ASBURY PARK, NJ—Years ago, the Skate And Surf Music Festival originated in New Jersey. The event slowly grew and grew into Bamboozle, where a plethora of bands played and fans packed multiple stages for a full three-day spectacular. This year, Skate And Surf was brought back, and it felt like home for many Jersey music fans. Returning to Asbury Park, the stages were much smaller and more intimate. While the lineup didn’t include any massive draws like Bon Jovi (2012) or Skrillex (also 2012), the bands on this year’s roster were impressive. With groups like New Found Glory and Circa Survive, it seems fans were still satisfied with the lineup this year.
Sunday’s agenda included a Midtown reunion, as well as Hidden In Plain View’s fantastic set of nostalgic oldies. But first, I began at the Aquarian North Stage where local NJ band In Our Glory performed an energy-packed set. It began to drizzle, but that didn’t stifle their enthusiasm one bit. Frontwoman Gina Petro absolutely killed her vocals in fan-favorite “Cheap Shot,” which they recently released a video for. Petro and the guys—bassist Kevin Miller, guitarist Alex Bond and drummer Jason Kuhn—put on an energetic and rockin’ show, proving they’re a force to be reckoned with in the Jersey scene.
After the rain cleared and In Our Glory finished up, I headed over to the Main Stage to see We Came As Romans, hailing from Detroit, Michigan. I’d seen these guys a few times before, years back at much smaller venues, but this band has truly grown since then. Their sound is original, and the melodies from vocalist Kyle Pavone are so catchy that you can’t help but sing along. We Came As Romans’ live show is so tight and bursting with energy that it’ll smack you right in the face if you’re not careful.
I decided to hang out at the Main Stage for a while, because the lineup was just too good to miss. Next up, Hidden In Plain View. Words can’t explain how amazing it felt to hear songs like “Twenty Below,” “Ashes, Ashes” and other old songs that made my teenage years more enjoyable. Their set had to be one of the best parts of my experience. After they finished up, I couldn’t help but feel like my teenage self all over again. The crowd went insane for them and the band seemed genuinely surprised by the reaction and support. Even though they broke up back in 2007, their music never died, and it was evident that afternoon.
Still at the Main Stage, NJ favorites Midtown were up next. The fans were giddy with anticipation as the equipment was being set up. They played oldies such as “Just Rock And Roll” and “Give It Up.” The fans echoed back the words like it was still 2004. It was nostalgia at its finest.
Around 6:00, it was time for Circa Survive. While I was bummed that I couldn’t see Saosin with Anthony Green the previous day, I still got my Anthony fix on Sunday. The Main Stage was packed with fans, all surging their way up closer to the one and only Anthony Green. His stage presence, always interesting, made their set wild and intriguing. The band played some fan favorites while Green danced around the stage and delivered a flawless vocal performance.
I See Stars played the Aquarian South Stage around 6:50. All I can say is, “Wow!” Years ago, I discovered this band for myself at The Croc Rock in Allentown, PA. Their energy was outstanding then, and it still is now. Lead vocalist Devin blew my mind yet again. This electronic hardcore group surpassed my previous experience and had fans screaming for more songs. Their song “Murder Mitten” was insanely catchy. These guys clearly proved they are still rocking hard, and won’t be going anywhere.
The last band on my agenda for the day was New Found Glory. Sunday happened to be the 10th anniversary for Catalyst, the group’s fourth studio album and undeniably one of their best releases. The band played “All Downhill From Here” and other jams such as “Truck Stop Blues” and “My Friends Over You.” The crowd went insane for the older songs and continued to go nuts for their encore set. While the group took a short break to take a sip of water and talk to the crowd, a bride and groom from the nearby wedding ran onto the stage to join our party. The groom took a stage dive into the crowd while the bride had a blast with the band. It was definitely a fun ending to their wedding, and the perfect way to end the final day of Skate And Surf 2014.