Review: 2019-07-11 - Stone Pony - Asbury Park, NJ
When Summer Tour dates dropped and my eyes beheld the glory of a homestate show I shit precisely three gold bricks and snagged a ticket lickety split. Especially in light of the fact I missed 2018-01-24 for a family emergency, which was all good in the end but thanks for asking. When 7/11 heaven finally arrived I struggled to stay focused at work and watched the hours melt away with ever increasing glee.
Summer storm clouds opened up that afternoon, dumping wave after wave of desalinated ocean onto sprawling Mall-topia. I didn't even blink. Nor give two seconds pause when my phone started blowing up with flash flood emergency warnings every two minutes. Nah, no problem, I thought. Driving in the rain is like driving in the sun, just slower with more ping-pang-plip-plup sounds on the roof and hood and the thikk thukk thikk thukk metrinome of the wipers summoning Chuck Jonson-level lyrics and Vanilla Ice-worthy verses. *
These confident thoughts played out just fine for the first half-hour or so of driving. But at some point The Garden State Parkway turned into raging class IV rapids of virtually non-existent visibility and completely reckless and intellectually questionable NJ drivers slamming into each other left and right. I swear I must have passed 6-7 accidents in 60 miles. Lightning shook a sky evil as the eyes of Vigo the Carpathian. Blinding waterfalls exploded over the median from north-bound passings and cascaded down my windshield like I was sinking underwater. Confident thoughts quickly became less confident then bowed their heads in shame at the thought that I could miss yet another Asbury show, this time because I died driving in weather that even Noah would have said, "Shit, bro, park the Ark, we ain't goin' nowhere tonight boiiii!"
But who the fuck gives a shit about my rainy drive. Seriously, John, get to the motherfuckin' point. I rolled into The Stone Pony around 8:30 and drank a cold Heineken with all the joy of a man who just cheated wet death his slippery dues. I hung by the bar on the right hand side of the stage and let the music wash over me. I quickly recognize the vibes coming at me as Double Time and sure enough Brian jumps in with "DAY BREAKS!!!!!! ON THE OTHER SIDE!!!!!" I'm thinking for sure this is a second set opener but the homeboy at the bar next to me reassures me there were only 1 or 2 songs he can't remember before this. The verses are delivered with average energy then as the jam began to row away I let my mind be swept off by a slightly menacing undertow they put in this one. My soul claps its cloven feet in delight at catching my first Double Time.
Let's step back a sec. This review sucks because it's longer than a CVS receipt and just as useless and I wasn't even there to describe the first two fucking songs. So fucking sue me, you miserable pieces of... Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, yes. Some Spafford shit. So I missed an opening Windmill, which I would have liked to hear because it's really a spectacular song from the Prescott canon and I've never seen it before. But, oh well, and this one turns out to be just average so I'm not too pissed and just glad I didn't die on the Parkway with the other idiots.
The boys leave behind the effortlessly revolving turbines of Holland for the sweltering concrete jungles of Kingston. So, time-out again, if you didn't already hate me for writing a long-ass review about nothing and not even seeing the songs I was supposed to review, hold my beer. You're really about to hate my ass . I don't like the Exodus cover. Not just this one either. I mean, musically they can be alright, but it's asking a fucking lot. Let me splain myself to you, Lucy with a head full of lucy. First off, Red is a phenomenal singer and his voice has ranges, but singing the words of the Prophet is a tall order and it just don't come out right for me. Secondly, I'm no rassclot SJW no bumbaclot Babylon PC police man. But it's fucking Exodus. I mean, sure, the song could be any psycho-spiritual journey from darkness to light, but really this song is a historically grounded movement of enslaved human beings from chains to slums to awakening. It's hard for me to embrace the feeling of "We the generation tread through great tribulation" in the midst of, well... us. Sorry, not sorry. That said, listening to it on Nugs, this jams got some sweet spots and I'm sorry I missed it. I'm just an asshole who a) can't get to the show on time; and b) can't get to the point.
Lonely was up next. Another first grab for me. Damn, this Heineken tastes like Freyja juice. It wasn't as blistering as the best of the Cam.0 era but it's a long steady groove and some serious dancing cut loose in the Stone Pony. Not me. I'm still drinking Freyja juice in shock that I'm not dead. Gimme a minute, aight?
While the band tinkers and tunes in the gap after Lonely, Brian mentions that his Mom is in the house and she waves and jumps up and down from the back as Spaffnerds gazes in wonder at the woman who made little Bri-Bri who is about to play a fantastic cover of Take Your Mama dedicated to his mom. I like the way they've slowed down the opening lyrics. Nothing much to note here other than it was sweet and fun and Momma Moss got lots of high-fives as Nerds stumbled into set break.
Wandering around and saying hello to strange familiar faces. Is your hair real hair? How come nobody remembers what they opened with? You're peeing way too long, buddy- lay off the White Claw.
I sally up toward Red Side Bread Side for Set II. Lovesick Melody is the opener. I love how some Spafford songs hook you in the opening seconds. This song is one of many reasons why Jordan songs are the shit. When we get to the "Woah-oh-ohs" I'm reminded how Jordan's mouth unhinges like a boa constrictor when he sings. But that pales in comparison to when he gets to "TWOPLANETSWILLCOLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE!" The drop into Soil, always smooth and sweet, is played extra softly by Brian. Back into the groove Brian hits some nice solos with great tones. Red and Nick get most of the credit for taking the rest of the jam to outerspace. Around 9 min Nick starts to work the kick and e drums and Red slowly builds into a nasty synth phrase that hits the peaks around 11. Standing Red side he is calmly in control but feeling the fire. Jordan quietly bangs away in time.
In The Eyes of Thieves comes next and they give the intro a nice little stretch. Then the Stone Pony becomes spun Soul Train in an instant as the funk takes off. Red and Nick continue to have so much fun playing off each other this becomes the Get A Room, Guys Jam. Nick lays some gentle syncopation in and Red picks it up and and the two go back and forth for minutes. Brian plays with his underwater tones and layers the melody up into a peak. They return to the song structure to seemingly bring it to a close but Red has different ideas around 14 minutes and goes for it. Brian drops back for a moment and lets Red, Jordan, and Nick serve up a soulful rhythm and blues. Red is really feeling second set; he's taking chances and not looking back. Seeing this chemistry igniting in Red is reason to believe in the glorious future. They groove for a while, peak once more, and wrap it up.
The opening bass and beat of My Road (My Road) lifts me higher for another first grab! I won't say that Spafford texted me what I wanted to hear and I texted MRMR wouldn't be bad and that's why they played it but I know it's what you're thinking and that's just fine. Red's voice sounds a little weaker than usual but maybe it's because his brain is still climbing down from the nonverbal frenzy he'd been cooking up for the last 40 minutes. The groove is excellent, everyone plays tight and with gusto. After the singing is left behind Jordan finds a perfect tone and steps up in the pocket. Seeing this chemistry igniting in Jordan is reason to believe in the glory glorious future.
Encore time. What other first grab could I possibly want to make my death-defying night any more behemoth? Dirtbath -- what a good idea, Spafford! Talk about songs that sell you in seconds. This song opens better than most songs ever progress to be, and it's 27 minute journey is just beginning. I don't have the stamina or vocabulary to describe it all in any real detail. So let's just play a game called, O, Dirtbath, O Dirtbath, what shall we call thee?
- Section 1: Running to the Bathroom Urgently/Ode to Joy (00:00)
- Section 2: The Spaffnational Anthem (05:20)
- Section 3: The Dirty Pink Panther Peeks through Tiny Keyholes/Viking Face Fucker (08:39)
- Section 4: Travolta's Raviolis (very different from Todd' Tots) (11:39)
- Section 5: Pink Floyd's Underwear ... Falling Away (22:46)
- Section 6: Return to the Bathroom Urgently/Mud Tub Outro (23:35)
Travolta's Raviolis went for a ride tonight, extending DB an extra few minutes beyond its normal length. Everybody's keyed in, but I just remember staring at Nick thinking that is as much dancing as a sitting person can do. He was putting his whole body into his craft and completely lost in the moment. There might as well have been no one in The Stone Pony but four friends, pouring it out there for the sheer fucking thrill of it.
Brian doesn't want to end Mud Tub Outro and keeps going and going and going like he thinks he's Tcachyk's high hat and we wish the boys could play forever the jam could jam forever but every storm ends.
603Brett last edited by
I love your reviews and I read every word. Glad you could make it to a home state show and that the family is well. Thank you MRmr. Love!
@603Brett thanks Brett! Wish fall tour was presenting more opportunities for us to cross paths. Soon enough my man!
mccuem last edited by
Thanks for the write up! Sounds hotter than a Tied meatstick.