New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

Recap of Wave Festival 2009

By Gary Wien

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Back in the day, I used to judge how good Dramarama shows were by how much my body hurt the next night. I think I'm going to start judging Wave Festivals that way as well. In this case, my body really, really hurt for two days after the festival, which meant I had a pretty good time! The Wave Festival has been a favorite of mine since it made its debut four years ago. Each year seems to get better and better. I remember thinking last year that the festival had arrived when people still hung out despite an afternoon of rain... well, this year people hung out in spite of rain throughout Saturday and Sunday. An impressive feat if you ask me.

The rain changed things a bit as networking seemed a bit less than in previous years and the focus on music seemed a little higher. The outdoor stage on Saturday was a new twist and would definitely have had bigger crowds with sunshine, but, if nothing else, the rain showed just how important the Wave Festival is to many of us who stood out in the rain for hours enjoying the music.

I spent much of the festival with my friend Lazlo of - while, we have different tastes in music, I think there were a few bands we both enjoyed seeing. I know he really liked catching The Amboys, one I think is one of the best bands in the area. It sounds like he also was glad to catch some of the artists performing at the Twisted Tree Cafe's open mic - many of whom were alumni of my Twisted Covers shows.

All in all, I think I probably saw roughly 50-60 artists including 20 I had never seen before. Of those, there were only two acts that I was really disappointed in; the rest were well worth my time. I guess my scouting report before the festival was spot on as I had an incredible three days. There was a lot of walking up and down Cookman Avenue and across to the Saint for me. I never made it to the boardwalk or the Lanes, but still managed to see shows in roughly 15 different venues. The multiple venues all within walking distance is one of my favorite things about this festival. I sort of agree with those who suggest the festival simply focus on the Cookman / Saint areas to make everything walkable. I think that makes for a very good experience, if you don't like an act just head to a different venue.

For me, the Wave is always a blend of artists I love from the local area, great touring artists I don't get a chance to see very often, plenty of artists I'm seeing for the first time, and simply getting a chance to hang out with musicians, music fans, and industry folk that rarely get a chance to see each other. It's something I look forward to each year.

Highlights from Friday for me include the Highlines - a tremendous band out of Los Angeles that closed out the night at the Saint; catching Cara Salimando for the first time and Roland Eckstein, a local artist that I hadn't heard of before; Chris Ayer from New York City who blew everyone away with his set (and who reminded me of Sean Penn through my camera lense); Domenick Carino and Laura Warshauer at Synaxis; Howard Jennings and Joe Whyte at Old Man Rafferty's; and Keith Monacchio in front of an amazing crowd outside Market in the Middle with a mini Commons reunion.

Saturday's highlights include the outdoor stage where Christine Martucci, Matt O'Ree, Outside The Box, The Reveling, Val Emmich, and Red Wanting Blue all had great sets. The rain held off from Outside the Box until the last song or two by Red Wanting Blue, but then poured so much that they moved Status Green into a wall-to-wall packed Mattison Park.

Other highlights on Saturday included Lisa Bianco and Agency at Market In The Middle and Mike Errico and Ari Hest at Synaxis. Synaxis is a pretty big venue that can be disappointing with a sparse crowd, but there was a good crowd for both of these artists. Unfortunately, the sound for Alex Brumel and Janel Elizabeth (who followed Ari Hest) did not do justice to the duo. On Sunday when I heard the Writers In Progress show at The Showroom I realized that The Showroom would have been the perfect venue for them. The sound within that place was superb.

Sunday began with brunch at Market in the Middle and the sweet sounds of The Soul Project. From there I caught many of my favorite local artists - The Amboys, Tunnels to Holland, Arlan Feiles, Eryn Shewell Band, Jerzy Jung, and Tommy Fuller. I also caught Stacie Rose for the first time after spinning her tunes on the radio station for several years. And the biggest treat had to be seeing The Queen Killing Kings, a high-energy band from New Haven, CT that features two keyboards playing extremely fast pop/rock tunes.

I'll never forget watching Keith McCarthy's excitement as Outside The Box pulled out a classic rock cover that's rarely heard on stage; Jo Wymer fighting through an emotional song about the passing of her parents as the bus roared by with a bellowing "Asbury Park" yelled by the driver (ironically, that didn't screw her up but the sight of Cook Smith did!); Matt O'Ree apologizing for the rain from the outside stage by saying, "Sorry about the rain. It's probably our fault somehow, it always rains when we play outside."; Alice Leon stopping in the middle of her set to have everyone look outside where the sun had begun shining for the first time; Gordon Brown with a guitar in his hand again during the closing party set of Jerzy Jung; and the surprise sets that filled the TBA spots like Anthony Fiumano and Tommy Strazza playing at Synaxis or Arlan Feiles during the open mic at Twisted Tree Cafe. Sometimes the things not on the schedule were among the coolest things.

There were a lot of bands I wanted to see but couldn't for one reason or another. That's always the problem with festivals - just too much good stuff going on at the same time. Still, part of the fun is trying to see as much music as you possibly can. I'd say I saw just about as many artists as I was planning to see.

The one really disappointing thing for me was the closing party. It just didn't seem as fun at the Saint as it was in previous yeasr at the Stone Pony or Wonder Bar. It seemed too much like just another show night rather than the networking wind down / celebration that we've had in the past. Regardless, I'm hoping that the Wave continues to grow and get better each year, it's definitely well on its way to being a top notch festival and I'm already looking forward to next year!

Best bands you didn't see: Highlines & The Queen Killing Kings

Best singer-songwriters you probably missed: Cara Salimando & Roland Eckstein

Best original songs: "Alibi" by Red Wanting Blue & "I Don't Know" by Eryn Shewell Band

Best cover songs: The Amboys with a blistering take on "Road to Nowhere" by The Talking Heads & Joshua Van Ness with Springsteen's "Mary, Queen of Arkansas"

Best venue/band combinations: The Eryn Shewell Band at Mattison Park & Red Wanting Blue on the outdoor stage

Best outdoor show: Keith Monacchio outside Market in the Middle (the set and the crowd were what the Wave is all about imo)

Best new venue: The Showroom (without a doubt)

Favorite overall moments: Seeing Red Wanting Blue on the big outdoor stage & watching Gordon Brown back on stage with Jerzy Jung

And on the flip side...

Worst scheduling: - Having "Writers in Progress" & "Songwriters By The Sea" both scheduled at the same time

Worst supplies: - Cheap paper wristbands that weren't supposed to come off for three days...

For more by this author, click here

Arijit Singh's New North American Tour Will Include Single Stop In Tri-State Region At Prudential Center on April 13
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Bright Brain Productions, the leading entertainment company based in California announced the “Arijit Singh LIVE Tour” in 12 cities all across the U.S. This is the first of its kind and largest tour done by Arijit Singh or any Indian artist. The tour beings on April 5 and travels through major U.S. cities culminating on May 5.  The tour stops at Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, April 13 at 7:00pm.
Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Friday, Jan 18, 2019


John Forster at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

David Massengill - Folk Concert @ Christ Congregation Church, Princeton - 8:00pm

SAL "THE VOICE" VALENTINETTI @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Elvis Birthday Bash @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm


Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


The Jason Bishop Show to Benefit CASA @ Pfleeger Concert Hall, Rowan University, Glassboro - 7:00pm

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2019 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.