What makes this so difficult, is the Lanes has meant so much to me, and in many ways, it's hard to quantify why. What I've ultimately concluded, is it's a place that feels comforting, and as an extremely shy guy, comforting is paramount.
It's hard to unravel all the elements that makes something comforting, but for The Lanes, it's not the building, it's the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is one of deep soul. It’s not something that can be measured or quantified, but when something has soul, you know it. Every time I set foot in The Lanes, it’s a feeling of warmth and acceptance.
I was late to the party when it came to the Lanes. It wasn't until several years ago that I first walked through those double doors and into heaven. You see, prior to that moment, I almost exclusively went to New York and Philadelphia to see shows. In my naive mind, New Jersey was musically neglected. The truth I would soon learn, was New Jersey was just neglected by the mainstream alternative acts that I had primarily paid attention to; music in New Jersey was and has been bustling.
My first show at the Lanes was a revelation. While the crowd was lighter than I had anticipated, there was an energy, as a small group of fans danced along to Brooklyn's The So So Glos. The intimacy was unparalleled to almost any show I had seen prior. It was so intimate in fact, that The So So Glos actually called the parents of a few underage guys (Corrina, Corrina) and let them know they would give their sons a ride home after the show - in the middle of their set! When that show ended, it was a moment of euphoria and enlightenment; there was an incredible venue fifteen minutes from my house, and even if I didn't know that bands who were playing there, I had to come back quickly and often.
Every show since then has been spectacular, and I can say without any hesitation, I’ve never had an experience that was less than stellar at The Lanes. From the catharsis of Titus Andronicus, to the introspection of Waxahatchee, and to the party atmosphere of Honah Lee’s record release show, each performance holds a special place in my memory, and each show was elevated thanks to this legendary venue.
I could go on for days singing the praises of Asbury Lanes, but most of all, I just wanted to thank them for making my life better, and thank them for sharing great music with New Jersey. Here's to hoping that if/when they return, they come back stronger than ever.