Most of the time when preparing to shoot/cover a band new to me, I do some homework about the band to get a feel for their music and stage setup; but decided to sway from my routine and went in blind last night for the Deal Casino show at Arlene’s Grocery. Add in to the fact that I had never been to the venerable NYC venue, there were plenty of uncertainties on this rainy, windy and brisk night in the LES.
Since I had never covered a show at the venue I arrived early with some skepticism, but soon found myself feeling at home with the friendly staff, graffiti covered bathroom walls, cheap-drink options and a small, but powerful sounding room. Shortly after, the Asbury Park band stepped onto the fog-shrouded and darkened stage looking like a gang straight out of a Clint Eastwood western and began their set with a super-catchy “My Gun.”
They instantly surprised me right off the bat with their cohesiveness, pounding bass, crunchy guitars, and song structures as the set continued with “Red Balloon,” “Bare Hands” and “Human Cannonball.” At this point of the show, it was evident to me that Deal Casino has that little extra-something that separates them from the normal Tuesday night opening band.
Then the set got super-amped up with a gnarly, 8-minute “Chelsea’s Wedding” that blasted us with a tribal-esque percussion session with drummer Christopher Donofrio leading the way while singer/guitarist Joe Parella circled around him with a snare. Bassist Jon Rodney and guitarist Jozii Cowell helped in the fun with shakers and a tambo before adding in some spacey background effects.
The set never really eased up energy wise and catchy tunes like “Purple,” “Panama Papers” and “Blueberry Pop” had the decent sized crowd eating out of the band’s hands. The night would end with the another memorable tune “Bang Bang,” which is off their first EP Heck. All in all, I was happy to have seen a solid up-and-coming band that should have a huge 2017 – and here’s a bonus – The band has one more week in their residency at Arlene’s so do yourselves a favor and catch them next Tuesday (1-31-17).
Article: Shayne Hanley