Makin Waves Scene Report with Evangelia, Cook Thugless and “13 Reasons Why”

This week’s Scene Report also features Parlor Mob, P-Funk North, Ser Xerri, Mike Daly & the Planets, Ferentz and the Felons and more

  For years, Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts has cultivated an impressive depth of talent that includes Emmy nominees Kristin Davis (“Sex in the City,” “Melrose Place”) and Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal,” “Supergirl”); Sebastian Stan, Captain America nemesis Winter Soldier; internationally acclaimed film director Cheryl Dunye; Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlain (“Dirty Blonde,” “Seussical,” “The Addams Family”), former Prince/Jay-Z trumpeter Lee Hogans, and David Seamon and Daniel Swern, the composer and producer of the award-winning off-Broadway show “The Eleventh Hour” about the New Brunswick basement scene in the face of the apocalypse.
  Two more famous Mason Gross grads, Christian Navarro and Brandon Flynn of the hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” recently lent their rising star power to their old college buddies Evangelia and Cook Thugless.
  Now based in Jersey City, Bridgewater-raised Evangelia continues her growing dominance of the music universe with her latest video for the single, “Hello Again,” featuring Navarro as co-writer of their duet. Navarro recently told Billboard how he was discussing on FaceTime with his former classmate the need for a better way into his character, teen rebel Tony Padilla. At which point, Evangelia picked up her guitar and suggested they write a song about it. The results were released as a single in April and a video that Billboard premiered on June 8.


  The clip was produced by Kyle Staniford and LuckyShot Digital. Having played Stage 1 and 3 of New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, Evangelia makes her debut on the venue’s largest Stage 2 on June 30. She also will play July 21 at the Electro Lounge at Big Shots in Woodbridge, while writing more singles to be made into videos.

STREAM Cook Thugless: 

  A couple of weeks after Evangelia’s latest video dropped, New Jersey’s most YouTube-friendly band, Cook Thugless, released one of their best clips for a fierce new tune entitled “Lockjaw.” Flynn and Mason Gross classmate Shyrley (“The Get Down,” “Pacific Rim 2”) star as artists struggling with success and fame (Shyrley has appeared on three previous Thugless tracks, including the recent clip for the funny “DAT MOFK”). Shyrley also joins Cook Thugless rapper JeanLouis on the vocal track, ad libbing over the co-frontman’s punk-like grit.
  “The video … takes a look at the psychological toil of fame for those in front of the camera, as well as the ones behind who go through desperate lengths to get the shots they need,” Cook Thugless said in a statement. “The highs and lows of the celebrity lifestyle intertwine with the ever-present eye of social media in beautiful cinematic visuals.”
  The “Lockjaw” video was produced by frequent Thugless collaborators Pyrrhic Productions, as well as MoonCulture Films, who’ve also worked with Shyrley and Evangelia. The tune, which pushes the limits of pop, weaving delicate flutes and percussion with hard-hitting brass and bass, will be featured on the jazzadelic hip-hop septet’s forthcoming five-song EP.

STREAM The Parlor Mob: 

  Asbury Park’s The Parlor Mob are the first release of producer James Ho, aka Malay, for his new BMG imprint, Britannia Row Recordings. The label is named after the famed studio founded by Pink Floyd, an act that The Parlor Mob and Ho surprisingly have in common given his R&B-heavy resume (John Legend, Alicia Keys, Frank Ocean).
  The Parlor Mob’s debut track is “Fourth of July,” out just time for the fireworks to begin at their native Jersey Shore. The band said they may release a few more Malay-produced singles before dropping an LP. Along the way, they’ll also play Sea.Hear.Festival on Sept. 29 on the Asbury beach with Jack Johnson, Incubus, Social Distortion, Blondie, The Front Bottoms, Nicole Atkins, The Battery Electric, Deal Casino and much more.

    P-Funk North front man-bassist David Sloyan and drummer-percussionist Ryan Weil are keeping The P-Funk North Show alive with help from guitarists and fellow North Plainfield natives Tam Garcia from Garden State Line and Milan Lazistan from Milan & the Sour Goat. They have no signs of slowing down.
  Upcoming shows include June 28 with Badfish at The Stanhope House; July 6 at The Stone Pony as the official after-party band inside the club for Rebelution/Stephen Marley/Common Kings/Zion I/DJ Mackle on the Summer Stage; July 11, Brighton Bar, Long Branch, Yellowman, and Garden Grove Musical, Sept. 8, Westfield River Brewing Co., Southwick, Mass., with Badfish, Roots of Creation, Bumpin Uglies and more.
  P-Funk North also are working on new studio tracks helmed by Weil at his Weilhouse Productions. They also play monthly on Saturdays at Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub in New Brunswick.

STREAM Ser Xerri: 

  Having just played The Asbury hotel, the well-rooted jam that is Bordentown-based Ser Xerri  will keep a-rockin’ all summer in support of their new three-song EP, “The Hype.” The fun four-piece not only are living up to the title with a slew of shows and a video for the title track, but an effective and entertaining Instagram campaign that also has delivered many new fans. You can be one too on July 6 at HOB Tavern, Bordentown; July 14, Triumph Brewing Co., New Hope, Pa.; Brickwall Tavern, Burlington, and Sept. 15, John and Peter’s, also New Hope. Namesake vocalist-guitarist Ser Xerri also will play a solo acoustic set July 11 at HOB Tavern.

STREAM Mike Daly & the Planets: 

  Hawthorne-based Mike Daly & the Planets have launched a Kickstarter campaign for the follow-up EP to their fantastic 2017 self-titled debut at In order to receive the funds from their $2,000 goal to finance the anticipated November release of the sophomore effort, “All It Takes Is One,” the band need to raise less than $200 by July 4. But as with all Kickstarter campaigns, they need to raise it all or they get nothing. Contributions of at least $10 will result in a reward. Several incentive packages are detailed.
  You also can support Mike Daly & the Planets by seeing them July 20 open for Sponge. Email for tickets.

STREAM Ferentz and the Felons:

    Ferentz and the Felons will celebrate the release of their CD, affectionately entitled “Hudson County” in honor of their home base, as is a hard-hitting but poignant single/video about reluctantly leaving home. The June 29 Rock-it Docket show at FM in Jersey City also will feature Sammy Kay Band, Young House and Mercy Union, an excellent new local super group featuring members of The Scandals, The Gaslight Anthem and Rocky & the Chapter. Proceeds will go to Young New Yorkers, a nonprofit that keeps juveniles out of jail by mentoring them with art.

STREAM Young New Yorkers: 

  Thanks to Overlake for this: The Cayugo Center in Harlem, where the federal government is holding hundreds of children separated from their parents at the Mexican border, are looking for musicians to play for the kids. They do not need more donations, but they do need volunteers. Musicians who are interested can email

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