Against Me! Rocks the Iconic Stony Pony in Asbury Park New Jersey

Pop Break Live: Against Me!, Bleached, Dirty Nil at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

Words & Photos by Patrick Gilrane

On Sunday October 15, 2017 Against Me! supporting artist Bleached and The Dirty Nil played to a capacity crowd of enthusiastic punk rockers both young and old.

The iconic Stone Pony is a historical music venue that has seen the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, the Ramones, Elvis Costello, The Stray Cats, Little Steven, Joan Jett and the list goes on and on! The Pony as we call it here in Jersey, is a gritty venue that takes us back in time, and there no place I would rather see a punk show than here!

Against Me!, formed in Gainesville Florida in 2001 with bandmates Laura Jane Grace on guitar and lead vocals, James Bowman on guitar and vocals, Inge Johnson on bass and vocals and Atom Willard on drums. Against Me! Is an Xtra Mile recordings artist whose latest album “Shape Shift With Me” was released in September of 2016.

Against Me! Took the stage to “True Trans Soul Rebel” off the Transgender Dysphoria Blues album, a powerful and emotional song about the struggles and hardships of the Transgender community, as told by Laura Jane Grace. The set continued with Grace and bandmates playing a blinding set of songs including “Up the Cuts,” Unconditional Love,” The Ocean,” and “Black me Out,” to mention a few. At around the half way point of the set Grace played the opening riff of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and the place went absolutely wild. The capacity crowd at the Pony was totally involved, crowd surfing, screaming, singing along and at one time kicking up a circle pit half the size of the venue! By the time Against Me! was finished they played a total of twenty-seven songs, including Tom Petty and Replacements covers, and a five-song encore!

In our current world of division, violence and the related tension, Laura Jane Grace and band demonstrate acceptance and compassion at the highest level, and I have nothing but love and respect for them all!

Set list

True Trans Soul Rebel
I was a Teenage Anarchist
ProVision L-3
The Energizer
Miami
New Wave
Up the Cuts
Jordan’s First choice
Walking Is Still Honest
Haunted, Haunted Haunts
Delicate, Petite & Other Things Ill Never Be
Runnin’ Down a Dream  (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
Unconditional Love
Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
333
Dead Friend
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
The Ocean
Bamboo Bones
Reinventing Axl Rose
Black Me Out
Thrash Unreal

Encore
Androgynous (Replacements)
Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
Baby I’m an Anarchist
Sink, Florida, Sink
We Laugh at Danger

The second performance of the night was the SoCal based punk band Bleached, with band members Jennifer Clavin on lead vocals and guitar, Jessica Clavin on lead guitar, Micayla Grace on bass and Nick Pilot on drums. Bleached is a Dead Oceans Recordings artist whose latest EP Can You Deal dropped this past March, and comes on the heels of their highly successful full length album Welcome the Worms.

Bleached got things started with “Keep on Keepin on” off of their “Welcome the Worms” album and right away I could hear the SoCal influence in their music. Bleached started a little bit slow but their set picked up momentum with each song and by the end, Jennifer Clavin was hanging off the edge of the stage almost in the crowd! I thought Bleached killed it, their music was on point and I absolutely loved their version of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings”

Setlist

Keep On Keepin On
Think of You
Can You Deal
Wednesday Night Melody
Sleepwalking
Skulls (Misfits)
Territorial Pissings (Nirvana)
Electric Chair
Trying to Lose Myself Again
For the Feel
Sour Candy
Dead in your Head

The first act of the night were Canadian Rockers The Dirty Nil, who were formed in 2006 and hail from Hamilton Ontario Canada with band members being Luke Bentham on vocals and guitar, Ross miller on bass, and Kyle fisher on drums. The Dirty Nil are a Dine Alone Record / Fat Wreck Chords artist who are touring in support of their latest album Minimum R&B which was released in April of 2017. The Nil are riding quite the wave this year being nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards, which is our version of the Grammy’s. None of this comes as a surprise to me as Southern Ontario is know for its vibrant music scene.

The Dirty Nil started their set with “Cinnamon” and kept things moving with “Fucking Up Young,” Friends in The Sky,” Know your Rodent,” and “Always High” with front man Luke working this crowd. My only regrets are that The Nil played a rather abbreviated set, as most opening artist do. I would love to see an entire set of these guys who I thought were totally fucking rad!

In closing this was a totally stacked show that I loved from start to finish, and for me the biggest and best surprises always come from the opening artist’s. Don’t get me wrong I’m there to see the feature artist but at least 50% of the music I listen to on a day to day basis, are opining acts I’ve seen in my musical travels!

My thanks to Against Me! Bleached and The Dirty Nil for the memories and the hard working crew of the Stone Pony who keep us all safe and sound until the shows over.

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.