Words & Photos by Mark Krajnak

December 2, 2021

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"Ain’t nothing's gonna save ya from a love that's blind

Slip through the dark side and cross that line"

There are some bands that just have that….ah…Jersey Shore sound. A sound that just belongs in a little seaside bar in Asbury Park.

It’s a sound that trades on guitar riffs, a steady drum rhythm, and saxophones. Definitely saxophones.

John Cafferty And The Beaver Band fit this bill perfectly. Even though they hail from Narragansett, Rhode Island, they enbody the Jersey Shore vibe to a tee. And their sound was on full display when they recently played to a packed little seaside bar…this one being the legendary Stone Pony.

John Cafferty And The Beaver Brown Band started their career in the 1970s – just like a few other local guys we all know and love – and achieved mainstream success in the 1980s with the "Eddie & The Cruisers - Motion Picture Soundtrack."

On this night, "On The Darkside," one of their biggest hits from that era with one of the most well-known hooks, was played (surprisingly early) in their Stone Pony set (second song). But the phones of their loyal fans were up early and on “Record” as they blasted through the song that tells the rock ‘n roll story of unprofessed love.

“Settle in, we’re going to play awhile,” John told the crowd after one of the songs. And play awhile they did.

They’d go on to for two straight hours of East Coast Rock ‘n Roll. It may have been chilly up on the AP boardwalk, but John and the band heated up The Stone Pony. Blasting through "Hearts On Fire," Cafferty’s solo track featured on the Rocky IV soundtrack, heated it up even more. Did you know that Cafferty has songs in 35 movies? Pretty incredible for a bar band that’s been touring the Northeast Corridor for more than forty years.

By the end of the set, the band had put in a great night’s work. And the fans saw one of the classic East Coast rock ‘n roll bands of our time.

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band

Just after the doors opened for the night, the opening band hit the stage. Remember what I said helps make up a solid Jersey Shore band? This one has it in spades. The opening band for the night was 7 Hills (who also play under the name Promised Land – long story), who also draw a loyal following from their Staten Island and New Jersey roots. Lead singer Kenny Munson is one of the best frontmen out there, perfectly channeling Asbury Park’s favorite son, but doing so with his own version of musical power and persuasion.

Kenny doesn’t just take the mic and drill through the set list. He takes time to set the stage, tells stories of who influenced him along the way, and peppers the band’s set with covers and his own original music.

7 Hills/Promised Land

The 7 Hills stage is crowded with two keyboard players, a horn section, two guitarists, a bassist and, of course, a drummer. The one shot I missed this time was Kenny jumping off the drum kit…but only because he didn’t do it this time!

“There were two movies you HAD to see in the mid-80s…Eddie and The Cruisers was one of them…and the other was by one of the best musicians of our time…” Kenny said, before launching into a solid version "Purple Rain" by Prince. 7 Hills would cap their set with high-energy version of "Rosalita" that had their fans heating up the Pony. Watch it below. Whether they are going by 7 Hills or Promised Land, they play Asbury Park (either The Stone Pony or Wonder Bar) a lot. Do check them out for a rockin’ great night out in Little Eden.

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Mark Krajnak (pronounced Kray-Nack) shoots people, music, and events. He goes by JerseyStyle Photography and believes in the power of the image. 

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