… was the first studio album by Bruce Springsteen. Asbury Park was also the location for the latest All Tomorrow’s Parties, which Rich and I went to last weekend (a slight detour on our way to New York from Raleigh).
From New Jersey, we caught the train from Newark Airport to Long Branch, NJ, then caught a cab the rest of the way with a coupla other ATP patrons. Our cab driver told us numerous exciting tales about Jersey Shore (note: NOT the TV show), namely: how much the real estate was in Deal (“A million bucks!”); where the celebrities live in Deal (“Billy Joel, eh, he lives alorng here – can ya guess which house he lives in?? Eh, it’s that worn thaya, the house that looks like-a pianah”); various landmarks that had been badly damaged during Hurricane Irene (an apartment block with no roof, and a stop sign that was twisted the whole way around).
When we’d passed through Deal, the landscape changed quite dramatically. Our cabbie loudly declared “I hate driving through this parta town, what with all tha crime”, then said “Well, here we are – Asbury Park!!!” which obviously filled me with A LOT of confidence.
After checking into our hotel (and kicking ourselves for not timing our visit to coincide with the hotels’ Wig Party – “Party Hard in your Favourite Wig”), it was time to hit the town, see some bands and eat some food.
Despite the majesty of the Paramount Theatre and the old school sports stadium-ness of the Convention Centre, I love love loved the atmosphere of the Asbury Lanes (yes – a bowling alley band venue). We started our weekend there, watching Cults while enjoying a beer, and would return time and time again, for Thinking Fellers Union, bowling, food, bowling, beer, photos, trivia, and… more bowling. I am a terrible bowler, and sustained many injuries while we were here (a bruised thigh after an accidental cork with a bowling ball; three chipped nails; a grazed thumb; a nasty hangover, which could also attest to all the injuries….) but I had the greatest time…. And the entrepreneur in me (which, let’s face it, is not very big) is super tempted to open a bowling alley band venue on my return home. No wait, a bowling alley band venue ROLLER RINK!!! Is that outrageous?? Yes?? YES! I’ll do it!!
Asbury Park makes you feel like you’re on the set of a movie. The falling down buildings, the boardwalk, the amusement parlours, the boarded up kiosks, it’s all very filmic and nostalgic and kinda romantic. The people were friendly, and I didn’t feel a hint of danger when we were there – but I guess when 5,000 hipsters converge on a town for a shoe gazey indie music festival, the reflections from all the black-rimmed glasses blind the crims and keep them at bay…