ASBURY PARK, NJ—At around 9 p.m. on this Saturday night, what is left of the Asbury Park boardwalk was mostly empty, probably due to the relentless wind chill that swept Ocean Avenue. An influx of rowdy people donning mostly black on black were around the entrance to The Stone Pony as amplified metal blasted from its front door. Much like the remains of the establishments that span the length of the Jersey Shore, The Stone Pony seems to be a landmark that is resilient to change even when change looms in the inevitable future. The flat black interiors of the venue appeared unaltered, with merchandise and memorabilia spanning the walls.
Filling the room was a blend of the expected die-hards alongside the regulars. Riding the heat wave of an album release just weeks ago, seasoned metal band Sevendust were on the verge of performing. Black Out The Sun has created quite a stir, rising above and beyond the buzz about it. A thick wall of fans made for little breathing room in the packed club. As the anticipation swelled, a slow-building intro melded into the group’s latest single, “Decay.”
From the guitar of Clint Lowery, the addictive main riff rung out as sonically mesmerizing vocalist Lajon Witherspoon cut through the speakers with a vengeance. With notes smooth and melodies on point, the impact was tangible in a live setting. With this, the venue came to life, vibrating from the force. The audience was entranced with Sevendust, who played with a ferocious energy, especially drummer Morgan Rose, who was nonstop.
Performing older material like “Rumble Fish” and “Waffle” off 1999’s Home, to the delight of the devoted listeners, their sound remained airtight. While playing “Strong Arm Broken,” the place was nearly bursting at the seams with the movement of the crowd. Fans who couldn’t enter the sold-out show hovered around the entrance, headbanging along to the set. Amidst a slew of favorites, the band broke into “Got A Feeling” off Black Out The Sun, which the fans requested. The powerful rendition of the track was its live debut, and the guys nailed it. Through the animated facial expressions of Sevendust, their passion for their music was clear.
Exiting the stage at the end of “Black,” the fans loudly cheered for an encore. After leaving them hanging for a few minutes, the group triumphantly returned to play popular favorites “Splinter” and “Face To Face” off 2003’s Seasons. Allowing their talent to speak for themselves, Sevendust blew the door off its hinges at The Stone Pony, powering through the arrangement of their set with ease. With only instruments and a solid presence, they did not fail to graciously thank or please all who came to see it firsthand.