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

By Bob Makin

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. 

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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 … 

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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.”

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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




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