Running through a haze of rain under my already damp jean jacket for cover, I sought out the warmth of what sits behind the blacked out, sticker plastered door of an Asbury Park Dive bar. The Saint, located in the heart of New Jersey’s DIY and underground music scene, was experiencing the quiet lull before its walls would hold in the storm of the four band lineup prepping for the evening. In a world where members design and assemble their own merchandise assortments all while dancing between intermingling with friends and fans and sound-checking their equipment before the red velvet curtains are brushed to the side - you’ll find a lineup that makes you remember that moment you started to realize that you loved music. An electric fusion of gritty pop-punk, bubblegum spark, and a hint of twinkling shoegaze, Pollyanna leaves behind no range of musical talent when it comes to putting on a show. Supported by three incredible strong acts all of which present their own creatively curated and fresh sounds, I braced myself to be transported to a dimension where music is a universal language and a home base for all.
Fox Teeth, the first on the marquee, rises to prove just how committed and tight-knit this scene of music can be, as they only had been asked to emergency fill-in for the original first act just around an hour before and dropped everything to do so. Their fifth-wave emo sound draws the crowd’s attention like moths to the dimly lit red paper lanterns that were strung from the venue's ceiling. Rounds two and three are delivered by Not Yer Baby and Family Dinner, with the entire trio of acts supplying that lively and heartfelt sound that can only be derived from the minds of true artists. Putting their heart and soul into the sets they build from the ground up, each act encourages anyone present in the room to enjoy their time, let loose and rage, and dance the outside world away for the next four hours. Each is a performance that cannot and should not be missed, and will find a cozy home on your grungy suburban and tastefully rebellious playlists.
Fresh out of their Starland Ballroom performance with Midtown and still riding on the high of the release of their debut album, Slime, Pollyanna takes the stage to deliver their headlining lineup of their portfolio of greatest hits. Personally styled in head to toe vintage statement pieces that reflects each member’s personal aura and attitudes, the four-piece band glows under neon-green lights and smokey wafts of dry ice while they rock the worlds of the punky crowd that gathers at their feet. Landing gigs with some of pop-punk’s greatest, including State Champs and Homesafe, Pollyanna has proven to be a powerhouse that is sweeping through the state in lime green fishnets. Dishing out hits from their newest lead project as well as their pixie playful Sugarcoat E.P., they’ll have you queuing “Relationship Anxiety” to your playlist while still engulfed in the crowd and rhythmically tapping the steering wheel along to it for the drive home. The work never stops for them, as after having just touched back down in their home state after the fall run of their first cross-country tour, the four will be packing for the road again after the holidays for their upcoming run with Pictoria Vark and Arcadia Grey. For fans who love the sharp headbanging anarchy that accompanies listening to Paramore combined with the soft twang of a Turnover song, Pollyanna is not one to miss as each growing year of success brings them closer to the top.