Reports from the Front Street frontlines here on redbankgreen have detected the presence of national touring music acts — something that the downtown club scene hadn’t seen for close to a generation — at the recently opened Red Bank branch of 10th Ave. Burrito Company.
In the months since the river-vista restaurant and rockbar made its debut, it’s also become abundantly clear that the venue has offered safe harbor to local purveyors of original music, a welcome policy during a time of year when the off-season winds blow with extra cruelty around those summertime boardwalk haunts.
The picante-hot menu of local-organic live music continues this Friday night, January 15, with a super-rare Red Bank appearance by guitarist Siegfried “Sigi” Schock and his (semi-eponymously named) band Ziggy Shock.
The Munich-born scene veteran (possessor of a rockstar-ready name that other hopefuls could only have dreamt of) and onetime Red Bank resident spent much of the 1980s and early ’90s in bands with names like Stiff Pigeon, Holy Trinity and White Out, opening for some of the most awesome names in the business, and dealing his Edge-y soundsplash licks in most every alt-friendly venue between the Shore and the city.
After putting his music aspirations aside in favor of career and daddy-track considerations, the family-man fretmeister picked up his guitar again with a vengeance a few years back, teaming with bandmates Matt Guzda and Kriss Kaboom in the power-pop-punk trio project that’s scored a growing fanbase and a full-length release, BURN. Ziggy/Sigi and company will be sprinkling original stardust and likeminded covers for two sets starting at 9 p.m.
Slamming into the Jersey Shore music scene with the force of a nor’easter-fueled chopper, Freehold-based multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter/ impresario Vincent Minervino surveyed the woeful lack of a surf music subculture and decided to do something about it — first with his song-oriented surf pop combo the Brigantines, and then (with wife Magdalena O’Connell) as co-organizer of two successful editions of the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival.
Even as he and Magda continue to forge a successful new career as purveyors of their own self-manufactured Big Slick Pomade, veteran Apple employee Minervino has somehow also managed to stake out time for an additional band project, the Black Flamingos. Taking the drum seat this time out (as opposed to the guitar-vocal spot he commands with the Brigantines), “Vinnie Minnie” steers a three-man firetruck with bandmates Robbie Butkowski and Declan O’Connell that fireballs forward through a classically instro precision ’60s-style surf attack. The trio, who boast a recently released powerhouse EP on Asbury’s Little Dickman label, take to the wintry banks of the Navesink for a 10th Ave. spotlight session on Saturday, January 23.
Working the far-out fringes of the Shore circuit for more than a decade — and making believers of audiences of all shapes, sizes and dispositions — Virago has managed to cast a compelling spell largely through acoustic instrumentation, played by a core of two “women warriors” (guitarist-voclaist Amy Schindler, percussionist-voclaist Maire Tashjian) who are augmented on occasion by guitarist John Ferreira and bassist Dawn Drake.
Whether conquering a room (or turning heads at outdoor festivals) via a two-piece assault of Afro-Brazilian rhythms, or expanding the parameters of their sound with full-band workouts on acclaimed originals (“Love Over Fear”) and carefully curated covers (Indigo Girls, Springsteen, Janis, Fogerty), the band remains a rare treat for music lovers willing to put aside all preconceptions about genre boundaries and other plastic fences.
Last seen around town at the 2015 Guinness Oysterfest, Virago arrives at 10th Ave. for some Friday night sets on January 29 — and fans of Boardwalk-blessed blues in its most classic incarnation might want to make a return trip the following night, January 30, for a Saturday night session starring pure-blues paragon Kenny “Stringbean” Sorensen and the Stalkers.