Date: June 2nd, 2019
Bands: Rancid, Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, L7, Madball
It’s been 18 years since last seeing Rancid, 11 years since seeing Pennywise and honestly, it’s just been awhile seeing most of these bands. Having them all together for one festival sounded like something I couldn’t pass up. The Weather Gods had other plans for this festival though.
I got down to the Old Bridge, NJ area around 3:45 pm, opting not to be there earlier for the craft beer part of the festival since I don’t drink. I thankfully got into the raceway park pretty quickly and didn’t have to do much with security since I had a pass. Madball went on at 4pm-ish and got the audience pumped up with their NYHC music. It’s been ages since seeing Madball and I honestly can’t even remember when or where the last time I saw them. I really do like their music though, just don’t get out to HC shows that much anymore. They played some of their well-known songs, as well some on their recent albums as well. Songs that I remember them playing include “Set It Off,” “Hold It Down,” “Lockdown,” “Look My Way” and “Doc Marten Stomp.” I need to see more hardcore shows!
So after this set, there were some clouds coming in over the raceway and over the loudspeakers “ladies and gentlemen, due to the approaching severe weather, the show is being paused. Please exit the venue and take shelter in your cars until it’s okay.” Something along to that effect, So that got a lot of boos and yelling, no one was leaving. I didn’t leave for awhile because the rain wasn’t that bad yet. I was hovering around the venue’s entrance for awhile waiting it out. People were hiding in the bleachers…made of metal, which wasn’t smart. When another rain cloud was coming, I decided to go into the parking lot for a few minutes. I didn’t want to do the security line again but after talking with them before leaving, they said they wouldn’t be checking tickets when it was safe to come back. So I left.
After 5 minutes of being in the parking lot, it was okay to come back inside after the storm passed. I ran to the stage since L7 was starting to play. I think I ended up being in the photo pit for 4 songs since they were allowing people to get back there. I’ve never seen L7 before but they were fun to photograph! I only really know one song, which is “Pretend We’re Dead” which is such a great song. They played that in the middle of their set. I think I recognized one or two other songs from movie soundtracks or something. I think L7’s set was cut short because of the rain delay. They were fun to see though.
After them was Suicidal Tendencies, which I think I saw back in the early days of the Warped Tour. I never took photos of them though. I’ve been listening to their debut since the 80s, and they certainly played songs from that yesterday. Mike and the rest of the band were a thrill to see live because they were just all over the place. Mike’s doing his thing, Dean Pleasants was shredding the guitar and Ben Weinman (of Dillinger Escape Plan) was a freakin’ animal on guitar. He was jumping all over the place, spinning kicks as he was playing the guitar. I was fixated on him taking pictures when I realize he was jumping all over the stage. Towards the end of the set, he picked up his daughter and was still playing with her in his arms. Then climbed the speaker stacks and jumped off that. Definitely a sight to be seen. Suicidal was great, and played “I Shot The Devil,” “Institutionalized,” and “Subliminal.” I would have had liked to hear “Won’t Fall in Love Today” but their set seemed like it was cut short too.
At this point, I was checking the weather apps and noticing a big ass storm heading our way around 9pm, right when Rancid was coming on. I kept telling other people there was no way we were seeing Rancid. Pennywise were up next, and the weather was looking okay for now. The last time I saw Pennywise, it was the Vans Warped Tour 08 and Irving Plaza for a club show. During that Irving show, Jim grabbed my camera and was flipping me off. It was a fun moment and had a similar moment again when he was singing right into my camera. Maybe he recognized me?
The band started off with “Peaceful Day” and that’s still one of my favorites from them. “Fight Til You Die” was next and I’ll always remember that as the song that got me into the band. The band seemed to play a lot of older material, but did play one new song in the set (“Live While You Can”). After the photographers left, Jim asked to use someone’s video camera and said it looked expensive. That was a funny moment. They would say their stuff in-between songs but the most part, just played the songs and tried to get through the set without a rain delay.
It was great to hear them trying to figure out what to cover and they ended up doing “Minor Threat” like they tend to do. Hearing “Same Old Story,” “Society” and “Fuck Authority” was a highlight too. At this point in the set, I was hanging by the entrance of the raceway park because I thought they were going to delay/cancel the show. Huge dark clouds were coming over. Then it started to rain heavy for a few minutes as people scattered like cockroaches but a lot of people just sat there still. I put on my rain jacket and watched as they played Bro Hymn to end their set, like always. A lot of people joined the band on stage to sing a long, as it was raining in the crowd. The lighting strobes looked cool because you’d see the rain every other second so it looked like some type of special effect.
So Pennywise’s set ended and it was time for maybe Rancid’s set? I was still skeptical and walked over to the security and asked if the show was being canceled. One told me they were thinking about pausing again but not canceled. Then another said as long as the lightning is 5 miles away they will go on. Since the venue as a 10pm curfew, I just knew we weren’t going to get a full set. There was some serious lightning in the distance for sure. Surprisingly, Rancid came on stage but it wasn’t for that long. I wanted to shoot at least 3 songs of the band, well I got that. The band started things off with “Roots Radical,” which got the crowd in a frenzy. They then went into “Radio” and “Journey to the End of the East Bay.”
After getting out of the photo pit, Rancid was in the middle of the 5th song (“the 11th Hour”) and that message we all heard over and over earlier the day was played again. Lars or someone said what’s going on to his stage people and then lots of groans from the crowd. Lars defended the situation and said nothing they can do and wanted everybody to be safe. Maybe they will come back to play is what they told the crowd, as everybody (including myself) fleeing the scene. I knew the show wasn’t going to go on since the storm was going to go on for an hour or two based on the weather apps. I was running to my car at this point because the rain was getting a little heavier but looked like it was going to get worse. As soon as I got in my car, the skies opened up and you could barely see anything. Everybody was sitting in traffic to get out of the raceway park parking lot. Then it was a slow go out of Old Bridge. The entire ride home was a lightning show.
It really sucked to see the festival end this way, but that’s what you have to deal with when it comes to outdoor festivals. Rain is one thing, severe lightning is another thing. Perhaps Rancid will come back to a club in NJ to make it up to people? I hope they continue to the Bash Festival next year, because it’s a cool idea and a lot of people are doing these types of fests now. Maybe next time start the show earlier or have a backup plan if it does rain? One has to wonder if they didn’t delay the show for 45 minutes earlier for the storm that didn’t happen, that we would have saw more from Rancid? Either way, I enjoyed the festival and was certainly an experience to say the least!
Check out of my favorite photos from the day below. More will be at SkaPunkPhotos.com sometime this week.