The Parlor Mob @ The Stone Pony

ASBURY PARK, NJ—Jersey heroes The Parlor Mob have etched their name in stone. Never heard of ‘em? Don’t be upset if you have mistaken these boys for a much older posse, for they are, in my opinion, the essence of groove. They ooze like an old Stretch Armstrong doll and seep out the best kind of rock and roll. Sound that makes you yearn for that way back when melody (for the Zeppelin comparison is the first one that always seems to come to mind), and times when media outlets, technology, and auto-tune hadn’t robbed us all of a legit knowledge of music. This is a mob you definitely want to roll with.

The Parlor Mob, a name the band took from the notorious 19th century gang, is comprised of Mark Melicia (vocals), David Rosen (guitar), Paul Ritchie (guitar), Anthony Chick (bass), and Sam Bey (drums).

They are a breath of fresh air in a time of stale records, with only two releases under their youthful belts. After all, in their own words, “Everything you’re breathing for will let you down and leave you sore.” And You Were A Crow, released in 2008, is a lyrical masterpiece that you need to inhale. It was the first straight rock record I had heard in quite some time. Honestly, it has been quite the rollercoaster ride for this group, and they’ve had a challenging music industry experience since they began eight years ago, but the good news is that it hasn’t spoiled their music. Their most recent release, DOGS, was named “Rock Record Of The Year” on iTunes. The poignant melodies of this album affect me every time I listen to it and it’s been in deep rotation for quite a while. From the first listen, I was strictly hooked on this CD and couldn’t turn it off, and after hearing most of the choruses the first time, I was singing along by the second time through. The songs are hook-laden, memorable, and most of them contain lyrics which we can all relate to and can understand in many ways. All genre lovers can grab on to something here, for there are elements of indie rock, hard rock, progressive, and even some acoustic. The boys told me they plan on having new material out for us very soon, and do not plan on having such a gap in between releases this time around. They are focusing more on recording than touring in the near future.

To take a break from boasting about their records, their live set it just as noteworthy. Every time they roll through town, the place sells out, and people travel from all over to see these guys. I recently had the opportunity to catch them at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, May 25, a perfect way to kick of Memorial Day weekend. Hometown glory you say? I think so. They had the crowd moving for over two hours with their flawless performance. With a perfect balance of old and new material, they simultaneously showed who they were then and where they are now as a band. At points in the show my head was banging to the hardness of the sound while moments later my hair was flowing to the softer, more experimental side. Mark’s vocals are so easy to sing along to and although his tone is extremely unique, stints in his live style still remind me of Zach De La Rocha (Rage Against The Machine) and, of course, that good old Robert Plant comparison (trust me, see them live and you will see it too). Some particular tracks that really got peoples gears grinding seemed to be “Fall Back,” “Hard Times,” “Take What’s Mine” and “American Dream.”

It’s amazing to see the path these guys have taken from local to worldwide domination. I couldn’t help but notice cars in the parking lot from Ohio, Maine, and even Florida. Not to mention the countless amounts of P-Mob T-shirts in the crowd. Do yourself a favor and check out their discography. Classic rock guitar? Check. Emo whine? Check. Pop-infused ballads? Check. One of the best bands around? Check. Here’s to hoping this mob stays on the map for quite some time.