ASBURY PARK, NJ–The Stone Pony is breathing a fresh inhale of life in 2008 with Live Nation signing on to book the historic Asbury Park rock club. With national acts now consistently coming through the doors, which include the Avett Brothers and Robert Cray, it is the artists that live right around the corner which have made it their home in its darkest hour.
For the Parlor Mob the return trip home marks the first time back to the Stone Pony’s stage since August of 2007; one week before the band left to bury themselves in Echo Mountain Studios for a recording session with acclaimed producer Jacquire King. A lot has changed since then. For the band, national supporting tour legs with Nicole Atkins and Earl Greyhound have added some hair to chests of the young lads as they face the most turbulent and hardest years of their short lives.
The band consists of Paul Ritchie (guitars), Mark Melicia (vox), Dave Rosen (guitars), Sam Bey (skins), and Nick Villipiano (bass).
All business deals with Roadrunner have been signed, the record, And You Were A Crow, has been released, now all the is left to do is the daily grind of about 400 miles and the nightly manhandle of a fresh room of faces. Their resiliency, their forthcoming legacy, and the destruction in their wake is now in the hands of the public, as they plan to spitfire the wagon until all of their passion runs dry.
With the entire industry enduring the pinch of records selling at the pace of molasses, there is only one-way to earn the glory: on the road. For the Mob the path has never been clearer, and with a sold out performance at the Mercury Lounge in NYC the night prior, the New Jersey pit stop—and short forthcoming weeklong vacation—marks a time to let the guard down.
Emerging from the darkness with the illumination of flashbulbs, it is Paul Ritchie and his crunching rhythm lines to “Read Hart Headed” that wake the beast from its slumber. The fury is unyielding through “Kids,” and “Dead Wrong.” It is a punch to the gut, as the character of the young ensemble bleeds through. They look dirty, and poor. They aren’t exactly the reckless mustache-riding outlaws they were a year ago but rather reality that has set in and smothered all reminisces fantasy. All of the scars they bare are no longer from the sand whipping off the shore in local hyped rock bravado, but from the blinding snow and over zealous state troopers that littered the nation’s highways.
Ragged and tattered the Parlor Mob are convincingly polishing through their 75-minute set with the tension-filled blues epic, “Tide Of Tears,” as well as the explosive nature of “Carnival Of Crows.” Standing out in front of Melicia’s howlin’ vocals, and Rosen’s screaming lead licks, is Sam Bey’s drum work. No more evident than on “Bullet.” The set was capped with “Hard Times,” and “Everything You’re Breathing For.”
Compared to the show in New York City, the Jersey audience seemed tame, and they appeared to be a stiffer crowd; shocking considering the almost infamous reputation New York City audiences’ carries on their back.
With an encore stamp of the country boogie driven “Can’t Keep No Good Boy Down,” the Parlor Mob is bracing for an American and Canadian tour legs as well as an appearance at Lollapalooza on Aug 1. No recording can convey the nature and potential of this band with any justice. Go see them live!