The music of the soul played and the people danced and the summer stayed with us a little while longer, as long as we could hear the song.
Jersey City’s warm weather outdoor music series reached a rousing conclusion with a hot set by the rock & soul stalwarts the One & Nines. Back in April, the One & Nines opened the series so having them as the last act on this humid late-summer night added a symmetry to one of the few successful ongoing community arts programs in town. A dozen or so revelers did 21stcentury variations on the frug, pony and mash potato as scores of others shimmied, shook and swayed under the canopy set up for the five band finale of Groove on Grove.
Jeff and Vera, who front the band, made it legal on August 11th and this was their first gig since their Hawaii honeymoon and the music and crowd seemed infected with their fresh nuptial bliss. The band rocked harder than usual, stop-on-dime tight. A sweaty, loins-centric rendition of their neo-Stax ditty Walked Alone – ‘I want do everything to you on my own time – got the dance-a-thon going and only a few notes later it was going full throttle.A glitch in the opening of the set seemed to hamper the festivities. A power outage took out the lights and instruments and the Groove on Grove crew scrambled to plug the band back in. The momentum was interrupted for several minutes and when everything was running again things got stranger.
The preceding band, The Micks (I only caught the last part of their rocking set) had invited Jeff onstage for a blistering Candy’s Room and now they returned the favor, except the musician – with long frizzy red hair and NO GAS LINE t-shirt – hopped onto the stage from the mosh pit, plugged in his guitar and a feverishly silly yet still rocking Wooly Bully exploded, the horns sinking their teeth into the garage rock hook, and they jammed the old warhorse out, much to the delight of the crowd. Then as a nod to the married couple, Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry’s ode to a teen wedding that was made famous by the dance sequence by Travolta and Thurman in Pulp Fiction finished off the set. When the baritone saxophone wailed a solo, the trumpet player held an extra mike to the horn. The musicians were having fun and playing it loose, but they were still discovering some new things in the songs and never let their silliness become an excuse of amateurishness on the stage.
Summer might have to end but what a way to celebrate its conclusion... with Soul!
Anthony Vito Scuso, “Dancing Tony,”bids farewell to the One & Nines, and another successful summer season of Groove on Grove. He is a local promoter and event organizer who helms the weekly Groove on Grove shows. As community art/music events go, Groove on Grove is consistent – they are always fun, safe, family-friendly yet multi-generational and multi-ethnic. The shows are thoughtfully presented..Tony is the MC at nearly all the shows.
The One & Nines opening up the 2012 Groove Grove in April. The band, favorites of Dislocations, bookended the Jersey City Spring>Summer outdoor concert series.