Now that's what I call a punk rock show-It's just continuous awesomeness for the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series, in which the 47th installment brings us out to Asbury Park, NJ to the Stone Pony “SummerStage” for Social Distortion, a band I've been dying to see forever, but especially since I missed them last year. And since I'm rolling with Pam, the “Pam-Van” is in full effect picking me up from work and headed out to the show after a supermarket/liquor store stop to grab a 6 pack of Heineken light, bottle of Jack and a bottle of Captain . That's how we roll. Doors open at 5:30-that's not a typo, 5:30 doors. Let's get down to business shall we?
After parking and trying to pregame as much as possible while keeping our bladders in tact, We rolled in at 6:30. On the walk over, I heard some security dude telling this chick “if you're alone you should stand on this side of the street cause it's a real shady neighborhood down that block”. Awesome, because you know how much I love danger and everything. We found the entrance and got in after I was searched to the maximum. Felling every pocket every item and stuff. Sucks that there's something they didn't find that was there-moving on. When we got in one of the openers, 'Sharks' was in full swing on stage.. Focus on the band for a second: These guys looked like they were straight out of a time capsule from England circa 1971. The leather was in full effect, pins on the jackets, the tight pants-all of it. Looked like a girly Sex Pistols. We're scouting out standing spots, we notice the “21 and Over Section” sign, and head through there towards the bar area.. That's when Sharks finally caught my attention by covering the Replacements “Can't Hardly Wait”, which was pretty cool. They played their last song at 6:55PM
So as people file in-this is what I call a punk rock show. Holy God, I have never seen so many mo-hawks and chain wallets in my life. Skin heads to people draped in leather. Everyone is a character I swear, whether it's army fatigues and knee high boots or green hair-this is what I wish I would've seen last week at Bad Religion/Rise Against. I'm standing outdoors surrounded by many people who wouldn't mind breaking my face-the perfect desired atmosphere.
We headed inside for a little bit, grabbed some drinks as Chuck Ragan was on in between Sharks and Social D-but walking around the actual 'Stone Pony' venue where the bars and stuff are, I started to check out the walls that had signed guitars all over the place. So I'm checking these things out, signatures from bands of the likes of State Radio and Govt Mule.. until I found my way around to the back door and there in the corner hanging was a signed Gene Ween guitar.. took me all that time to find some taste around here..slow working bartender is keeping us inside long than desired I must say, but at least some dude bought Pam a drink.
Let me get on a pedestal for a second and rant: This preconceived notion that we can place a stage in the middle of any random parking lot-esque open area and call it a rock venue is completely ridiculous. I know I seem like I complain about every single venue, but venues like this(and Williamsburg Waterfront) make me SICK. You can't just take a parking lot and put a stage there and hype it up to be a “Summerstage”. Sounds so fancy, it's actually gross. Besides me being a huge proponent of size order at standing room only shows-maybe if you guy built the stage, I don't know, two feet higher maybe we'd be able to see what going on. It was like a blind show, the only pictures I got was my arm held as high in the air as possible. I mean, if you had like a tilt effect, a slight downward hill thing going on where people were able to see as they got further away; maybe even some ascending levels or something, anything! Sound was loud as hell and amazing, it was awesome to hang out and hear the tunes of Social D for an awesome set on a nice night out-but for 45 dollars, throw up a video screen or something. You know who had a better view than I did? An entire floor of a hotel a few blocks away standing out on the porch enjoying the show for free. They had a great view I'd imagine. I'm standing here behind thousands of people who should be playing the in NBA. Social D as a very tall following if tonight is any indicator.
So at about 8:20 some dude gets on stage and to hype us up. He says “Social D has some awesome stuff planned, lots of surprises in this full two hour set! They'll be out in a few minutes!”. Wow, a two hour set we're going to get? That's odd, because we're in a residential area with a 10PM “noise curfew” . They're not even on stage yet and you already only have and hour and forty left. Dude could've easily said “And rock it til 10!” and he would've saved himself from looking like a moron who can't do math.
Those last two paragraphs aside, once I heard that “California Love” intro it was freakin' showtime, I was into it. What'd you expect from Mr. 90's over here? I suddenly realized why I was putting up with all this non-sense in the first place. Social freakin' Distortion! Now I'm really in search for a good spot walkin' around jammin' out to “Road Zombie” and “So Far Away” before we found a by the back bar there was this little deck about 8 inches up from the ground, so we stepped up-still nothing, as another pretzel stand has gotten me. So we've settled on just chilling out enjoying this great show from this spot, as oppose to spending the rest of the night walking around missing things. So we're rocking out to hit's like “Bad Luck” and “Mommy's Little Monster” as I'm scoping out chicks walking by in between attempts and some somewhat decent photos.. During this I smell the scent of 'sexy lady' to my left, cool chick, attractive and all that.. she was rocking all night next to what appeared to be her husband I'd assume. So he walks away to hit the bathroom or something and I see her glance over and then she leans into my ear and says “I F*cking LOVE your hair. I'm a hair dresser, I wouldn't touch it! It's perfect”. Now there's a day brightener right there! Being this is the one rock show I've been to where having long hair seemed to be the minority, it was good to get a compliment from an older, kinda hot chick who may or may not have been hitting on me while her hubby was in the bathroom. I'm not stating that that's what I believe was the case, just saying the onlooker may see it in that light. She said her son wanted to come to the show but it's 16+, and I handed her some typical punk rock cliché “See, there's the establishment at work prevent your son from rocking out” I'm so quick witted aren't I?
“Machine Gun Blues” happens to not only be new but also awesome. Lots of little speeches in between songs and honestly the crowd was like, totally not interested. The crowd was asked for “back up singers on this next one”.. and I swear like 4 people raised their hands out of thousands. They were into the tunes, just not anything going on when guitar riffs were not involved. And my only issue with their set tonight was the version of “Ball and Chain” they did right after “Prison Bound”... it was like, a much slower version of it, as if the song was being dragged by the proverbial Ball and Chain.. First time seeing the band, kinda wanted to get the full effect of one of my favorite songs by them, but I'm still having fun through songs like “Lude Boy” and “Don't Drag Me Down” before we heard “Okay, it's time for another story” and this was like 9:43, so I knew this story was going to be the “Story of my life”, which is was before they said goodnight and ducked off for maybe a minute or two...
Came back out to play “California(Hustle and Flow)” and “You can't take it with you” before closing the night with, what else? A classic from an artist everyone's on board with, Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire”... I tried to record some of it, but let us not even waster our time with what I just saw on the video. These words give you a better picture than that. So it was 10:08 when they officially went off. An hour and 38 minutes keep that “2 hour set” quote in kind from earlier
Awesome night of punk rock. So glad I got to catch Social D-my issues with the venue did not interfere with me and Pam enjoying ourselves yet again-Bad Religion last week, Social D this week-I mean what's next? Well, you'll have to check the concert calender for the official purchases that have been made, but June 11th there's a free Coheed and Cambria show at the Williamsburg Waterfront that some smart folks are highly recommending I attend. It's a Saturday and I work til 4 and I have a feeling the line for this show is going to start the night before the gig-I have a few friends heavy into them who want to attend, maybe they'll be a spot held in line for me. Headed out there anyway, just hope I make it in. Anyway, thanks for putting up with my non sense for a little while, and keep checking back at ConcertConfessions.Com and of course JayPorks.Com for some HUGE plans later on this summer. Things are happening-stay tuned.