CONNOR BRACKEN & THE MOTHER LEEDS BAND

ROCKS, ROLLS, and SAVES OUR SOULS

Words by Doug Dresher

Photos by Doug Dresher & Kenny Bieber

August 9, 2021

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Photo: Doug Dresher

Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds band brought us to the banks of the river and proceeded to baptize the audience with rock and roll on August 6th in Asbury Park!


Conversely - Connor Bracken is possessed. From head to Telecaster, he is owned by that old devil Rock and Roll. And that possession was on full display. In a town brimming with great bands, Bracken’s performance at House of Independents has laid bare the singular fact that he and his band are a force that cannot be ignored.

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Rock and roll has always been the push/pull between baptism and possession. Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads and was enshrined as immortal. William S. Burroughs told us that any old soul is worth saving to a priest, but being offered the devil’s bargain is actually an honor. It was an honor to be saved by Connor Bracken this evening.


Like most of us, I am a sinner. Not super big sins - more of the easily forgiven ones. But in the darkness of a music venue, we can all pretend that we are cool outlaws with which no one should ask too many questions. Bracken and band must have sensed that the audience needed to be saved. They needed to be reminded about the magic that can occur when a performer pulls out all the stops and leaves bare his soul. With each song, the audience was brought to the banks of the river, and one by one, or groups dancing, individuals swaying with the beat, even those who might have been there to see the other bands - we were all saved.

Photo: Kenny Bieber



The past year or so has sucked. And even this very day, the future seems difficult to predict. But for about 90 minutes, while Connor Bracken & The Mother Leeds Band performed, and we were saved - saved from the news, saved from my monthly bills, saved from the worry of car repairs, leaking roofs, and the kids’ college tuition. For about 90 minutes, Bracken reminded us all that there are talented (and possibly possessed) people that are capable of transforming an experience into a life-affirming moment of something good and pure.

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Photo: Doug Dresher

Now, all we can do is hope that Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band can take their talent, their tightly rehearsed set that is the definition of great music, and put their name on the list of fantastic bands that call Asbury Park their hometown.

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Photo: Kenny Bieber

Here have some photographs!


Photo Gallery by Kenny Bieber

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Photo Gallery by Doug Dresher

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Born from an existential argument between the modernists and postmodernists, I have found my home with the post-punks and those who love a good slice of pizza. I live in a world of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and the ever-elusive decisive moment. Punctum and Stadium aside, I like to take photographs of people and things to see how they look photographed. While I miss CBGBs, I think Asbury Park is as close as we are ever going to get to making punk whatever we make it to be. The future is unwritten and I owe it all to Mr. Bradley and Mr. Martin. Let us now praise famous men and ask the little prince for his thoughts. Sometimes I'm on the road, but If it wasn’t for the honor of the thing, I’d rather walk. My loving wife supports this albatross of an obsession and my kids put up with me well. BA, MFA, M.Ed., BCEA, Tri-X, and Nikon.

Kenny Bieber is a local music journalist and photographer who also highly values a good pun, quality milkshake and swears he doesn’t have too many records. He’s generally just happy to be here.

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