July 25, 2017
Summer has that scary way of slipping by as soon as it starts. You make a few weekend plans in an ambitious burst, but then the months whiz past and it’s over. Thankfully, it’s not too late to change course and double down with some concrete, let’s-really-do-it summer moves. Besides grilling in the back yard and unencumbered lounging, one of the best, time-honored summer traditions involves live music—ideally somewhere outside, and if you’re lucky (or determined enough), maybe even on the beach.
While many of us are already flocking down the shore like it’s a regularly-scheduled weekend pilgrimage, we’re also probably missing out on the many summer concerts that could accompany these relaxing (and/or debaucherous) sunbathing trips. With that in mind, we’ve gathered up some of the best spots to catch live music down the shore this summer, and even listed a few can’t-miss shows that should be on your radar.
Ranked in no order other than top to down, check out our list of the best places to catch some live music on the Jersey Shore this summer.
The Stone Pony, a nondescript venue that’s lived on the Asbury Park boardwalk since the 1960s in various forms, is tied up in the lore of the blue collar New Jersey music scene. Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi graced the stage before their names were shore-town royalty, and the bar remains a haven for both visiting big names and local up-and-comers alike.
Over the summer, the famed venue attracts larger, outdoor crowds with the addition of the Stone Pony Summer Stage, a series of shows that will invite bands like 311 and Primus out into the heat over the next few months.
In case you haven’t been keeping track, the rules at Seaside Heights Boardwalk got a makeover for the 2017 beach season. The upshot? There are some new guidelines that discourage rawkus beach parties in favor of a more family friendly vibe. In keeping with that direction, this summer a beach concert series will once a week host tribute bands that nod to the likes of Billy Joel, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, and more.
Brad Paisley’s gargantuan Weekend Warrior tour lands in Holmdel fittingly on a late-summer Friday. Paisley, the West Virginia borne country star who has conquered country radio and the mainstream alike over the last two decades, upped the ante on his just-released eleventh album “Love and War.” With a supporting roster of ascendant country stars in tow, the tourstop will be a surefire way of kicking off an August weekend.
August 4 | PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel) | With Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant, and Lindsay Ell | All ages
The Austin singer and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. has crept into the national conscious over the last few years. If you had your ear to the ground, you will have heard or seen Clark’s magnificent blue guitar style on stage with legends like Eric Clapton and B.B. King, but more recently, he’s stepped out as a bonafide star unto himself. Case in point? Clark stars in his own national ad campaigns, rubs shoulders with Beyonce, and stars in movies now. This summer, you can spot him briefly in Asbury Park at the beloved Stone Pony venue.
August 26 | The Stone Pony (Asbury Park) | All ages
By the time Paul McCartney swings by the Prudential Center at the end of the summer for a two-night stay, he’ll have turned 76-years old. Yet somehow, the former Beatle has trudged forward over the decades without compromising an ounce of showmanship. (He recently admitted that he no longer has even a sip a wine before a show, lest he forget his own lyrics.) But there’s something almost wistful about this ongoing blockbuster tour, maybe it’s that it might well be his last of this size. For the Jersey crowd, McCartney is playing at a monster-sized venue he’s never visited before, so he’ll no doubt pull out the stops and break out the familiar hits.
September 11-12 | Prudential Center (Newark) | All ages