Photos by Chris Rotolo
The 2nd, more sun drenched, day of the Bamboozle included all the usual sights and sounds of any other respectable music festival. Ironic NBA jerseys, neon rimmed sunglasses, and doting parents making sure their pimply offspring didn’t make any false moves. Unlike your typical festival, however, the Bamboozle plays mostly fast and loose in its bookings and set times. Several hyped hip hop artists, including Miss Freeda and Mr. Mothafuckin Exquire, ended up being no shows to their respective slots, and headliner Blink-182 pulled out at the last minute with health issues concerning drummer Travis Barker. That being said the product that ended up actually playing the festivals’ many stages brought a palpable energy and jolt to a historic music town in need of it.
Jimmy Eat World followed All American Rejects on the main stage, which played mostly like a live jukebox of CD’s all of us borne of the boomerang generation more than likely owned. Accompanied by Davey von Bohlen from The Promise Ring the PoP-Punkers dutifully ripped through cuts from their classic Bleed American, like “Sweetness” and “The Middle,” as well as their latest effort, Invented.
On the other side of the boardwalk Iggy Azalea was busy holding down the Beach Party Stage with her hybrid brand of white girl Hip Hop. The MC benefitted greatly from being backed by a serviceable DJ and a hype man doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Iggy has a highly endearing stage presence, but is heavily reliant on her backing track, not unlike other bigger rap acts.
Like a pendulum swung back to the other side of the beach, My Chemical Romance found themselves in the unenviable position of filling in for Blink-182, despite not actually being in the midst of an active tour. Whether it be sound ordinances or respect for the other acts taking place simultaneously, MCR’s Rock N’ Roll spectacle, which included “Teenagers,” “Vampire Money,” and a closing salvo of “Helena,” never truly took off beyond a somewhat muddied bass sound that clouded their impressive guitar work and lead singer Gerard Way’s domineering showmanship.
“I would’ve rather seen Blink with no drummer than that shit,” stated one disgruntled patron.
Not everybody likes the beach I suppose.
Despite Action Bronson’s herbal generosity, plucking film canisters of marijuana from a plastic bag and chucking them into the assemblage, the undeniable highlight of Saturday on the Beach Party Stage ultimately culminated in a raucous A$AP Rocky set as the up and coming rapper burned through new and old material with a posse and a stage large enough to compete with the still raging MCR show. Huge beats coupled with A$APs smooth yet aggressive delivery made for an excellent sundown “trill” fest.
Local highlights included sets by Freehold, NJ’s The New Royalty who drew huge cheers by coupling a series of originals with the likes of its rendition of the Evanescence hit “Bring Me To Life,” as well as Berkley Heights own Alter The Ending who torched the YUUZOO/Break Stage with its brand of Green Day-inspired Pop-Punk, eventually being relieved by the Southern, NJ-based Indie-Rock collective Kid Felix who drew a large audience, despite competing against the aforementioned My Chemical Romance for attention, with shouts by front-man Jake Falana of “Forget what’s happening on the Main Stage! Come and enjoy some good music with some good people.”
The world’s greatest, and most agreeable amongst casual music fans, rock band Foo Fighters took the stage to “All My Life” while a brutal fight broke out before Dave Grohl could even reach the chorus. Luckily this was not a sign of things to come as the rest of the crowd stood largely enraptured by the classic Foo’s brand of Hard-Rock and road warrior pruned live show. The Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee added to the usual mix taking a turn or two on the organ. The Bamboozle crowd was even treated to the the Taylor Hawkins-sung, Grohl-drummed, “Cold Day In The Sun.” Despite the initial crowd friction everything was moving swimmingly until a fan ran up on stage and attempted to bear hug guitarist Pat Smear.
“I’d like to dedicate this song to the crazy motherfucker who had the balls to run out on stage,” said Grohl before . “He’s probably having his ass handed to him back stage right now. But that took balls.”
The Foo’s then displayed their more dynamic abilities launching into new cut “These Days” while dovetailing into a “Times Like These” verse and then back into the ending of the original song. Ultimately, the literal fireworks exploded over the beaches of Asbury Park while the Foo Fighters walked away having delivered a hits centric set and boarded a helicopter to make their appearance as Mick Jagger’s backing band on Saturday Night Live. The dispersing masses made their way to the buses, trains, and after-parties with one last day yet to go in the grand Bamboozle back to Asbury experiment. Overall a truly inspired day of performances that will likely go down in the annals of the Boardwalk’s lauded musical history.