After 20 years of life spent exploring my hometown of Cape May, I thought I had a well-rounded understanding of what it has to offer. But by the age of 21 I became aware of the limits of what I had been exposed to: an entire nightlife undetected because of legal restraints.
Aside from my mother’s amusing and cheeky anecdotes about her youthful dalliances in the Cape May after-hours scene, I couldn’t know what to expect, nor could I really fathom the allure. I’ve had great fun transitioning from childhood to indulging in the town’s more mature pastimes.
Cape May’s current capital for nightlife entertainment is Carney’s, the legendary bar and restaurant owned and operated by the Carney family for over 40 years. Located right on Beach Avenue, this establishment comes alive in the nighttime, fueled by lively and upbeat musical performances. With two separate stages and dance floors, it is the perfect environment to dance the night away.
A regular act all summer long at Carney’s is The Loop, a cover band active in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas. With 20 years of playing in Cape May under their belt, they cover a broad spectrum of genres, ranging from modern and classic rock, hip hop, reggae, country, funk, disco and more—practically any tune fit for a crowd to sing along to and bust a move.
“Carney’s is our home away from home,” says band leader Dan Pettolina on behalf of the band. “The owner, Sean Carney, is just great to work with and the staff is amazing.”
In 1999 The Loop was established by previous lead vocalist Ed Corsey out of South Jersey. Current band leader Dan Pettolina took over The Loop in 2003 with lead vocalist Len Fattori. The full band consists of five members, including three distinct lead vocalists.
Len Fattori plays lead guitar as well and specializes in hip hop and reggae. Lead vocalist Tala Winter specializes in country and pop. On keyboard and lead vocalist is Matt Deangelis, often covering the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates as well as newer pop artists. Bassist Bill Ward skillfully replicates records with his bass parts and is the brain behind setting up sound and lighting. And finally, drummer Dan Pettolina maintains the band’s rhythm on and off stage by playing manager, agent, and musical director along with Len Fattori.
“The goal we have with our performance is to keep people on the dance floor. We play a non-stop medley of hits with the drumbeat leading every song,” says Dan Pettolina. This band has a knack for keeping a crowd moving and engaged by regularly changing the pace and genre of what they play. Rotating the vocalists gives them immense range and appeals to anybody in the room.
Carney’s is always a party when The Loop plays, with plenty of people still on the dance floor until the very last note. Their sets feed an energetic crowd throughout the night and connect people through music and movement, their performances downright vibrant. They make a space to celebrate life through universally adored tunes and their passion for performance.
“We thrive on being humble and good people with our fans and employers,” says Dan. “We are grateful and thankful for the club owners who have been loyal to us over the years.”
Other Cape May spots that The Loop has rocked over the years include local favorites The Ugly Mug and Delaney’s. The Loop will be playing Carney’s all summer, with some members performing every Monday night and the full band playing most weekends. You can keep up with their schedule on Instagram at theloopband as they play other locations throughout South Jersey. If you’d love to dance and sing along to a fabulous performance, The Loop is a must. And even if you don’t, seeing The Loop live could make you do a 180, physically and metaphorically.