Earlier this month, the homegrown Stony Brook Band, The Burnt Almonds, rocked the Bench Bar and Grill with two strong sets of original music.
The band, which as front man and keyboardist Josh Brooks put it, is a tour of “Rock ‘N Roll history,” with influences audible from many generations and styles of rock played for a packed crowd at the Bench. “We just want to go out there and have a blast,” Josh told the Press while setting up and doing sound check.
The show started at about 11, right after sound check at the behest of lively crowd. The band opened with the original song “Why Try,” which proved to be a hair waving rock anthem with elements of what would come to be the Almonds signature sound of the night.
The music featured a strong backbone of drums and heavy hitting bass accompanied by energetic guitar riffs and smooth keyboard. The band messed and blended many musical genres and sounded reminiscent of Phish, one of the bands self-described biggest influences.
With each song the crowd drew closer and closer to the dance floor, getting more and more into the energetic performance. During a solo in the first set, guitarist Corey Seiro set the crowd into overdrive, moving onto the dance floor and dancing with fans while wailing away on a strong and vibrant improvised solo.
“I can’t have people sitting down, I gotta put it on and bring them out to the dance floor,” Corey said during the intermission between sets while pounding back a Budweiser, “We try to be consistent with our quality, bringing the melody and tempo up and down song to song to keep the audience in it.”
The Almonds definitely kept the crowd involved, and holding them down with it until the wee hours of the morning up to last call.
“I think the show’s great,” Bench manager Jon Augi said between sets. “It’s awesome to see everyone having fun.”
The fun didn’t end after last call. Bench owners announced they will host The Burnt Almonds on a monthly basis, opening up the bar to the Almonds one Friday night each month going forward.
That means more hard work for The Burnt Almonds. The announcement sets a high bar for themselves with this past performance. But that’s no change for the Almonds who had written a plethora of original titles since forming last year.
The band formed in the unlikeliest of places, in the lecture hall of an Environmental Design and Planning course. “We were introducing ourselves and telling something about ourselves when Vin said he played drums,” Josh said. “We hit it off and Vin introduced me to some other guys he jammed with and that’s kinda how we formed.”
The four band members, keyboardist/vocalist Josh Brooks, drummer Vin Cerniglia, guitarist Corey Seiro, and bassist Dave LaMorte have all become good friends around their love of music, which spills over into the chemistry and enthusiasm exhibited by the band during their Bench performance.