Show Report - The Stone Pony, 6/22/14

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss


It's the only word that can be used to describe the incredible afternoon/evening that was the Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son Friends in Low Places CD release party.

Hundreds packed legendary Stone Pony over the course of Sunday to catch a glimpse of some of the best local bands the New Jersey music scene has to offer, and for the price of $10, anyone who caught even just one act instantly got their money's worth. Brielle Liebman kicked things off with an acoustic set, as the singer/songwriter belted as a call for help about various topical issues in today's troubling world.

Afterwards, Social Harvest made its long-awaited return to the stage with an absolutely blistering set that captivated everyone in attendance. Highlights of the performance included the falsetto-full "Intruder" and a killer rendition of Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" that had everyone dancing.

Check Your Morals, fresh off an appearance at "The Break" contest and the Skate & Surf Festival, then took the floor. The band displayed their fluidity throughout their set, going as far as pulling songs out of a hat to determine what would be the next one played.

It was then turn for Tim Gysin and his band to give their shot at wooing the increasingly-growing crowd in Asbury. Gysin, who contributed ideas and lent his vocal talents to Friends in Low Places, wowed the audience with his musicianship, supported in part by Giancarlo Cordasco on drums. Cordasco served as the drummer for the majority of the album as well.

Creating Clementine served as the warmup for the headliner, doing what they do best. Their set began with a vocal intro by Seventh Son's Jon Alba, which is actually the first track on their newly-released EP A Man's Best Friend. Bobby would join the band for a few songs on lead guitar to spice things up as well, putting quite the exclamation point on the opening acts.

Then it was time. The band formerly known simply as "Seventh Son" spent more than seven months preparing Friends in Low Places, and it was time to debut it live for more than 200 people in attendance. 

The performance kicked off with James McIntosh smoking the crash on his drums and pummeling through his hi-hat and snare, as Jon then yelled the words that would sum up what was about to occur:

"He's back!"

With that, Bobby kicked into the lead guitar riff to Elton John's "Bitch Is Back," and the boys were off. The crowd, surprised by the choice to open with a cover (nonetheless, an Elton John cover), ate it up, and chanted along with the chorus.

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss

Fired up, the band went into a triad of Seventh Son favorites, keeping the capos on and charging into "Worrisome Child." The audience, still buzzed, then popped even louder for the welcomed return of "Left For Dead," played for the first time since December. After that, "Thick As Thieves" got everyone rocking again, with Bobby and Jon dueling in licks after the guitar solo for the audience's delight.

What followed next was far from the norm, as Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son became Green Day, with Bobby handing his guitar off to good friend of the band and tech for Blues Traveler, Jake Katz, for a rendition of "St. Jimmy." Dan Cohen's guitar shined, chugging its way through the punk anthem. Just five songs in, and it was chaos and pandemonium at The Stone Pony.

Bobby and Jon then broke things down with an acoustic set, sending the rest of the band off stage. Friends in Low Places got its start in this matter, so it felt only appropriate to do the lead in for the album in such a way. "Ultimatum" off Delicate Fall From Grace got things started, the first time ever played with two guitars. But what was next would be one of those several moments that made the evening so special.

"A few weeks ago, Jon told me I should bring this one back," Bobby said, referring to a song that hadn't been touched in more than three years. "So if it sucks, it's his fault."

A re-written version of the rare "Too Good For Me" then came to life, with Jon performing guitar harmonies as Bobby tied up a chapter of his early work with new lyrics. It was reflective, and with a new bridge and re-worked harmonica solo, was a far cry from some of the bare bones material on the new album. "Crazy Dreams" off Delicate, an institution when the two play acoustic, closed off the short set.

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss

All of that before the new album was even touched. 

The Seventh Son then came back up, and it was time to delve into Friends in Low Places. "Teenagers Too," complete with feedback and an extended breakdown got things rolling straight into "Hit The Town" without a break. Bobby ignited the crowd with some call and response before telling the tale of his triumphs as the "king of kings" (a verse actually performed by Jon, who penned the tune, for this special evening). 

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss

"Everyone put your eyes on this guy," Jon then said to the audience, pointing at bassist Joe Larkin as the band prepared for "Danger Dan." "He's about to do some really cool shit." And that he did, and with Danger Dan himself on stage, the band launched through a wah pedal, bass-infused version of the third track on the CD.

"New Age Outlaws," the first single off Friends in Low Places, followed up at a blistering tempo, but got the blood pumping back through the five guys. Bobby then introduced the track that inspired the album title, "Scoundrels," and brought the band down as he introduced each member of his backing corps. Rather than introducing himself though, he merely summarized:

"I'm a half-hearted deviant, raised from the bottom line."

The powerful ending to "Scoundrels" then made way for one of the highlights of the night. After Jon outwardly accused Bobby of not inviting the band to a day at the beach (a reference to the recently-released music video), the front man invited the crowd to sing along to "Another Deadbeat Summer."

But as the song drew to a close, the crowd couldn't get enough. So Bobby decided to pull one more chorus out of them. And the result was as awesome as it sounds.

Now, clearly part of a very special evening, the spotlight turned to Bobby for the live debut of "Guilden Street." As he strapped back on his acoustic guitar, Gysin returned to the stage to play keys and contribute vocals. A minute or so into the tune, Bobby invited Friends in Low Places engineer Max Aharon up on stage to help with the voices as well. By song's end, six of the seven men on stage were singing, as the crowd eventually joined in to make it even bigger.

Gysin would stay on stage for the next two songs, as "Star-Crossed" kept the emotional high strong. Just before the solo hit, Jon loudly proclaimed, "This is my favorite part of the entire album!" as Bobby took the crowd through a journey of heartbreak and love lost. "Can't Stand Myself" made way for the last major emotional moment of the night.

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss

Bobby introduced "Self-Induced Exile," the final track on Friends in Low Places, with a confession. "These are probably the most emotional lyrics I've ever written." As he solemenly made his way through the song, the audience pulled out their cell phones to illuminate the packed room at New Jersey's most famous rock club. The band brought the song home as the lead man wailed his hardest, bringing a close to the album performance.

The setlist called for just one more song, but members of the audience clamored for "a rocker." Bobby turned to Jon and mouthed the words "Pink Cadillac," as both ran over to the other bandmates to call the audible. Midway through the song, Jon called to the crowd:

"Eddie Mac! Get up here!"

And with that, the frontman of Projex and father of the young band's drummer made his way to the stage, alongside Diego Allessandro of Lot 25. The performance reminded all those in attendance the importance of supporting local music, as everyone danced their way into the night.

Photo courtesy: Ethan Reiss

With that, Bobby and the band thanked the crowd for an amazing evening, and hit the planned encore, the title track off Delicate Fall From Grace. It was intense, it was somber, and it was appropriate for a performance that went more than two hours.

The band finished, and took the final bow for the crowd as Friends in Low Places concluded its thunderous debut. It felt as it should be...perfect.


1. Bitch Is Back (cover)

2. Worrisome Child

3. Left For Dead

4. Thick As Thieves

5. St. Jimmy (cover)

6. Ultimatum

7. Too Good For Me

8. Crazy Dreams

9. Teenagers Too

10. Hit The Town

11. Danger Dan

12. New Age Outlaws

13. Scoundrels

14. Another Deadbeat Summer

15. Guilden Street

16. Star-Crossed

17. Can't Stand Myself

18. Self-Induced Exile

19. Pink Cadillac (cover)

20. Delicate Fall From Grace

For more information on this set, click here.

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