HomeMusicCrobot Celebrates Release of Motherbrain at the Asbury Lanes

Crobot Celebrates Release of Motherbrain at the Asbury Lanes

Pop Break Live: Crobot ‘Motherbrain Record Release Party’ at The Asbury Lanes

On a gorgeous Sunday night in the Jersey shore music haven known as Asbury Park, the Pottsville, Pennsylvania behemoth known as Crobot, who cut their teeth and developed their sound by playing up and down this state, officially ignited the rebirth of their next chapter and tapped into the “Motherbrain” of their euphoric excellence with a masterpiece performance of a lifetime.

Officially one-week before Labor Day weekend, the final days of summer could be felt amidst the sea breeze in the air. The Asbury Park boardwalk was mobbed like one might rarely ever see. Right down the road, the Jonas Brothers filmed a big budget performance for the VMAs and there were thousands upon thousands of fans and tourists gathered by the Stone Pony.

The scene that I’m trying to describe felt like a potential script for a film or novel, perhaps something like The Outsiders where the Jonas Brothers represented the “Socs;” and nothing personal against them, but the glitz-and-glamour of their fame and notoriety is apart of a completely different, pop-driven world. At the Asbury Lanes, a bonafide rock club with a storied history, you could find the rest of us rockers and so-called “Greasers” who were ready to celebrate the record release of Crobot’s monumental, genre-defying fourth LP, Motherbrain.

It had been exactly two-years since Crobot’s last performance at The Saint, and so much had changed within that time-frame. After having to start over from scratch after the collapse of their previous record label, these guys stuck together and overcame the darkest side of the music business. As bandmates and most importantly, as brothers, their uncompromising spirit and renewed level of focus, resiliency, and commitment to one another ultimately resulted in the best record of their career.

Best believe, Crobot is a band who dedicates every single ounce of heart, passion, energy, grit, and unrelenting determination, straight from the core of their soul, to pursue their love of artistry. Now combine that brimming spirit with a newfound chip on their shoulder, I’ve seen this group perform eight-times over the past five-years and the energy in that room on August 25 was transcendent and even “outshined” the awe-inspiring mythology one could hope to ever feel from a live performance.

As drummer Dan Ryan hit the cymbals and the feedback echoed from guitarist Chris Bishop’s Orange Amp, vocalist Brandon Yeagley yelled, “Asbury Park, it’s been too goddamn long,” and it was bombs away as the band relentlessly hurled their bodies across the stage once the opening notes of “Legend of Spaceborne Killer” kicked into full-gear.

I recently had the pleasure to catch up with Brandon Yeagley who spoke vividly about the new material off Motherbrain and he said, “We’re playing a bunch of these new songs live because we just don’t think it’s the best set without these songs in there. We think these are the best songs that we’ve ever written.”

And allow me to confirm, this statement is 1000% accurate as the devil horns were relentlessly thrown in the air nonstop during “Keep Me Down,” their first single off Motherbrain, which documents their hard-fought journey over the past three-years and could be emotionally felt within the cathartic, aggressive delivery of each instrument, especially as Yeagley sang, “Dig a little deeper/ Push a little harder/ Yeah, you can’t keep me down.”

Drummer Dan Ryan kicked into the drum intro of “Drown” and played like Dave Grohl circa-Nevermind, he was fully immersed within the grooves and unleashing crushing drum patterns, which were infused with an undeniable combination of love and rage for destroying the kit. New bassist Eddie Collins rocked an Acacia Strain shirt that resembled the iconic image of Nirvana’s “Silver,” and he brought that no-holds-barred, grunge and hardcore-style ethos, to his stage presence, especially as he jumped off the top of his amp.

Before the band kicked into Yeagley’s favorite new song “Alfa Dawg,” he said to the crowd, “Grandma, I’m going to wear some new spandex because New Jersey likes to shake their ass.” Never a band to lose their trademark humor, this song is pure, funkadelic ecstasy. One’s soul will feel an infinite sense of blissful grooves, especially during the part where Yeagley sings, “This one ain’t going to keep on barking, someday he’s going to bite,” over this interlude where the bass and guitar notes ring with such an uplifting feel.

And one of the best aspects of this show, they drew the largest crowd that I’ve ever seen them draw in this area. The Asbury Lanes is a pivotal venue in a town that has become a force of nature in the music industry. One glance around the room, there were loyal fans who have followed the band even prior to Something Supernatural and plenty of new people who experienced Crobot for the very first time. All ages were present and accounted for; young rockers, twenty-somethings, and veteran rockers who experienced the heyday of the scene and have found a reignited sense of hope with Crobot.

In terms of future live staples that will mesmerize listeners for years-to-come, the deep-cut, newfound ace of spades in Crobot’s deck is “Gasoline.” Potential concerts need to experience “Gasoline” in the confines of a live setting, as one will rarely ever feel such invincible levels of blissful aggression and mesmerizing soul within a single performance. The entire audience was headbanging at the same time, all ages included, as “Gasoline” is this divine portrait of Rage-infused intensity that signifies four musicians who truly bleed their hearts out into their songwriting and will fight for their art. Bishop’s riffs are decked with such brooding grit that rips straight into the chest and Yeagley unleashed the grittiest, highest registers of his unlimited vocal range, which throttled the heart every single time his voice pierced across this venue.

One of the many highlights of the night, Yeagley took the time to pay homage to one of the band’s most crucial influences, Soundgarden. He proudly told the audience, “This band influenced our last 3 years of writing if you haven’t noticed.” Case in point, the doom-infused, emotional portrait of melodic intensity within “Stoning The Devil” recalls the likes of Soundgarden’s “Mailman.” And major props belong to Eddie Collins, as the way his bass notes rang alongside Bishop’s guitar captured the low-end ambiance and bends that sonically personified albums like Louder Than Love and Badmotorfinger.

Allow me to attest, as a die-hard Soundgarden fan and someone who has spoken with Yeagley about Soundgarden multiple times in the past, few musicians wear their heart on their sleeve and honor their heroes quite like Yeagley; his tributes are class-personified. The crowd unleashed such a deafening roar once Crobot kicked into “Outshined.” Destiny came to fruition; this band was born to conquer this monumental classic since those off-beat time signatures, unorthodox grooves, and unrelenting riffs have been encoded into their DNA since day one. All four members of Crobot add such distinct elements, influences, and flavors to their sound; very much like how Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd, and Matt Cameron brought out the best in one another with a garden’s worth of diverse sounds throughout their run.

And don’t think this set didn’t include some vintage Crobot classics, as the band absolutely tore through “Skull of Geronimo,” “Queen of the Night,” and “Cloud Spiller.” Focusing on “Cloud Spiller,” the swinging riffs, stop-and-go rhythms, and glorious breakdowns that define this classic were heightened by an improv harmonica solo before the band suddenly stopped. Yeagley hilariously asked the audience, “You want to hear some Jonas Brothers?” and all four musicians kicked into a full-throttled cover of Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard.”

Let me also mention the colossal impact of hearing “Plague of the Mammoths” live. Real talk, when Yeagley steps onto the stage and conquers this song, his mindset shifts from Jekyll to Hyde. He maintains a heart of gold but one look into his eyes reveals someone who is completely possessed by his craft. Combine that “Hyde” mentality with some of the most lethal riffs in Chris Bishop’s arsenal; a criminally underrated guitarist who knows how to experiment with a diverse palette of tones and challenge the status-quo of modern guitar playing. In a digital age where so many young guitarists have shifted towards Axe-Fx, Bishop maximizes his pedal board to create distinctly fresh tones and most importantly, the magic of his playing lays in his hands, especially as the vibrato and note accentuation in his style sounds so insanely manic through his Orange Amplifier.

One of the best sights of the night occurred as the crowd sang Crobot’s brand-new single “Low Life” at the top of their lungs, which felt like the definitive song in their set. The lyrics in “Low Life” are so relatable to anyone who fights their way through every single day and has felt like an “Outsider” at any point in their life. Once the clap along section hits, we’re talking about an unstoppable combination of vintage soul, old-school R&B, and blues-driven grunge that is the ultimate trifecta for a year-defining, modern classic staple.

The Crobot nebula reached sentimental peaks as their encore of “Nowhere to Hide” and “La Mano De Lucifer” capped off the pinnacle rock show of the summer. The stage lights turned dark red for “La Mano De Lucifer,” which felt like the gates of hell were opened to Asbury Park. The slow-tempoed grooves and hanging notes that reverberated from the guitar riffs were so intense; the feedback itself struck the heart with its immense ringing and everyone in this band was completely in the zone.

Allow me to emphasize this point, I’ve both attended and covered hundreds of shows over the years and the Asbury Lanes was the perfect setting for this night. In the most professional manner, I’ve never seen so many venue employees walk up to the band after the show and thank them for their performance. Seriously, the staff was so gracious and complimenting the band for bringing such a reawakened, infinite force of energy to the Lanes. Imagine, they potentially come across hundreds of shows and artists a year; and this club attracts top talent. Their reaction deserves to be commended and speaks volumes about the core mythos of Crobot’s live performance.

Before and after the show, each member of Crobot could be seen hanging out amongst the crowd, having conversations, and taking pictures with every fan who approached them. Much like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, they are the “People’s Champion” and there truly isn’t a better group of guys to root for in the entire music industry.

For anyone who’s younger and missed out on some of the all-time classic bands and tours, those who weren’t alive to see Metallica’s Damaged Justice tour, Faith No More circa The Real Thing, and even Soungarden during their Badmotorfinger run, this is your chance to witness a once-in-a-generation band in the present.

A huge proponent of Crobot’s musical identity and acumen, they are one of the few groups in mainstream rock who embrace Stevie Wonder inspired soul and the vintage spirit of Motown. Simply stated, their grooves cannot be matched, contained, nor denied, especially during their live performances. Crobot gives such an immeasurable level of heart and energy to the audience anywhere they play; I’ve them headline both the smallest clubs and open the biggest festivals. If the apocalypse were bound to occur tomorrow, they would process to jam away. Mark my words, do not miss this Motherbrain tour, as history will reflect this particular moment in their career as one that will be revered upon for generations to come.

Anthony Toto
Anthony Totohttps://pathbrite.com/AnthonyMToto/profile
Anthony Toto is a senior writer and social media manager for The Pop Break. Works in the music industry and interviews prominent artists, bands, and musicians. Longtime guitarist, Rutgers Graduate, and wholeheartedly believes in the ethereal power of music.

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