Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Battery Electric Celebrated The Heart and The Thrill at Asbury Lanes w/ Deal Casino, The Von Mons, and Black Wail, 2/21/15 (PHOTOS)

F*@k The Snow!

"...and thanks so much to all of you who risked your lives to come out and party with us tonight!"

That was The Battery Electric's Ron Santee to all of us in the audience who had, in many cases, actually risked our lives to make it out to Asbury Lanes in yesterday's snow storm.

I'd seen it in my Facebook feed all afternoon. The Stone Pony, Asbury Park Yacht Club, The Meatlocker in Montclair: canceled. The release show for The Heart and The Thrill, though was a go. Frankenstein 3000, whose guitarist is not local, unfortunately had to pull out of the show; but four bands remained on the bill. I climbed into CoolMom's new AWD-equipped car and began the harrowing trip down to Asbury Park.

My usually 18-minute (Yes, I know exactly how long it takes by now) trip took me 45 minutes; but by the time I got to Asbury Lanes, the snow had turned to rain. I walked inside thinking about the slick and slushy ride home that awaited me.

Being down one band and wanting to give folks some extra time to arrive, the powers that be decided to push the start time for the festivities back to 8:35. That's when Jersey City's Black Wail took the stage. Out of all the bands on the bill, they were the only mystery to me as I'd never heard them before. Their 70s-style hard rock fit right in with The Battery Electric, and I think they won more than a few converts with their set.

Asbury's own garage rockers, The Von Mons, were next; and they were as snottily raucous as you'd expect. They did it all without their usual props and paraphernalia this time, which just showed that their set can stand on its own.

Deal Casino were I guess what's called in the industry "main support" for the evening. They had a pretty large contingent of fans in the audience, and it was cool to see the seemingly disparate Deal Casino and Battery Electric fan bases united in Asbury Park solidarity. I say "disparate," but I've seen a few Battery Electric denims at Deal Casino shows; and I'm sure I've seen the Deal Casino guys supporting their Battery buddies.

I've seen Deal Casino perform several times since their own record release show at the end of last year, and their commitment to putting on a great show impresses me more and more each time. They whip their fans into a frenzy, and it's easy to see that they work exceptionally hard to ensure that each of their live experiences is special. In that sense, they actually have quite a bit in common with The Battery Electric.

The lovely Bradgelina, who bore a striking resemblance to Brad from The Wonder Bar, introduced The Battery Electric. The band lit into The Heart and The Thrill's opening track, "Heathen;" and from there, it was a free-for-all. The crowd immediately started surging against the stage; and Alex Rosen, Ron Santee, and Brent Bergholm each had their own intimate fan encounters throughout the night. From the guy licking Alex's bass to the entire crowd singing into Ron's mic to the random groping and poking experienced by Brent each time he came to the edge of the stage, the whole thing was a very... ...experience.

The band brought a fan, Jake Healy, up to the stage to show off his new Battery Electric tattoo (so far, one of just three in the world). Healy then proceeded to launch himself on top of the crowd before disappearing into the sea of bodies only to appear again right up against the stage.

The Bouncing Souls' Pete Steinkopf, who produced The Heart and The Thrill, joined the band for covers of AC / DC's "Dirty Deeds" and Battery Electric set staple "Where Eagles Dare" by The Misfits. "Where Eagles Dare" is always an absolutely bonkers part of a Battery Electric show; and last night, things were turned up to 11.

As the band finished up, bassist Alex Rosen hurled his six-foot-four? six-foot-five? frame into the audience and surfed the crowd without getting a concussion this time. Afterwards, Asbury Lanes remained relatively packed until nearly closing time as friends old and new basked in the afterglow of an all-out rock show.

It was a rock show that, even as I neared the venue slipping and sliding down Route 35, I didn't think was going to happen last night. But The Battery Electric and Deal Casino and The Von Mons and Black Wail weren't going to let a little snow scare them away. They're all way too badass for that.

Here are some photo highlights. All of the photos are at Flickr.

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