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Makin Waves Scene Report with North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, the return of New Brunswick's Oktoberfest, Screaming Females, Nervous Triggers, Dinosaur Eyelids, Jay's Jersey Jams, and much more

By Bob Makin

originally published: 09/25/2017

Makin Waves Scene Report with North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, the return of New Brunswick's Oktoberfest, Screaming Females, Nervous Triggers, Dinosaur Eyelids, Jay's Jersey Jams, and much more

The Skullers will be one of two dozen bands playing the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival on Sept. 23 at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City. 


Makin Waves Scene Report with North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, the return of New Brunswick's Oktoberfest, Screaming Females, Nervous Triggers, Dinosaur Eyelids, Jay's Jersey Jams, and much more

Find out all about the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, New Brunswick’s first Oktoberfest in 25 years, the latest Melody Bar reunion, Jay’s Jersey Jams to, Blow Up Radio’s Banding Together benefit concert series and charity compilation, ProgStock, and how Screaming Females, Nervous Triggers, Dinosaur Eyelids, Hodera, Hi-Tide, Animal Masks, Just 6 Hours, The Doughboys, Richard X. Heyman, Player Hater, and Ditz are Makin Waves! 


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North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns on Sept. 23 to Cathedral Hall in Jersey City bigger and better with an expansion of presenting labels and sponsors. In addition to founding organizers Mint 400 Records and Sniffing Indie Kids, presenting will be Jersey City-based Killing Horse, Hoboken-based Bar/None, and Asbury Park-based Little Dickman. 

Besides the two-stage fest, here’s a look at how many of the two dozen performers are makin’ waves. The Skullers will drop their new EP, “Meet the Skullers,” on Sept 22 on Mint 400. The record has gotten airplay on WFMU and was featured in New Noise. Check out the video for the single “Pressure Face” above. Other upcoming shows include Sept. 24, Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival; Sept 28, Sticks & Stones, Hawthorne; Oct. 14, Fox & Crow, Jersey City; Oct. 24, Pet Shop Bar, also Jersey City, and Feb. 16, Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen. 

At Sticks & Stones and Pet Shop Bar, sharing the bill will be label mates A Bird, who will drop a single, “The Sun and the Moon,” on Sept. 29 and participate in a free show to be presented by Mint 400 on Oct. 13 at Stosh’s in Fair Lawn in celebration of label mates Quality Living’s new single. Sharing that bill will be The Bitter Chills, Fairmont and Pioneer the Eel.

Also on Mint 400, The Brixton Riot’s “Close Counts” LP produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox will be out Oct. 6 and Cyclone State are expected to have a record out early next year but can be seen sooner on Oct. 17 at Pet Shop Bar.

The Bar/None punk trio The Moms will deliver a new album, “Doing Asbestos We Can,” on Oct. 13 and will play on Oct. 12 at Vintage Vinyl in Woodbridge to promote it. The record also is available on CD, vinyl and cassette at the Bar/None store, and two songs, “Soup Song" and "Fortunate Former,” can be experienced on Spotify.

Little Dickman’s Dentist recently played the POP! Montreal Festival and will be heading back to Canada to play Oct. 14 with Germaphobes and Persons at Handlebar in Toronto. They also will participate in Dark City Entertainment’s annual Convention Hell as The Ramones on Oct. 28 at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall with Remember Jones (Otis Redding), Matt Wade (Parliament-Funkadelic), Des and the Swagmatics (Chaka Khan), The Shady Street Show Band (The B-52s), Rick Barry (Counting Crows), and members of The Black Clouds, Lower the Veil, Cycle of Pain and Shut Up (Soundgarden).

Also performing at North Jersey Indie Rock Festival will be Sniffling Indie Kids’ Professor Caveman Adam and the Planets, Delicate Flowers, LKFFCT, Quality Living, Rocky & the Chapter, Shred Flinstone, Spowder, and Well Wisher; Mint 400’s Don Kincaid & the Wait, The Duke of Norfolk, and Kult of Mary; Bar/None’s Tom Barrett of Overlake; Killing Horse’s Cicada Radio, Desir Decir, and Spicy Girl, and Little Dickman’s Fruit & Flowers, Psychiatric Metaphors, and RocknRoll HiFives. You’ll find a Spotify playlist featuring all of the performers here.

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Like last year, several media partners are supporting the event. They are NJ Racket, The Alternative, Blow Up Radio, CoolDad Music, Jersey Beat, Jersey Indie, New Jersey Stage, Speak into My Good Eye, WFDU’s “Signal to Noise,” You Don’t Know Jersey, and, of course, Makin Waves. They and the labels will be presenting the show in association with Jonathan Levine Projects, 4th Street Arts, Rock-It Docket, and BGT Enterprises …

Oktoberfest returns to New Brunswick on Oct. 7 for the first time in 25 years with Don Giovanni recording act Mikey Erg, the psycho-funk band Experiment 34, the soulful grooves of The Do Rights, and the impressive young chops of the students at Octopus Music School in nearby North Brunswick. Big Joe Henry of NJ 101.5 will add to the soundtrack of an afternoon that will include tasty craft beer. 

Erg brings a sense of music history to the event as a member of The Ergs, the first act to release an LP on Don Giovanni Records. Erg also will play Oct. 3 at Muchmore, Brooklyn; Oct. 21, Union Hall, also Brooklyn; Oct. 27 to 29 also in The Ergs at The Fest 16 in Gainesville, Fla.; Dec. 2, Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, in The Ergs opening for The Descendents, and Dec. 15, Millhill Basement, Trenton, with Digger, Honah Lee, and Erotic Novels. 

Experiment 34 are playing what likely will be their last show of the year before heading into Weilhouse Productions to record their full-length debut with the great Ryan Weil (Fun While You Wait, P-Funk North, Backyard Superheroes). An early 2018 release is expected along with a tour. And The Do Rights will rock steady with a steady stream of shows at The Old Bay and Hub City Brewhouse … 

Don Giovanni recording act Screaming Females’ six-week fall tour with The Street Eaters also will take them to The Fest 16 in Gainesville at the end of October. The tour kicks off Sept. 28 at Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, then heads to the Midwest, Canada, the West Coast, the Southwest, and additional dates in the Southeast before coming to a close Nov. 1 at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. Expect new songs to be performed from a forthcoming album to drop sometime in 2018 … 

Also repping NJ at Fest 16 will be Nervous Triggers, who have stacked local shows beforehand with Volume IV studio mates Exmaid on Oct. 6 at Flemington DIY with Buffalo’s Orations and Don Giovanni recording act Secretary Legs and Oct. 21 at Asbury Park Brewery with Headlines from Brooklyn and Notches from New Hampshire. Nervous Triggers also will play Sept. 28, Brighton Bar, Long Branch, with The Vibrators and Nov. 4, Brooklyn Bazaar, with a reunited The Degenerics, as well as Citizens Arrest, The PIST, and Hatrabbits …


New Brunswick-based Dinosaur Eyelids pay tribute to their Somerset County roots on their forthcoming album, “Left Turn on Red,” which hits college radio nationwide on Sept. 26. In addition to the sweltering grunge of “Basilone Bridge” that’s streaming above and named for Raritan Borough World War II hero John Basilone, there’s “Neshanic,” inspired by a section of Branchburg and “Sourland Wind,” a nod to the region in which they were raised in Montgomery and record at Amwell Studios in Hillsborough. Members of the band are part of the historic Staats family, which has lived in the Sourlands for hundreds of years. Look for a review of “Left Turn on Red” here upon its release in early November … 

I’ll never understand how a nightclub that inspires two packed reunions a year could be deemed “not economically viable” by its city’s mayor, but that is the case with The Melody Bar and New Brunswick’s Jim Cahill. Maybe if the city hadn’t passed the asinine ordinance that prohibits the mere presence never mind the sale of alcohol at all-ages shows, the Melody would have remained economically viable rather than bulldozed along with the Roxy. Well, if you just can’t get enough of the Melody in between reunions, there’s another one on Sept. 23 at The Court Tavern with DJs Melodrama, Ed Wong, Pat Pierson, Sean Carolan, Trent Van Doren and more spinning a soundtrack from all eras of the fabled club that launched the career of celebrity DJ Matt Pinfield. Another reunion in tribute to the Pinfield era once again will be in February …  

Some of New Jersey’s leading roots, folk and Americana acts will appear on Oct. 1 for “Jay’s Jersey Jams, Vol. 2,” a night of music to benefit, one of the homes of Makin Waves. Performing at Crossroads in Garwood will be The Shockenaw Mountain Boys, featuring members of Railroad Earth; banjo ace Tony Trischka; Barry Mitterhoff, formerly of Hot Tuna; Trenton roots-rocker Lisa Bouchelle, the classic country-rock cover band Kinderhook, the soulful Marvin Sunk, and singer-songwriter Geoff Doubleday. Tickets are $20 at

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“Not only will Oct 1 be a day of great music, but it's for a great cause,” said Tim Carbone of the Shockenaw Mountain Boys, which features two other members of Railroad Earth. Trischka, who was set to be inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame on Sept. 8 in Oklahoma City, has jammed over the years with Mitterhoff and Carbone, as well as John Skehan and Andy Goessling, also of Railroad Earth. “I am looking forward to playing with my friends and for my fans in support of the arts in New Jersey on Oct. 1,” Trischka said …

Based on the strength of their exceptional 2015 LP, “United by Bird Calls,” and an exciting live show, Hodera are one of the bands I most missed getting to write about while I was in journalistic purgatory away from this cherished column for 10 years. Well, we’re going to make up for that with a Record of the Week on Oct. 26 for their forthcoming “First Things First” LP on the Massachusetts-based Take This to Heart indie. In the meantime, I wanted to stream “North Dakota,” the first of two singles (the second just popped here), and share upcoming shows that they are playing, including a record release party and fall tour. The ever-busy Hodera will play Sept. 27, Voltage Lounge, Philadelphia; Oct. 4, Rockwood Music Hall, New York City; Oct. 31, Mercury Lounge, also New York City; an album release party Nov. 3, Brighton Bar, Long Branch, with Save Face, Secret Stuff and Halogens, and then a month-long tour that includes Nov. 9, Chameleon Club, Lancaster, Pa., with ManDancing, Toy Cars, The Ok-Ok’s, and Seasonal. The tour also has dates in New England, the Midwest, and Southeast before Hodera head home to play Dec. 1, Sidebar, Baltimore; Dec. 2, Everybody Hits, Philadelphia, and Dec. 3, Amityville Music Hall, Amityville, N.Y. The second two-thirds of the tour will be with Small Talks, a hard-working indie band from South Carolina … 

Those purveyors of surf and Tiki culture, Hi-Tide, have a couple of great events coming up following last month’s smashing Asbury Park Surf Music Festival. Black Flamingos’ tour with Messr Chumps will include a show Oct. 17 at the Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, which will be sandwiched by dates in Canada, Virginia and Ohio. Hi-Tide also will present a free Aloha Friday Halloween party Oct. 27 at The Anchor’s Bend, Asbury Park. “Monster Surfing Time” will feature Crimson Ghosts, the only instrumental tribute to Jersey’s The Misfits, plus a Monster Mash dance party, spooky cocktails with Sailor Jerry rum, Forgotten Boardwalk beer specials, a Groovy Graveyard B-horror movie reel, and a costume contest … once again will present some of the best local indie musicians for the 11th annual Banding Together: Benefit for the Spondylitis Association of America. The four-part concert series to battle the depilating disease will kick off Sept. 30 at Dragonfly Music & Coffee Café, Somerville, with Bruce Tunkel, Catherine Wacha, Deena & Jon of The Cucumbers), Frank Patrouch, Jenny Cat of Jenny & The Felines, Lance Scott Greene, Laree Cisco, Newfoundman, Peter Prasa, and Tommy Strazza. The series will continue Oct. 13 at the Brighton Bar, Long Branch, with Jon Caspi & the First Gun, September’s Ghost, The Extras Inc. and more; Oct. 14, Espresso Joe’s, Keyport, with Blisstique, DDA, Jersey Drive, Joe Schroeck, Jonathan Andrew, Josh Bicknell, Joshua Van Ness, Paul Rosevear, Reddmond & Joey, Rhonette Smith of Centennials, Shotgun Bill, Son Of Dov, and The May Darlings, and Oct. 21 at The Clash Bar,  Clifton): Match Party, Miss Ohio, Retroglyphs, and The 65's.

Spondylitis is a genetic rheumatoid arthritic condition that causes inflammation and fusion in the vertebrae of the spine. BlowUp Radio has raised thousands of dollars for the cause and awareness of the disease that affects more than 2.7 million adults in the U.S., according to  the Centers For Disease Control. “This is a very personal benefit for me as my wife, Naomi, suffers from ankylosing spondylitis,” said Lazlo, the founder of and the organizer of Banding Together. "I have seen the debilitating effects of this disease and the chronic pain and discomfort it causes. This benefit is the least I can do to help my wife, and over two million others who suffer from AS and its associated diseases." 

In addition to the live concerts, there will be a digital charity compilation at featuring previously unreleased songs from A Halo Called Fred, Tunkel, By Torchlight, Catherine Wacha, Centennials, Colie Brice, Doctor Danger, Evil Annie, Grey Goes Black, Happy Joe Canzano, Jersey Drive, Joker's Republic, Josh Bicknell, Keith Beck's Zigman Bird, Lion-Hearted, Newfoundman, Quality Living, SonofDov, Summer Husbands, The Accelerators, The Big Drops, The Subterraneans, The Wag, The Williamsboy, and more. For more info on Spondylitis Association of America go to … 

Animal Masks have been busy promoting their self-titled debut EP with a video for the track “Sad Day” (see above) and a slew of good gigs, including a recent Happy Mondays at The Wonder Bar. They also will play Sept. 22, John and Peter’s, New Hope; Sept. 23, Watchung Hills for Wounded Warriors Music Festival, Stirling Elks Lodge, Stirling; Sept. 29, Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen, and Nov. 4, Teyley Tea, Somerville …    

The new, young Asbury Park band Just 6 Hours has a tasty spot opening for ska greats The Toasters on Sept. 22 at the Brighton Bar. Sharing the bill will be hometown reggae upstarts Eastbourne and the up-and-coming ska band Joker’s Republic. Just 6 Hours definitely are makin’ waves with their debut EP, “H.O.P.E.,” having opened last month at the Brighton for punk legend Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators … 

The release of veteran Plainfield garage rockers The Doughboys’ fifth studio album, “Front Street Rebels,” will be celebrated Oct. 14 at Arlene’s Grocery in New York City and Oct. 21 at The Record Collector in Bordentown. Little Steven Van Zandt is among the band’s fans, having named The Doughboys’ “Shakin’ Our Souls” his favorite album of 2012 and bestowed seven of their tunes as “Coolest Song in the World” on his “Underground Garage” show on Sirius/XM radio. Meanwhile, Doughboy Richard X. Heyman has been busy promoting his latest solo album, “Incognito,” including a video for the track “Gleam,” streamed above …  

The new band Player Hater, a metal-hardcore side project to the great Newark-based rap ‘n’ roll band Sunny Gang, have dropped a smokin’ new demo streamed above. So far, it’s gotten them a couple of tasty gigs on Sept. 24 at the Bull’s Eye Saloon in Wilmington, Del., and Oct. 26 at Lower Level in Philly. The band take their named from a Dave Chappelle comedy skit about mental health issues. Lyrically addressing those issues is a large part of why the band formed, co-founding guitarist Chris Bacchus said, while the aggressive music serves as an excellent emotional release …  

The new Burlington-based band Ditz will make their debut at Flemington DIY on Sept. 24 in support of their debut EP, “Same, Same.” They also will Sept. 29 at The Grape Room in Philly … 


ProgStock’s inaugural festival will be Oct. 13 to 15 at Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway. The international progressive rock festival will feature artists from several countries including The Tangent and Karmakanic from Sweden, Aisles from Chile, Francis Dunnery from the United Kingdom and Dave Kerzner Band, Echolyn and Glass Hammer from the United States.


Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988 as East Coast Rocker. Contact him at Like Makin Waves at


Makin Waves Scene Report with North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, the return of New Brunswick's Oktoberfest, Screaming Females, Nervous Triggers, Dinosaur Eyelids, Jay's Jersey Jams, and much more



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