DOWNTOWN GETTING ARTY, CRAFTY, DRAFTY

Singer/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, seen here at the Downtown a year ago, returns to the banks of the Navesink for the club’s Wednesday night Music, Arts & Drafts series.

By TOM CHESEK

At first blush, a job like Chris Masi’s looks to be an enviable gig indeed.

As music director at  The Downtown on West Front, the veteran Shore musician and go-to guy gets to lord over the festivities at the destination nightspot that’s regularly packed ’em in since remodeling and reopening two-plus years ago.

Still, it can’t be too easy programming seven nights and two floors of music each week, particularly in the season when crowds are naturally drawn to the region’s beachier burgs. And for every self-sustaining tradition over at the double-wide Downtown — the long-running Monday night stand of Pat Guadagno; the Thursday Rock and Roll Karaoke clambake — there’s a spot on the schedule that could use a freshening up.

Enter Music, Arts & Drafts, a new Wednesday night series established as a value-priced Humpday hootenanny that’s designed, as Masi tells redbankgreen, to “create a little bit of that Downtown magic — a night full of great original music, art and beer.”

The series, which thus far has paired an array of local bands with exhibits by featured visual artists — plus a standard $3 cover and recession-busting refreshments to help the medicine go down — takes it up a notch in August, with the Red Bank return of a nationwide favorite, and a regional breakout act that’s poised to get a boost from the presence of the MTV cameras.

loumontesano-493x328Status cymbal: Lou Montesano and Status Green are scheduled to be interviewed by MTV’s Sway this Wednesday night at The Downtown. (Photo by Mike Black)

On Wednesday night, August 4, Monmouth County-based Status Green takes the upstairs stage of the Downtown duplex in a performance that’s scheduled to be recorded by an MTV camera crew for broadcast at a date to be named later.

Rapper, radio personality and MTV News correspondent DJ Sway will be at the club, talking with Lou Montesano and bandmates about the latest phase in a career that’s seen this Asbury Park quartet issue three indie albums, take part in the Warped Tour and play support sets for headline acts at upsize venues like the PNC Bank Arts Center.

Opening for the Green team is Only Living Boy, with Paul Bracco playing downstairs, and featured photography by Tinton Falls native Marisa S. Berard — all for one American three-dollar bill.

In a 2009 interview that appeared on our satellite site Red Bank oRBit, Jeffrey Gaines professed his passion for making frequent forays to the crimson banks of the Navesink — allowing that “I do like Red Bank a lot; it’s a beautiful town. And if the town likes you, it makes it easy to enjoy your time there, and to keep coming back.”

The Philly-based singer and songwriter — who took a cool cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” just to the edge of the Top 20 in 2001 — has played within (Riverside Gardens, the Count Basie) and around (Stone Pony, Monmouth U, McLoone’s Supper Club) the borough numerous times in recent years. He returns to The Downtown on August 11 for a Music, Arts & Drafts event that boasts a solo opening set by Outside the Box frontman Jeff Cafone (in a followup to his Pony SummerStage appearance with the Jukes) and featured visuals by the artist known only as Jesse.

Admission to the upstairs Gaines event is $10, with advance tickets gettable through the Downtown website. The G Band plays sans cover charge downstairs that same night, and Music, Arts & Drafts continues on August 18 and 25, with headline acts to be named later.