SEA.HEAR.NOW MAKES WAVES WITH GRAND RETURN

DAY ONE

Words by Kenny Bieber & Band Photos/Words by Diane DiMemmo

Festival Photos by Melissa Lawlor & Festival Highlights by Marc Komito

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After what felt like an eternity, live music is roaring back to life in Asbury Park and the annual  Sea.Hear.Now festival made its grand return this past weekend welcoming a diverse array of talent (locally and nationally) as well as many eager concert-goers ready to kick off local summer in exciting fashion! The line-up spread across three stages. The Park, Surf and Sand stages all offered something for everyone and boasted its fair share of highlights throughout. Without further ado let’s delve into the notable stand-outs from each day of Sea.Hear.Now which featured a robust variety of genres and talent.

PEARL JAM
PATTI SMITH
CORY HENRY
HIRIE
THE AVETT BROTHERS
REIGNWOLF
JACKSON PINES
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GOOSE
MATT & KIM

BLACK FLAMINGOS


For those lucky enough to get past the festival gates early, many festival-goers were greeted by the sounds of local surf rock band BLACK FLAMINGOS who brought some infectious vibes and energy to their set. The group’s breezy guitar riffs and laidback sound helped expertly set the stage for the event and drew a reasonable crowd in the process. The energy and exuberance displayed here allowed Black Flamingos to leave a genuine impression and showcased their strong variety and musicianship. Also, any band with a name as cool as BLACK FLAMINGOS gets my vote any day.

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HIRIE

Over at the surf stage, Reggae rock band HIRIE got things off to an exhilarating start with their funky yet rollicking set which was full of genuine bangers and some surprisingly empowering anthems as well. The band’s diverse line-up featured some stellar musicality including some killer sax solos and an unexpected yet equally exciting flute solo as well. Lead vocalist Patricia Jetton dominated the stage with tremendous star-power and stage presence to spare throughout the entire set. Overall HIRIE delivered one of the most well-rounded and enjoyable sets of the festival, a definite highlight for sure!

JACKSON PINES

Local favorites, JACKSON PINES, graced the surf stage on Saturday for a performance that truly encapsulated their appeal and considerable talent. The group livened up their folk-rock sound with rich instrumentation and an equally captivating backing band that showcased their rich song craft and artistry. Lead vocalist JT Malkovich anchored their set with a genuine and soulful performance and the set featured some genuine surprises such as an appearance from Danny Clinch himself that was an absolute delight to experience. Despite the brevity of their performance, JACKSON PINES made a significant impression and further proved their considerable talent and resonated deeply with the audience. Consider it a win for local Asbury talent!

CORY HENRY

American R&B/Soul singer-songwriter, pianist, organist, and music producer CORY HENRY dazzled the crowd with his silky smooth vocals and unique soulful sound at the Sand Stage Saturday. The Brooklyn, NY native actually started playing the piano and organ at age two and played a show at the Apollo theater when he was only six; thus earning him the nickname "Master Henry." CORY HENRY demonstrated those technical chops with his very talented backing band for a set that was as memorable as it was exhilarating!

REIGNWOLF

Reignwolf left little doubt in concertgoers' minds about the future of hard-hitting rock and roll. Dynamic, raw, and gritty ... frontman Jordan Cook covered the stage with a bluesy, alternative, heavy brand of rock that stands out from the rest. Turning heads in the industry and for good reason, the band is proving that they have what it takes to go all the way to the top. Make sure to check out their new video "Keeper" to see what I mean. An excellent addition to this festival lineup!

PATTI SMITH

PATTI SMITH


One of the most hotly anticipated sets of the first day had to be legendary folk singer and activist PATTI SMITH. Thankfully, her set delivered as she explored her rich and eclectic discography and offered a captivating performance backed by an equally impressive backing band. Smith’s storytelling and audience interaction gave the set an intimate and emotional connection, and her rendition of fan favorites were dramatic and vital as she breathed fresh life into them. As a performer and musician, PATTI SMITH proved her longevity with a set full of fan favorites and one of the festival’s most unifying and uplifting experiences with plenty of optimism, hope and energy.

GOOSE

Click here for a very special "Festival Highlight" article about GOOSE'S stellar performance at Sea.Hear.Now!

DR. DOG

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the festival’s lineup is the mix of established and upcoming talent. The inclusion of rising indie rock talent DR. DOG added a nice mix of variety to Saturday’s lineup. Their mellow folky sounds added a nice balance but also managed to include some upbeat rock numbers in their set as well. DR. DOG'S upbeat stage presence and well-rounded setlist allowed for a truly refreshing and organic performance that resonated nicely. Overall DR. DOG'S inclusion on the line-up was welcome thanks to their laid-back approach and infectious sound, a welcome discovery among a fairly stacked line-up for sure!

THE AVETT BROTHERS

No doubt about it ... the performance by THE AVETT BROTHERS was a crowning moment of the festival. The North Carolina American folk rock band played with a passion that was undeniable and evoked noticeable emotion and energy from the audience. Gorgeous layers of instrumentation (including the fiddle, keys, and cello) built the foundation for brothers Scott Avett (banjo, lead vocals, guitar, piano, kick-drum) and Seth Avett (guitar, lead vocals, piano, hi-hat) to dominate the stage and turn every concert-goer's head in their direction as they played. This is a band to immediately add to your playlist and make every attempt to see live. They were incredible!

LORD HURON

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One of the highlights for sure of Day 1 was witnessing the stellar Indie-rock act LORD HURON dominate the park stage with an electrifying and exuberant performance. The band, fresh off a recent tour and album release, were in exhilarating form and their set design and production value was incredibly cinematic and breathtaking to behold. Their setlist expertly represented their catalog of fan favorites while also showcasing their recent record in bold and immersive fashion.

MATT & KIM

The Brooklyn dynamic duo - MATT & KIM - absolutely electrified the Sea.Hear.Now crowd Saturday night in a set that had fans surfing up the the stage in ecstasy. Filled with unparalleled energy, the American indie electric group had everyone's eyes glued to the stage because you just never knew what was going to happen next!  MATT & KIM worked their way through a setlist of favorites (who am I kidding, all of their songs are favorites!) and surely garnered thousands of new fans that night! Check out their latest single "Everyone Sucks But You" which features K. Flay.

PEARL JAM

PEARL JAM

Arguably the most anticipated act of Night 1 would have to be PEARL JAM'S first live performance together since 2018. The band performed to a packed beach and dazzled audiences with a set full of fan favorites, established classics and plenty of choice cuts from their most recent record Gigaton. Frontman Eddie Vedder was in peak form throughout and guitarists Mike McCreedy, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament all complimented one another seamlessly for the duration of the set.PEARL JAM'S  set proved to be eventful as it featured guest appearances by Danny Clinch himself and a notable appearance from local Asbury Park musician Alexander Simone during a stunning gospel choir appearance late into the set. Overall PEARL JAM showcased their longevity, artistry and chemistry with an exhilarating, well-rounded and passionate set that reminded audiences of their genuine resonance and impact.


For additional commentary on PEARL JAM'S incredible performance, click here for our "Festival Highlight!"

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Stay tuned for additional coverage of Day Two!

Click here for coverage of Day Two!

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