Offspring w/ Neon Trees & Dead Sara – 09/09/2012
Stone Pony Summerstage – Asbury Park, NJ
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
Amazing how things work out sometimes, it’s the whole “life evens out” thing. Great weeks you have end terribly and some of those terrible weeks end awesome. Tonight was fortunately one of the ladder as we embark on the 77th edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. Tonight it’s the Stone Pony Summerstage in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Yea that’s right, another trek into Dirty Jersey, this time it’s The Offspring with Dead Sara and Neon Trees. Say what you will about The Offspring(and I mean 95 % of the Concert Confessions crew, especially Reverend Justito who’s probably cringing at yet another Offspring review ), but that’s one of the few bands that has songs with lyrics that relate to me personally on every level. I’ve been a fan forever, and may not be up to date on their latest record but am still totally psyched to be seeing them. Also, Neon Trees in the past couple of weeks has gotten way more appealing to me as I hear more and more of them now with the new Alternative Station in New York City. And I know at least one Dead Sara song, they’re a hard rockin’ bunch. So this show (albeit a bit pricey $43 plus fees) was a must see. Especially when Jay Porks Experience veteran Pam being as into all this as I am, along with our buddy and new comer Janine-who’s concert cherry we will get to pop tonight weeks before I’m giving a horrible toast at her wedding. Doors set for 5:30. Show I’d assume at 6:30.
Dead Sara is most definitely alive(Stop pretending that you don’t love my puns) as they kicked ass all the way from the parking lot. My typical style of being unorganized and having no sense of direction has us in the car attempting to down beers (at Supermarket prices) as Dead Sara hit the stage at 6:43. Surprised they didn’t go full cavity search on me there-they were tough at the gate. Event staffers included a gander into my pack of cigarettes and everything. Finally made it to what was going to be our spot, down in front but not too far up and by 7:10 “Weatherman” was already deafening the place.. Here’s a band that should be bigger. They were amazing, and they were without a doubt the loudest band to hit the stage on this night. I saw a few Dead Sara tee shirts too, which surprised me at first, then delighted me by the time they went off at about 7:15. They would fit right in playing with a band like Ume, you heard that here first when the world eventually starts listening to me.
Some bands have songs that are catchy and stick in your head even though they are annoying as hell. It’s like you’re being duped into becoming a fan of a band sometimes, only to find out two or three singles later that it’s nothing but crap, And that’s sort of what I was expecting from Neon Trees, who hit the stage at roughly 7:31. It feels so good to be so wrong. Early in the set they had a song called “Sins of My Youth” which was a serious head-nodder. And “Teenage Sounds” is another interesting one. I’ve got my camera in hand waiting for the songs I know, while the lead singer, Tyler Glenn is full of all sorts of banter-both funny and true. It was about a half hour of the band absolutely killing it when this dude says “Two years ago we wrote this song and we recorded it and out of nowhere people started singing.. singing it in the shower and started singing it in all the offices complexes and all the other real ‘idiotic white people areas’ to sing songs. If you hate it, you can go get a beer and a hot dog and come back for the Offspring, this song’s called Animal”. I was never a vocalist, and never claimed to be one-but this guy can really sing. The way he can bend some of the notes in the slightest of ways is what makes the biggest difference. This is showcased really on “Everybody Talks”, the jam of theirs I’ve been getting wasted to almost every night since they did it on Letterman. They went off at about 8:20. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed these guys. Good band, great live band.
At 8:56 The Offspring hit the stage just as the fully darkened night sky was settling in. “Hurting as One” and “All I Want” started off the night and now we turn around and notice we couldn’t get to the back if we tried, in case stuff got crazy. Stuff did start getting crazy, I saw some crowd surfing attempts during “Come Out And Play”-but this is New Jersey, they don’t do it right. Really shocked how good Dex sounded. His voice hasn’t changed a bit. And it’s not one of this Axl’s Roses deals, to the right you got Noodles tearing it up. This is freaking awesome. I can’t believe I’m finally seeing the Offspring! During the craziness of “Bad Habit” during the break that song has Dex led the crowd into singing the line: “You stupid dumb shit god damn mother fucker!”, successfully. During “Gotta Get Away”, I noticed my first 30 seconds weren’t recording because I double tapped the button. It was the best three something minutes of my week as I screamed along those lyrics. “There’s demons in my head and it’s more than I could take”.“Starring At The Sun” really heated things up and we’re only about 10 songs in, and “Days Gone By” is already in the rear-view mirror.
Now the lights get low and no one’s on stage but Dex and one of the guys in the band is playing keys. He starts into “Gone Away”, in total, gospel style I guess. Like he Adele’d the song up. Then, Emily Armstrong from Dead Sara comes out to join him on vocals, and all I’m doing is waiting for the guitars to come out.. and they never did. The version wasn’t terrible, but in this writers opinion it could have been a lot better if they had the gnarly guitars wrecking shit on stage and you can still have Emily from Dead Sara out there-it’s not like she’s in a band that plays soft pop music.
Hell, they’re heavier than the Offspring. How bout the full Dead Sara band comes out and they play the heaviest, loudest version of “Gone Away” ever? That would’ve been awesome. But my first time seeing one of my favorite bands and they completely took one of my favorite songs and sacrificed it to a goat. It’s not like there are any songs slow in tempo at all to this point, I don’t understand what that was.. And while we’re on the topic of things that were annoying as hell tonight: WHY ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE SO TALL? My shoulder is deader than Sara right now, and the video is trash. I mean it’s good for the elements I was dealing with. I mean, no slam dancing broke out near us but because I had to have my arm fully extended to reach over the Rutgers Basketball team plus people up front holding up their iPhones blocking my angles. All the videos are a shaky mess, and these Youtube trolls are going to destroy me in the comments section. The Stone Pony’s Summerstage set up is nothing short of terrible. It’s a slab of concrete, it’s basically a parking lot with a stage. No incline at all. You move back it’s not like there’s a better view. Saw Social D here last May and remember hating this place. We need to do size order at these things-like back in 5th grade.
After “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” I turned to Pam and Janine and said “The acoustic is out, ‘Why Don’t You Get A Job?” has to be next”. And it was. What a song. Hope you can’t hear me singing on the video of that one. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” is a song I loved off their last record that I had totally forgotten about. “Pretty Fly For A White Guy” was my ring tone for about four years a few phones ago. That song is about me in Junior High School minus getting tattoos. Then “The Kids Aren’t Alright” completed the Quad-Phekda of songs that made up for the crappy Stone Pony Summer Stage. They ducked off at 10 o’ clock.
They came back out for the encore and played “Americana” then another forgotten favorite “Can’t Get My Head Around You”. Now the running theme through this show is how close to home these song hit me on a personal level, and nothing sums that up more than the final song of the evening: Self Esteem.
This is a song about every part of Jay Porks. Seriously. My girlfriend in High School used to cheat on me with all my friends, and I never dumped the girl I just “made her dessert” in a sense and would let it go. Shows the kind of person I am. Anyway, as Dex starts the line “Late at night she knocks on my door, drunk again and looking to score” I remember that about a week or two ago I received a text message from this very same High School flame who cut me loose 7 or 8 years ago saying that she was outside my house and I should come out. Now, I’m not saying that she was “drunk again and looking to score”, but hell I’m going to pretend that was the case for this instance as the Offspring are telling the story of my life on stage. The perfect end to a unique evening.