Asbury Park in New Jersey has become synonymous with the rich musical scene which thrived there in the 1970s and still exists now—and a new documentary will explore the complex history of the town, the riots that almost tore it apart, and the music scene which helped turn it back into a destination.
You can check out the trailer for Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock n Roll, directed by Rumson, NJ native Tom Jones, below.
Asbury Park was once a seaside resort, but in July 1970, racial tensions due to "the lack of jobs, recreational opportunities, and decent living conditions" exploded into a series of riots that left the town in flames. The town, which was always known for its Westside jazz and blues scene, irrevocably changed—and what emerged was the classic Jersey sound we now associate with Bruce Springsteen and his peers.
The film has been in the works for over a decade, and they write: "Asbury Park returns Asbury sons Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon and Bruce Springsteen to the legendary Upstage, the psychedelic after hours club where they got their start, featuring never before seen interviews and performances. Shuttered for four and a half decades, the Upstage remains a perfect time capsule of the Club, which united both sides of the tracks in Asbury and acted as a crucible for young talent. Now, as Asbury Park enjoys its long awaited renaissance, it is music, which has brought it back from the dead."
The movie will premiere at The Asbury Park Music & Film Festival on April 28th before arriving in cinemas around the world on May 22nd.
And if you're looking for other Springsteen-related cinematic pursuits, there's a new film called Blinded By The Light coming out later this year soundtracked by his songs. Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), it's about a Boss-obsessed Pakistani British teen in the '80s, and it is supposed to be a total delight.
As Variety wrote, "When the Springsteen songs come on, you don’t have to be a rockist to feel the supreme lack of irony, the passionate majesty of it. It’s music so unhip it’s transcendent, to the point that when Javed starts to sport a flannel shirt with cut-off sleeves, or when he and Roops (Aaron Phagura), the fellow Pakistani who first turned him onto the Boss, sneak “Born to Run” into the school DJ booth, and blast it, and the movie suddenly becomes a virtual musical, with Javed, Roos, and Eliza dancing through the city and into the fields, it’s corny as hell and irresistible for that reason. Blinded by the Light has the courage of its own shameless teen rock-god sincerity."