By Chris Rotolo, The Creator
Performances by Asbury’s own Brick + Mortar are unconventional. That’s an expectation one has entering such an evening. Surrounding the set will be sideshows of sorts, not gimmicks, but clever marketing devices crafted to attack every sense. Something extra, built in to provide a laugh, to bewitch the mind’s eye, or even to fill a crevice in the pit of your empty stomach.
Music has a wonderful way of healing what ales the individual. If you’re tired it shocks the adrenal gland, if you’re sick, at the very least, it’ll take your mind off that illness, and if in the rare occasion that you are the Incredible Hulk music can sooth the savage beast that’s become you…it can even serve as something more than metaphorically to chew on, alleviating the hunger pains that grow when all you’ve had to eat is a brilliantly golden-colored egg bagel more than 12 hours beforehand.
The showcase’s opener, a Bayville, NJ Garage-Rock outfit named Bird Bath, that quite literally attracts eclectic lineups of the area’s finest outfits to regularly play intimate gigs in the same cramped garage abode the group grew up cutting their teeth within, alleviated those hunger pains by short circuiting the nervous systems of this penman and those young collegiates that skanked along the planks of Asbury Lanes to their more upbeat selections…then that oh so addictive scent infiltrated my nostrils.
There’s nothing quite as alluring to a starved being than the scent of toasted grain slathered in butter, however, it had to be a hallucination brought about by a lack of nourishment as the venue recently had its kitchen gutted for renovation, part of a list of new remodels issued by management.
Thus, on I gazed, this time captivated by the Surf-Punk styling of The Bennys, a band that waltzes a musical spectrum between The Sonics and the group of artisans who composed the theme song to The Munsters. As the surrounding assemblage was compelled to scream along to songs they did not know in what appeared to be some form of Irish gibberish, much like the marble mouthed vernacular spit by Mickey O’Neil in Snatch, it became crystalline that the scene’s next great Party-Rock distribution crew had been unearthed and they wear sunglasses at night while providing the gift of dirty, Sax-driven compositions which discuss bringing a female to orgasm, living fast and dying young, and that oh so pleasant situation when your male genitalia crosses paths with the denim strapped to your leg.
“We call that the bump and rub,” explained Andrew Santora, the outfit’s front-man. “You may be asking yourself why we’d write a song about that…and I ask you why not? There’s songs about love, and drugs, and parties, so why shouldn’t there be a song about your junk rubbing up against your jeens?”
A fair point indeed.
And as The Bennys waltzed off the stage with a playful “Fuck you” to the congregation, the smell of buttered bliss grew more intense, attacking my cerebral cortex, transporting me back to a saturday evening of yesteryear with Scooby Doo & The Reluctant Werewolf rolling in the VCR, my eyes fixed upon the bulky wooden box which confined my animated picture show, as my mother reached out handing me a crispy grilled cheese sandwich…then the Philadelphia-based EDM artist Jack Deezl dropped the bass, banishing the facade brought about by unsettled digestive juices revealing Brick+Mortar’s own Brandon Asraf as the purveyor of this sandwich spewing skillet, and the line of hungry patrons stretched out the door.
As Deezl revealed his remix of Brick+Mortar’s “Move To The Ocean,” happy customers lauded over the griddle maestro’s cheese-riddled creations as “as the best three-dollar grilled cheese they’ve ever consumed.”
“Can that be true?” I pondered. “Does golden-crisped perfection lay ahead? Can Asraf, of all people, sit atop the mountain as Asbury’s premier cheese-grilling champion?”…only time would bring answers to these trying inquiries.
As Deezl’s set rolled forth, the mop-topped Chuck Klosterman doppleganger wrenched knobs, altering the musical DNA of various Electronic selections lifted from his sticker-coated Macbook, offering the Dub Step-adoring patronage Neil Young samples and the pre-headliner rave they so fiercely craved while proclaiming “Rock N’ Roll isn’t about playing a guitar, it’s a fucking attitude!”
Finally, the moment of enlightenment was upon me, to bask in the glory of Asraf’s handiwork and feed the acidic concoction within my abdomen something other than interior lining. Toeing the mark and wearing a toothy grin of joy, relief, and desperation, my order was met with metallic clash of metal on metal as the front-man was called to soundcheck. This snack shack was closed.
Left to feast only on the duo’s catalogue, Brick+Mortar provided a smorgasbord of treats sweeter and more sensory pleasing than the finest cakes and candies in the Royal Family’s cupboard, with such setlist staples as “Backwards Clock,” “Told You (Not To Let Go),” “New Possibles,” and “For Yellow Walls,” as well as a pair of live premieres in the drum-sample driven, psychedelia-laced, opening salvo “Bangs,” and the break-neck fire bomb “Old Boy.”
However, the makeshift mosh pit, which catapulted front-row patrons into Asraf’s shins, exploded when Asraf and the bipedal beat-machine that is John Tacon tore into such fan favorites as “20lb,” “185 Drop,” and the outfit’s closing composition and unifying anthem “Heatstroke.”
The hunger was extinguished.
Did you miss Brick+Mortar’s homecoming show and musical buffet? Fear not, for three-fourths of the lineup will return to the stage on May 18th with the duo headlining at The Press Room with The Bennys and Jack Deezl in support. More details about the show are soon to come. Stay tuned.