Pop-Preview Playlist: The Bamboozle Fest

bill bodkin mixes it up bamboozle style…

If you live in the Northeast, especially the greater Jersey Shore area, you know about The Bamboozle. The three day long celebration of song by the sea in Asbury Park, N.J. is going to epic. Epic probably doesn’t even do this festival justice, but you get the picture. Or maybe you don’t. Being in Asbury Park we’ve been able to see the construction of massive beachfront sets, ticket queues and even a ferris wheel. The famed rock ‘n’ roll city is teeming with excitement over the return of The Bamboozle.

Normally on Pop-Break we’d break down the festival, talk to some people behind the scenes, give you an overview of what’s going on. But for this, the 10th anniversary of The ‘Boozle, we thought we’d give you something different — a playlist. Not all of us can make it to the show this year, so why not create your own iTunes or Spotify playlist to rock out to this weekend.

This is a playlist, ‘curated’ by our editor-in-chief, who’s picked some more under the radar tracks from his favorite Bamboozle artists.

If you’re still thinking of buying tickets to the show, we’ve heard there are some available. Check out the festival’s website for more info. Also, we recommend NJ Transit or carpooling to get there — traffic and parking are going to be a mess.

Incubus: “New Skin”

I’ve neve been the biggest Incubus fan in the entire world, so you may be wondering why I’ve included Brandon Boyd and the boys on this list. Well frankly, “New Skin” is one of my favorite jams from the late-90s. Yes, before they blew up with their acoustic version of ‘Pardon Me’ these dudes from the West Coast were rocking some really tasty, hard rock. I can remember hearing this on Seton Hall’s radio station 89.5 WSOU, a station that introduced me to countless band and just being enthralled with the chaos and catastrophe this song contained. This song is a must for all of you who’ve been accustomed to the more modern rock version of the band and never experienced when Brandon Boyd would rap and just funky this band could get.

Volbeat: “A Warrior’s Call”

Volbeat is just a hell of a lot of fun. Some people really get on these guys, but I can’t get enough of them. They’re passion and enthusiasm for metal is a breath of fresh air. With a bloody banner of heavy metal waving behind them (figuratively speaking, although visually it’d be awesome), these Germanic metal heads produce the kind of big sounding metal we haven’t heard in eons. The drums on “A Warrior’s Call” are the size of Mount Rushmore. The bassline is super, super groovy and thunderous, giving it the perfect bounce. And the guitars…if these riffs were any crunchier you could be eating taco meat and double cheese out of them. As for the song itself — this is the ultimate pump up song. The kind where you daydream about walking down the aisle and getting ready to rumble at Wrestlemania. It’s all killer and absolutely no filler.

Fishbone: “Party at Ground Zero”

Fishbone will not be performing at the festival itself but at a Bamboozle sanctioned ‘after party’ at the world famous Stone Pony. That kinda tells you about the enormity of this festival, the legendary Fishbone is headlining an after-party. Regardless of when they’re playing, the important thing is, they are playing. Fishbone creates really fun music and no song is more fun than the ‘world’s gonna end’ dance party known as “Party at Ground Zero.” The horns here are so happy that you’d have to be a corpse not to get up and start dancing. Seriously, this song is a must for any playlist, especially one revolving around the summertime.

Foo Fighters — “Baker Street”

I know, I know. A cover, how could I? But when you’re talking about the catalog of The Foo Fighters, it’s hard to pick one really good track. This song, which was included on The Colour and The Shape, is probably one of the finest rock ‘n’ roll covers you’ll ever hear. The band took Jerry Rafferty’s flute infused hit, which you can hear in Good Will Hunting, and gave it balls. The guitar work here is perfect. I mean you it’s just jaw-droppingly good.

Outside of this playlist, we gotta give props to The Foos. Outside of kicking serious ass in 2011, selling millions of records, winning Grammys and just remaining the coolest band on the planet, they’re going to be headlining the Saturday night of Bamboozle and then jet up to New York so they can perform on Saturday Night Live. That’s bad ass.

Jimmy Eat World — “Bleed American”

Everyone knows “The Middle” and despite it being played a bazillion times, it’s a good song. However, this track, which I believe was the first single released off the the band’s self-titled record (which was originally titled Bleed American but changed due to 9/11), is the band’s best song. The energy on the track is sick and when they hit the course of ‘Salt sweat/Sugar on the Asphalt/Uh Huh/Littering the Topsoil” it’s magic. Intensity and fury is mixed with melody and grace, it’s so good that it’s frustrating that more people don’t know about this song.

DJ Prime — “The Benny Mix”
This track might not be spun by ‘Boozle veteran Prime (doing his best Rob Van Damm impression in this photo), who’ll be in the mix Friday and Saturday, but it’s an anthem at the Shore. When this track drops, you know summer has officially started. This mix is as much hilarious as it is genius. Those of us not from the Shore might not appreciate it as much, but it’s still worth a listen. Prime also has a slew of other mixes (we’ve been listening to them for nearly a decade) which can be downloaded from his official website. He’s also nationally syndicated and can be heard locally on 103.5 KTU and 94.3 The Point.

Less Than Jake — “Last One Out of Libery City”

It’s hard not to love Less Than Jake. The big horns, the big riffs, the big dreads. Ironically (or not), the only time I’ve seen Less Than Jake perform live was at the 2003 Warped Tour, which was the last Warped Tour to take place in Asbury Park. While they only did a 15-20 minute set, it was probably one of the more memorable of the entire day. “Last One Out of Liberty City” makes it on this playlist because it was the first song I ever heard from the band. Memories of the summer, bumming around the shore with no grown-up responsibilities, eating too much funnel cake and playing Time Crisis on the Seaside Heights boardwalk come rushing back to my memory every time this track plays. Check out our interview with Less Than Jake from last summer.

Audio Insight — “Spirit of the Radio”

Okay, I’m a little biased here. The Woodbridge, N.J. rock trio, who’ll be returning to the Bamboozle for the second year in a row, has a special place in my heart for a few reasons. The first reason is the band is comprised of alumni from my high school, St. Joseph’s in Metuchen, N.J. and the second being — their wickedly talented. The reason I pulled this song for the band instead of something from their excellent prog-inspired catalog, is because it’s hard for me to like anything from the band Rush. There’s just something about Rush that I just don’t dig, maybe it’s because they’re Canadian, I don’t know, just never got into them. But, Audio Insight’s cover of “Spirit of the Radio” is fantastic. It’s rare that a cover is better than the original (hence why I included the Foo’s ‘Baker Street’ on here) and Audio Insight KILLS it here. This is a band you should be keeping your eye out for as their rock ‘n’ roll barometer is pointing in the right direction. Check out our interview with Audio Insight from last year.

Tragedy, The All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees — “Stayin’ Alive”

The band will be headlining an officially sanctioned post ‘Boozle after party at Pop-Break’s homebase, The Wonder Bar. I know, the concept of a heavy metal Bee Gee’s tribute band might sound absurd and quite frankly it is. Absurdly awesome that is. See, Tragedy, is akin to a Tenacious D — funny as hell but also talented as hell. They absolutely slay it with their covers, in particular their version of the all-time disco classic, “Stayin’ Alive.” The vocals soar so high that they pierce the clouds in the sky, the guitar work is face meltingly good and the overall tone is a fun, horns in the air kinda party vibe. It’s like…if disco rocked. Check out Pop-Break’s interview with Tragedy from earlier this year. And if you can get to the after-party, I highly recommend it. We saw them earlier this year at The Brooklyn Bowl and members of our staff partied so hard with the band they had glitter (a staple for any Tragedy show) stuck to them for days on end.

Bon Jovi — “Hook Me Up”

Like I said in the intro, we’re going under the radar on this playlist. And for a band like Bon Jovi, you kind of have to. Their sounds are so inconic, so seminal, that you can hear them at anytime and at any place…especially if you live in the area where the Bamboozle is taking place. So, you gotta go a little obscure to make a Bon Jovi track really have an impact on your playlist. So we go to an album track from their album Bounce. “Hook Me Up” is probably one of more harder edged songs that Bon Jovi, post “It’s My Life” has ever been. This track, like the Volbeat track we mentioned earlier, is a total pump-anthem. It’s got such a great, crunchy, high energy bounce (no pun intended) to it, that you can’t not feel ready to go out and have the time of your life or maybe break the speed limit a little bit after hearing this song.

Gaslight Anthem — “45”

The Gaslight Anthem is flat out amazing. And if you’re from New Jersey your heart has to swell with pride that these guys, who have and still maintain strong New Brunswick and Asbury Park roots, have done so well. So that’s why I wanted to put their new single “45” on this playlist. I will go out on a limb and say this might be one of, if not their best, radio single. It’s so full of life, hope and of course, awesomeness, that it’s worth multiple back-to-back listens. I honestly can’t get enough this song. Brian Fallon’s voice might be the best in rock today, it just has so much emotion behind it. As for the rest of the band, including drummer Benny Horowitz, a former colleague of a number of Pop-Break staff members, is absolutely on fire on this track. This band is so tight, it’s hard to find a flaw in them. And why should you look for one? The band just puts out damn good rock ‘n’ roll on a consistent basis…something we can all appreciate.

Bouncing Souls — “Quick Check Girl”

Funk Soul Brothers: The Bouncing Souls have had quite a career, spanning 20-plus years

You cannot have a festival in Asbury Park without including The Bouncing Souls and if you’re creating a playlist about said festival, once again, you cannot exclude The Bouncing Souls. The former Hub City icons are now at the very heart of the city by the sea and have created amazing songs since their transplant, including their last full length Ghosts on the Boardwalk. However, it’s this track, that will always have a special place in my heart. The hopeless romantic tales of a young punk who works at Quick Check, meets a girl, asks her to the shore and ultimately ends up heart broken, is one of the true gems from that mid-90s Warped Tour/Jersey skateboard punk scene. It’s an anthem for everyone who ever lived at the Shore and it’s told in that fun, raucous and high-energy way only The Souls can produce.

Space Hog — “I Want To Live”

One of the things I admire about the organizers of Bamboozle is they always pull a few unexpected rabbits out of a hat. Every year they bring back a band or two that are reuniting for the first time in years. This year Space Hog (as well as Armor for Sleep) will be reuniting and performing on the ‘Boozle stage. And when you think of Space Hog, this you’ll often think of their massive hit “In the Meantime.” And while that song is a great pop rock gem, I will never get enough of their 2001 single “I Want to Live.” The boisterously sublime vocals of Royston Langdon, are never better than they are on this track. It’s just good music and perfect for a playlist.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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