chick-led Trenton hardcore hell blazers follow old school punk’s time-honored tradition of play it fast, play it loud and play it quick. Only one song on their MySpace page lasts longer than a minute, and that ditty, “PepsiRock,” rolls over at 1:21. Riot rock unearthed from the spirits of Minor Threat, Youth Brigade, Murphy’s Law and even a little Bad Brains, the five some are set to open for Brooklyn’s Mayday Underground at Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) Saturday night. Show starts at 9. Animal Train, Regretter and Lousy Break round out the bill. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus.

Tracy Bonham

Nineties alternative brought guitar fuzz and feedback and total whacked-out dirt rock to commercial radio for the first time in the form of grunge music. But lets not forget how a few classically-trained ladies of the violin found their place, too, among the Nirvana’s, Pearl Jam’s and Green Day’s of the world with bands like That Dog and the Weezer off-shoot The Rentals (both times with Petra Haden stringing-it-up). It was this New Yorkers “Mother Mother,” however, which truly opened the ears of many a alt-rock fan to the school-orchestra-only violin that never found its niche in modern counter culture. Bonham, playing The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) Saturday night, was nominated for two Grammy’s for that song in 1997 – losing to Sheryl Crow for Best Female Performance and Beck for Best Alternative Album. She never returned to modern-rock radio as that format quickly fizzled out. But stuck to her art roots touring with The Blue Man Group, where she appeared on “America’s Got Talent” playing violin of course in a rendition of The Who’s “Baba O’Reily.” Bonham’s new record, “Masts Of Manhattan,” is a throwback to the jangle pop days of college radio, and her alt-rock covenant Julian Hatfield and Liz Phair. Show starts at 7:30. L.A.’s Bleu opens. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at the door. All-ages.


The Jap-punk loony tuners kung-fu karate kick-it into Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park) Saturday night. Quite the spectacle whenever they hit the beach, their live act – in broken English mostly - is like watching The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fighting in a Kaiju Big Battel cage match on MXC with The Aquabats supplying the soundtrack. Show starts at 10. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus.

Scott Frost’s On The Beat concert listing appears in The Trentonian and at every Thursday. If your band is playing around town, email the On the Beat web line at