Music in movies is such an important aspect of filmmaking that it is hard to imagine a film without it. The score, in some cases, stands out even more so than the screenwriting. The organizers of the inaugural Asbury Park Music in Film Festival must share this view. The festival, which takes place all weekend, got underway last night. Since we are big fans of both local music and movies we decided to head to the Wonder Bar for “Soundtrack of Our Lives,” a night of local talent playing the soundtracks to some great films.
Wyland opened the evening with their take on songs from the “American Beauty” soundtrack from the film starring Kevin Spacey. I had not seen them play live before but came away impressed with their set. Despite being down one member for the evening, they pulled off some nice covers including Free’s “All Right Now.” I was hoping for The Who’s “The Seeker” but no luck. I will have to check them out again soon.
Progressive rock band The Hive-Mind‘s set was pretty amazing. The Ocean County instrumental band did an fantastic job recreating the atmosphere of seminal zombie movie “Dawn of the Dead.” The sense of dread and anxiousness that permeate the film were palpable in the music. They definitely got the crowd’s attention with their kinetic set. New Jersey has a lot of great prog rock these days with bands like Thank You Scientist and Chemtrail. The Hive-Mind are on the list.
Our friends and neighbors The Porchistas were up next with the fun and folky rock they are well known for. A film on the horrors of the Vietnam War, the Oliver Stone movie “Platoon” might seem like an odd choice for the band. However the 60s vibe of songs like the psychedelic “White Rabbit” and breezy “Groovin” were handled with aplomb. They closed with an inspired version of The Door’s classic “Hello, I Love You.” This was quite appropriate as Door’s guitarist Robby Krieger was playing a few doors down at The Stone Pony.
What would a night of movie music be without a little Beatles in the mix? Creeptones took on “A Hard Day’s Night,” one of the most influential music films of all time. The band are self-professed big fans of the band and it showed. They played brilliantly and many in the crowd could not help but get up and dance to versions of “I Should Have Known Better” and “Tell Me Why.”
Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors so I was thrilled to see Long Faces were going to cover him when the show was announced. The first half of their set was dedicated to the films of Quentin Tarantino which included “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Steeler’s Wheel from the infamous ear scene in “Reservoir Dogs.” The second half of the set with the Anderson songs delivered a rocking version of Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” and a moving cover of The Kinks “Strangers” used so effectively in “The Darjeeling Limited.” They put on a very tight, nuanced performance.
The night was put together by Dark City Entertainment and I would be remiss to not mention that they are really putting on some of the best shows that highlight local talent in Asbury Park at the moment. Friday night was another winner.
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