At the Tabernacle’s 20th anniversary show to feature The Rubinoos and The Bongos

The Rubinoos and The Bongos will perform at the Mt. Tabor Tabernacle on Oct. 22.

The Rubinoos and The Bongos will perform at the Mt. Tabor Tabernacle on Oct. 22.

The first rock concert I ever saw was Elvis Costello & the Attractions at the Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead, N.Y., in April 1979. But the first rock band I ever saw in concert — the opening act for that show — was The Rubinoos, a power-pop band from San Francisco that had a catchy hit single at the time, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” (see video below)

I hadn’t thought of The Rubinoos for years, until this morning, when I saw that the band will be co-billed with The Bongos at the Mt. Tabor Tabernacle in Parsippany, Oct. 22, in a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the At the Tabernacle concert series. For information, visit

The groups will also perform at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, Oct. 21. JUNE 6 (UPDATE: A third Jersey show has been added for this double bill as well, Oct 20 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.)

The Rubinoos were inactive from 1985 until 1999, but have actually been pretty busy since then, with several new albums and occasional tours of the United States, Europe and Japan. They released an album celebrating their 45th anniversary, titled 45, last year, and also recently re-released their first three albums on vinyl.

Two of the band’s co-founders, singer-guitarist Jon Rubin and guitarist Tommy Dunbar, remain in the group, along with drummer Donn Spindt, who joined in the early days, and Al Chan, their bassist since 1980.

The Bongos were formed in Hoboken in 1980, and were one of the flagship bands of the early days of the Hoboken alt-rock scene. They broke up in 1987 but have undertaken a variety of reunion projects over the past decade, including the release of a new album, Phantom Train, in 2013.

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