Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by Rod Snyder
It seemed nearly impossible to top the previous night’s festivities, but Day Two of Danny Clinch’s Sea.Hear.Now Festival was pretty close to paradise.
With so much nature, art, and history to take in, it’s no surprise that a photographer chose Asbury Park for a festival location. Pretty much everywhere you looked had a breathtaking backdrop, whether it’s the two stages lining the Atlantic, the vibrant murals decorating the boardwalk, or the Park Stage that faced the Ocean Avenue landmark, Convention Hall. And if that wasn’t enough to keep your attention, you could always listen to some live music while watching pro surfers compete in ‘expression sessions’ on the beach.
Check out the highlights from Day Two below, featuring Dave Matthews Band, The B-52’s, Dispatch, and more…
*Infinite Color & Sound*
While the hustle and bustle of festival life steadily buzzed outside, inside the Transparent Gallery tent, a very small group of fans got to experience the wonder of Infinite Color and Sound. The visual art and music duo comprised of Mike McCready (also known as the guitarist from Pearl Jam) and Kate Neckel (celebrated painter and overall badass human) hosted a semi-secret show on Sunday afternoon.
The duo invited a rotating cast of friends to the tiny stage, including Joseph Arthur, Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon, Jake Clemons (nephew of the one and only Clarence Clemons), Rachel Ana Dobken, and Danny Clinch – and everyone got in on the experiment.
This was no ordinary performance. When they weren’t painting the wall, painting the stage props, or painting each other, the artists snapped Polaroids and tossed them into the tiny, awestruck audience. It was like something you would see in an art school dorm basement, but with national touring musicians. It was liberating, and weird, and supremely cool…and most of you suckers missed it!
Back at the beach, Sunday Funday was in full effect, because The B-52’s had officially arrived. Frontman and fellow New Jersey native Fred Schneider (who grew up just a few towns over, in Long Branch), received a warm welcome to his “old stomping ground”, and was ready to raise the metaphorical (tin) roof.
Within the first few guitar riffs, The World’s Greatest Party Band quickly got fans of all ages on their feet. The scene at the Surf Stage could have been pulled straight from an 80’s movie: it was a full-on dance party where everybody’s movin’ (everybody’s groovin’) to classic tracks like “Private Idaho”, “Roam”, “Rock Lobster”, and “Love Shack”.
*St. Paul and The Broken Bones*
Next up on the Sand Stage was Birmingham, Alabama’s St. Paul and The Broken Bones, an eight-piece powerhouse that came to the shore to slather the Southern charm on real thick.
Draped in a floor length, iridescent cape, lead singer Paul Janeway captivated his congregation with his truly incredible vocal range. The Broken Bones filled in the space with hearty horns and rhythms, keeping the soulful vibe upbeat during songs including “Call Me” and “Apollo”.
If you weren’t wooed right away, the band’s paramount performance of “Grass is Greener” certainly sealed the deal. A collective chill went through the crowd as Janeway nailed all the high notes with the precision and poise of R&B royalty.
What can you say about these Boston-based roots rockers? Well, they are the only unsigned band to ever sell out three nights at Madison Square Garden, and that’s probably because there’s no such thing as a ‘casual’ Dispatch fan.
Devoted Sea.Hear.Now attendees lined up early for this Sunday evening set, and the hour-long time slot seemed to fly by in a flash. Things got pretty nostalgic as Chad Stokes, Brad Corrigan and their backing band harmonized on fan favorites “Be Gone”, Bats In The Belfry”, and “Bang Bang”.
Even two decades into their career, Dispatch still bring a ton of energy and heart to their shows. And tonight, they brought out some special guests, too. Danny Clinch and Jake Clemons joined in for “The General” before the band closed out the show with a tender take on “Elias” (that definitely didn’t make this writer cry).
*Dave Matthews Band*
‘People in every direction’ surrounded the Surf Stage to see Dave Matthews Band cap off a killer weekend in Asbury Park on Sunday night. The headliner catered to the festival crowd, tearing through a two-hour set that focused mainly on the band’s greatest hits. “What Would You Say?”, “Don’t Drink The Water”, “Too Much”, “Everyday”, and “Crash Into Me”, all made the cut.
Even though this seemed to be a ‘diet’ Dave show by design, the band still squeezed in some extended jams during “Grey Street” and “Ants Marching”, along with some classic covers by Peter Gabriel (“Sledgehammer”), Prince (“Sexy M.F.”), and Steve Miller Band (“Fly Like An Eagle”).
Tickets to this event sold out quick for a reason. And with such a successful second year, we can only hope that the month of September will be synonymous with Sea.Hear.Now. for many seasons to come!
TheWaster.com | Asbury Park