It’s hard to stand out from the crowd at the Asbury Music Awards, where there are 40 categories plus short sets by various prominent nominees throughout the evening. But Deal Casino did so, Thursday night at the Stone Pony, both by winning the most awards of any group (three, for Best Pop/Rock Band, Best Vocalist, and Best Live Performance) and by making the most of their short time onstage, delivering a performance of unbelievable intensity from the first note to the last. If I had to compare them to another band, I’d say early Smashing Pumpkins, due to their squalling guitars and their ability to project a sense of life-or-death urgency. It was a big night for a band that seems to have all the potential in the world.
Other multiple winners included Matt Wade (who also made a big impression with a volcanic cover of Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With”), Nicole Atkins, Toothgrinder, Brick + Mortar, Francis Lombardi and The Battery Electric, who all won two statuettes apiece.
Congratulations to Glen Burtnik, who included, in his Living Legend acceptance speech, a marriage proposal to his girlfriend Christina Shafer, who accepted. “My life is complete,” said Burtnik, who elaborated, later on Facebook: “Loving my newfound life in Raspeberry Park with my amazing Christina, I figured, ‘Why wait for freaking Xmas?…what better time to yank a ring out of my right hand pocket during my ‘Living Legend Award’ acceptance speech (which actually means I’m not completely deceased quite yet) to ask the amazing, patient, understanding Christina Shafer’s hand in marriage? And so I did.” To see the proposal, click here.
I saw Pete Scherer at the ceremony, and he mentioned that Mr. Reality — his fondly remembered acoustic rock trio from the ’90s, also featuring Gordon Brown and Rob Tanico — is planning to reunite for one night only, to perform at the sold-out main Light of Day concert at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, Jan. 17. Mr. Reality released a self-titled album on major label SBK/EMI in 1992; Scherer, Brown and Tanico have also performed and recorded together in the bands Samhill and Highway 9, but have been devoted to individual projects in recent years.
Here is the complete winners list:
Young Band (Under 21): Corrina, Corrina
Male Solo/Acoustic Act: Francis Lombardi
Female Solo/Acoustic Act: Emily Grove
Male Vocalist: Joep Parella (Deal Casino)
Female Vocalist: Amy Malkoff (Amy Malkoff & the Moonshines)
Jam/Groove Band: We Used to Cut the Grass
Blues/Soul Band: The Shady Street Show Band
Indie/Alt-Rock Band: Brick + Mortar
Heavy Rock Act: Toothgrinder
Americana: Thomas Wesley Stern
Pop/Rock Band: Deal Casino
Punk Band: Hot Blood
Rock Band: The Battery Electric
Guitarist: Brent Ovar Berghold (The Battery Electric)
Bassist: Zach Westfall (Matt Wade)
Drummer: Wills Weller (Toothgrinder)
Keyboard Player: Matt Wade (Matt Wade)
Multi-Instrumentalist: Bryan Haring (Seasons)
Live Performance: Deal Casino
Local Album Release: Whiskey & the Mourning After, Francis Lombardi
Song of the Year: “Bird in a Cage,” Dentist
Music Video: “Locked in a Cage,” Brick + Mortar
Local Club DJ: DJ Mike Merrell
Poet Laureate: Keith Baird
Comedian: James Weir
Live Sound Engineer: Jack “Hinge” Pitzer (The Saint)
Music Photographer: Jeff Crespi (Jeff Crespi Rocks/Freelance)
“Beyond” Asbury Artist (Active Local Artists Who Have Graduated After Having Been Nominated for Five Consecutive Years or More): Nicole Atkins
“Beyond” Asbury Release: Slow Phaser, Nicole Atkins
“Classic” Asbury Artist: Stringbean & the Stalkers
News Publication in Support of Live Music: “The Aquarian Weekly”
Radio/Internet Station in Support of Live Music: 90.5 The Night (WBJB-FM Brookdale Public Radio)
Radio Personality in Support of Live Music: Nikki Black (Jersey Rock 95.9 The RAT)
Journalist in Support of Live Music: Chris Rotolo (Speak Into My Good Eye)
Music Website/Facebook in Support of Live Original Music: Speak Into My Good Eye
Hang-Out Bar: Bond Street Bar
Live Original Music Venue (Small): The Saint
Live Original Music Venue (Large): The Stone Pony
Living Legend: Glen Burtnik
James M. MacDonald Behind the Scenes Lifetime Achievement: Jack “Hinge” Pitzer (The Saint)
Best Thing to Happen 2013/2014: Lakehouse Music Academy Establishes Solid Foundation for Future Musicians
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