THE LEGENDARY SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY
Brings Rejuvenated Jukes to Northern New Jersey
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes brought a little something old, something new, something borrowed and plenty of the blues to the Shea Center on the campus of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey on February 16, 2013. This was a make-up show for an earlier scheduled concert that was postponed due to the flu outbreak and the rejuvenated Jukes did not disappoint.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in New Jersey
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes take the stage at the Shea Center in Wayne, NJ.

John Lyon aka Southside Johnny was born and raised in Neptune, New Jersey. Southside and his band The Asbury Jukes are considered among the pioneers of the "Jersey Shore sound". Southside released his first album I Don't Want To Go Home in 1976. The title track would become a signature song for the group melding melodic riffs and horns. "The Fever", "Talk to Me", "This Time It's For Real", "Love on the Wrong Side of Town" and Springsteen's "Hearts of Stone" are other songs that have became well-loved staples in the Juke's live repertoire.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes along with their music have been featured on TV and in films. In 2001, Southside founded Leroy Records to release their albums. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes still continue to tour and entertain fans with their timeless and up-tempo tunes.

Southside was greeted with warm applause as he took the stage. "Shake Em Down" from the Better Days album started the proceedings with the paring of the harmonica and the keys before Southside said "where's The Jukes" and the rest of the band joined into the sassy song. "Angel Eyes" was a robust rocker borrowed from Little Steven's Men Without Women with short solid solos from John Isley on sax and Glenn Alexander on guitar. Both would shine throughout the night during their moments in the spotlight.

Having dodged one illness Southside joked about the pre-show meal of cafeteria meat loaf and gray beans but the dinner provided the perfect caloric boost to power the energetic concert that clocked in at around two and a half hours.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in New Jersey
Southside Johnny jokes about the pre-show meal provided by the college cafeteria.

"Feeling it tonight," stated Lyon as he gave a shout out to his long time roadie Hood. "I feel good," he continued as they moved into the soulful "Hearts of Stone" that showcased another soaring solo from Glenn.

The aptly named "Passion Street" was played with passion. Southside was animated in his movements and muse. The band brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the music. Southside worked the room and on occasions would stand at the edge of the stage to be close to the crowd. The horn section who also handled backing vocals and percussion at times swung their instruments in unison. Overall, The Jukes appeared to be having fun and that feeling flowed to the audience.

"Without Love" and "Love on the Wrong Side of Town" were well played with both featuring more fine solos from the band. The teasing about the questionable mystery meal was a good lead into a satisfying serving of "It Ain't the Meat (It's the Motion)".

"Your My Girl (I Don't Want to Discuss It) melded the blues with bold brass and rhythms. The song segued into "I'm a Man" (Spencer Davis Group) with Jeff aptly handling keys and lead vocals before the band circled back to the original track.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in New Jersey
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Horns powered the proceedings in Passaic County.

"Very essence of me," said Southside as they played an engaging series of R&B classics including "I Choose to Sing the Blues", "Walk Away Renee" and The Stones "Happy" with a sizzling guitar solo from Alexander.

The bass and guitar were at the forefront for the newer "Harder Than It Looks" with Southside asking his bassist John about his times at the University when he was studying jazz years earlier at WPU. Lyon joked that Conte left the jazz behind when he woke up and realized how much he could make with The Jukes.

Coming into the home stretch, The Jukes played their classics - "Talk To Me", a fervent "The Fever" and "Stand By Me" that moved into a winsome "I Don't Want to Go Home." They closed with a rocking "One More Night to Rock."

The encore was "How Come You Treat Me So Bad" followed by a spirited "Got to Be a Better Way Home" and a flavorful cover of Delbert McClinton's "When Rita Leaves" punctuated by sassy horns. Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes earned high marks as they rocked the Shea Center with an in-depth course on their signature and legendary Jersey Shore sound.

The Shea Center for Performing Arts has a wide range of shows booked for 2013 including Bucky Pizzarelli, Gaelic Storm, L Harlow & W Paterson - Latin Jazz Orchestra, David Wilcox with Susan Werner, David Bromberg Big Band and Bubblemainia. Please check their website for a complete list of events.

SSJ & THE JUKES SETLIST - 02/16/2013: Shake 'em Down / Angel Eyes / Forever / Hearts of Stone / Passion Street / Without Love / Love on the Wrong Side of Town / It Ain't the Meat (It's the Motion) / Cross That Line / You're My Girl (I Don't Want to Discuss It)/I'm a Man / I Choose to Sing the Blues / Walk Away Renee / Happy / Harder Than It Looks / Talk to Me / This Time It's for Real / The Fever / Stand by Me/ I Don't Want to Go Home / One More Night to Rock / First Encore / How Come You Treat Me So Bad / Second Encore / Got to Be a Better Way Home / When Rita Leaves

THE ASBURY JUKES - 2013: Southside Johnny - vocals & harmonica / Glenn Alexander - guitar / Chris Anderson - trumpet / John Conte - bass / John Isley - sax / Jeff Kazee - piano / Neal Pawley - trombone / Tom Seguso - drums

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in New Jersey
Southside with co-writer and fellow Poor Fool Jeff Kazee in Wayne.

Related Links: For more information on SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY JUKES and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Southside Johnny | Shea Center

(Originally Published on February 17, 2013)

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