UC Music Fest Review (Collective Soul, Blondie, Neon Trees and more!)

Last weekend, the UC Music Fest returned to Clark, NJ for a weekend of “Pizza, Love and Beer.” Take a look back thanks to our writer/photographer Jimmy Douglas

Friday, September 16th kicked off with The Skins from Brooklyn, New York. Dirty Bird, Satellite Hearts, and Chelsea Kills also played to help open up the two main stages before headliners Ed Kowalczyk and Collective Soul took the stage.

Ed Kowalczyk played a combination of songs he wrote with his band “Live” along with a good amount of solo material. This was the second time Ed has played Music Fest, the first time being prior to “Live” breaking up.

Collective Soul hit the ground running on the Overlook Hospital Main Stage with just as much energy as a freight train. By watching their performance you would think that you were watching a bunch of 20-somthings running around the stage and not the almost 50 year old rock stars. Collective Soul closed out their set with a fireworks display that were supposed to go off the night before, but due to weather got pushed off to Friday night adding an extra dimension to the already epic show.

Check out photos of Live and Collective Soul and UC Music Fest

Saturday, September 17th, the longest day of Music Fest had the biggest name bands play including Mike Peters from The Alarm playing with the School of Rock Allstars, Cy Curnin of the Fixx, Nicole Atkins, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Paul Rodgers, and headliners Neon Trees and Blondie.

The Neon Trees were one of the most anticipated artists for teenagers and adults alike. Their hit song “Animal” has been playing all over the radio in the New Jersey area recently and when the band started playing “Animal” half way through their set it was like a mad rush to the stage by everyone who had attended the festival. Lead singer Tyler Glenn told the audience a story about how 11 years prior he had actually attended Music Fest and told us a few stories about his experiences. He said that he went to Music Fest to find a girl and at the end of the night he ended up kissing one. According to him she said, “Oh, oh, I want some more” with Tyler then replying, “Oh, oh, what are you waiting for?”, lines from their song “Animal”. Whether or not that part actually happened his anyones guess, but either way I thought it was pretty cool.

Topping out the night on the Overlook Hospital Main Stage was pop-punk goddess, Blondie. Blondie might be aging, but she still has everything that she had in the 1980’s still in her. With Blondie’s latest album “Panic of Girls” newly released the group played a combination of old hits and new songs from the new album. You would think with age Blondie would have lost some of her voice, but when the 1979 hit “Heat of Glass” began playing, if you would have closed your eyes, you would have though that you were transported back in time to a Blondie concert in the 80’s.

Check out photos of Blondie, Neon Trees and Paul Rodgers at UC Music Fest

Sunday, September 18th, was entitled “Jersey Day” with all of the performers hailing from the Garden State. For most this was the most disappointing day of the festival due to the lack of major name bands. Performers included EMA, another performance by the School of Rock Allstars, The Smithereens, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes headlining.

Southside Johnny’s set started off with trouble since there was technical difficulties with some of the instrument microphones and the piano. The band played the unideal situation well though and after being fixed their set went on like nothing happened. Southside Johnny is a local favorite and have played Music Fest three times now in recent years.

Check out photos of Southside Johnny & The Jukes at UC Music Fest

In conclusion Music Fest at the Union County Fair truly is three days of “Pizza, Love and Beer” and it is definitely a festival that is worth checking out if you live in the area. Anyway, it is free, so what do you have to lose?

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