Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by Rod Snyder

After a pretty amazing opening day of the first ever Sea Hear Now Festival, Sunday’s schedule managed to keep the momentum going, thanks to sets by Jack Johnson, Nicole Atkins, Milky Chance, and a very special appearance from New Jersey’s most favorite person.

Asbury Park locals The Parlor Mob greeted their neighbors early on, with a 1pm set showcasing new material, as well as those heavy hitters they’ve been playing in town for years. Nicole Atkins, another gift from the great Garden State, caught the city’s ear soon after – an easy feat when you’ve got pipes like hers.

Later in the day, Iceland natives Kaleo had the crowd stomping along at the Surf Stage to blues rock bliss like their Spotify super-hits, “No Good” and “Way Down We Go”. Back on solid ground at the Park Stage, some pretty chill vibes were emanating from G.Love’s set, too. He and his Special Sauce threw in a sweet cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” that had even the uninitiated entertained.

Soon the sun was setting on the Jersey shore, and Milky Chance filled the Surf Stage (and the boardwalk above it) with eager, footloose fans. Honestly, is there a band that’s better suited to play a beach concert? Spirits were definitely high as the band performed songs like “Flash Junk Mind” and “Stolen Dance”.

By the time that Social Distortion was set to hit the Sand Stage, rumor had spread that New Jersey’s most favorite citizen would be making a special appearance. So like a pack of hungry animals, crazed Bruce fans flocked in droves to catch the action. They were handsomely rewarded when Springsteen himself stepped out of the shadows to join Mike Ness for three songs; it’s safe to say that “Bad Luck”, “Misery Loves Company”, and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” were the highlights here.

Unfortunately for Twin Peaks, their Park Stage set just happened to coincide with Bruce’s big moment. But even though Springsteen stole their thunder, the Chicago rockers took it all in stride and put on a tight show for a small group of die-hard fans. These guys are a blast to see live – the energy and chemistry onstage is undeniable, especially on songs like “Butterfly” and “Walk To The One You Love”. Twin Peaks were definitely the underdogs of the hour, so go buy their record and say you’re sorry, dammit!

The night was almost over, and it was time to tone things down with a beach-side set from Sunday’s headliner, Jack Johnson. The combination of hoodie weather and acoustic lullabies like “Banana Pancakes” and “Flake” made for the perfect September night outdoors, and the audience embraced the opportunity to just kick back and chill. A well-placed cover of Sublime’s “Badfish” made this huge festival space feel like a backyard sing-along, even if only for a moment.

And just like that, the first every Sea Hear Now Festival totally proved itself to a scene full of major music fans. Luckily, we still have enough sand in our shoes to let the memories linger a little bit longer.

See you next year?

Check out our coverage of Day 1 here

TheWaster.com | Asbury Park