Sound Waves & Spray Paint

Music. Writing. Art. And whatever the hell else I want to talk about, damn it.

A Halo Called Fred & The Eternal Frontier (Partial Bands) at Dragonfly Cafe

Okay, let me do something novel here and talk about the things I’ve been up to in something resembling order of occurrence. Crazy, I know, especially considering I have three things on the agenda that all were happening just about within seconds of each other, so ‘order of completion’ might be more accurate.

Firstly, I did get my butt to Sommerville for that mid-July cafe concert I mentioned earlier.

After the SPWF fiasco, I wanted to see a full Halo Called Fred set, gosh darn it! So, my Saturday started with the new Spiderman film (which was awesome), and then in the evening I took the drive. Sommerville is another ‘argh fuck this parking’ town. The meter yelled at me a lot. It didn’t want my money, apparently. Beats the extortionate parking garage fees in certain other nearby towns that will go unnamed, though.

AAANYWAY, with the parking fiasco tended to, it was onward to the Dragonfly.

(Side Note: Dragonfly has gluten-free options AND organic teas. Both bonus points in it’s favor. This time I just got a smoothie though – as I don’t dare either chili or tea when my GERD has been flaring. That’s okay though. Smoothies are delicious.)

First fun fact: I have never seen the Eternal Frontier in spite of wanting to every year at SPWF. Somehow, the scheduling always lines them up directly opposite someone on my ‘wouldn’t miss them for the apocalypse’ bands. It’s just how it keeps falling, so I was looking forward to FINALLY getting to check them out.

I got to 50% check them out. Unfortunately, one of the members had a family emergency, so I got to see 50% of the Eternal Frontier. I’ll have to keep trying.

eternal frontier
Professor Adam Smasher – 1/2 of the Eternal Frontier

And then, I got to see a full Halo set…minus their regular bassist. Fun fact #2: I have seen Halo perform at the Dragonfly twice, and with the smaller, 3 piece version of the band both times. Fate? Some sort of time-space paradox? I’ll leave the mad scientists in the room to argue over the subject into infinity. I’m just saying, it’s officially a trend, and in a world of top hats and time machines, there may, possibly, be a chance of some kind that there’s something to that.

A Halo Called Fred

All said, it was a good night out. No more concerts planned for the immediate future. It’s been a fairly light summer for me on the music front, really, but we’ll see if anything of note pops up. I’ll be sure to (eventually) talk about it if it does.


Burden in My Hand: Tribute to Chris Cornell


It’s not often that I decide to go to a concert on the fly. And, I’ll be honest, it’s not often I go to House of Independents, not because of anything wrong with the venue, but because I’m convinced that finding parking in Asbury Park is one of Dante’s 9 Circles of Hell, and it only gets worse the further you get from the beach.

But, I woke up yesterday morning to an email that there was going to be a Chris Cornell Tribute show that very night, featuring a bunch of local artists I knew nothing about and never heard of, and I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to go, but I also had a distinct feeling I’d regret it if I didn’t, since a tribute show is the closest I’ll ever get to a Chris Cornell show now that he’s gone and Chris Cornell tributes are really only likely to happen while the wound is fresh for fans. If I skipped this show, even if I was exhausted, I might very well be skipping my only chance to ever hear most of these songs played live. Ever. I couldn’t do that.

I was feeling low energy – in part due to bouts of random and inexplicable insomnia twice this week, in part due to working longer days all week – and I had errands after work that absolutely couldn’t be delayed, which meant I was going to have to basically get out of work, drive almost an hour out of my way to do them, and then drive another 40 minutes to get down to the show. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Inhale a snack bar or bag of chips while driving and pretend that counts as a sufficient dinner. Get a soda, because you are going to need the caffeine. Basically, this was one of my worse ideas, but it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. After all, it’s a small venue and local bands. With big names, a shorty like me really needs to be at the venue by the time the doors open to have any hope of not having my entire view of the stage eclipsed by someone seven feet tall (okay, I’m exaggerating. To totally eclipse my view of the stage, you really only have to be about 5’6.), so that bought me an hour, and made the adventure feasible.

I admit, I had low expectations. I didn’t know any of the bands, and really, who can possibly do Chris Cornell justice? It was a good show though, guys. It really was. They even played a few songs off of Euphoria Morning (otherwise known as one of the best albums in all of time and space thank-you-very-much).

Now, there were a lot of people on and off the stage. I have literally zero hope of identifying them all (or any of them, if I’m honest). The advertisement said “featuring members of “No More Pain”, “Mind Riot” and special guests – for what help that is. If you can identify the musicians pictured, tell me who they are and I will edit the post to include it.

Overall, I’m tired today, but it was a good night out. Was glad I chose a spot against the wall to prop myself up against by the end though. I was ready to sink like a stone by the time I got into the house. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. I swear I’m going to turn into one of those old ladies who goes to bed at 7pm eventually. 😀

And, on that note, I am officially up to date on everything except recording drafts of new songs for you. Yay. So those will be next on the to-do list.

I think the only way to finish this post off is to share a song I love off of one of the albums people generally didn’t. “Safe & Sound” comes off of the “Carry On” Album. (song starts about 30 seconds in)

Steampunk World’s Faire 2017 (…yes, I am incredibly late on this post. I know.)

This post is so overdue that it’s not even funny. The event was in May, FFS! I have no excuse. I’m just lazy. But, because I’m lazy, and this post should have happened 2 months ago, it’s going to be an overview of the bands I saw rather than any sort of in depth analysis.

As a preface –we had a fuck ton of rain this spring. In fact, as I write this post, it’s misting. This is relevant because it rained so much that the first day of the festival I was nearly flooded into my development (seriously, I should NOT have driven through water that high. I thought my car was going to turn into a submarine), and the Courtyard Stage was completely defunct because of all the wet, which derailed my original plans a bit. Some of the stuff I planned to see I didn’t get to see. Other things I had to reschedule. Some sets I only got to see part of. SPWF scheduling is always an adventure, but the weather added a level of hell to trying to figure out when and where I could see some of the acts I’d been planning on.

That scheduling is why my first musical performance of the festival was OPERA, of all things.

Nicole OlivaIMAG2523.jpg

I am not cultured, guys. I can tell you Nicole Oliva was a soprano and had a pretty voice and that she changed her costume a billion times, but I can’t tell you that her performance won me over to the art form, really. It was neat, but it’s not like I’m going to start researching operas now. Fun fact, though: opera sung in English is no more intelligible than opera sung in foreign languages, it turns out. I still can barely make out a word of it.

Scott HellandIMAG2528.jpg

I spent the next while at educational things, not because I had a strong desire to do them, but because half of Day 1 was supposed to be spent at the stage that wasn’t working, so I ended up wandering and ending up browsing vendors or in panels because I couldn’t find the things I’d expected to be doing. And so, as I was wandering by Frenchy & the Punk’s stand, I overheard the conversation that Scott Helland’s set had been moved to the lobby of one of the hotels, in a different time slot. I wanted to catch that, because his only other solo set was pretty early in the morning, and I didn’t want to force myself out of bed just for that, when there wasn’t a lot else I wanted to do the following day before late afternoon. So, I got to watch him set up 10,000 pedals with a steampunk dalek. The dalek didn’t help at all. I think he was just there for moral support.



I am going to admit here that this is a band I had no intention of going to see, but the schedule shifting meant there wasn’t a heck of a lot going on at this hour of my Friday night, so I decided ‘what the hell?’ Normally, at SPWF, I prioritize bands from foreign shores, but I admit the description of them turned me off. It was something about electronic dance music and a stuffed bunny mascot. I almost always hate electronica, and I certainly don’t like dance music, so this wasn’t so much a point against the band as it was the fact it just didn’t sound like something that was going to be to my personal preference. But, they were pretty good, guys. I don’t think ‘electronica’ or ‘dance’ are words I would personally use to describe them. They were much closer to my rock music happy place than I expected them to be.

V is for Villains


This is the set I wanted to stay on Friday to see, and the entire reason I lingered in the misty damp around the main stage for Prosspekt. Their Saturday show conflicted with…something…so I wanted to get this out of the way on Friday night to avoid making tough decisions. I was worried though, guys. I really was. As much as I love music, I’m an absolutely terrible audience member. I’m not bouncy. I don’t dance. I clap quietly, and I loathe audience participation. I’m not even kidding. I’m that audience member that stands there, takes a few photos, and mostly just stare. I’m that person who looks like they might not actually be enjoying themselves, even when I’m totally into it. So, when I found myself, right before the show, as literally the only audience member, I was worried for the band. I was crossing my fingers that the bouncy people would come along soon. Very soon. Eventually they did, but it didn’t end up being a very big crowd. Blame the weather. They were worth a little bit of misty rain.

Scott Helland (again)IMAG2577.jpg

I ended up catching part of Scott Helland’s set on a proper stage in the morning anyway, as I was waiting to meet up with a friend.

Sarah DonnerIMAG2579.jpg

The courtyard stage was open on day 2, which meant I didn’t have to divert my plans very much. I was stationed there for a few hours. I wanted to check out Sarah Donner, knowing almost nothing about her other than that she plays guitar and likes cats. Really enjoyed this set. Also, there were newborn kittens travelling with her, so it was a double win, because music AND kittens.

A Halo Called Fred


I have this ill-fated relationship with Halo shows. Every time I try to go to one, SOMETHING happens. Sometimes, it’s someone’s birthday and I can’t get out of it. Sometimes, the weather is so abysmally bad it’s impossible (this hasn’t always stopped me. I remember one show that I drove through the fury of heaven to get to.), sometimes they – for reasons unknown – close down half the roads in the state, making it almost impossible to get to the event the show is happening at. Sometimes I’m just too damn poor for the festival they’re performing at. And, sometimes, they have to stop their set in the middle because the Cake Boss is filming ten feet away. Fucking Cake Boss. So, I ended up only being able to see half of their set at this year’s SPWF. They have another show this month though, with another band that I miss every darn year at SPWF because the fates of scheduling hate me, and I’m hoping to go to that – if the Universe permits.

Eli August & the Abandoned Buildings


I think Eli has a different number of abandoned buildings every year. Sometimes, the stage is so full they barely have enough room for elbows. Sometimes, it’s just three dudes from an ever-rotating list. It’s always a good show though, so I make sure not to miss it.

Frenchy & The Punk



I see Frenchy & the Punk every year. It’s always a priority on my to-do list, and every year they’re still awesome. Also, they’re one of the few bands both me and my usual SPWF cohort enjoy so, even though it’s later than she normally stays at SPWF, she stuck around with me for the show.

Jeff Mach


(yes, I know this is a terrible photo. the mic was literally in the middle of his face the entire set from my angle though, so this is actually as good as it gets…)

I wholly admit, that while I enjoy all of Jeff’s songs, really, 90% of the reason I go to his set is just to listen to this one song he has about a steampunk accountant. It brings me such joy. And, if he won’t record the darn thing so I can buy it, seeing it live as often as possible (which is basically once a year) is my only option.

Victor and the Bully


This was my final set of the weekend. I was pretty much burning out by this set, but I was determined. I’d missed them the day before because of my schedule adventures, so the end of Saturday was my only chance.

In the end, in spite of the chaos a closed stage caused my grand plans, and only getting to see partial sets of a few things, I did manage to check out almost everything I wanted to.

I might only have one more year of SPWF in my future, as I understand after next year they plan to move to a new location. While it’s normal for festivals to move to meet growing demand, how far it moves, and to where, will determine if it’s still practical for me to go. But, I don’t have to worry about whether or not one of my annual traditions is going to die (for me, anyway) until after next year, and with any amount of luck, next year I won’t be so lazy as to wait two months to post about it. (Seriously, I’m not usually THIS bad. geez…)

I was at another show last night, so I should (theoretically) write about that in the very near future. And I’m hoping to go to another mid-month, if all goes according to loosely made plan (see: totally have not made a plan at all, but I think I clicked the ‘interested’ button on FB, which kind of almost counts).

On the learning curve, not much to discuss at this moment in time. Still on and off working on barre chords and progress is steady, but not solid enough that I feel like I want to move on to something else just yet.

I do have new songs in the works and/or just waiting for me to get off my lazy butt and record them, so I should, possibly, maybe share some more new stuff with you soon.

So, there’s a fair amount in the works, at least, if not much that I feel strongly compelled is worth a blog post just yet. Stay tuned.

Photos: Davidson Mill Pond Park

I’m catching up! At least on photo posts. This set is from last Friday. 

Photos: somewhere in Hazlet

This one is just from walking around the neighborhood. The creek 2 blocks from my house.

Photos: Holmdel Park

Another batch from Holmdel – this time at the Hilltop.

Photos: Deep Cut Gardens

I broke my 3-4 photo rule for this post. When the botanical garden is in bloom, it’s impossible to pick favorites.

This is still only the tiniest sampling of the photos I took on this walk, all the same.

Also, major pet peeve: if you can’t hold onto a damn plastic bottle until you can get to a trash can, don’t bring it into the park. Cleaning up your litter is not other people’s responsibility. Stop throwing Gatorade bottles in the grass. Shitheads.

Photos: Plainsboro Preserve

I might revisit this walk after I’ve taken the photos off of my camera as I expect I might have better deer pics on the camera than the phone.

Photos: Holmdel Park

This one is the last from May, I think. Moving forward I should at least be in the right month.

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