Presents: Matt Pryor / Blue of Colors / Josh Berwanger / Bob Manna / Mark Rose / PJ Bond – Asbury Lanes – Asbury Park, NJ – 5/10/14

Last Saturday I attended the New Jersey stop of the Downwrite tour at Asbury Lanes.  As always, Asbury Lanes was great, but so was this show.  Probably the most entertaining show I’ve been to in awhile.  Featured collaborations, group sing-a-longs, and Jar Jar Binks.

The first musician to grace the stage was PJ Bond.  I can’t remember the year I saw PJ Bond, but the last time I saw him perform was with Koji at Siren Records in Doylestown, PA.  Having less facial hair than I remember, PJ Bond went through a quick set of personal country/folk songs.  I personally was blown away by his performance, better than I remember.

Next up were the creators of Downwrite, Bob Nanna, of Braid and Hey Mercedes, and Mark Rose, of Spitalfield.  The two sat for their performance while switching back in forth in playing.  Mark Rose did open with a nice rendition of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica and when I mean nice, I mean his voice flows very nice making “Enter Sandman” sound like a lullaby.

The third act was Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary.  I felt his set was too short, but he was joined on stage by young fan.  I assume she is the daughter of one of the roadies.  Within the third song, Matt Pryor and members of Blue of Colors joined in with extra instruments, along with Jar Jar Binks of the Star Wars fame.  Later Bob Manna and Mark Rose joined to finish out Josh’s set.  You can tell this tour brought everyone together.

Steve Soboslai of Punchline new band Blue of Colors played acoustic but incorporated electric guitar and drums.  I always liked Punchline and Steve’s stage presence because of his witty humor, maybe it’s because we are both from Pennsylvania.  However, if you are expecting Punchline songs, you won’t hear them here.  Steve is out to prove he can do more than the pop-punk sound and he does it excellently.  Blue of Colors was amazing, I can see this band taking off.  For some reason I kept thinking a more colorful Good Old War.  Highly suggest looking into Blue of Colors.

Closing out the night was Matt Pryor.  One of my favorite lyricists.  Knowing that Matt has an extensive discography from Get Up Kids, New Amsterdams, and his solo work, I couldn’t imagine what his set list might include.  However, I think he played a good assortment.  I was surprised to hear him play “Idaho”.  He did mention that he took requests before the show which I wish I knew because I would’ve asked for “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing”.  Towards the end of his set, Steve from Blues of Colors came out and helped with “Overdue” which was done nicely.  He then ended his set with “Out Of Reach” with Blue of Colors as his backing harmonies.  Again bringing out that Good Old War sound.  With the night ending and still laughing from all the jokes, I am proud to say no one asked Matt to play “Campfire Kansas”.

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