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Brian Kirk & Jirks Bring the Summit, NJ, Crowd to New Heights with Rocking Performance

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Brian Kirk & Jirks at the Village Green in Summit, NJ.

One of my most anticipated concerts of the summer was seeing the band Brian Kirk & the Jirks perform at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, on Tuesday night. 

And the seven-piece (usually nine members) cover band did not disappoint, playing memorable tunes from the 70s up to the present. 

Brian Kirk & the Jirks had the people dancing, singing, laughing, and just plain enjoying themselves, helping them cope with their COVID-19 worries, at least for the time being. 

Brian Kirk, the charismatic frontman of the New Jersey-based band, used his soulful voice to belt out songs: Looking Glass’s Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl), Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes’s Talk to Me, Billy Joel’s Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, and New Jersey’s Own Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road.

The group also performed Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light, a song which “The Boss” wrote and originally recorded in 1973. 

Additionally, Freedom Bremner, a wonderful singer, handled the vocals on Lionel Richie’s All Night Long, Bob Marley and The Wailers’s Could You Be Loved, and Stevie Wonder’s You Can Feel it All Over, plus other great tracks. 

When songs called for higher octaves, however, the band’s lead guitarist took over. He rocked out to Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, 4 Non-Blondes’s What’s Up?, and Leo Sayer’s You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Kirk, a true showman with undeniable high energy (visible sweat markings and all), even injected a bit of humor into the concert. Although a little dry at times, Kirk told one joke that had the crowd in stitches.  

“The Canaries Islands do not have one canary on it,” Kirk, who owns an encyclopedia knowledge of music, told the audience. “The Virgin Islands? Same thing, no canaries.” 

But I digress.  

One of the highlights of the show was Brian Kirk & the Jirks’s brass section, which was outstanding, adding an element of musical style most cover bands cannot match. 

All in all, Brian Kirk & the Jirks came out to party and rock the crowd, which it did, no doubt about it. 

For more information, watch and listen to the band’s music, and to book the group for an event, which I recommend, please visit jirks.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram

Watch the video of You Can feel it All Over below. 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

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3 More New Jersey Pizza Places that Make Me Feel at Home

Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world, but arguments could go on for hours on which area makes the best: Brooklyn, Staten Island, Chicago or New Jersey? 

As a Brooklyn native, I have been on a never-ending search for great New Jersey places to satisfy my craving for the Italian delight. 

Here are three NJ pizza joints that make my taste buds smile. Enjoy. 

Coppola’s Ristorante  590 Central Ave, New Providence, NJ 

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Coppola’s Square.

Coppola’s is everything right about New Jersey pizza.

Located in New Providence, the restaurant provides the finest Italian food, made with a Naples-inspired flair.  

As for the pizza, I enjoyed a sausage slice, with the meat baked right into the pizza, just the way I love it. Some places throw the sausage on top of a slice before popping it into the oven. Hey, it is just not the same, trust me. 

Next, I devoured a Sicilian pizza (square, for you people not in the pizza know). This slice was not too doughy and had a ton of flavor, so it was up to my Brooklyn standards of tastiness. 

My girlfriend Maggie had the spinach and mozzarella slice.

All the savory offerings were outstanding, crafted with top-quality ingredients, including tangy sauce, crispy but not that hard of a crust, with delicious, fresh mozzarella to put an exclamation of excellence point on the pizzas. 

Coppola’s has become one of my go-to spots for pizza when I am in the area. 

Coppola’s has a 3.5 out of five stars, with 183 reviews on Yelp. 

Note: Coppola’s Pickup Instructions. 

To limit the amount of person-to-person contact, Coppola Ristorante is offering order pickup.

Instructions:

1. Call Coppola’s (908) 665-0266 and place your order (click to see our menu)2. Pay for your order over the phone using a credit card.

3. Arrive at the pickup counter which is now behind a glass window.

4. A Coppola staff member will take your name and bring your order to the counter (we will leave the receipt with your order).

Its staff members are all wearing face-masks and gloves. It asks their customers to wear a face-mask for food pickup and, if needed, to wait in-line, keeping the required six-feet of distance from each customer. 

Saporito Pizza — 100 State Route 22, Springfield, NJ

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Saporito

Saporito is like many of the pizza joints I used to frequent in Brooklyn. It even makes a Brooklyn Pie, a Sicilian-style pizza, with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on top.

Additionally, Saporito offers a wide variety of specialty pizzas, 22 to be exact. 

Maggie and her daughter Nicole delighted in Bruschetta Pizzas (picture above) — an old fashioned pizza with a thin crust flavored, oregano and roasted garlic, topped with fresh tomato and basil pesto and mozzarella (no pignoli nuts).  Yes, it is amazing as looks. 

But if you just in a mood for a regular cheese slice or square, you can’t go wrong. It’s very close to the New York City-style, crafted with fresh, mouthwatering sauce and mozzarella, not to mention a firm, crunchy crust. 

Not to worry too much about pandemic protection, as Saporito adheres to all Garden State food guidelines, Plexiglas and all. 

Saporito has a four out of five stars, with 72 reviews on Yelp. 

Doria’s Pizza Restaurant — 432 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ 

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Doria’s slices!! Yessss!

I was in search of a pizza establishment that was nearby to Chatham, where I now live. So, I came across Doria’s Pizza in Summit. 

When this place first opened in 1986, high hair, rubber bractlets like the ones Madonna wore, and bright neon colors were all the rage. 

So, there is something to be said for longevity. And Doria Pizza was on the money, with its slices. 

Crisp and bubbling with cheesy goodness, I had two slices to go. It another pizza place that makes close to the famous NYC-style slice.

Yes, I will be back again.

Doria’s Pizza has four out of five stars, with 59 reviews on Yelp.

— Jerry Del Priore

 

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The Nerds, Brian Kirk & the Jirks Round Out Summit’s Village Green 2020 Summer Concert Series

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Brian Kirk & the Jirks (photo: Facebook).

As the summer heads into August, the music at the Investor Bank 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, is reaching a fever pitch.

The next two musical acts are a testament to the quality of musical acts playing at the Village Green (356 Broad Street) in Downtown Summit. 

First, on Tuesday, August 11th, at 7:00 p.m., Brian Kirk & the Jirks, a nine-piece interactive, high energy band, will be hitting the stage, bringing their cool brand of music to the Summit area. Brian Kirk and the Jirks play a variety of tunes from Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift and everyone in between. 

With two decades behind their musically rocking experience, Brian Kirk and the Jirks played everywhere from New Jersey, New York CityPennsylvania, and Long Island. But the band has traveled around the world.  

If that isn’t good enough, on Tuesday, August 18th 7:00 p.m., New Jersey’s beloved group The Nerds will bring their hip dorkiness to Summit, playing a blend of Soul, Classic Rock, and TV themes. 

Yes, even I have always wanted to see The Nerds perform live, and now I will get my chance. 

Performing everywhere and anywhere, The Nerds, first known as AKA, has entertained thousands of crowds since 1985.

Additionally, they have been on The View about four times, The Carson Daly Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show, among others. 

For more information on the 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green, visit www.summitcommunityprograms.com/.

To follow the bands on social media, go to www.facebook.com/BrianKirkandtheJirkstwitter.com/jirksevents for Brian Kirk & the Jirks, and on Facebook and Twitter for The Nerds. 

Note: Social distancing of six feet or more and face coverings will be enforced. Please help keep everyone around you safe and as healthy as possible. Plus, bring your own chairs and blankets for comfort. 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

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Annabella’s Pizza II Makes a Brilliant Case for Jersey Goodness

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Now, that’s a pizza!

I usually have a steadfast rule of not purchasing pizza right as a place is closing, you know? You don’t always get its best pizza, as it’s usually the leftovers, sitting there for some time. 

But I couldn’t resist a hankering for some cheesy goodness from a pizza joint I had not eaten at before, Annabella’s II, located at 401 Speedwell Avenue. Morris Plains, NJ. So I order three offerings: sausage, white, and square. 

Hey, I was hungry, but I digress. 

Completely outfitted for pandemic protection, Annabella’s Pizza II crafted the sausage slice with the meat baked right into it, just the way I like it. While the pizza did droop a bit, the fact that the sausage abounded, the extra weight caused the pizza to flop. But, overall, it was a tasty slice. 

Next, the white slice was equal to the task, made with quality mozzarella and creamy ricotta, with the crispy crust complementing the pizza. 

Last but not least was the Sicilian-Style (square) delight, which checked off all the boxes for flavorsome pizza. Delicious cheese, just the right amount of doe, and the same savory sauce used on the other varieties reminded me of a Brooklyn square. 

I will have to visit Anabella’s II during a busier time when the pizza is pipping, hot-out-of-the-oven, mouth-watering ready to enjoy. Plus, to sample its other Italian specialties. 

Please visit Anabella’s other location at 329 Smith Road in Parsippany. For more information, check out eatatannabellas.com and on Facebook

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

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NJ’s Madison Downtown Concert Series Rocks On

Tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Madison Downtown Development Commission and Museum of Early Trade & Crafts (METC) Concert Series, The Zaire Band will be performing in front of METC’s building on 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ. 

The Zaire Band is known for playing its own rendition of cool country music classics and today’s best from the popular music genre. 

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Jumping the Gun in Madison, NJ. 

Next, on Friday, August 7th, Jumping The Gun will be hitting the stage to play classic rock tunes from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, NJ’s Bruce Springsteen and more. 

For a sweet change of pace, on Friday, August 21st, Orquesta Los Nueve Del Sabor, comprised of salsa music artists from the NY/NJ area, will be bringing its high-energy, Latin  rhythms to the region for a night of classic salsa, merengue and Cumbia (a Colombian folk dance and dance music) hits. 

On Friday, August 28th, House of Hamill, a Celtic group from Philadelphia, will be brandishing their fiddles and violins for an evening of foot-stomping, joyful music.   

Check out this amazing rendition of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child of Mine

The final performance in the concert series features Madison-based rock n’ roll band What’s What.

What’s What jams out to up-beat rock music from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, playing the likes of Val Halen, Tom Petty, Cheap Tricks, and others. 

Last Friday, Mama D & the Vexations rocked the crowd with its own brand of eclectic music. 

Note: You must wear face coverings and practice social-distancing of six-feet or more. Also, it’s strongly advised that you bring hand sanitizer for adding protection.  

— Jerry Del Priore 

Photos and video: Facebook and YouTube.

 

 

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NJ’s Mama D & The Vexations Charm Madison Crowd with Gem of Performance

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Mama D & The Vexations

Mama D & The Vexations came out to entertain the Madison, NJ, faithful Friday night as part of the Madison Downtown Summer Concert Series in front of the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts (METS) after the inclement weather last week caused the postponement of its show.

And the wait was surely worth it, as the band “rocked the house” with its renditions of danceable pop music, cool country tunes, classic rock songs, and memorable Motown greats. 

Fronted by lead singer Donna Ward, a music teacher from Chatham and known by her stage name, Mama D, the band performed Millennium pop hits such as CeeLo Green’s Forget You, Elle King’s Ex’s and Oh’s, Jessie J’s Price Tag and John Mayer’s Waiting On the World to Change. 

Additionally, Mama D & The Vexations belted out catchy country music and classic rock tracks by Maren Morris and Tom Petty’s American Girl, respectively, as well as Motown timeless songs like Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay and Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine. 

Mama D & The Vexation, from Morristown NJ, dropped the curtain on the show with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, a song that received a rebirth on HBO’s megahit TV show The Sopranos

For more information on the group, and to follow/like them on social media, go to www.mamadmusic.com/Facebook, and Instagram, respectively. 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

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October Rose’s Country Music Blossoms at Ginty Field Gazebo in Morris Township

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October Rose Performs at Ginty Field Gazebo in Morris Township, NJ.

The duo of Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan, known collectively as October Rose, on Tuesday performed at Ginty Field Gazebo in Morris Township, NJ, to a socially-distanced, appreciative crowd, playing original country tunes mixed in with popular cover songs.

October Rose opened up with an original song, All In, a hard-driving, country rock-charged track featuring Wiess’s powerful yet smooth, made-for-country music voice. 

With Weiss being a true Jersey girl, October Rose–also fronted by Pittsburg native Allan’s impressive musical stylings–played a mashup of the Garden State’s Bon Jovi’s You Give Good Love a Bad Name and Brooklyn-born Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot

For me, it was the best of both worlds, as I currently live in Chatham, NJ, and was born in the greatest borough in the world, Brooklyn. How You Doing?

But I digress.

The band followed it up with Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats, and then brought it back to its own musical creations with Closer and a Different Kind of High, a heartfelt tribute track to the people facing the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic that’s presently plaguing the nation.

October Rose encourages fans to donate to Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization wholeheartedly committed to battling the unforgiving disease that rips apart so many lives in its wake.

Next was Heartbreak Song, another musically edgy and lyrically meaningful tune that has garnered October Rose a measure of country radio music play and critical praise. 

Other originals performed were crowd favorites Kinder and Bonfire, peppered in between with covers of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart and Heart’s How Do I Get You Alone. Plus, Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey and Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party

For more information on the duo, follow October Rose on OctoberRoseMusic.com for tour dates and to purchase cool songs and merchandise. Plus, listen its music on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and YouTube

Watch the video of October Rose’s mashup of You Give Good Love a Bad Name and Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot. 

— Jerry Del Priore

 

 

 

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London Calling: A Beatles Tribute Band Shines at Morris Plains’ Roberts Garden

IMG_0314As part of the Morris Plains Recreation Summer Concert Series, London Calling: A Beatles Tribute Band took to the stage on Sunday at Roberts Garden and played a number of the Fab Four’s greatest tunes, much to the delight of the socially-distanced crowd.

No Ringo, no Paul? So what.

From a Hard Day’s Night to Can’t Buy Me Love, the New Jersey quartet kept the crowd entertained and rocking all evening long.

Formed in 2015, London Calling: A Beatles Tribute Band has been playing the Liverpool, England, group’s most popular tunes, with its own Garden State style, of course, all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as other areas.

If you closed you eyes, you could almost imagine that the floppy-hair four were right there jamming in New Jersey before you.

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A small group of friends took in the rocking show at Roberts Garden.

Additional memorable Beatles’ cover songs included I Feel Fine, In My Life, Can’t Buy Me Love, Help, Come Together, She’s Got a Ticket to Ride, We Can Work it Out, and Penny Lane, among other awesome tracks.

London Calling: A Beatles Beatles Tribute Band will play next on Thursday, July 16th at 7:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m. outside at the historic Dey Mansion, located at 199 Totowa Road in Wayne, NJ.

Follow London Calling: A Beatles Tribute Band on Facebook.

Watch the band perform Penny Lane in the video below.

— Jerry Del Priore (Photos and video by Jerry Del Priore)

 

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Morris Township Brings Six Live Musical Acts to 2020 Summer Concert Series

Morris Township is presenting the 2020 summer outdoor concert series that will feature six live performances at Ginty Field Gazebo at 50 Woodland Ave, starting on Tuesday, July 14th and running through Tuesday, August 18th.

Up first on July 14th at 7:00 p.m. is October Rose, an acclaimed country music duo with a soulful sound that performs its own original songs.

October Rose is the type of musical act that could, and should, be playing on the radio right now.

Please watch October Rose’s All In in the video below.

Next is The Voodudes, a New Jersey-based band that blends Gulf Coast, Zydeco, Rock, Blues, Country & Honky-Tonk music into a style of its own, on July 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Like The Voodudes on Facebook.

Heart of Gold Band, which will hit the stage on July 28th at 7:00 p.m., specializes in the best of classic rock music.

Listen to Heart of Gold by clicking the link.

On Tuesday, August 4th, Country Comfort will bring its smooth country stylings to Morris Township. 

Listen to Country Comfort’s social-distance version of Lady A’s hit tune Champagne Nights. 

Linda Ipanema, also known as the “Queen of Dixieland, will swing her way into Morris Township on August 11th at 7:00 p.m. 

Listen to Ipanema’s version of the Birds’ House of the Rising Sun

On August 18th at 6:30 p.m., The Hanover Wind Symphony will play the final performance at Ginty Field Gazebo. 

Note: Please observe all social-distancing, face-covering guidelines, as well as bring your own hand sanitizer.  

— Jerry Del Priore 

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Mama D and The Vexations to Play In Madison’s Concert Series Friday

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Mama D & The Vexations.

This Friday, July, 10th, at 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Mama D & The Vexations will be performing at the Madison Downtown Concert Series held outside on the front lawn of the Museum of Early Trades and Grafts at 9 Main Street.

Mama D & The Vexations is a high-energy four-person cover band from Morristown with a soulful edge. The group’s powerful renditions of hits from the 60s through today will surely keep the vibe pumping and the crowd moving all night long. 

Whether it’s a contemporary love song or a cool, upbeat tune from Jersey rockers such as Fountains of Wayne and Bon Jovi, there’s a little bit of something for everyone to dance to and rock the evening away. 

Every Friday will feature a different artist, and social distancing and face coverings will be required in order to attend the free concert series. It’s encouraged to bring a blanket/chair for maximum relaxation. 

For more information, go to www.rosenet.org/. Plus, you can like Mama D & The Vexations’ Facebook page to follow its appearance schedule.