It’s safe to say that my summer season has already been in the fast lane. With festivals, shows, local markets and so much more, I have found myself occupied every weekend with something new to do. One of the most exciting events of the summer thus far was the Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover in Seaside Heights June 5-6 featuring bands like Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, The Flaming Lips, and so many more. It was a perfect way to kick off the summertime season, with flawless production, chill vibes, and amazing talent throughout. Not only were there some heavy-hitting national acts, but some local talent also dominated all weekend long, and I am here to tell you about that experience.
Upon arriving down in Seaside Heights on Friday night, June 5, I had an open mind for what to expect. I knew I would be blown away by the bigger bands, but I wanted to make sure I took the time to get to rock out with some of the New Jersey bands that are making their way up the ladder as well. Man, was I glad I made that decision.
Early on in the day, with no issues in finding parking, I strolled into Seaside Heights just in time to catch one of my favorite New Jersey acts of all time, Nicole Atkins. Fresh off her performance on David Letterman, she had an awesome crowd in house with familiar faces, and some new fans as well. The sound was amazing on the second stage, and her voice was effortless and timeless as usual. She has a way about her; she can captivate music lovers of all genres, and will have your eyes glued on her for her entire performance. With a solid band backing her, so many people were buzzing after the fact asking “who this girl was,” and “where they could see her again.” I even saw a few local acts such as Quincy Mumford rocking her set, who I believe had played earlier in the day. Shout out to Nicole Atkins for kicking the weekend off right, and always bringing her top-notch talent to the table.
Next, after venturing out on the boardwalk, I stayed to watch a few national acts, including Dawes, whom I am now a huge fan of. This band hails out of California, but with the way the crowd was singing along, I felt like they worn born right in Seaside Heights. I highly suggest you check them out if you haven’t done so yet. They were then followed by one of the most captivating bands you will ever see, Alabama Shakes. I have seen them before, but there is something about them that is unexplainable; maybe it’s that their sound almost seems as if it belongs in another time or century, but they are so talented it almost hurts. Brittany Howard’s voice will literally leave you with chills on a hot summer day, for she has more soul than any other singer I have heard in my generation. They blew me away, and everyone on the beach that night was captivated by their performance. They didn’t even play their biggest hit “Hold On,” and they didn’t even have to. That says a lot right there. Now, I must admit, I boogied out of their set a little early so I could catch another one of my favorite local acts, Brick + Mortar.
Brick + Mortar are one of those bands that are well on their way. If you’re from the area, you are definitely now starting to hear their name no matter where you go; whether it’s on alternative radio, opening for national acts, or touring the country, they are right at your backdoor. I knew they would have a large crowd, as they don’t play in New Jersey a lot, but I was so excited to see how many festivalgoers actually came to see them. They had one of the largest crowds of the weekend, and the crowd knew almost every word to every tune. This was so cool to see, considering they grew up around here. I can only imagine what must have been going through their heads that day.
Another local band that captivated the weekend was Owel, and if you are an avid reader of the Local Radar, you will know that I am always blown away by all of their live sets. They had a lot of chatter on social media after their performance, and I am very certain they gained a lot of new fans down in Seaside Heights. They left their hearts on stage that night, and I am still trying to pick up the pieces.
Overall, New Jersey talent completely dominated the Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover in Seaside Heights. Whether you went to see a local band you liked, or happened to become a new fan that weekend, New Jersey has so much talent to be proud of, and we continue to prove that time and time again. I hope you went out and bought one of these bands’ records, or even some swag, for I know they will appreciate your love more than anything. Now, onto the next musical event to tickle my fancy, until then, keep on keeping on!