my friend Angela and i took the train down to Asbury Park New Jersey over the weekend for the 2-day New Jersey Metal and Hardcore Festival.
pictures are up although i haven't gone through and labeled them yet. i think i got some pretty good ones considering how difficult it is to take pictures in low (and constantly shifting) lighting while avoiding being kicked in the head by crowd-surfing maniacs.
i have to say that the band lineup was better for this than at hellfest since it was much heavier on the metal side of things than hardcore and i'm just not that big a hardcore fan. highlights included: Black Dahlia Murder (we only caught the last song and a half of their set though), Children of Bodom, Nevermore, Dimmu Borgir, Morbid Angel, Superjoint Ritual, Danzig, the Devin Townsend Band, Strapping Young Lad, Scarlet, Moonspell, Daughters, the Red Chord, Watch Them Die, The End, Nora, Bleeding Through, Mastodon, Unearth, Deicide, Suffocation, Type O Negative, and Cradle of Filth.
Strapping Young Lad, Bleeding Through, and Children of Bodom, and Cradle of Filth were probably the best sets i saw (Scarlet, Moonspell, and the Devin Townsend Band also managed to kick an honoroble mention's worth of ass).
Cradle put on the most elaborate show by far. tuck and i saw them in august so i knew to expect great things from them. when we saw them before, they were the headliners and played for a full two hours. this time, they only played for 45 minutes, but they've totally raised the bar for over the top stage productions. they had some really creepy gargoyle's running around stage for a few songs. then, they brought out a woman riding the spider/stilt guy who proceeded to do cirque du soleil style acrobatics.
aside from the performances though, it was a pretty poor festival. the whole venue was freezing cold (people were buying shirts from the vendors just to stay warm), there weren't really any food vendors (we could have gone out somewhere for dinner, but angela and i didn't have a car and the nearest restaurants were too far away to walk to). plus, the hotel was really crappy and overpriced. $150/night for a tiny room with a broken lamp, a non-functional TV, peeling wallpaper, and almost no heat. plus they were severely understaffed for both check-in and check-out. we had to wait in line for 2 hours friday afternoon to check-in because they only had two people working the front desk.