Words by Audra Tracy | Photo by Joe Russo

Jersey pride was thick in the air on Ocean Ave this weekend, as all-stars from across the Garden State came out for the annual Asbury Park Music & Film Festival. On one end of the boardwalk, Southside Johnny & Friends filled the Paramount Theatre in Convention Hall, even hosting a special guest appearance by our fair state’s unofficial superhero, Bruce Springsteen.

And just down the block, another Jersey native, pedal-steel slayer Robert Randolph, packed The Stone Pony for a night of energizing rock and soul. Inside, a congregation made up mostly of aging Clapton fans and Gen Y hippies squeezed in tight to get a glimpse of Randolph and his Family Band in action. And just before 10pm, Randolph & Co. cut right to the chase with the ultimate icebreaker – a scorching cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.

The band is currently on tour in support of their new album, Got Soul, and fans got a taste of new songs like “Love Do What It Do” and the incredibly catchy “She Got Soul” on this night. For a group that is five studio albums deep into their career, they seem right at home onstage, cooking up multi-layered grooves that kept the crowd in constant jubilant motion throughout their set.

Before the night was over, yet another local joined the mix on this famed stage. During an especially killer version of the Hendrix classic, “Voodoo Chile”, rock photographer Danny Clinch hopped into the spotlight to show he’s got some moves on the harmonica, too.

Randolph, the self-proclaimed ‘rock n roll preacher’, had a few more tunes up his sleeve before closing out the show with a little funk, care of Stevie Wonder’s hit, “Superstition”. Fans stepped back out into the salt air, a little sweaty and buzzed, but full of love: a perfect night at the Jersey shore.


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