So this past weekend, May 16th and 17th, I ventured to Asbury Park NJ to attend Skate and Surf. For those of you unfamiliar, here’s a little background info. Skate and Surf started in 2001 and eventually grew into the Bamboozle Festival. After an 8-year hiatus, Skate and Surf came back in 2013. Sponsored by GameChangerWorld and GameLoud, the festival not only has an amazing lineup of past, present, and up and coming bands; it also hosts an impressive number of booths dedicated to food, merch, or social causes. Also featured this year was amateur wrestling, which I’ll get to later in the article.
I was excited, overjoyed, and so nervous I almost puked off the balcony of my hotel room. The festival didn’t start until 2pm, so we had time to explore Tinton Falls, where we wre staying. After eating an amazing breakfast sandwich, we made our move towards Asbury Park. By the time we got there it was a little past 2:30. We thought we had played it safe and would avoid the long entrance line but we were wrong. The line extended back all along the boardwalk. Needless to say, waiting in line on a gray day with a bunch of strangers is annoying. By the way, security was terrible at searching people because as soon as we recieved our weekend wristbands, we walked right through a gate with no one checking out bags. Thus our weed was safe.
The first band up was Attila. I wish there was a proper word to describe Attila’s style. Vocalist Chris “Fronzilla” Fronzak uses a combination of screaming and rapping to bring together Attila’s “party metal” sound. While I do like Attila I noticed that the worst types of people were in their crowds. My boyfriend made conversation with a shirtless guy sporting a Confederate flag belt buckle. There were plenty of guys in backwards snapbacks and shirts with pithy slogans such as “Party Naked” All in all, I got exactly what I wanted and expected out of the set. A fun, high energy performance.
Ugh, what can I say about Big D and the Kid’s Table? I love them, I love ska, and I love skank pits. They opened up with “Steady Riot” before playing the classic “My Girlfriend’s On Drugs” at which point the crowd went wild. What’s cool about sets for bands like this was no one was out for blood in the pits. Everyone was merrily skanking and grooving along. I caved and joined in when they played “Shining On”. It was 3 minutes of pure bliss, and I didn’t have a care in the world.
In between sets I had a chance to check out the amateur wrestling event going on. The two teams were dressed in coordinatingly obnoxious outfits. One team looked like cast members of a Magic Mike gay porn parody. The team looked like they tell people they ride motorcycles, when they really drive a prius. But an A+ for effort and theatrics. Cameras were shoved in their face, fingers were being pointed, and harsh words about each other’s muscular capability were tossed around. It was great, I was getting amped up to see some violence. But alas, I was let down. It was painfully obvious that these stunts were fake and no one was getting hurt. Although I will note that the stunts performed must take a great deal of practice and strength to be executed perfectly.
After spending some time getting lost in the beer garden, I decided I needed to watch a set for a band I previously never thought to listen to. Motionless in White was playing the stage right before the Wonder Years. I had previously heard great things about their music, and although I am a sucker for a guy in make-up, I overlooked them and wrote them off as another trendy scene band on the cover of AP. I was proven very wrong by their performance. Their singer, Chris Motionless, not only posseses a talented screaming voice, he’s also a good singer. The band’s image is definitely reminicent of Marilyn Manson, but more like Marilyn Manson’s cooler younger brother. Their music threw no cheap shots or cheesy effects, just straight up metal. I was digging it, and I am a new fan. Motionless in White definitely gets my pick as the craziest performance that night. I saw security rushing in and out of the crowd, pulling people apart from fighting. The violence and aggression I missed out on during the wrestling, I found here.
I was never a huge fan of the Wonder Years when they first came onto the scene, and I’m not a very huge pop-punk fan in general, but in the past few months I’ve listened to more of their stuff and was impressed. I was amazed at the overwhelming sense of comradarie amongst the crowd. It was a nice change up from the push pits I experienced the set before.
THRICE. Wow, so on to the real reason I was excited for Skate and Surf. After a 3 year hiatus, the California post-ardcore rockers graced the stage. Before taking the stage, the crowd started a chant of “Welcome Back”, which really made me realize how much older I was getting. Thrice went on hiatus when I was still in high school, and here I was now as an adult seeing them. Their set was magical, very little speaking from their frontman Dustin Kensrue looked shocked and happy that after all these yars, Thrice has a dedicated set of fans. My boyfriend is a huge Thrice fan-boy, and having never seen them before, was shocked at how tight and on point they are even after this long break.
The final band I saw Saturday night was Dropkick Murphys and I was not disappointed. Opening up with the very fitting “Boys Are Back” the crowd went ape shit over the bostonian punk rockers. It was without a doubt the biggest crowd of the night, and the most energy. There were mosh pits forming on every side that eventually a huge portion of the crowd became a moshpit. After braving the light rain, it was time to go home. Skate and Surf Day 1 was a success.
The second day of Skate and Surf was way more mellow than the first. For one thing, I was nursing the worst hangover, and the lineup wasn’t nearly as impressive to me as the day before. Also, I wasn’t able to stay as long as I would’ve liked to because I had to get home early and avoid traffic. Still, I was determined to check out the action before making my escape home to Long Island.
The first band I watched was Real Friends. Another pop-punk band in a sea of forgettable pop-punk bands, Real Friends stands out. They are most angsty and angry as opposed to super posi-pop punk bands. Their crowd was crazy, tons of crowd surfing and circle pits. All around fun time.
The only other band I was able to stay for (traffic coming back was a nightmare) was From Autumn to Ashes. I was never too familiar with their work before, but had heard them because my boyfriend is a fan. I guess they haven’t played a show on the east coast in awhile because waves of mid-older 20-somethings come together and within 10 minutes to them coming on, the crowd had quadrupled. This band is your above average metalcore scene band. Solid guitar riifs, excellent drumming, cute lead singer/screamer. It was nostalgic fun for every one involved.
All in all, Skate and Surf 2015 was awesome. Having the festival held by the beach gave me an excuse to check out Asbury Park and the boardwalk. I passed by a bar with an outdoor area for dogs and their owners. The beach in Asbury Park is absolutely beautiful when it’s nice out. It was a nicer side of Jersey than I was used to seeing.