TVD Recommends: Scenes Collide, Asbury Park & New Brunswick at the Stone Pony, 3/20

I used to be big on scenes. During my first year of high school the Seattle scene started blowing up. I was still reading RIP magazine with Metallica on the cover, but in the back pages stories about Soundgarden and Alice in Chains kept creeping in, eventually followed by Pearl Jam and Nirvana. By the end of the year these bands replaced the mullet and leather jacket dudes on subsequent covers.

Going to a new high school—especially one with a dress code—you tend to flock toward those with similar traits in common. Doc Martens. Flannel shirts instead of dress shirts. Maybe a band patch sewn into a bookbag or a band name drawn on a binder. Stupid shit like that. Before long you find yourself in bands with some of these people. And then there are several bands. And then you glom onto the bands in the higher grades. And then you meet different bands at shows. It’s all new and overwhelming and your naïve mind starts cooking up delusions of grandeur—“Hey man, it’s like we got our own scene going on here.”

But no, the “Great Paramus Catholic Scene of 1994” didn’t quite make the same dent the Seattle scene did before it, or the DC and Boston hardcore scenes before that, or the London and New York punk scenes before that, or the San Francisco and Los Angeles psychedelic scenes before that, and the dozens I’m either forgetting, ignorant of, or omitting due to personal taste—but that’s sort of beside the point. When the hell was the last time you could get a group of 15 or 20 people to agree on anything? Whether it’s global warming or where to go to dinner, anytime you have a large group of people it’s difficult to maintain any kind of unity. That’s what sets music apart from other things in life.

And that’s what I like about Asbury Park. I don’t have to know every band on stage to stumble into a venue cold. I know there are enough good bands in this town that the odds are in my favor—the venues push the locals hard. Yes, this is the town of Springsteen and Southside Johnny and Little Steven—and they’re still very much a part of what this town is—but they’re not the only thing going on here.

A little further north in the shadow of Rutgers University, New Brunswick has its own honor roll of bands like the Bouncing Souls, Pavement, the Replacements, and Screaming Females who got their start in the clubs and even the basements around town. While a mainstay like the Court Tavern is still thriving, the closing of places like the Melody Bar have rekindled the DIY mentality and have lead bands back to throwing shows in the basements around town. You play where you have to—just get the music out there.

And so what? Why all this nostalgia and history? There are certainly tons of people more qualified to talk about the music and legacy of Asbury Park and New Brunswick than I am. No, I’m only bringing all of this up for some context to let you dear people know that tonight—Friday, March 20th—an opening of borders, a blurring of county and city lines—a meeting of the two biggest New Jersey music scenes (Sorry, Hoboken. Maybe next year, Trenton) will be taking place at the Stone Pony, that holy cathedral of “yes, we can make it” rock ‘n’ roll gusto.

Featuring four bands from each town including the rapidly gaining momentum Deal Casino, Monterey, Plato Zorba, and Amy Malkoff and the Moonshines (who I’m listening to as I write this and wondering how the hell I’ve missed them up until now.) On the New Brunswick side, City Limits brings their full-throated punk anthems to town with The Black Sox Scandal, Feeny, and Nghtcrwlers. And as a display of good will, a train ticket from New Brunswick will get you a free drink at the show. If that doesn’t promote unity, I’m not sure what does.

An all-ages show (21 to drink, because you know, that’s the law) which will feature Asbury Park acts Deal Casino, Amy Malkoff and the Moonshines, Monterey, and Plato Zorba. And, from New Brunswick, City Limits, The Black Sox Scandal, Feeny, and Nghtcrwlers.

The Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ
Doors at 7PM | $10 Advance$12 Door$3 Yuenglings

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