Catching up with Jersey punk staples Lifetime at The Stone Pony
While many bands are preparing for their trip to the THE FEST, the annual DIY scene gathering in Gainesville, Florida, the East Coast is blessed with a slew of great punk shows, as bands tour down to the event, or play warm-up shows in advance of their sets at FEST. One of those shows this year came from the locally adored Jersey punk favorites Lifetime, who headlined the Brooklyn Vegan-sponsered rager at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Alongside Lifetime were up and comers Lemuria, the classic Jersey straight edge crew Mouthpiece, and reunited West Chester favorites Spraynard rounding out the lineup.
The venue was slowly filling up when Spraynard took the stage, but loyal fans were up front and ready to sing along. The band did not disappoint, delivering a half-hour of energetic set of mostly older songs. Coming off a recent European tour, one would expect them to be tired, but Spraynard showed no signs of wear and tear, looking fresh and sounding great.
Up next, things turned a little heavier, with Mouthpiece taking the stage. Led by vocalist Tim McMahon, Mouthpiece was a voice of reason in the aggressive early 1990s New Jersey straight edge scene. As some of the original youth crew scene of the late 1980s faded away, Mouthpiece took the torch, playing all over New Jersey and the surrounding areas, including sharing the stage with Lifetime countless times. This reunited Mouthpiece, older, wiser, but just as passionate, delivered a set of their classic hardcore songs, to a crowd of delighted moshers, various family members, and people singing along. Tearing through classics like “Face Tomorrow” and “Left Of You”, Mouthpiece excited and incensed their fans, before closing with a triumphant cover of Project-X’s anthem, “Straight Edge Revenge”. This set was exactly what any fan could hope for.
Scaling things back a bit, Lemuria took the stage next. There are many wonderful things about Lemuria as a band, but one of their best characteristics would be their ability to make any show feel beautifully intimate. Playing to a packed room, Lemuria dazzled with their set of swirling melodies and vocal harmonies. Quieting a raucous Asbury Park crowd with stripped down and charming punk tunes, and then kicking back into loud and driving pop-punk, Lemuria can work any room into their own, leaving old fans and new converts similarly stunned. This set was no different, as they gave a tonally astounding and shining performance. Lemuria has been gaining a huge following the recent years, and its shows like this one that make it easy to see why.
Closing the night out, the act everyone was waiting for, Lifetime brought everything they had in this pre-FEST performance. When you see this reunified Lifetime, you generally know what you’re getting. As guitarist Dan Yemin (Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black, Armalite) said in between songs, “We have some records and stuff over there for sale….nothing new.” Lifetime cycled through hit after hit from their various records, from “Turnpike Gates” to “Ostrichsized.” There is something beautiful about the raw energy and emotion of Lifetime, and it could be seen as they performed in front of friends, family, complete strangers, and the supporting bands, all who spoke of how much of an honor it was to be asked to play. Lifetime is one of those very closely cherished bands in this area, and you could tell how much this show, so close to the band’s roots, meant to everyone in the room.