Festival Friday: Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
Let’s be real here: one of the very best things that so many of us look forward to about the summer season is the opportunity to attend so many awesome outdoor shows with our best friends. Unlike concerts during the semester when you have to make sure you don’t go too overboard so you can make it back to class in the morning, outdoor festivals give us all a chance to get a little crazier and soak up some sun watching the bands that we love. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph some truly amazing artists throughout New Jersey.
Mumford and Sons: Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Seaside Heights, NJ
So, when this festival got announced earlier in the spring for the Seaside Heights boardwalk, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one scratching my head. For those of us who are NJ natives - or for anyone with access to cable, really - it’s hard to associate anything with Seaside other than getting Four Loko drunk on prom weekend, or the bright orange ghost of Snookie galavanting down the boardwalk with the MTV camera crews in tow. Despite these grievances, I made the trip down south for the weekend to check out the awesome lineup that was specially curated by Mumford’s team - and I am so glad that I did. Though Friday night’s weather was less than ideal, with a damp chill setting over the beach (super glad we decided not to camp at that point), The Alabama Shakes performed an incredible set for an enormous crowd, bringing in that summertime nostalgia that reminded me why they were one of my most anticipated acts to watch at Firefly two summers back. On Saturday, The Flaming Lips and The Vaccines were two of the highlights of the day, hardly considered openers when they had so many in the crowd of thousands singing along. And needless to say, it was well worth the wait for Mumford & Sons, with their explosive energy bringing the beach to life. The setlist was a healthy balance of newer tracks off “Wilder Mind” along with older favorites like “I Will Wait”, “Little Lion Man”, and “Awake My Soul”. It was particularly heartwarming to see an event of this magnitude come to Seaside Heights in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation that ripped through the oceanfront town.
Dashboard Confessional and Third Eye Blind on the Stone Pony Summer Stage
Helloooo, early 2000’s nostalgia, my old friend. Who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to hear “Stolen” and “Hands Down” performed at sunset right in front of one of the best beaches in New Jersey? Yeah - not me. Dashboard’s Chris Carraba had this incredible stage presence that made it pretty hard to look away, smiling wide the moment the band took the stage. Although the band changed up their setlist from previous nights on the tour, they didn’t deprive fans of any of their best tracks, with “Vindicated”, “Hands Down”, and “Saints and Sailors” turned the crowd into a bunch of blubbering pre-teens mourning their first heartbreak on their best friend’s floor during their sophomore year of high school. The nostalgia was overwhelming, and I loved every minute of it. Carrabba took an extra minute to give a special thank-you to some fans in the crowd who had supported him in his days of basement shows, which was extra cool to me. It’s hard not to love artists who still thank the ones that supported them since day 1.
When Third Eye Blind reached the stage, everyone within the vicinity was already going pretty wild. Starting off the set with “Graduate” - one that may have really resonated particularly because the crowd was in the prime mid 20’s I-just-started-paying-off-my-student-loans-so-please-help-me-God demographic, they transitioned seamlessly into “Blinded”, “Never Let You Go”, and “How’s It Going To Be”. And of course, they closed out with “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” - the emos were happy, the frat bros were happy, and all were content in Asbury Park that night.
I’ve got a bunch of other shows planned for this summer - tweet at us and let Trim know what festivals you’ll be heading out to this summer!
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