Event: Promised Land At Mcloones

Alex Mahoney, Tommy Dowd, Kenny Munson

By the time lead singer Kenny Munson launched into Bruce Springsteen’s Light of Day at the end of their show last weekend, singing Just around the corner to the light of day! he was drenched in sweat.

He was about two hours into the set and he, and his band, were giving it all they had. And for those couple of hours- in a seaside bar that couldn’t be at full capacity due to COVID restrictions – it DID feel like we were just around the corner from the light of day…and from coming out from under all this.

The fact that Tim Mcloone’s Supper Club couldn’t be at full capacity didn’t stop Kenny and the band from still rocking as hard as they did that first time I saw them at The Stone Pony in 2018.

Because that’s what Promised Land does – they rock, no matter the size of the house.

The Promised Land onstage

I’ve been trying to catch back up with Promised Land for a couple of months. The last time I shot them, it was December 2019 over at The Stone Pony.

I did some shots of the band before the show, then, of course, them onstage as well. Kenny really like the photos, and we had big plans to do more shoots together.

And then, COVID happened. Kenny and I still kept in touch, he’d often text me an MP3 of song they’d be working on. And they even used one of my photos on the cover of an EP they released over the summer.

They’ve been able to play some socially-distant shows since late last year. I turned a few opportunities down as I wasn’t comfortable with being out and out.

But when Kenny pinged me about this show in Asbury Park, I felt more comfortable getting out there to push some pixels while they moved some music.

Kenny Munson & Rob Petillo on drums

I’ve passed Mcloones a million times while down in Asbury Park, but was only inside once, about six years ago. In its heyday, the building was an iconic Howard Johnson’s restaurant. 

I had to laugh, though, when I saw Supper Club on the drum kit. I asked if they’d be playing any Sinatra or Dean Martin, like what I used to hear when I’d go to Swing 46 in New York. It was a pretty solid “NO.”

Instead, it was a solid two hours of Springsteen/Little Steven/Southside Johnny…with just a wee bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd thrown in.

Kenny Munson, on vocals, is the driving force of the band. He alternates between singing without his guitar, but also strapping on the axe and taking it from there as well.

Kenny with guitar

One of the best parts about Promised Land is the strong horns section, just like the E Street Band. They also have their version of a Big Man in sax player Alex Mahoney.

Alex “The One and Only” Mahoney

One of the great things about the evening was to catch up with some of the fans in attendance. Promised Land band fans travel – they have no problem hoping on the Parkway or the Turnpike and ending up in Little Eden to to see one of their favorite bands. In these times, even with people looking to get out, that says a lot about the type of show this band puts on.

Yes they do.

Here’s the Promised Land’s spirited version of Springsteen’s No Retreat, No Surrender. I shot this handheld with the Fuji XT3 – very simple to switch to video (but, as a videographer, I have a lot of room for improvement)

Promised Land is (left to right):

  • Toni Nostro Mahoney – Piano, Vocals
  • Allan Katz – Trombone
  • Alex (The One and Only) Mahoney – Sax
  • Brian Miesegaes – Trumpet
  • Tommy Dowd – Bass
  • Rob Petillo – Drums
  • Ken Munson – Lead Vocals, Guitar
  • Mike Petillo, Jr – Organ
  • Mike Petillo, Sr – Lead guitar, Vocals
  • Larry “The Bari” Bussamante – Baritone Sax

It was really great to get back down to Asbury Park to shoot a real, live show. I won’t lie – I felt a little rusty. It’s been over a year since I shot a show in AP with an audience.

Also, this was the first show I shot with my Fuji XT3 and my 16-55mm. I did pull out my 50-140 for a few shots, and even tried out my GoPro for a few photos (to no great shakes.). The Fuji X100T did a bit of work, too, but all the shots here were with the XT3.

But really, due to the size of the room and the access I had, the 16-55 was all I really needed.

Then, after packing up and saying goodnight to the band, I walked out of Mcloones, and looked across the street.

There, in the last hour of the last night of Winter 2021, I caught The Wonder Bar under a waxing crescent moon.

Just around the corner to the light of day…to Spring…to live music back in Asbury Park!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021

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2 thoughts on “Event: Promised Land At Mcloones

  1. Great post Mark. I live in Liverpool in the UK but your post reminded me of a Saturday night I spent at McLoones in-between Springsteen gigs at the Giants Stadium. Hope to get there again sometime…

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