New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Makin Waves Scene Report with Jam N Groove Fest, Let’s Get Folked Up, Hub City Stompers, The Vaughns and more

originally published: 05/10/2018

Makin Waves Scene Report with Jam N Groove Fest, Let’s Get Folked Up, Hub City Stompers, The Vaughns and more

A look at the Second Annual Makin Waves Jam N Groove Fest on May 12 at Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen

Makin Waves Scene Report with Jam N Groove Fest, Let’s Get Folked Up, Hub City Stompers, The Vaughns and more

The Scene Report, which returns to weekly starting next week, also features coLAB Arts, Remember Jones, LKFFCT, The Barrbarians, Motor City Revue and Pack the Bowl.

The Second Annual Makin Waves Jam N Groove Fest will pay tribute to Plainfield-originated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act Parliament-Funkadelic and fellow Rock Hall funkateers Red Hot Chili Peppers on May 12 at Roxy & Dukes with an all-star fusion of rock ‘n’ rap acts. They include Experiment 34, Cook Thugless, P-Funk North, Groove Gangstas, Green Knuckle Material, Offkey Lifestyle and Murdock. The fun will include funk-soul and punk-funk classics spun by DJ Melo Drama and his Composition of Sound crew. Other highlights include an “All I Want Is for You to Be Happy” Hour from 5 p.m. doors to 7 p.m. and free drawing around 10 p.m. for a mini Flea bass, Chili Peppers poster from the ’91 tour with Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins, a mint wrapped vinyl copy of P-Funk’s landmark “Maggot Brain” LP, and a Maggot Brain T-shirt. From every low-dough $7 ticket, $2 will be donated to the Elijah’s Promise food justice and empowerment program, which includes a soup kitchen, an affordable culinary school whose students often work at the EP catering service, a community garden, and school-lunch aid for at-risk children.

Having recently celebrated their fifth anniversary with a rooftop show at members’ house in Brooklyn, Cook Thugless have dropped the dope new single, “DAT MOFK,” the video to which is a blast mainly taking place on BK basketball court. The clip features their longtime friend from their Mason Gross days, Shyrley Rodriguez. Cook Thugless will be jamming on a surprise tribute tune with their homey Murdock. Each also will play their own sets.

Speaking of Murdock, the Jersey City rapper recently performed his last “AAAH” show based on the concept album of the same name about his battle since childhood with anxiety, depression, OCD and Tourette’s syndrome. For his efforts in raising awareness about mental health issues, Murdock, aka David Acosta, was asked to perform at the National Association of Social Workers Conference last month in Atlantic City. He also was featured in a “Murdock-umentary” produced by students at his alma mater, Montclair State University, which also featured him in an Alumni Spotlight. He soon will begin work on his next album. 

P-Funk North have found a new home away from home at Blackthorn Irish Pub, the former New Brunswick spot of Old Bay. They’ll be there May 26, June 9, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8, Oct. 13, Nov 10, and Dec. 8. Mad schizel coming up for them also includes two shows with their buds in the Sublime tribute band Badfish: June 28, The Stanhope House, and Sept. 8, Westfield River Brewing Co., Southwick, Mass. The latter show is the Garden Groove Festival, which also will feature Ballyhoo!, Roots of Creation, Bumpin Uglies and more. For Jam N Groove, they’ll be throwing down the Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue” and/or “Around the World.” 


Experiment 34 have a new single out, the Sublime-like “Cut the String,” produced by P-Funk North drummer Ryan Weil, who’s also produced the late, great Fun While You Wait, as well as his bands, which include Backyard Superheroes. Paying tribute to the Peppers with “Under the Bridge” on May 12, Experiment 34 have a slew of other great shows coming up: May 18 at FM Station in Jersey City with Cyclone Static and Meeko Brando; June 9, Asbury Park Yacht Club, with LEEDS and The Apy Brothers; July 5, The Meatlocker, Montclair; July 14, Asbury Park Brewery, with Hub City Stompers, The Cryptkeeper Five, Molly Rhythm, and Chalk & the Beige Americans, and Sept. 8, Hub City Sounds: ROCK New Brunswick in Boyd Park, again with Hub City Stompers, as well as Doc Hopper, Pleased Youth, Sharief in Burgundy, Silent Knight and the Band Called Fuse, Danielle Illario, Nalani & Sarina, Professor Caveman, SusBus and Hong Kong Graffiti. 

Green Knuckle Material, who’ll play “Californication” and, maybe if we’re lucky, “Can’t Stop” at Jam N Groove, have another fest coming up on June 16. Bayville IV Music Festival also will feature Fernway, MarSOUPial, Jean Pool and more on the Barnegat Bay. That show is free if you can get there by boat. When not readying their third recording, following last year’s impressive “Renaissance” EP, they’ll also play June 3 at the Stone Pony, Asbury Park; June 15, The Saint, also Asbury, and June 22, Garden State Plaza, Paramus.


Offkey Lifestyle recently dropped a tasty new tune called “Rhythm & Blues” via those nice folks at “The House Sessions (see stream above). Percussionist-vocalist Evelyn DeCosta also has a side project, Drum Hipnotix, playing May 10 at Barca City in New Brunswick. DJ Chase N’ Treasure will share in the celebration that kicks off summer break at Rutgers. Meanwhile, Offkey Lifestyle will ready a follow-up to their well-received 2017 debut EP, “A Wind so Strong,” which will be featured live on May 12, along with “Rhythm & Blues” and Parliament’s classic “Flashlight.” 

The fabulous Groove Gangstas frequently pay tribute to the masters of soul, funk and R&B, including Parliament-Funkadelic, so it’s fitting that they anchor the night with some P-Funk and other classics. Led by monster bassist Wayne Lyle, Groove Gangstas also can be seen frequently at Crosswoods in Garwood and Laundromat Bar in Morristown … 


Makin Waves is proud to sponsor “Let’s Get Folked Up: Songwriters in the Round” on May 16 at The Watermark in Asbury Park. The special evening of singers, stories and songs will feature an opening set by Nashville-based country-soul songstress Jo Smith and then a songwriters circle with local favorites Chris Brown, Joe Makoviecki of Jackson Pines, Matty Carlock, and Renee Maskin of Lowlight. Hosted by award-winning radio personality Megan O’Shea of 90.5 the Night and Thunder 106 and produced by her and Brown, “Folked Up” may continue as a series, they said. 

“The notion to attempt a songwriters-in-the-round series stemmed from conversations I had with Jo Smith,” Brown said. “I’ve only had the chance to play one similar show before, but it vividly stands out in my mind as such an awesome experience. Listening room shows, like Scott Stamper at The Saint regularly puts on or Pat Schiavino’s Asbury Underground are so awesome for the musician and the listener. To have a captive room for stories and to all share in the moment is something truly special. Add the element of four other acts on stage, the potential for improvisation, raising the performance bar is only going to be enhanced.  

“The response from other musicians, friends and peers was overwhelmingly positive with people asking to play a songwriters in the round in the future, so I feel like the likelihood of this becoming a series is very feasible,” he continued. “Jo would like to bring some more established Nashville acts to Asbury, and Megan is already super active booking and promoting shows, so I feel we have a great foundation on which we can build this up.” 

Originally from Georgia, Smith has garnered a national following with her 2016 debut EP, “Introducing Jo Smith,” featuring the acclaimed single, “Old School Groove” (see video above). Brown is an edgy singer-songwriter who has worked extensively with Bouncing Souls guitarist Pete Steinkopf as his producer. With bassist James Black in Jackson Pines and Thomas Wesley Stern before that, Makoviecki has toured the country making roots music cool again and turning on the next generation by presenting Jackson Pines’ Pinelands-inspired craft in schools. 


Like Brown, Carlock’s acoustic punk is a cross between Bruce Springsteen and The Clash, but on his most recent release, a feature spot on AP rapper Bulletproof Belv’s “Dark City Lights,” the one-time front man of hard-core bands proves he even can play hip-hop. The tune has expanded audiences for both artists. 

Maskin’s band Lowlight recently toured the East Coast with The Pretenders and will play with them again on June 28 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a third time, having also done so last year. In the meantime, the Asbury-based alt-roots band continue to perform in support of “Born to Run,” their tongue-in-cheek entitled new EP. 

“We have such a killer lineup!” O’Shea said. “It’s going to be such a great night for the music scene. Can you think of a better way to kick the summer off? I can’t wait to see what these artists end up doing. 

“We wanted to create an opportunity for everyone to get together to do what they love at the same time on the same stage,” she continued. “It’s rare you get to see artists like this. The Songwriters in the Round style is big in Nashville, and Asbury has recently been graced by the lovely Jo Smith, so we’re really excited for her to meet some folks from our music scene, as well as exposing her music to Asbury. With ‘Let’s Get Folked Up,’ I hope to let our local artists dig a little deeper into their own music and maybe even bridge a gap between Nashville and Asbury Park.”

With Sea.Hear.Now co-produced by C3, the Austin-based company that organizes the annual Lollapalooza festival, Asbury also has made in-roads to that vibrant music scene. Both events should make for a fun and productive summer in the City by the Sea … 


The New Brunswick ska-punk band Hub City Stompers will hold their final release party for the fantastic new LP, “Haters Dozen,” on May 12 at El Cortez in Brooklyn with No Redeeming Social Value, The Ladrones, and None Above All. The event also will celebrate the new video for the opening track, “Hub City Stomp.” Co-starring in the clip (see above) is the historic Court Tavern, as well as a good chunk of the Hub City. Longtime New Brunswick scenesters who haven’t been to the Court in a while will get a kick out of the vid, as well as the club, so come on back! Both Hub City Stompers and the Court have a slew of shows coming up, so check their event pages for details …


I love how in the new The Vaughns video for the tune “Take Your Kids to Work Day,” the first half of the clip matches the pop-rock music, while the band members try to behave at their day jobs. But then all hell breaks loose as the tune descends into the grungy depths of underground rock, while the band and their work colleagues act up in reaction to the boredom they’ve suffered in their stifling cubicles and offices. The new single and video coincides with The Vaughns’ two-week East Coast tour, which includes May 12, Montclair Arts & Music Festival; May 15, Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, with Clever Girls; May 16, Asbury Park Brewery with Avery Mandeville and the Man Devils and Mike Frazier, and several dates throughout New England sandwiched by May 26 at the Bitter End, New York City, and May 27 at Asbury Park Yacht Club with Renee Maskin … 

The New Brunswick-based arts incubator coLAB Arts is busy with three important productions. Its award-winning sci-fi musical set in the New Brunswick basement scene, “The Eleventh Hour,” opens a second New York City engagement on May 11 and continues for 13 more performances through June 27 at Town Stages at 221 West Broadway. Chronicling the fabled Brunsfus basement scene during the apocalypse, the show swept New York Winterfest in January with seven awards: Best Production (coLAB), Best Score (David Seamon), Most Creative Play, Best Director and Choreographer (Annie Rutherford Lutz), Best Lighting Design (Joey Braccino), and Best Singer (Tam Justin Garcia). The guitarist in P-Funk North, Garcia has to skeedattle from the Jam N Groove Fest on May 12 to hop a train at Dunellen Station for off-Broadway. 

Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg’s “Life, Death, Life Again,” about the criminal justice system’s treatment of teen prisoners, once again will be presented by coLAB on May 17 at Passage Theatre at the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton. The play was produced in association with New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s “150 Years Is Enough” Campaign to reform youth prisons. 

On June 9 at Mason Gross School of the Arts’ Philip J. Levin Theater in New Brunswick, coLAB will present a new work, “TrueSelves: A NEW GENDER PLAY,” created in partnership with the Pride Center of New Jersey. Based on oral histories of the state’s transgender community, interviews were conducted over a two-year period, culminating in a piece directed by coLAB Education Director John P. Keller that will include interview transcripts, original material, movement, and music …


Remember Jones will embark on a national summer tour as a 12-piece super-soul band that will take them up and down the East Coast and all the way out to Utah. Area dates include May 17 and June 16, Jupiter Hall, Albany, N.Y.; May 18, Trocadero, Philadelphia; May 19 and June 22, Rams Head Live, Baltimore; May 24, Brooklyn Bowl; May 27, House of Independents, Asbury Park; June 9, Westcott Theatre, Syracuse, N.Y.; June 23; Underground Arts, Philadelphia; July 7, Stone Pony, with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes; Aug. 1, Ardmore Music Hall, Ardmore, Pa., with George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic; Aug. 6, Musikfest, Bethlehem, Pa.; Aug. 22, William Morrow Beach, Somers Point, with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and there again Aug. 29 with their “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tribute to Joe Cocker …

LKFFCT will perform May 10 at Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck in support of their new four-song EP, “Cayenne,” a psychotic breakdown following last year’s mature, reflective “Dawn Chorus.” Recorded live, “Cayenne” finds the band rowdier and angrier than ever, harnessing the raw, full-throttle intensity of their previous band, Washington Square Park. Under 9 minutes, the EP is over before you know what hit you, but the adrenaline rush of vigorous garage rock is sure to remain. “Return of the Ginkers” finds the middle ground between Pixies artiness and the MC5’s exasperated anger. “Carnivorous Sweater” embraces the “I Wanna Be Your Dog” swagger of the Stooges. “Big Boppin’ Daddy” sounds like the New York Dolls if they were fronted by Lou Reed and hewed toward Pink Floyd psychedelia. The closing “Monkey Paw” has the swing of “Thank God for Mental Illness”-era Brian Jonestown Massacre. If that sounds enticing, sharing the bill at Debonair will be their Sniffling Indie Kids label mates in Quality Living and Delicate Flowers, as well as Ruby Bones and NotS … 

Asbury Park-based The Barrbarians are readying their second record, a six-song EP that will include five new tunes and a live version of their local hit “Sunday Driver.” You can hear the new funky rap-rock tunes live May 14 at Happy Mondays at the Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, with Tight Lipped and Tango Machina; May 18 at The Aztec for Jersey Shore Festival in Seaside Heights; June 15, The Saint, and July 15 at Stick’s Fest at The Basement in Eldora 

Motor City Revue are an 11-piece band covering popular and rare Motown and Stax hits, plus rock and soul classics. There are many bands that cover Motown tunes, but few strive to match the vocal harmonies and instrumental mix that distinguished the original recordings. Motor City Revue was formed to offer music lovers an authentic tribute to the artists and songs that defined a generation. Motor City Revue will have you dancing and singing along to the songs immortalized by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes and countless others. And on May 12, they’ll do so as the headliner after a musical showcase by Franklin Public Schools finest student musicians at the township’s high school. All proceeds from the $20 tickets will go to the township Cultural Arts Council’s Gazebo Fund

The inaugural Pack The Bowl Fest on May 12 will feature three hot Jersey bands at The Lanes bowling alley in Sea Girt in an effort to raise funds for Rescue Ridge: Saving Pets by the Jersey Shore. Performing will be the Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia tribute act Cosmic Jerry Band, the eclectic cover band enjoy!, and the original jam band Waiting on Mongo. Highlights of the family-friendly event will include vendors, food, booze and bowling. In addition to a $5 donation, guests are encouraged to bring canned food donations and supplies for animals in need. 

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at

For more by this author, click here

State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
(BORDENTOWN, NJ) -- Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock.  In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums.  The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.   To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live appearance with his Translator partner Robert Darlington, this Sunday, September 23 at Randy Now's Man Cave in Bordentown (134 Farnsworth Ave) at 7:00pm.  

From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
Fans of sports and music are lining up outside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Saturday, September 8, 2018 for a concert by four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist/composer Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band!
“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!

Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm

Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm

Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.