Spotlight of the week: Tonic

The platinum-selling rock band Tonic has played more than a dozen shows in Atlantic City since forming in the mid-'90s, partly because it's almost like returning home for them.

"Being a Jersey boy, I've always been very fond of Atlantic City," says lead singer Emerson Hart, who is originally from Atlantic Highlands, Monmouth County, and now lives in Nashville.

Co-founding member Jeff Russo is from Manhattan, but other current members Dan Lavery and Pete Maloney are also both from North Jersey.

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The group has four original studio albums and is still making new music today. The band is most famous for its infectious hit singles "If You Could Only See, "You Wanted More" and "Open Up Your Eyes," all charting in the '90s.

Their last album together was a self-titled release in 2010, but the members have kept busy in their own ways, either with solo work, side projects or production. Hart has a solo album due out in September, and he says the band may release another album next spring.

As Tonic, they last played here last year at The Party Pit in Showboat Casino-Hotel - where they will perform a second time this weekend - in a fun show filled with women dancing on poles and a post-show meeting with Ringo Starr.

"That was interesting, to say the least," Hart says.

This time, their setlist should include a mix of all their music, some elements of which have changed over the years, some of which haven't.

"Sonically, we've all become better players and that's made the music grow," Hart says. "The intention is to make an honest record, and I think that's always been there, and that's what we try to strive for."

Learn more:;; @tonicband

See them live: Tonic will play a free show at The Party Pit in Showboat 10 p.m. Friday, May 4.

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