Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by B51Photography / Mark Brown

You could feel the Jersey pride all over the Stone Pony Summerstage as Garden State native Jack Antonoff hosted the first ever Shadow of the City festival in scenic Asbury Park on September 19th. Antonoff’s band Bleachers was joined by Charli XCX, The Front Bottoms, Misterwives and more as the all-day event celebrated the state that’s always sat ‘in the shadow of’ Manhattan’s shimmering skyline.

When fans weren’t taking in the tunes, they indulged at the food trucks that lined the perimeter of the Summerstage lot, which of course featured a NJ staple – pork roll. A dunk tank sat behind the soundboard, and in between sets fans were invited to donate to the Ally Coalition fund for a chance to ‘dunk’ members of the SOTC crew, including Antonoff himself.

Led by the adorably bubbly Mandy Lee, soul pop act Misterwives got the afternoon audience all worked up early on. Jersey’s own The Front Bottoms lured quite a following front and center, inciting a sea of crowd-surfers anxious to join in on all that pop punk angst. Then, just after dark, Charli XCX emerged, middle fingers ablaze. This Brit quickly squashed any notion of being a squeaky clean pop star as she thrashed her way through her chart-topping hits.

Finally the main event was at hand, and Bleachers kicked off their headlining set with songs from their debut album, Strange Desire, which Antonoff noted was both written in, and inspired by, the great state of New Jersey. The Stone Pony’s faithful erupted in classic Jersey shore fashion – with one fan even tossing her bra on stage. Highlights of the set included a roaring cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and the premiere of a new, unfinished song called – you guessed it – “Shadow of the City”.


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