Happy Anniversary Stone Pony!

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Phone snap on the way in.

The legendary Stone Pony celebrated it’s 44th anniversary this past weekend and I was fortunate to be on hand for the Saturday night shows.

The importance of the Stone Pony’s place in the New Jersey music scene –  and possibly globally – cannot be understated. Every time I set foot in there, it’s an honor. To think that some folks make an almost Mecca-like pilgrimage to 913 Ocean Ave is amazing but not unbelievable. It’s pull is that powerful.

On Friday night, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes kicked off anniversary weekend as headliners. My friend, Remember Jones, opened for Southside. Unfortunately, things were pretty tight for the sell-out and I was denied a photo pass. Oh well.

Saturday night, too, proved to be jam-packed and I was on the fortunate side of the fence. Doug Zambon, lead singer of The Vansaders, put me on the list so I was in. As I pulled into a spot across the the street, a cold, drizzly rain started to fall. Snow was in the forecast but it’s precursor was wet. I had a some time to kill, so I walked the Asbury Park boardwalk, hoot up on my North Face parka, to see what I could see.

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In the distance, the Casino

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The Monolith of Asbury Park

After a 30 minute stroll, I unlocked my truck, threw the parka in there and grabbed my camera bag. Let’s go to the show!

It was a stacked line up of five bands: Little Vicious (described as sounding like Led Zeppelin got wasted then covered Pink Floyd fast as hell ), Strange Eclipse (a cross between old school Led Zepplin and new school Greta Van Fleet), Lowlight (lead singer Renee Maskin reminds me of Chrissie Hyde), and my two favorites The Vansaders and The Battery Electric.

So, with the strum of the guitar and the thump of the drum…we were off. Take it away Little Vicious.

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Marguerite Von King, lead singer of Little Vicious

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Stepping onstage after LV was a band of teenagers, Strange Eclipse. No, really, these cats go to Roxbury High School and I doubt any are older than 18. But Holy RollnRolly can they jam. Michelle is a new favorite song of mine.

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Throttling back a bit was Lowlight, another female-lead band that brought a different kind of energy.

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During their set, Renee announced Lowlight would be opening for The Pretenders on their upcoming tour. Quite the honor for this local band!

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They were a bit of a challenge to shoot, though. I tried to not just focus on the lead singer, but the stage was crowded, the drummer (for every band but the headliner) was tucked in the back corner. Just a hot mess, frankly.

After a short break, one of my favorite local bands, The Vansaders plugged in. As usual, Doug, Kyle, Deagland Jay put on a great short set.

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Doug Zambon doing a nice version of his song So Long Ago

By this time, that cold rain had turned to big, fat snow flakes that were falling hard and fast outside this little seaside bar. This was anticipated and before I left Allentown, I actually threw a snow shovel in my truck, just in case I needed to dig out at midnight. As I poked my head outside, this seemed to be a real possibility.

But oh well…The Battery Electric were coming on. Snow can wait.

TBE are easily another of my favorite bands from Asbury Park. While all of these bands have serious potential, TBE, well, if they don’t hit large, I don’t know who will then. Lead singer Ron Santee is the merry prankster/king/leader of this band of heathens.

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Near the end of the show, Ron brought up his girlfriend…Marguerite from Little Vicious. He toasted the crowded for coming out on such a lousy weather night, and noted that we were all still thinking of the shooting that had just occurred days earlier in Florida. Not a fan of the current administration, he said there’s one thing that will make things better, at least for tonight: Music. With a screech of Brent’s white guitar, they launched into Heathen.

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That pretty much capped the Stone Pony Anniversary weekend, a rockin’, rollickin’ party.

I packed up my cameras (Canon 70D and the FujiX100T) and headed across the street. It was about midnight, but I had one more stop, at least for a few minutes: The Asbury Park Yacht Club on the boardwalk, to catch a bit of the Black Flamingos.

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The boardwalk was cold. The snow had stopped, and a light rain was starting to fall. The snow was getting wet and slushy and messy. A few more months till the summer sun shines down on Little Eden, but for a few hours to night, we were all in the Promised Land of rock ‘n roll music….just like it said on Deaglan’s arm.

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© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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