I was apprehensive about attending my first live show in two months. Each of the four bands on the bill is fierce and compelling in its own right, but having seen three of them within the last six months or so—in the window after being fully vaccinated and before the omicron surge—I wasn’t convinced that it was necessary to see them again so soon.
The verdict: It wasn’t necessary, but it was rewarding all the same. Seated in my perch in the balcony Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall, double masked and not really interacting with anyone but Patria and Scott, I felt safe enough and happy to be far from the mosh pit below. Featuring more than 45 high-energy songs across three and half hours, this year’s Garden Party was totally devoid of wasted moments, empty gestures and musical filler.
Long Neck kicked off the night with catchy tunes from World’s Strongest Dog (released less than a month into the pandemic), “The Visitor” (a vulnerable number about trying to reconnect post-quarantine) and blazing set-ender “Mine/Yours.”
Oceanator sparked and sparkled with dark, spiky and frenetic gems like “Inhuman,” “A Crack In The World” and “Goodbye, Goodnight,” as well as a promising new song.
Mannequin Pussy pummeled the crowd with “Control,” “Drunk II” and “Pigs Is Pigs,” with frontwoman Marisa Dabice’s deceptively soft voice proving a powerful counter to the heaviness that permeated everything, everywhere and everyone in sight.
Screaming Females, as efficient and awe-inspiring as ever, brought the show to a close with a clutch of skeletal tunes and full-bodied ragers, all no-nonsense. “Glass House” and “Hopeless” were highlights, as they always are, but a cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” made the crowd go wild.
—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich
Mannequin Pussy Oceanator Long Neck
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