Pop-Break Live: Skate & Surf Festival

words by joe zorzi and bill bodkin, photos by keeyahtay lewis

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Day one of New Jersey’s Skate & Surf Festival was plagued with clouds and rain, but that didn’t stop some great artists from performing. The lineup was mostly rock based but featured enough diverse music to suit everyone’s needs.

Some of my favorite acts of the day were the ones that didn’t necessarily fit into the scene molds. Lights put on a good show even with the rain being at its heaviest. Her vocals are spot on live and her band was really tight. My favorite performance of the day was Andrew W.K. I should probably rephrase that … it was not a performance, it was a party! The crowd was killer throughout, smiling and dancing the entire time. The only downside was the set was so short. I really can’t wait to see him again and hopefully next time with a full band.

T. Mills
T. Mills

I was surprised to see that Of Mice & Men and Escape the Fate seemed to be some crowd favorites. I never thought they were bands that would be able to hold a fan base for long, but I was proven wrong. Kids were flocking to see their sets.

The most anticipated set of the night was (obviously) Fall Out Boy. I had always wanted to see them in concert – not only because I love their music but because I’ve heard such mixed reviews on their live performance. Thankfully, the Boys killed it and Patrick’s vocals were amazing. They started the set with a song from each album which was definitely a great way to win over the crowd.

While it’s fun to see bands you love play live, the best thing about festivals is finding a new band that excites you. It’s been quite some time since I’ve heard someone new that caught my attention and kept it. Thankfully I was able to find a band that really got me stoked and they’re called Seahaven. I had heard they were good but I never listened before. Man, their live show was great and their style is right up my alley. I picked up a copy of their album after the set and I’ve been blasting it since. If you haven’t heard them, I definitely recommend you give ‘em a shot.

Skate & Surf is back and the music from Day one was awesome. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year! –Joe Zorzi

Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy
Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy

Day Two of Skate & Surf was a soggy one … but that didn’t stop the thousands in attendance and the artists performing throughout the day from going hard.

This writer’s point of view for the festival is a bit different than others since I was in the secluded VIP section conducting interviews and hosting live Q+A sessions between fans and the bands.

VIP guests were treated to special acoustic performances from bands like My Ticket Home as well as local artist Jesse Lee of the band Accidental Seabirds and The Poet himself, Gregory Schwartz. These intimate performances were one of a kind and are big reasons for people to invest in these tickets for the 2014 Skate & Surf Festival.

The band and fan interaction was fantastic as I Am King, RX Bandits, Palisades, Miss May I and Hollywood Ending all were able to mingle with their fans. Miss May I probably had the longest line of excited fans wanting to take photos with them and the band, who was curating Hot Topic’s Instagram account that day, were more than willing to oblige the people. Hollywood Ending, however, had the most passionate fans — with gaggles of teen girls asking the young dudes for dates to the prom and even inducing tears of joy after a few pics.

Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw
Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw

Once I left the VIP area … I was able to see the excitement the bands I had just spoken with were inciting. Miss May I’s lead singer Levi Benton blew his fans away. The mammoth voice this slight young guy has is mind-blowing (he’s also a really cool guy). Meanwhile Hollywood Ending had a hand-clapping crowd of young ladies mobbing their stage.

While the festival was dominated by a youth movement, scene veterans Glassjaw came, saw and conquered the Jackson, New Jersey crowd. Daryl Palumbo’s vocals are just as intense and gripping as they were when I first heard this band when they were headlining the Warped Tour in 2003. [We had a great view of this set hanging from the official Skate & Surf DJ booth that was held down in both rain and shine by New Jersey’s best mixmaster, DJ Prime.]

Then there was the GameChanger World tent area where bands and fans interacted and competed against one another on the new mobile gaming platform, aptly titled GameChanger. We hung out with My Ticket Home and the young dudes were flocked by ladies in search of autographs, photos and of course, the chance to compete against the band in their brand new game.

Then there were the night’s headliners — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and A Day to Remember. The crowds rolled in even greater droves (the crowd got bigger as the rains subsided throughout the day) and completely were in tune with the white hot hip-hop star and the super-popular heavy outfit. –Bill Bodkin

Macklemore
Macklemore
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.