It's going three years strong and it never fails to disappoint. Last week, New Jersey punk stalwarts, the Bouncing Souls played four nights in a row at the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, as their annual Home for the Holidays stint.
This year, the New Brunswick-based band celebrated 20 years of argyle aggression. And while New Bruns can be considered a detached piece of our coast, the boys have laid considerable claim to the Jersey Shore in the second half of their career. Just like the Bosstone's Hometown Throwdown in Boston, they return from a year of touring to share the week with their Parkway and Turnpike friends. The good times are as infectious as the "True Believers," tune.
Every year, the event seems to grow and draw folks from all over the country. In addition to the shows, there are art happenings, film screenings, and Q&A's with the band. The Souls also picked several non-profits as benefactors of the goings-on. This year, one of those groups was the Surfrider's Jersey Shore Chapter.
"Back in May, the band had a 20th Anniversary show at the Asbury Lanes. Without anyone ever asking, they cut the Chapter a check for $500," says John Weber, Northeast Regional Manager. So the chapter decided to get up with the band for the Home for the Holidays shows."
The Souls let Surfrider table all four nights, which gained names on petitions of local interest and even signed up a few members. It certainly helped that the shows coincided with a few days of stellar waves.
Part of the draw of these shows is the different opening acts that ranged from a reunion of Black Train Jack to the Pietasters, P.O.S., Bayside, and Chuck Ragan. Ragan was even at the Surfrider table, learning up on access issues. Local surf and music photog Tom Spader has shots of the shows here. The new album, Ghosts on the Boardwalk, a collection of the six 7-inches the band released in '09, drops next week.
It's official. It's a Jersey Shore tradition like cold clams on the half shell and skee-ball.