Asbury Park has hosted hundreds of thousands of shows over the years. It’s an iconic city in New Jersey with a lively community of people from all walks of life who have music, art, and love in their hearts. It’s a city with an entire album named after it. (Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., anyone?) It’s a New Jersey staple that has been considered home by so many up-and-coming — or were once up-and-coming — musicians. Going to a live show in Asbury Park is an experience one will never forget, and this year you can close out summer with one of those memorable musical experiences at the Stone Pony Summer Stage. The talented eclectic lineup is hitting the Asbury Park stage on August 25, from noon until…well, it’s over.
If you have hit up any shows during this year’s festival circuit, there is a good chance that you are used to seeing tens of bands on numerous stages with crowds and lines that make the performances hard to enjoy and let me tell you, it just makes it even harder for the performer to make a connection with the audience. The Shadow of the City Festival is a bit smaller, but the artists lined up to perform are all immensely talented, unique, and fit in within the heart and soul of Asbury Park and Jersey’s take on music. Here, we outlined the scheduled performances for you, although each one is a can’t miss.
Jack Antonoff is an outstanding instrumentalist, a creative lyricist, this festival’s founder, and a busy man. The musician is known not only on his own, but from the alternative band Fun., the producer of pop greats like Taylor Swift, and more recently as the indie pop band Bleachers. The music is clearly made out of pure inspiration, which is why it is so different in the best way. Antonoff also produced and lent five songs to the soundtrack of the hit coming of age movie, Love, Simon, released in March of this year. Born in Bergenfield and growing up in New Milford and Woodcliff Lake makes Antonoff a seasoned New Jerseyan with as much perseverance and originality in him that proves that New Jersey does breed some of the best musicians out there.
Although you might recognize her name from the hit Disney Channel Original Movie, Lemonade Mouth, or maybe a song on the radio, Hayley Kiyoko has actually been a working woman since the age of 5. From print ads to national commercials to hit shows and movies, Kiyoko has done it all — and that was prior to her music career. Now a pop sensation with a hope of bringing LGBTQ+ relationships and lifestyle into a more positive light, the 27-year-old singer/songwriter is expanding her fanbase, educating the world, changing the face of the industry, and making her dreams come true — on her own accord.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., the almost 23-year-old guitarist has put every ounce of herself into her music. Described as alternative rock and indie folk, she has opened for artists of like, such as Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore, and The Decemberists. Baker is already a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and musician because of her fresh take on folk and rock, as well as for her personal style of intertwining emotion and passion with — and within — instrumentals.
If you’re looking for a rock band that isn’t necessarily hard rock and doesn’t necessarily fall under the pop rock category, Turnover is the perfect band for you. The three-piece hails from Virginia Beach and have chill, surfer-boy vibes written all over them. Their music is alternative rock but with classic rock influences thrown in. You might even get a hint of cool jazz and groovy electronic beats within the laid back songs of their most recent album Good Nature — which, might I add, is a seamless piece of music where each song expands off the one before without taking away any of its slick, up-tempo magic.
Known for their originality, Philadelphia’s favorite punk band is, too, taking its spot on the iconic Asbury Park stage. Beach Slang, or more recently known as Quiet Slang, is led by James Alex, a multi-instrumentalist with equal love for his suburban life outside of Philly and the life on the road: making music, meeting fans, and cranking out variations of tunes. His rip roaring stage presence is undeniable, youthful, and timeless. The punk music put out are guitar riff laden masterpieces that Alex has performed earnestly as such, or even with an orchestral backup band that turns it into an understated, lovely acoustic piece. Whatever it may be, the origins of DIY passion and the punk movement are always there, just redefined and ageless.
Another Jersey native and creative powerhouse, Michael Volpe — known on stage as Clams Casino — is a producer, songwriter, and rapper. Growing up in Nutley, NJ, Volpe took to music and music production like a fish to water from a young age, churning out mixtapes and EPs of his own since he was barely 20 years old. Now 31, signed to Columbia Records, Sony Music, and having worked with A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, and Mac Miller, the producer is ready to take flight both on stage and in the industry.
Described as psych-soul pop, the solo project of Mikey Freedom Hart is as smooth as velvet. Seriously, the synth pop style of music is reminiscent of indie dream pop artists of the ‘90s, with a knack for good hooks and high levels of personality amongst slick, twinkling synth notes and drum beats. His 2016 single, “Keeping U in Line”, is bound to make fans out of everyone at the festival, for its a story to tell, a story finally told that resonates with other artists, listeners, and anyone who has ever enjoyed something or somewhere whether or not they were the best at it or was the best for you.