The Menzingers/Sammy Kay – Russo Music – Asbury Park, NJ – 12/28/14

This past weekend in Asbury Park, New Jersey, fans of The Bouncing Souls attended the band’s traditional holiday shows, Home for the Holidays.  Friday through Sunday there was a before party and an after party for each show.  Unfortunately I have yet to see The Bouncing Souls live, but decided to take the drive out to Asbury Park for the before party on Sunday.  It was held at Russo Music and featured a charity guitar raffle.  There was also an acoustic set with Sammy Kay and a special guest.

Sammy Kay started the charity event playing a short set of his own material and a few covers.  Even though to some, Sammy Kay may seem like a new musician, he actually has been around for quite some time and is well respected among his peers.  Playing his soulful music with his twist of ska mixed in, Sammy definitely stands out among other musicians, especially with his raspy, growling voice.  It is soothing to listen to.  Closing out his set, Sammy played a perfect acoustic version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.  It was the perfect song to end his set and a perfect song to end the year.

Following Sammy’s set was the special guest.  It was a surprise for a few, myself included, and announced the previous day online.  The special guest was The Menzingers.  The Menzingers are a band from the Scranton area of Pennsylvania and I’ve been lucky enough to see this band play a few times from small venues to much bigger venues.  It is always humbling to see a band climb the ladder and make something of themselves.   Jokingly Greg and Tom said they don’t have a set list, just a list of songs they know how to play acoustically.  They proceeded to ask if anyone had requests and again laughed that the mentioned songs weren’t on the list.  However, they did play older songs which had the crowd singing along and also newer songs from Rented World.  It was a short show to get everyone ready to head down the street to see The Bouncing Souls.  I, however, would not be attending, but hope to next year.

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