ghost wolvesCarley Wolf joins bandmate Jonny Wolf on the stage of 10th Ave. Burrito Tuesday night, as the Austin-based duo the Ghost Wolves helps the new venue up the original-music ante in downtown Red Bank.

By Tom Chesek

10th ave 071415 1As reported earlier in redbankgreen, the recently opened Red Bank branch of 10th Ave. Burrito Company made its debut in the downtown restaurant wars equipped with an arsenal of assets that ranged from “165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink,” to more than 100 varieties of tequila and a not-so secret weapon: “live music – cover bands need not apply.”

While the town doesn’t often get mentioned in the same breath as Asbury Park and other musically-minded burgs, the fact remains that most every night of the week finds something for music aficionados to choose from; be it at the Basie or one of the borough’s bars, beaneries, sidewalk bumpouts or black-box performance spaces. But even as Red Bank regulars like Sonny Kenn, Quincy Mumford and Matt O’Ree have made a habit of stocking their saloon sets with generous amounts of originals, the town hasn’t truly seen a full-time venue for homegrown originals and national touring acts since the long-ago heyday of Big Man’s West. It’s a situation that 10th Ave owner Brian Katz and manager Chris Masi (formerly the music booker at the Downtown) seek to address with an attention-compelling slate of up-and-coming talents, cult favorites and best kept secrets that range from deliriously anarchic alt-rock to urban-hipster roots Americana, and even an unexpected visitor from across the pond — a schedule that really clicks into place as summer turns to fall.

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brian katz 080515 110th Ave. Burrito owner Brian Katz with a mural depicting luchadores in an agave field—complete with a tequila distillery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


10th ave 07191510th Ave. Burrito Company opened in Red Bank last week, and there’s no mistaking: it’s serious business, aiming to leverage its 165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink River to success.

But with a giant mural of masked Mexican wrestlers, a cadre of tattooed and weird-bearded servers, and a barely filtered owner, the West Front Street eatery appears to be off to a running, if low-key, start on his goal of “bringing something unique” to the town.
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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.


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.

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