Makin Waves Scene Report with Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market, Vextion, The Cryptkeeper Five & More

Also featured this week are The Vansaders, The Burns’ What a Wonderful Year 2K18, New Brunswick Cultural Center, New Brunswick City Market, Arroyo Art Studio, Callout, Benefit for ARM, Cold Weather Company, Firehouse Christmas, Quincy Mumford, Jay’s Jersey Jams, Pop Break Locals Christmas Party, Blow Up Radio, “OneMore with Brian Erickson,” Billy Walton Band, Electric Ballroom, Tom Flynn, TONKS, Green Planet Band, The Beagles, and Karen Hardy.

    Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market will be rockin’ with crates full of vinyl, music collectibles and live music on Dec. 29 at Convention Hall. Upstairs in The Overlook, the winter edition of the Flea Market will showcase Yawnmower, Jaws, The Undead and Fetal Rage, while DJs spin punk and indie rock throughout the day. Kids are admitted free and the dog-friendly event welcomes furry friends.

  The edgy fun will continue with the Flea Market’s after party at Asbury Park Brewery with Fuck It. I Quit., Suspect, Jigsaw Youth and Watercolor Nightmare.

  The veteran female-fronted Jersey Shore hard-rock trio Vextion have released “Crash” as a single and video from their forthcoming five-song EP, Vindictive. Shredding guitarist-vocalist Kate Ortiz said the song is about self-empowerment and inner strength.

  “It’s a story of me removing toxic people from my life and the realization of how much better off I was without those who brought me down,” Ortiz said.

  Together a dozen years under the leadership of shredding vocalist-guitarist Kate Ortiz, Vextion will celebrate the release of “Vindictive” on Feb. 2 at The Brighton Bar. Sharing the bill will be Ropetree and a few other acts to be announced. Also featuring bassist Max Orozco and drummer Rob “Bobman” Crowther, Vextion worked with Jeff Kalemba of Canyon Music on the EP, which he co-produced with Ortiz. The sophomore effort follows the 2011 debut EP, What I Am. Look for a Record of the Week here on Jan. 24.


    The Cryptkeeper Five’s annual Christmas Spectacular on Dec. 21 at Millhill Basement in their hometown of Trenton will live up to its name with a gift of a lineup also featuring The Vansaders, Hot Blood and White Cactus. Makin Waves is proud to be a sponsor of this banger. Don’t you just love the poster above TCK5’s uber-talented Johnny Ott? Also coming up for the Cryptkeepers will be Punk Rock Food Drive on Dec. 14 at Asbury Park Brewery with The Hempsteadys, The Fullers and Nine Eighteen: Krampus Festivus, Dec. 22, Noble Earth, Bristol, Pa., with Atomic Cretins, Local Demise and Canyon; Jan. 19, Dante’s Bar, Frostburg, Md., with The Downstrokes and Defiant Brood, and Feb. 9, The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, with The Graveyard School, Devil’s Whip and a reunion of Sharky’s Machine.

  Speaking of The Vansaders, the Asbury faves will release an acoustic album, Standstill, on Jan. 15 with a single/video, “Kiss the Bottle,” dropping Dec. 20. In addition to new unplugged songs, the album will include new renditions of older ones. No events around the LP have been announced yet, but The Vansaders will play a free show on New Year’s Eve at Bond Street Bar Complex with their buds in The Battery Electric, who have an album produced by members of Eagles of Death Metal coming out in February. Can you say, “rackball,” boys and girls?


  Oh my, what a mighty show The Burns’ What a Wonderful Year 2K18 has shaped up to be Dec. 28 and 29 at the Wonder Bar. Makin Waves is proud to be a sponsor of this show too, along with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Telegraph Hill Records, Live Music Loyalty, MOGO Tacos, and Matt Cornier, who designed the absolutely exquisite poster above. The Burns, who’ll play both nights, have created an incredible lineup with Lowlight, The Mercury Brothers, LEEDS, Pamela Flores, Dave Mooney, Brian Erickson, Tara Dente, Christine Mitchell and Rachel Ana Dobken on Dec. 28. The next night will feature The Shady Street Show Band and Des and the Swagmatics forming a local super group, plus The Vaughns, Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son, Thee Idea Men, Cranston Dean, Oil, Rob Connolly, Rick Barry and Emily Grove. Whew! What a double banger!

  There is lots of holiday fun going on in New Brunswick. City Market has planned several holiday events, including a tree lighting on Dec. 7 at Monument Square Park with live music, a holiday craft market, cook off and visit from Santa; free horse-drawn carriage rides Dec. 14 to 16, at The Hyatt Regency; free photos with Santa, Dec. 15, United Methodist Church. Items for a toy, food and clothing drive can be brought to each event. And New Year’s Eve fireworks will be Dec. 31 at Monument Square Park.

  Meanwhile, Hub City Sounds will present a rad show DJs DRKBXT and Kojak call a “Glow and Groove Glow in the Dark Party” on Dec. 8 at Fatto Americano. They’ll spin vinyl sets throughout a blacklight experience that also will feature a supply drive and volunteer sign up for the city’s Code Blue program, which helps the needy find shelter from severe winter weather.

  Finally, several organizers of the second annual Windows of Understanding storefront art display against racism, sexism and a whole ‘lotta other isms are looking for contributors for a citywide exhibit that will kick off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a community luncheon on Jan. 21 at Harvest Moon Brewery and Café. Register for the lunch at To contribute art to “Windows of Understanding,” contact Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick Community Arts Council or New Brunswick Cultural, who are organizers along with St. Peter’s University Hospital.

Asbury Park artist Patricia Arroyo is pictured with her Tillie exhibit on display through December at Vintage Subs in AP. PHOTO BY BOB MAKIN

  Makin Waves Resident Artist Patricia Arroyo of Arroyo Art Studio in Asbury Park has an exhibit at nearby Vintage Subs through year’s end in tribute to one of her favorite subjects: Tillie, the AP icon that adorned Palace Amusements for generations and now the Wonder Bar. Several full-size paintings depict Tillie. They are displayed above several wood panels that tell his story from young circus performer to the glory days of the Palace to today’s legend. All pieces are for sale, but the panels are to be sold as a group and most worthwhile one at that.

  Central Jersey female-fronted alt-rock band Callout are combining a celebration of the release of their LP, Thief, with a fundraiser for the Unbroken Foundation, which supports victims of domestic abuse. Since the September release of their video for “Mad Love,” which is about domestic abuse, the band have raised money for Unbroken with an online merchandise fundraiser. That will culminate with the Dec. 8 release of the dynamic Thief at Allstar Music Empire in Flemington. Sharing the bill will be Skiver, Triple Addiction, Crashing Atlas, The Carousers and Minderlithe.

  Caroline Romanelli’s Embrace DIY Productions will present a benefit for Archangel Raphael’s Mission (ARM), which helps meet the basic needs of food and hygiene for the needy. On Dec. 20 at Barca City Lounge in New Brunswick, live performances will be offered by Cold Weather Company, Foxanne, and solo ManDancing, and DRKBXT will spin between sets. A mere $5 gets you in the door, $10 gets you a raffle ticket for multiple prizes. Every item of donated clothing or toiletry will provide an additional raffle ticket. Multiple drawings will be held throughout the night.

  Speaking of Cold Weather Company, the harmonic, organic trio recently dropped a new song, “Do No Harm,” that will be featured on their latest LP, Find Light, when released Jan. 25. The tune, streaming above, can be found on all digital outlets. To help this great band with the process of independently releasing their tasty music, pre-order the album and lend other support via PledgeMusic here. In addition to playing the ARM benefit, CWC will perform Dec. 14 at WoodBridge to Art: An Evening of Art and Music at Woodbridge Public Library, part of the township’s 350th anniversary celebration. The evening also will feature performances by Afraid Brigade and Jeff Linden and the Black Spot Society, an exhibit of children’s art inspired by the township and works by more than 70 local artists presented in collaboration with Barron Arts Center.


  Oceanport-based Firehouse Studio, who delivered 2018 albums by Matt Dubrow & the Captives, Rachel Ana Dobken, The Burns and more, is makin waves with a stellar Christmas comp and a stacked Christmas party. This year, the third annual charity comp benefits Farm Sanctuary, a Watkins Glen, N.Y.-based nonprofit with a location in New Jersey that rescues and advocates for farm animals.  Part of an ongoing project inspired by Bob Dylan’s charitable “Christmas in the Heart” album, the 13-track collection features Jessica Magdosko (“Blue Christmas”), Brian Erickson (“Little Saint Nick”), PBR Street Gang (“Santa Claus Is Bringing the Funk”), FlexiGlass (“Christmas@Firehouse”), Anchorette (“Happy Holidays, Again”), Dave Mooney & Deirdre Forrest (“Fairytale of New York”), Joseph Alton Miller (“Old Man Winter, Please Change Your Name”), Deirdre Forrest (“Santa Baby”), Christine Palazzo (“Marshmallow World”) , Dana Helen Reminsky (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Andrew Bostwick (“Silent Night”), Kathy Quintana (“Miss the Snow”), and Jess McCormick (“That’s What Christmas Means to Me”). Nearly all will play mini sets at the inaugural Christmas Party with Firehouse Studio on Dec. 21. The free show also will feature a full set by Dan Amato & the Sophisticated Gentlemen. Christmas with Firehouse also will feature a charity raffle for a TV and other prizes and coat and canned food drive for Lunch Break in Red Bank. Last year’s comp raised $400 for Move for Hunger.

    Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why will play their seventh annual holiday show to benefit Mary’s Place by the Sea on Dec. 7 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The band will play one set of original music, followed by a tribute to Prince, featuring many special guests. An opening set will be by Sam Sims Band. Highlights also will include food catered by Surf Taco and a gift auction for a Pompano 105 Kayak ($700 value), Trek Verve 2 Bicycle ($500), and 2018 iPad with accessories ($300). Mary’s Place is a respite home in Ocean Grove serving woman with cancer. Guests can stay for a day, or up to two nights, and enjoy holistic services at no cost because of fundraisers like this event. Services offered include oncology massage, nutrition education, guided meditation, yoga, expressive writing and counseling.

  Flemington-based folk ‘n’ funk twin sibling duo Nalani & Sarina, Holmdel-based blues ‘n’ soul singer Eryn, rootsy singer-songwriter Lisa Bouchelle of Trenton, and Vernon-based blues woman Katie Henry will participate in Jay’s Jersey Jams Vol. 5: Women Rock New Jersey. The panel discussion and benefit concert will be Dec. 9 at Crossroads, Garwood. Moderating the pre-show discussion about the empowerment of women within the music industry will be veteran entertainment writer-editor Jay Lustig, whose site will benefit from admissions. Aspiring musicians and students are invited free of charge to the event to help them navigate music industry.

    The Pop Break’s third annual Locals Christmas Party and Charity Toy Drive will take place Dec. 8 in front of the massive Christmas tree inside in the Grand Arcade of Asbury Park’s Convention Hall. The all-ages show is free, but attendees are strongly encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy — the size and price of which does not matter — to donate to the Asbury Park Police Department’s Toy Drive and to be entered into a contest to win concert tickets and other prizes. Performing will be Matt McAndrew, a Long Beach Island singer-songwriter making his Asbury debut after finishing as runner-up on Season 7 of NBC’s “The Voice”; Rachel Ana Dobken, a rad singer/songwriter/multi-instrumental who recently dropped her debut full-length, When It Happens to You and is music curator of nearby Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery; Bone & Marrow, a uniquely eclectic duo who has developed into one of the Asbury scene’s must-see acts, and in rare solo acoustic performance, Mike Pellegrino of latewaves. Comedian Taylor Allen once again will serve as host.


  Old Bridge-based Internet radio station and music website will benefit the Caring Contact crisis hotline with its New Year’s Eve broadcast from noon to midnight on Dec. 31. Several local music acts will perform live throughout the broadcast, which will air party tunes in between. Performers will include Amanda Duncan, Amanda Rose Riley, Charlotte Morris, Hal Guitarist, Jenny Cat, Jim Testa, Laree Cisco, Michael Aquino, Rick & Max Dill, Shotgun Bill, Tony Tedesco, Ziggy Grover and more. The broadcast also will feature information about the work Caring Contact does to prevent suicide and how listeners can help.

  “We have been doing our New Year’s Eve Broadcast for several years now, and it is always fun to have an on-air party, but I am thrilled that we can add to our tradition by trying to raise some awareness and money for Caring Contact,” says Lazlo, founder of “The holiday season can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for many people, which is why Caring Contact, an organization affiliated with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, seemed like a perfect fit. The work they do is so important, and often goes underappreciated.”

  Each year about 45,000 people die by suicide in the United States — 120 people each day; one every 12 minutes. Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed crisis hotline and listening community founded in 1975. BlowUpRadio has been supporting the New Jersey music scene for 18 years. The New Year’s Eve performance schedule will be posted in mid-December.

  Carousel Arts, the folks who bring you “OneMore with Brian Erickson” on YouTube from Asbury Park Music Founation, will produce OneMore Night of Support: Fundraising For Fibromyalgia on Dec. 19 at The Asbury hotel with Renee Maskin, Dave Vargo, Matt Cook, Foes of Fern, and Bent. The event will be streamed live on Carousel Arts’ YouTube page and more info will be released about how to donate to meet at $1,000 fundraising goal.

  Having recently toured the United Kingdom again in and now playing three shows in North Carolina in support of their latest LP, Soul of a Man, Billy Walton Band will be back home in Asbury Park to rock with their annual holiday show on Dec. 20 at The Saint. They’ll also play Jan. 1 at Laguna Rum Bar, Brigantine; Jan. 26, Union Firehouse Mount Holly. After Walton does some gigs as the guitarist in Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, including New Year’s Eve at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, he’ll take his own band back in the U.K. in April.

  My longtime buddy Keith Roth will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his radio show, “Electric Ballroom,” on WRAT 95.9 the Rat on Dec. 30 at House of Independents in Asbury Park with Monster Magnet, Ribeye Brothers, Blue Coupe, featuring original members of Alice Cooper Group and Blue Oyster Cult, and his own band, Frankenstein 3000. Hearty congrats to you, my friend. May you continue to rock, forever young!

  Central Jersey singer-songwriter Tom Flynn, formerly of the bands Tachyon and Rain Station, has released his solo debut album, Travels, produced by Tom Brislin of Spiraling and a keyboardist for Yes, Blondie and Meat Loaf. The 10-song LP molds elements of alternative rock, classic pop, folk storytelling and prog rock into an emotive 40-minute ride, during which traveling is a recurrent them, particularly on trains. Fans of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Death for Cutie and The Smithereens will enjoy the outing like a well-paced car ride. Check it out live when Flynn plays Feb. 7 at Espresso Joe’s with Mark Mayer and Marianne Skyler.

  South Jersey-based Dryjacket bassist Ian Foley has a new solo project called TONKS with which he recently released a debut album, Windows Down & Dying, featuring the single and video “Giles Corey.” Compared to a Wes Anderson film, the beautiful, slightly quirky, and aesthetically pleasing offers an introspective collection of songs set to brightly shimmering melodies about “aging out of ‘live fast, die young,’ and prioritizing a happiness that is simple and consistent,” Foley said. TONKS will play Dec. 22 at The Barbary in Philadelphia with ManDancing, We Speak in Sounds, and Heather Grey.

  Those adorable, busy little bees in the The Green Planet Band, featuring the young Rapp brother and sisters and their mentor, Mama Lisa, have a slew of shows coming up that take them into September already! A few of the schedule’s upcoming highlights include Dec. 8, Barnes & Nobles, Bridgewater; Dec. 15, Monmouth Mall, Eatontown; Dec. 16, Stone Pony, a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital also featuring Ryan Maher, Chris Gullace Band, Kristen Baum & Lucas Rex, From the Ground and Bamm Hallow; Dec 27, Livingston Mall; Dec. 29, The Saint; Jan. 5, Hopewell Theater; Jan. 26, Thomas Sweet, Skillman, and April 19 at The Folk Project’s Minstrel Coffeehouse in Morristown with Del Rey. Vocalist-guitarist Kylee, 12 and drummer Tyler and bassist Anna, both 10, are inspired by Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Journey, Neil Diamond, Buddy Holly, Linda Ronstadt and Elvis Costello, as well as their teacher, Mama Lisa, who plays lead guitar.

  Honors and accolades have greeted Lawrenceville-based The Beagles new debut LP, Bed of Roses, featuring 17 harmonic, hook-laden tracks produced by Lon Van Eaton of The Beatles’ Apple Records, as well as vocalist-guitarist Rob Freeman. The country-flavored title track recently was No. 3 on iCharts of NJ and featured in its monthly video sampler, while “Singin’ Shower Again” was singled out by ReverbNation as a Curated Track. The LP was given a rave review in The Aquarian Weekly, was featured on Danny Coleman’s “Rock on Radio,” and is nabbing airplay on WTSR 91.3-FM.

  The Beagles will headline two upcoming episodes of the “Café Improv” program on Princeton TV (Comcast 30, FIOS 45, After airings on Dec. 24 and 31, a second episode featuring a band reunion with jazz pianist Alex Otey, who guested on Bed of Roses, will be taped Jan. 26 to air in February. On Dec. 15, the band will make their New York City debut at New Old Rock Deli, and on Jan. 6, they will perform a tribute to the Million Dollar Quartet — Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins – at Scotch Plains Public Library. On March 14 at Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, they’ll present their “Celebration of Motown” programs to close Princeton’s annual Pi Day.

  Congrats to East Brunswick-raised Karen Hardy, whose new single, “Never Do,” has gotten more than 200,000 streams on Spotify. The pop-soul track has been compared to Ariana Grande and Tori Kelly. Now based in Nashville, the singer-songwriter will be playing there Dec. 10 at The High Watt, but will be returning home for the holidays with a gig on Dec. 19 at The Saint.

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