Almost There Impressed At Starland Ballroom

Almost There (Zach Sicherman, Phil Serzan, Ed Soles)

I noticed that Starland’s pre-show advertisement projector features new slides of noteworthy concerts in the ballroom’s history like December 6, 2006 when Bruce Springsteen graced the stage playing the grizzled man in black while performing his rendition of Pete Seeger classics, and on November 2, 2004…Slayer, enough said, among other dates.  It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that in a few years Almost There’s band photo will be projected upon that screen with 10/23/10 plastered underneath.  And undoubtedly the Starland Ballroom reps will try to cover up the fact that a few years earlier they wronged this band by placing them on a bill headlined by such a lip-syncing catastrophe as the wannabe “Journeymen” they opened for on Saturday evening instead of with Motion City Soundtrack/Say Anything, or Senses Fail/Bayside, but I’ll know, as will the handful of Almost There faithful in attendance.

We’ll be there to recant the tail of Almost There’s wild session on that cool October evening, when Eddie Soles and Zach Sicherman leapt into the air in unison, dropkicking the atmosphere, as Phil Serzan crashed hammers into his cymbals on the opening salvo, “A Fine Night To Overdose.”  We will describe how the band moved a dead sea of statues with its single off Silver Lake, “I cried Wolf,” transforming the few dry and tranquil puddles of head bobbers into a choppy ocean of foot stomping, air guitaring hooligans.  And we shall convey what it was like to watch Almost There win that audience over completely, causing the separate clicks to merge as one with a ballroom-wide sing along of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”

The performance didn’t last long enough for me and the others whose faint cries for “one more song” were drowned out by sounds of shuffling feet toward the bar, the clanking of glasses, and slurping of alcohol, necessary measures, I suppose, to make it through the faux Journey concert up next.

Personally, I’d never seen Starland Ballroom in the state it was on Saturday night.  When I make my usual trek into the backwoods of Sayreville for a show, the headlining act tends to be Jersey’s own Ska-Punk heroes Streetlight Manifesto, and there is no wiggle room.  When you get inside, you better be happy with where you set up camp because you will remain there for the duration.  But there was room to maneuver on this dance floor.

Almost There

I suppose I can’t blame the masses for not coming out in droves.  They had not been properly educated about this act.  Nobody had notified the public that Almost There is a promising young band on the rise, armed with a sawed off shot gun of sound, locked and loaded with raucous, yet catchy, originals and an arsenal of covers from Soundgarden to Sublime (the barrel of which been shoved up against my ear for weeks to the tune of the band’s latest EP Silver Lake, and I can’t bring myself to remove it).

“Garbage Dump Or A Goldmine” of Silver Lake

(if you like this track you can buy the EP here.)

No one has been there to enlighten our great state about how Almost There won the Myspace sponsored Artist Discovery Contest and the 95.9 The WRAT’s Band Search Competition, or that this is an act that has shared The Stone Pony’s legendary stage with Cobra Starship and 3OH3! and headlined it once more a few weeks ago.  And did I mention these guys opened WRATfest 2010 at PNC Bank Arts Center?  Well, neither did Starland Ballroom’s publicist.

(WARNING: I was a little close to the bass speaker on this next video)

Almost There wasn’t playing to its normal crowd, but still put on one hell of a show, and I only hope it didn’t go unappreciated.  However, I can now safely say that this band’s tunes are not falling on deaf ears.  It appears those in Asbury Park are the wiser with Sicheman’s announcement.

“We hope your all enjoying the show,” said Sicherman, “and we’d just like to announce that you can catch us again at the Asbury Music Awards on November 13.  We’re one of 13 bands to perform that night so come check it out.”

Well done Asbury Park.

You can also see Almost There at the Court Tavern this Friday with Kid Is Qual, Tango Machina, and The New Scream.  It’s a Halloween party so wear something freaky.

In closing, I will be printing a post-show interview the band was gracious enough to give me shortly.

Setlist:

  1. A Fine Night To Overdose
  2. Garbage Dump Or A gold Mine
  3. Breaking Point
  4. Turned To Stone
  5. I Cried Wolf
  6. After All -> Stir It Up (Bob Marley)
  7. Say It Ain’t So (Weezer)
  8. Can I Take You Home

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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