The Hoboken Arts Festival was the setting for a remarkable reunion double-header this past Sunday, featuring hometown legends The Bongos and The Health & Happiness Show.
The H&H Show, expert practitioners of a beer-and-Hank Sr. kind of rock that sounds as if it's from anywhere but Hudson County, New Jersey, sounded as if they'd spent the last eight years since their last album playing out rather than on hiatus. Led by James Mastro (who is currently in Ian Hunter's band), Health & Happiness also featured ex-Voidoid Ivan Julian (who has recently produced a new Fleshtones album for Yep Roc), Patti Smith bassist Tony Shanahan, and ex-Feelies drummer Vinnie DeNunzio...quite the Post-Punk pedigree.
One-off reunion shows usually sound ramshackle...The Health & Happiness Show sounded like they were ready to headline Ryman Auditorium...a totally welcome surprise.
The Bongos actually started as a trio (Richard Barone, Frank Giannini, and Rob Norris), and added Mastro after the release of their debut (and recently re-released) Drums Along The Hudson. That foursome cranked out a fierce (and playfully sloppy) set of their brand of psychedelic jangle to a crowd of a couple thousand festival-goers that ranged in age from newborns in strollers to grannies hanging out of the windows of nearby apartments.
The addition of the perfect early fall weather made the day one of the best spent Sundays I've had in a long time. Thankfully, extrawack! contributor Rich Schneider was also there with his lo-fi cam to capture some video action:
In the Congo:
Glow in the Dark:
The Bongos - "In The Congo" mp3
download courtesy Joe's Pub