I figure for tonight's post, I highlight the picture I took outside of the stage. I'm sure many of you haven't made the journey down to Asbury Park. For my British audience, Asbury Park is the Blackpool of America. It was once a thriving getaway at the Turn of the Century to the Prohibition eras, equal to the Atlantic City we see in Boardwalk Empire. Then after World War II, the city started its decline, culminating in riots in 1970. From there on, the boardwalk was run down and sad. You had to climb a fence in order to get to the beach. Away from the beach, yeah, it's a bit rough.
This turn of events inspired the Springsteen to write "My City of Ruins"
It was only until the last decade, where the city finally started to pick things up. It now has a thriving art and music scene. The boardwalk has upscale restaurants and clubs. For us who went to ATP, we can all appreciate the Convention Hall, Paramount Theatre and connecting arcade. It looked a lot different when the Wrestler was filmed there. It's not a complete turnaround for the whole town because they are few parts that are sort of sketchy, but it's going in the right direction.
If you were to ask me the difference between All Tomorrow's Parties and the defunct All Points West, I would say popcorn. Everywhere you went in the Convention Hall, you smelled popcorn -- sweet, buttery, warm popcorn. Even by the Asbury Park Roastery, you smelled coffee mixed with popcorn. If you want to talk about a business boom, that coffee shop's line was always about 20 deep.
Since me and relaxation don't mix, I tried a bit to soak in the evening on the beach with the slight chill in the air. Both bars overlooked the beach and sea, where ATP set-up a bonfire.
On the boardwalk, I've mentioned the Silverball Museum, where ATP ticket holders got free admin for the weekend. Their sign-in sheet got to be a 1,000 before I finally got over. I spotted one of the Deerhoof fellas admiring the vintage machines. It's the one place I didn't see Mangum. For a guy who is sort of recluse, he was everywhere.
Go all the way down, and you see the remnants of the casino. It's one the distinguishable architectural relics from its glory days of 1900s. The other being the Howard Johnson's, which is now an upscale bar/restaurant.
Finally, yes, the music scene, which is geared towards rock-a-billy, surf and punk rock. The upi-center is Asbury Lanes, which held a few sets from Shellac and Peanut Butter Wolf and trivia contests. I've been there many times, and just dig the vibe and the people. It's one of those places that has regulars. I don't think I could be a regular, since I don't have tattooes, dyed hair or smell like an ashtray. When Brooklyn Bowl was being built, I was thinking it would be like Asbury Lanes, sort of kitchy, made to look run down and with a lot of local color. Nah, they went clean and classy. Asbury Lanes, it's real old school. A lot of characters frequent the joint during its burleque or roller derby nights.
Ben Ratliff over at the NY Times has good piece about the overall ATP experience and how it's a different beast of a music festival then Lollapalooza or Bonaroo. He has it correct, it's just a different class of concert-goers. Yes, we actually go to a festival for the music. For me, ATP is quality, not quantity. I would think it an awesome feat for a band like Portishead to choose a line-up. I would like to know who they wanted, but couldn't get to perform.
Now for some pictures. This is on the far end of the boardwalk.
Asbury Lanes. Mark it 8, dude.
Shep Fairey made his mark around the city as you can see.
This was on the second floor of the convention hall.
Somebody got married. Portishead should have invited them to the show.
The local kids theater company staged a little impromtu performance. You know, it's good for the kids. They the Glee and the American Idol, so it brings them to singing Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat on the boardwalk. Don't ask how I know what they were singing.