Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls and Jake Burns storm Asbury Park New Jersey
It’s a hot humid August night in Asbury Park New Jersey and this town buzzing with excitement, the boardwalk bars and restaurants are full of people drinking, eating and just having a good time. So, what’s so special about tonight? How about the biggest show of the summer at the legendary Stone Pony Asbury Park including Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls and Jake Burns of Stiff Little fingers! All three of the bands are punk icons who are headliners on their own, so to have them all on the same ticket is absolutely sick! To understand things a bit better it’s important to note that in the late 1990’s Rancid actually signed the Murphys to their first record deal, so these guys are no strangers to each other. This tour has been labeled “From Boston to Berkeley “because simply its where the bands are from, with the Dropkick Murphys from Boston Massachusetts and Rancid from Berkeley, California. Tonight’s show is a sold-out event with over three thousand punk rockers in attendance, and I’m stoked to be here. The headliner for this show was Rancid, and having been to the Philly show the night prior it seems they rotate who headlines with the Dropkick Murphy’s on a night by night basis.
Rancid was originally formed in 1991 with current members Tim Armstrong on guitar and vocals, Matt Freeman on Bass, Lars Frederiksen on guitar and vocals and Branden Steineckert on drums and vocals. Rancid is a Hellcat Records recording artist and is touring in support of their latest album “Trouble Maker”
Rancid took the stage at the Pony just as the sun was going down, opening the show with “Radio” and from that point it was game on! The set moved forward with Roots Radicals, Journey to the End of the East Bay, Maxwell Murder, Nihilism, Telegraph Avenue, Old Friend, Fall Back Down and Olympia WA to name a few. Tim and Lars drove this crowd into an absolute frenzy! There were circle pits everywhere, crowd surfers going overhead, a constant shower of beer, people singing and screaming along and just total mayhem. Rancid played a twenty song set not including the encore (which we’ll talk about later) and ended their set with Ruby Soho, just incredible! I though Rancid’s set was just absolutely sick. Rancid in my opinion is one of the most influential punk bands of all time and I would expect nothing less!
Dropkick Murphys are originally from Quincy Massachusetts and were formed in 1996 with current members being Ken Casey on bass and vocals, Al Barr lead vocals, Tim Brennan on guitar, accordion and vocals, Jeff DaRosa on banjo, guitar, mandolin and vocals and Kevin Rheault filling in for James Lynch on guitar. The Dropkick Murphys are a Born & Bred recording artist and are currently touring in support of their latest album “Short Stories of Pain and Glory”. The group are a blue collar Celtic Punk band and their music delivers a message of hard times, struggle, family values, support of Union labor, and hard work, and as such they are one of if not my favorite band!
The Dropkick Murphys took the stage to the thunderous sounds of Sinead O’Connor and the Chieftains “The Foggy Dew “, being a bit Irish, this song has incredible meaning to me as it chronicles the Easter Rising of 1916, which started the process of the Republic of Ireland being free from British rule. The group set started with “Bar Room Hero’” and continued with Do or Die, The Gangs All Here, First Class Looser, Rose Tattoo, Going Out in Style, Until the Next time and more. Al Barr and the Dropkick Murphys had this crowd totally involved during their set with all in attendance singing along to every, and I mean every song! They do something unique which is called the stage invasion, where they open access to the stage to anyone in the crowd who wants to join them to dance away to the last song of the night, and this night was no exception! I’m a huge fan of the Dropkick Murphys, they’re one of the hardest working bands in the business today and give it all for their fans and I thought this show at this venue was totally killer!!
THE BOUNCING SOULS
The Bouncing Souls are a New Jersey Based punk band from New Brunswick New Jersey formed in 1989 with current members being Greg Attonito on lead vocals, Pete Steinkopf on lead guitar and vocals, Bryan Kienlen on bass and vocals and George Rebelo on Drums. The Souls are a Rise Records recording artist whose last album “Simplicity” was released in July of 2016. You can’t have a conversation about punk in New Jersey without talking about the Souls. I one heard Johnny Rio of the Street Dogs while playing at Asbury Lanes say “the Bouncing Souls own this fucking town”, he was right!!
The Bouncing Souls set started with Manthem and continued I Wanna be Bored, lean on Sheena, Hopeless Romantic, Kids and Hero’s, Gone and True Believers to name a few. The Souls always deliver for their New Jersey fans and tonight was no exception with the croud singing along loudly and crowd surfing to every song in their set. New Jersey has a vibrant music scene and the Souls are a huge part of that, and I’ll never get enough!!
Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers was the opener for tonight show, he was awesome and played an unplugged set of SLF songs for the crowd. Stiff Little Fingers is a veteran punk band from Belfast Northern Ireland and as Lars Frederiksen put it, without bands like SLF punk music would have never happened, I think he’s right!
This show ended in way I couldn’t imagine, a joint encore with Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys doing covers of the Ramones Cretin Hop, Cock Sparrer Take ‘em all, Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Blues and Sham 69 If the Kids are United. This was an unbelievable ending to a ridiculously good show with the crowd just simply losing it, including myself !!
In conclusion, I thought this show was the musical event of the summer of 2017, with the lineup of bands being just insane! If you’re an old school punk rocker like me, this show was like your Birthday all over again!! I would like to thank Rancid, the Dropkick Murphys, the Bouncing Souls and Jake Burns for making our punk rock dreams a reality, the Stone Pony for hosting this incredible event and AM-Media for the opportunity to cover this event!!
Coverage & photography by Patrick Gilrane
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