Date: August 30th, 2018
Opening Bands: Tribal Seeds, Iya Terra
With the end of the summer fast approaching, the Stone Pony on Thursday featured a fantastic bill of reggae music to bring the unofficial end of summer with its popular outdoor music concerts. Ziggy Marley, the popular solo artist son of the late, great Bob Marley, and roots reggae stalwarts, Steel Pulse, headlined the show along with reggae rockers Tribal Seeds and Iya Terra opening. Packed in the outdoor area next to the famous venue on the Jersey Shore, fans were out and ready to dance and sing the night away in this pre-Labor Day weekend show.
What I enjoy about these outdoor shows in Asbury Park are the times. Everything starts off pretty early, whether it’s a weeknight or a weekend, around 5-530pm depending on how many acts are playing. This may be a negative in some people’s minds as they are traveling to the show or in work still at this time. Most of the headliners will go on fairly early, which is a relief to get home before midnight. This is all in part due to the town’s noise ordinance curfew. I’m glad I checked the social media accounts for the venue early on as I didn’t realize Iya Terra was also playing and so early.
The crowd, as expected, was pretty light upon arrival but more and more people showed up as Iya Terra played their brief 20 minute set. I really enjoyed their sound and wish they had played longer. I first came to know them as Stick Figure had a guest appearance on their latest album in 2017. It’s an awesome album too, by the way. I’d definitely check out Iya Terra on future shows as they put on a good performance to warm up the crowd. From a photographer’s standpoint, this set was a little difficult to shoot as the sun was still high in the sky and behind the stage so it made everything very bleached out. I was constantly fiddling with the camera’s settings.
Next up were Tribal Seeds. A laid back reggae rock band who definitely fit in with the crowd and bands on the bill. I’m familiar with their latest album and EP, and liked what I saw from the band live. I don’t think the crowd really knew any of the tunes however. Lot of head bobbin’ and just enjoying the music. What’s not to like, positive vibin’ reggae music and that’s what everyone is there to enjoy. The sun was still making it’s way down and that meant for difficult lighting conditions as I was snapping away. I tried to get a lot of close up shots to cut down on the overexposed backdrops.
Reggae legends Steel Pulse were the last band to play before Ziggy Marley. Traditional roots music and one of the best out there. They were one of the first reggae bands I heard besides Bob and Ziggy Marley growing up. It’s rare that a bill has 4 bands that I like so I had to make a point to head down there especially with Ziggy and Steel Pulse headlining. Steel Pulse I’ve only seen once before this time and they were great the last time I saw them. The band made sure to play some of their classics like Steppin’ Out, Rally Round, Blues Dance Raid, and one of my all time favorite reggae tunes, Chant a Psalm. You can’t help but dance to that. Of course I was shooting photos at that time so it proved to be difficult. The band started their set about 30 minutes too soon for me as the sunset was 30 minutes after their set start and I was out of the pit already. In the second half of their set they had some great afterglow sunset colors behind the stage. Figures. I managed to snap a few photos in the back at least.
Finally, Ziggy Marley was up and he was on tour promoting his excellent new record Rebellion Rises. A real catchy single, and Ziggy started off the set with that too. I was so pumped to see Ziggy. This was the first time I’ve seen him since 1996 when I saw him on the Smoking Grooves tour with Cypress Hill, The Fugees and Busta Rhymes. Now, the bigger honor was being able to photograph him as well. The lighting was on point for the performance and was happy with the images I got even though there wasn’t much variety in the lighting colors from a photograph standpoint. With the sun now set, it was dark so had to push the ISO on the camera to try and get as many images as I could for the set in the 3 song limit. Ziggy played a few of his father’s tunes as well with “Coming In From the Cold,” “One Love” and a medley of “Justice, War, and Get Up Stand Up.” Marley even brought out of some his older Melody Maker tunes like “Look Who’s Dancing.” It’s crazy to think Ziggy has been performing music for a few decades already. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of his solo stuff but his last 2 records have been awesome and regular listen. It’s given me new found exuberance to go back and listen to his earlier solo records as well. Slightly over curfew *allegedly*, Ziggy wrapped up a wonderful excellent and every fan left with a smile on their face. That or it was from the smoke cloud in the air.