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Magic Beans and Mungion, two bands making waves and on the rise in the jam band scene took the stage on Wednesday night at the legendary Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ.  A surprisingly decent size crowd showed up for the evening's festivities on a cool night at the Jersey Shore.  This show has been highly anticipated for months and all in attendance were excited for this one to get underway.  Let the games begin!

Sweet Home Chicago's own Mungion got the party started.  Forming in 2015, they are quickly becoming one of the rising jam bands with their unique improvisations and goofy on-stage antics.  Composed of Justin Reckamp on (guitar/vocals), Joe Re on (keyboards/vocals), Sean Carolan on (bass/vocals) and Matt Kellen on (drums/vocals), these guys really know how to get the crowd loud and rowdy with their energy, virtuosic music abilities and funky rock grooves. 

Playing about an hour set, they went through some of their live show staples, but a couple of tunes really stood out to me.  One such song was "Nuthead".  It had this outstanding jam that the band really let loose on which was definitely a fan favorite.  Next up was "Bananaman", an acapella vocal tune with a barbershop quintet kinda vibe which the crowd ate up.  Mungion ended their set with one of my favs, a Lionel Richie classic, "All Night Long".  This got the crowd all charged up, singing along, and ready for the main event.  Mungion is clearly a band to watch out for.  These guys are stepping up their game and you would be doing yourself a favor by checking them out. 

The headliners of the night, Magic Beans, hale from Denver Colorado and were primed and ready for an amazing set on Wednesday night.  Since their inception in 2010,  The Magic Beans have been pushing the boundaries, blending genres, creating mind-blowing improvisation, and blending old and new sounds through traditional funk, soul and electronica.  Doing what they do is not easy, and it's one of the reasons that everyone is starting to notice of this amazing band.  These guys don't mess around.   It was my first time seeing them live and I was thoroughly impressed.  The line up of Scott Hachey on (guitar), Chris Duffy on (bass), Casey Russell on (keys), and on Cody Wales (drums), tore the roof of the Wonder Bar with their infectious grooves and nonstop dance party.  Everyone had their dancing shoes on and were getting down! 

They opened the show with "Sucka Blues" and the dance party was now officially under way.  Next was one of my favorites from the evening's set, "Handshake or Hug".  This one was tight and you could immediately feel the groove come over your soul as this one unfolded.  It was super funky and fans of all ages couldn't stop dancing.  Continuing on,  they went into "Inventor" and then a phenomenal cover of King Harvest's "Dancing in the Moonlight".  Wow!  Everyone was singing and swaying to this legendary groove.  Scott has a smooth style and approach to his guitar sound.  It's subtle, yet shredding, a style rarely seen in this day and age.  This style melds so well with Casey on the keys.  Along with his amazing vocal skills, Casey plays on a Hammond b3 organ which generates a killer, old school funky tone.  The rhythm section were no slouches either.  Chris's funky thunderous bass coupled with Cody's incredible drumming (including all those little fills) made for a unique sound blending old with new. 

To end the show, the guitarist from Mungion Justin Reckamp was invited back on stage to join Magic Beans for one of their big hits "Here on Out".   Justin's ridiculous guitar skills added so much flavor to such an outstanding song, and the jam really took off from there.  Their improvisational blend of electronica, funk, bluegrass, and rock was on full display and the crowd was dancing like no one was watching. 

Magic Beans has an amazing stage presence and is full of energy.  Their rocking show at The Wonder Bar highlights why they are a band rising in the ranks in the jam scene and are only going to get bigger and better.  Do yourself a solid and check these guys out the next time they come into your town.  You won't be disappointed! 

To listen to Magic Beans show at the Wonder Bar in it's entirety, click HERE


Matthew Lang

Photojournalist - New Jersey

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