Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beach party bang-o

We don't get up to the beach much: Don't like the traffic or the crowds, don't like paying for parking or dealing with parking tickets, don't like tracking beach sand into the truck. So our rare excursions to Salisbury usually take place on the late side of a dreary, rainy day — after the parking attendant has closed shop. There’s never much going on, which is fine. There are no lines for fried dough or beach pizza and we pretty much have Joe's Playland all to ourselves. And after years of feeding quarters into games, we finally saved enough tickets to "buy" the stupid lava lamp we had been lusting after since "the boy" was a boy. Though, to be honest about it, we'd still be saving tickets in that old shoe box if it weren't for the generous contribution of ex-Firehouse honcho and then Salisbury Beach resident Jeffrey Ortmann, who's apparently a whiz at skee-ball or something. Yeah, it's been a while. Saw the Brew play there last year — a hot under-the-tent set on yet another dreary summer day ... Hmmmm?

But that will change this year, assuming I can tear my eyes away from the languid serenity of the lava lamp, thanks to what promoters should be calling Beach Party Bang-o — copyright pending, you vultures. They’re calling it Surfside Live … yawn. Sorry, that was more fallout from the lava lamp. But, call it what you want. This is a pretty explosive schedule: The series opens on Saturday with James Montgomery, who has been working his mojo on New England for decades and has the place completely under his spell, and closes two months later with a reunion of late-'80s monsters Farrenheit. In between, there’s tons of sweet sonic stuff — like goofball legends the Fools, up-and-comers (and afore-mentioned hometown heroes) the Brew and Ernie and the Automatics, a “nameless band” filled with big, um, Boston names that is thoroughly steeped in the whole Beantown thing. And these are free concerts, folks, starting every Saturday night at 7. But, please, please, don't tell these guys that they’re just the warm-up acts. The big star — and this is where the bang-o comes in — is the fireworks display, which will light up the skies at 10 p.m. And that’s the racket you’ll only hear, not see, if you don’t find your way across the Gillis Bridge, like we will.

But, considering our track record, maybe you should be praying we stay at home, transfixed by that lava lamp. Because if we show up, it’s probably going to rain, and Iwe wouldn’t want to dampen your spirits. You can check out the complete Surfside Live schedule at

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