Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Light of Day concerts, Pat DiNizio tribute, more


LaBamba and his Big Band will headline the main concert of the Light of Day festival, Jan. 13.

Here is a guide to notable arts events taking place around the state, through Jan. 15:


The annual Light of Day festival has begun already, and continues through Jan. 15 at various Asbury Park venues. Some of the most notable LOD events include:

Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.: “Kick-Off” concert at House of Independents. With Bobby Bandiera’s Tribute to Tom Petty, Dramarama, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan and The King Sings the Boss (Mark A. Wright, a British singer-songwriter and Elvis impersonator who will sing Springsteen songs as The Boss).

Jan. 12, 7:15 p.m.: Giants of the Asbury Park music scene will be honored at the “Asbury Angels” concert at the Stone Pony, which will also feature music by the Willie Nile Band, The Verve Pipe, Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys, Bobby Mahoney, Peter Elkas, Laura Crisci, Ten Ton Mojo, Pat Toner, the Bob Polding Band, Miss Emily, Mad Kings, Peter Hogklint and Mike Rocket.

As part of the festival, Asbury Underground will offer free music, comedy, visual arts and more at locations all over downtown Asbury Park, Jan. 13 from noon to 6 p.m. For a complete listing, visit

Jan. 13, 6:45 p.m.: Guitar Army — a six-string supergroup featuring Desert Rose Band co-founder John Jorgenson, country star Lee Roy Parnell and Australian prodigy Joe Robinson — will perform at The Saint, after an opening set by country duo Williams Honor (featuring veteran Shore musicians Reagan Richards and Gordon Brown). 

Light of Day 2018

Joe Grushecky will be among the performers at Bob’s Birthday Bash at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, Jan. 13, and the Songwriters by the Sea show at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park, Jan. 14. Both shows are part of the Light of Day festival.

Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m.: “Bob’s Birthday Bash,” the main Light of Day concert, takes place at the Paramount Theatre, with a headlining set by LaBamba’s Big Band and Friends, featuring Gary U.S. Bonds. There will be six other band sets, by Willie Nile, Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers, James Maddock, Garland Jeffreys, Remember Jones and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, plus acoustic sets by Jeffrey Gaines, John Easdale (of Dramarama), Rob Dye, Ben Arnold, Emily Grove, Luke Elliot and Isabella Rose.

Three different venues will participate in the “Songwriters by the Sea Boardwalk Crawl,” with musicians sharing acoustic songs and stories, on Jan 14. Performers at noon at The Watermark will include Arlon Bennett, David Vargo, Rachel Ana Dobken, Hans Ludvigsson, Luke Elliot, Taylor Tote, Roberta Finocchiaro and Jersey Budd. At 3 p.m. at the Langosta Lounge, it will be Bruce Tunkel, Karen Mansfield, Pat Guadagno, Sam Sims, Kyle Ward, Frank Lombardi, Joshua Mark and Scott Elk. And then at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club at 6:15 p.m., the Crawl will continue with James Maddock, Joe Grushecky, Joe D’Urso, John Easdale, Vini Lopez, Peter Elkas, Emily Grove, Joe Rapolla, Williams Honor, Ben Arnold, Mary McCrink, Rob Dye and Miss Emily.


The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank will celebrate the music of the late Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m., with a tribute concert, “Time and Time Again: A Celebration of Pat DiNizio,” that will feature surviving band members along with Steven Van Zandt, Patty Smyth, Marshall Crenshaw, Richard Barone, The Grip Weeds, Ted Leo, Freedy Johnston and many others.

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City presents an “All Stars of Hip-Hop” concert, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m., with Nelly, KRS-One, Redman, Method Man, Fatman Scoop and 3 Times Dope. KRS-One, meanwhile, can be seen in a considerably more intimate venue, the Stanhope House, headlining a 7 p.m. Jan. 13 concert.

Glenn Alexander, the resident guitar slinger for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes for close to a decade, brings his own fiery blues-soul band, Shadowland, to Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m., with the roots-rock band The Lonesome Pines opening.


• Freda Payne is best known for her 1970 R&B hit “Band of Gold,” but she started her career as a jazz singer, and will present a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Sitnik Theatre at the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. (Last year marked the 100th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth.) The event is part of the venue’s January Thaw Music Festival.


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has put together a program of music written by foreign composers who found inspiration in the United States: Chen Yi’s Ge Xu; Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. The NJSO will present the concert, titled “America, Inspiring,” at BergenPAC in Englewood, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.; and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. Xian Zhang will conduct, and George Li will be featured on piano. 


Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, died in 2003, but musicians who used to play with her continue performing her music under the name, The Celia Cruz All Stars.  Trombonist Braily Ramos is the musical director, and other performers include singer Lenia Diaz, saxophonist Juan Silveira and percussionists Dennys Savon and Alberto Panezuela. They will be at BergenPAC in Englewood, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.

Rick Allen artwork

One of Rick Allen’s “Drums for Peace.”


Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, who has grown increasingly serious about visual arts in recent years, will meet fans and display his artwork, including painted drums, at the Wentworth Gallery at The Mall at Short Hills, Jan. 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.


Gospel singers Tasha Cobbs and the duo Mary Mary (sisters Erica and Tina Campbell) will perform at NJPAC‘s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. The event takes place at Prudential Hall, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Jan. 15 from noon to 4 p.m., the Newark Museum will offer a Martin Luther King Jr. Day “Community Celebration,” with a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement by the Premiere Dance Theatre Company; screenings of the movie “I Shall Not Be Silent” (about Rabbi Joachim Prinz, who worked with King) and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech; a dramatic reading of King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail”; children’s activities, and more.

Here is a trailer for “I Shall Not Be Silent:

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