The Amboys
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The Amboys

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk




"The Amboys Bring The Energy to The Trinity & The Pope"

Local indie band The Amboys recently brought their high energy live performance to Trinity and The Pope in Asbury Park. The group has developed a large following in the area over the past couple of years with their upbeat style and dance-infused live shows. With lead singer/guitarist C.M. Smith you get a Brian Fallon-esque presence on stage. Someone who can control a room with a single glare but still be approachable enough to get a shot of whiskey with. Working the bass and back-up vocals is the always sharply dressed Manny Castanon. Rarely seen without a white button down shirt, bow-tie and thick Clark Kent-like glasses, this fan favorite is known to get lost in the moment and join the passionate dance party that’s become a custom at their shows. Brothers Connor and Daniel Effenberger lend their immense talents on the drums and lead guitar respectively along with offering back-up vocals. The Effenberger’s have used their love and appreciation of music for more than just playing in The Amboys. Along with brother Brent, Connor and Daniel formed the Music Is The Medicine foundation which raises money for various charities through live music performances. The Amboys are an inspiring group that have used their gifts as musicians to not only entertain, but also to better the community.

On Saturday, April 14th, the A.P. based band played to another raucous crowd and turned the normally quiet venue into their own personal dance party. It was a sweltering, hot sweaty mess of foot stompers and head bobbers…exactly what you would expect from a show featuring these guys. With occasional drink breaks and a round of cheers from the crowd, the local heroes roared through an hour set, forcing everyone to dance or get out of the way. Even with the cool breeze coming in through the open doors and windows, the bank turned eatery and bar that is Trinity and The Pope couldn’t escape the moisture and heat that an Amboys’ show provides. The foursome rocked the foundation of the old building and everyone wanted to be a part of it. Whether you were swinging your hips, tapping your drink or clapping along, everyone slowly just let go and moved to the music. The Amboys remind you that it doesn’t matter if you lost your wallet, just got a parking ticket or went through a break-up, sometimes it’s just easier to dance. - Asbury Rising

"Indie-folkies The Amboys celebrate the new sound of the Jersey shore at Maxwell's"

Last weekend, a hundred thousand music fans flocked to Asbury Park for the Bamboozle Festival. This weekend, a little piece of Asbury’s music scene will return the favor and come to Hoboken.

Saturday, May 26 will mark the first time in several years that the Mile Square City welcomes the Amboys, who open for the burly, oft-barechested Brooklyn alt-country band O’Death at Maxwell’s. But back in their hometown, the Amboys rank as one of the top local draws, playing a fusion of acoustic folk and indie-rock that’s become the new sound of the Jersey shore.

“When people ask what we sound like, we usually go with ‘indie-folk-rock,’ it just seems to cover all the aspects of what we’re doing,” says frontman C.M. Smith. “People seem to like it when you give them three different words to describe yourself. Our bass player Manny (Castanon) came up with the categorization ‘rage folk.’ I don’t really know what it means but it kind of works too."

“I think the biggest thing with the Amboys’ sound is that we’re constantly evolving,” he adds. “When I first left my old band Chilling Details and started this one, I had planned on something along the lines of Ryan Adams, early Wilco, sort of country folk. But it just didn’t happen that way. It’s good that I can bring in a tune to the band, I’ll have an idea for how a song should sound, and once we start working through it, it will come out completely different. That’s really nice in a way.”

The Amboys find themselves part of a flourishing neo-folk community that includes fellow shore bands like River City Extension, Thomas Wesley Stern, and Accidental Seabirds, as well as North Jersey acts like Montclair’s Porchistas and Jersey City’s The Micks. All incorporate acoustic instrumentation of some kind, including banjo, ukulele, woodwinds, and horns to varying degrees.

“I think the thing we all have most in common is that none of us sound like anything you hear on the radio,” jokes Smith, “and that makes it kind of hard sometimes. This has all happened independently. The Amboys have been around for four years, and I didn’t know most of those other bands until a year or two ago.”

Part of the confluence, he thinks, stems from the fact that all of these musicians came of age at a time when autotune, synthesizers, and overproduced emo-pop were all the rage among their peers. “In a way I think we all rebelled against the music we disliked the most and went in the opposite direction,” Smith says. “And that’s still true today. The stuff that’s most popular right now is music that we can’t do anything with. Kids listen to stuff like Skillrex and what do we have to do with that? We have to search for music we like, and it’s just not what’s being put out by the major record companies. I noticed the other day, rolling through my iPod, that I haven’t bought a new album in years. I keep listening to the same thing. Or I’ll find something new, but it’s old, it’s music that came out years ago that I’m just hearing for the first time. I can’t find much new that really speaks to me.”

And that, Smith says, makes being in a band even more difficult than one might expect. “We really don’t mind going the 'Do It Yourself' thing, since we have control over everything that goes on,” he says. “But it does get a little frustrating every once in a while. With us, we go through a period every six or eight months where we’re all struggling to get through practice. Not that we’re miserable or anything, it’s still fun, but at a certain point, you just start questioning what you’re doing. And then something we’ll happen, we’ve get invited to play a really great gig or some opportunity will come along, and we’ll all get excited about the band together. But it’s a constant cycle of ups and downs, and you just hope for the best.”

Before he formed the Amboys, Smith played in the Asbury bands The Chilling Details and the Poconos, and has watched his hometown’s music scene blossom and expand over the last decade, t - The Star Ledger

" Catching Up With The Amboys"

At any rate, the Amboys, not ones to rest on their laurels, after the release of their enthusiastically received debut EP, Everything From the Moon to the Sun, set out to dismantle our preconceived notions of indie rock infusion yet again with their sophomore effort, "Led Me Into the Woods." - AntiMusic

"SIMGE’s Top 27 Albums Of 2011 (18-10)"

#15. The Amboys burst onto the Boardwalk this year in a big way earning the title of Top Rock Band at the 19th Annual Asbury Music Awards and garnering several other nominations, including a nod for Best Local Release on the back of its sophomore full-length record Led Into The Woods. The eight-track compilation of boot stomping Folk-Rock captures the raw energy spit forth by the outfit during live performances, often causing mosh pits and skank circles to erupt in a frenzy, tossing the assemblage into a raucous tail spin with tunes such as the banjo-led ballad “Ashley Meets The Wolf,” “Worrisome,” an upbeat anthem for those seeking companionship and emotional advice from Nick Lowe, and an electrified tune to close down the clubs aptly titled “Last Song Of The Night.” However, it’s “One Of Those Nights,” an ode to the longest and joyous of whiskey drenched evenings, where plot holes are plugged over eggs and toast shared with a woman whose name you don’t know. “There’s no reason to be scared in the woods” front-man C.M. Smith assures the listener, in this case he’s quite right. - Speak Into My Good Eye

"Lazlo's Top 100 Albums of 2011"

#43 - Blowup Radio

"? Merry Christmas To All, And To All: A Holiday Music Roundup Jon Caspi And The Souls’ Mike McDermott On Q&A Panel This Thursday ? A Speakly Playlist To Get You Through The Week"

Asbury’s own The Amboys have returned with another new song, “This Is War,” a new single that’s surfaced on the BandsOnABudget distributed Right Mix Compilation, presented by The Wrong Crowd. The Folk-Rock rage-tune, that samples selections from John F. Kennedy’s infamous speech on the threat of widespread secret societies around the globe, a speech rumored to have gotten the former president murdered by that same New World Order, is led by boisterous drum beats pounded out by Connor Effenberger, while front-man C.M. Smith, in his lush croon, emphatically declares in the track’s refrain “This Is War!” - Speak Into My Good Eye

"Merging scenes: Montclair musicians arrange high-energy showcase for Shore bands"

the Amboys were honored at the 2011 Asbury Music Awards as top rock act, - The Star Ledger

"The Amboys: Out Of The Woodwork • The Aquarian"

The quartet blends indie, folk with a hint of country to produce a sound that can be relaxing, energetic and inspiring. - The Aquarian

"The Amboys Want to Lead You Into the Woods • Asbury Park Press"

Last September, The Amboys headed off into the woods. To be precise, they holed up at the Smith Cabin, located on Rickard's Lake in Dingman Ferry, Pa.
That's a long way from the Jersey Shore, but the rustic surroundings suited The Amboys. According to the country-rock-influenced band, they shot some guns, drank some whiskey, and hunted bear with their bare hands (!). - Asbury Park Press

"The Amboys: Led Into the Woods • The Aquarian"

New Jersey's The Amboys have an alternative country sound that can lead anyone to move their feet and dance around. Their Led Into The Woods EP has sexual undertones mixed in with hooky guitar and bass grooves, moving key arrangements and mind-blowing horns. It doesn't hurt that C.M. Smith's heavy country-styled voice is versatile and can both pass for warm and romantic as well as cold and chilling. - The Aquarian

"The Amboys: Led Into the Woods • The Aquarian"

New Jersey's The Amboys have an alternative country sound that can lead anyone to move their feet and dance around. Their Led Into The Woods EP has sexual undertones mixed in with hooky guitar and bass grooves, moving key arrangements and mind-blowing horns. It doesn't hurt that C.M. Smith's heavy country-styled voice is versatile and can both pass for warm and romantic as well as cold and chilling. - The Aquarian

"CD Review-"Everything Between The Moon & The Sun""

The Amboys have been one of my favorite New Jersey-based bands ever since they first started kicking around the Asbury Park area a year ago. Their debut record, "Everything Between The Moon & The Sun" provides brilliant country-infused garage rock and roll that reminds me of Johnny Cash waking up on the wrong side of the bed after an all night binge, taking some speed, and heading out to the local punk rock bar to jam with whoever was on stage. It's got a true kick ass spirit to it.

Songs have the energy of Jason & The Scorchers in the 80s and the bite of Social Distortion. The record features some of the best rock and roll keyboard I've heard in a while -- that great B3 sound found in classic 60s garage rock tunes. It's a sound that's timeless, very cool, and rarely used as well as it is here.

"With late nights and heavy drinking, the in-between hours of the moon coming up and the sun coming back around, many things can and do happen. Lost love, one night stands, overdue phone calls, shots of whiskey and too many cigarettes," is how the band describes the record. I'd agree.

My favorite tracks are "Can't Live Here", "Kid In the City", "This Very Thin Line" and "Drunk Mistake".

"She said she could live here, she could live there
She could live just about anywhere
Said there's one thing I just can't do
I can't live here with you."
--"Can't Live Here" - New Jersey Stage

"The Headlocks & The Amboys Rock Red Bank"

In the case of Staten Island bands, it often makes sense to get off the Island when in search of these kinds of bills. So it follows that The Headlocks, who are still plugging away, are playing The Downtown in Red Bank New Jersey tonight with The Amboys. The Headlocks' folk rock dovetails nicely with that of their Asbury Park peers--both groups can play covers by established greats next to their own original tunes and not display a jarring dip in songwriting quality. Need proof? Listen to The Amboys' Neil Young cover "Heart of Gold." It'll make you want to check out the show, which presents a good excuse for Island fans to head out for the night, to a venue where The Headlocks will also hopefully play for some new faces. - SI Live

"The Amboys Bring Western Rock to the East Coast"

Sonny Han, owner of Espresso Joe’s in Keyport, has noticed an increase in young roots rock/folk-rock bands emerging out of New Jersey's Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“Its not so much a new sound; but, it’s a sound coming back," Han said, in an interview.

“It's something similar to The Greatful Dead and My Morning Jacket," he said. "I would say they’re kind of like a hard blues-rock sound – an excellent beat – but very diverse with the instruments.”

It seems to be something that’s attracting more and more fans each time these bands are playing out, he added.

The Amboys, a western-inspired rock band based out of Asbury Park, is one of the bands Han was describing. In fact, he mentions this new-found music interest in a blog written on his coffee shop's Web page.

“It was cool that he noticed this was happening,” said Chris Smith, guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Amboys. “We’re being lumped into the same genre as The Riverwinds, Calm and Repose, and The Mad Feather Group.

“I think we’re all kind of influenced by the same music,” Smith said.

The Amboys is Smith, of Loch Arbour; along with Connor Effenberger, drums, vocals, of Toms River; Manny Castanon; bass, vocals, of Asbury Park: and Kyle Waugh, guitar, mandolin, of Brick.

The Amboys are preparing to release a debut album titled "Everything Between the Moon and the Sun” by early winter. The album features 10 tracks, including “The Right Track,” “This Very Thin Line,” “Vicky,” and “Too Far.”

The band teamed up with Ian Larkin, music producer at The Dude Ranch, an independent recording studio in Asbury Park, during the summer. Larkin has helped produce music for many Jersey Shore artists including The Parlor Mob, Sikamor Rooney, and Scott Liss and the Sixty-Six.

There was a hold up in the recording studio, Smith said. “We were looking for horns; I heard them in my head when we were first working through the jams. But, I couldn’t find a horn player.

“We checked Craig’s list – where I found the whole band – and everyone that I found kind of back out,” he said.

Finally one Wednesday night Smith had stumbled across "Lady Luck" while hanging out at The Saint. “I’m sitting there and I’m complaining how I can’t find a horn player – I’m so pissed off – and everyone I find is like blah…” he said.

Drew Wajnert, promoter of PhanPhest Entertainment, had spoken with Smith at The Saint and recommended that he go ask Robert Butkowski, a local performer, for some help.

Smith didn’t realize Butkowski, a lap steel guitarist, could also play trumpet and trombone. After all, Smith and Butkowski both perform in a side project together called Frank Bressi’s Sextet.

“Right there I went on stage and was like, “Rob, can you play horns on the album?”' Smith said. “It was done that Sunday."

"Everything Between the Moon and the Sun” is currently being mastered at Asbury Media. The album features special guest appearances by: Robert Butkowski, trumpet, trombone; Jeff Plate, keys; Kristen Wright, background vocals; and Colin DiMeo, slide guitar.

The Amboys perform at 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 at The Lamp Post, 382 2nd Street, Jersey City; at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Asbury Lanes, 209 4th Ave., Asbury Park; and at 8 p.m. on Nov. 12 at The Saint, 601 Main Street, Asbury Park. Visit The Amboys for more information on upcoming events. - Sarah Webster of The Jersey City Examiner

"First Look: The Amboys"

If there is a band this year that I would love to take credit for breaking, it would be The Amboys. The Amboys have only been together a paltry two-and-a-half years but they are an auditory treat that will take your ears by storm and stomp all over your expectations of a nascent band.

When you picture the music of down-home cookin', bands hailing from Louisiana and other states below the Mason Dixon line may come to mind. Think again. This New Jersey foursome will have you sopping up their tracks like butter on a biscuit and licking your fingers for more. They have a bluesy, Southern Rock sound, blended with a tinge of gritty, rockabilly folk, and threaded with snatches of rock. How's that for a maelstrom of noise?

Oh, and they do a wicked mean rendition of Neil Young's The Harvest. Yes, the whole album.

The debut album, Everything Between the Moon and the Sun, produced by Ian Larkin, is an auditory treat and showcases the Amboys' ability to change gears and sound with precision and perfection without coming off as overly produced or manufactured. There is a depth and soul to the album seldom accomplished in a debut work. Wonderfully simple lyrics give way to easy-picking rhythm you can tap a beat to and tracks that will have you sipping shots 'til the sun comes up.

The Amboys' have a knack for making music that is touchable, digestible, and addictive. Comprised of C.M. Smith- Singer/lead guitar, Kyle Waugh- rhythm guitar, Manny Castanon- bass, Connor Effenberger- drums, the guys have a sort of self deprecating humor, which is absolutely perfect for their easy, laid-back playing style.

Pleasant, charming, and oozing self-confidence that doesn't quite reach cocky, the band members I interviewed are the type of guys you want to hang out with, bust up a few jaws with, and maybe introduce to your sister. Connor is the affable media hound and keeper of the secrets, (a dirty job but someone has to do it), drumming the group into the psyche's of music reviewers everywhere, and of course, there is a perfectionist in the bunch-- a self-admitted Jim Morrison throw-back, but I'll let you discover which one it is.

Great things are in the works for The Amboys. They have a natural magic and charisma that usually takes a band a lifetime to achieve. They are slowly creeping up on the radar, armed with all the passion, fire, and determination needed to carve out their niche. All signs point to major success.

Bottom line, the Amboys give good ear-candy. Give them a taste. We did. - AntiMusic

"All American Friday with The Amboys"

For the sake of argument Nashville, Tennessee is now located in Asbury Park, just follow me here. In this alternate universe, Tiger Army plays guitar infused country-rock with Langhorn Slim on lead vocals. All this fiction in the fantasyland I've created for you leans on this: The band I'm describing is very real, and while not made up of members of the acts I mentioned, their sound is no less authentic. The Amboys are that band! CM Smith (Lead Vocals, guitars) Manny Castanon (Bass) Kissy Constantine (Background Vocals) Connor Effenberger (Drums) Kyle Waugh (Guitar). They have a Rattle and Hum vibe. I've never been much of a U2 fan, (mostly due to what I feel is an overactive involvement in world politics) but this is a sound I can really vote for. It's homey and robust, CM and Kissy play off each other well. Connor and Manny root the band well but but take wing from time to time. Kyle's guitar coupled with CM's serve to pick up the pace and shift their sound out of neutral and right into cruise! And before I really felt like I had my fill of rock for the night, it had all dissolved. Maybe it was me, I was on edge from the softball game or the Budweisers, but I was a bit disappointed. The night ended prematurely for me. But then I guess when you're rocking out, time really twists and spins a bit faster than you'd like. - Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

"Not Power Pop, But Power Roots-Rock"

The Amboys comprise of singer/songwriter C.M. Smith, drummer Connor Effenberger, bassist Manny Castanon and guitarist Kyle Waugh. Musically it's a bit close to Wilco meets The Presidents of The USA with its take-no-prisoners honky tonk rock opener "The Right Track." The tone of the album is pretty consistent with blistering guitar solos and beer-soaked stories. "These Roads" has a western feel, like cowboys who admire Phish. The band takes a more modern approach with "Answer The Phone, Please" - a dramatic story about life on the road. "Drunk Mistake" could be a modern take on Golden Earring's "Radar Love" but the music is much more genuine. My favorite here is the bluesy rock of "This Very Thin Line" with it's chugging rhythm, rocking guitar breaks and incredible energy. The only real attempt at country is the closing acoustic track "Can't Live Here." Not power pop, but power roots-rock if you want to categorize this one. Like a favorite dive on a Saturday night, this album will leave you bleary-eyed and wanting to come back for more. - Powerpopaholic

"Shore Underground: The Amboys"

Asbury-based troupe The Amboys -- guitarist/vocalist C.M. Smith, bassist Manny Castanon, guitarist Kyle Waugh and drummer Connor Effenberger -- celebrated the released of their debut full-length, "Everything Between the Moon & the Sun" with a shack-shaking performance Feb. 19 at Asbury Lanes.

"Everything Between the Moon & the Sun'' is a brassy, rousing collection of scrappy, country-fired rock 'n' roll.

On the album, the 'boys capture the dusty drawl of classic soul-driven Memphis rock 'n' roll better than any group of East Coast guys who've never done time should ever have the right to, fusing a gamut of sounds ranging from Johnny Cash to the Stax/Volt Collection.

One of the standout tracks on "Everything Between the Moon & the Sun" is "Too Far (On a Broken Heart)'' -- a tune that seems to gain gravitas with every listen. The song rides an infectiously tight hook while showcasing Smith's chops for belting out a heart-wrenching croon with wounded urgency that fans of the Stones will find plenty familiar.

It's a song best played loud through the open windows of a revved up Mustang -- preferably one with a crazy ex in its wake.

The band has clearly learned a few tricks from the greats -- from the Drive By Truckers to Gram Parsons -- and "Too Far" is a definite "song of the year" candidate that shines with the sort of perfection and promise rarely found so early in a band's career.

Amboys drummer Connor Effenberger, who was nominated for Best Drummer at this year's Asbury Music Awards. Though Status Green's Mike Montalto eventually took home top honors in the category, The Amboys walked away with a deserved win for Top Rock Band.

Additional musicians on the album include horn player Robert Butkowski, vocalist Kirsten Wright, guitarist Colin Dimeo and keyboardist Jeff Plate. - Jersey Shore Metromix: Asbury Park Press

"Recap of Wave Festival 2009"

(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 da - Gary Wien of


Led Into the Woods EP (2011)
Everything From the Moon to the Sun (2010)
Mary Celeste EP (2008)



This is not a band, it’s a movement. The ambitious group of bandits has been spotted up and down the east coast kicking down the doors of local whiskey bars, concert halls, and lottery-laden lounges alike. Like a lucid dream locomotive The Amboys crash onto the stage with their undeniable foot stomping beats and sonically-soiled guitar riffs. Their live shows have a fraternal following of middle class artisans, free spirit soldiers, punk-rock relapses, and Woodstock warriors alike. The Amboy’s set lists are more like Ransom notes that have only one demand: DANCE DAMMIT.

Demons of deception; these four New Jersey natives trick and fool your senses into taking a front row seat to the death of genre as we know it. From their classic re-rock and blue grass bravado to unsuspecting country cap sizes; The Amboys make you guess what their sound is until you realize it doesn’t even fucking matter. They pound on the basement door of adultery with a sound which evokes late-Seventies New York hip with a welcomed garage rock mystique that inspires the soul while infecting your soles.

Collectively, Connor, Manny, Dan, and Chris have evolved into a well-proven live act. The Amboys are on stage so often in fact that they have little time for the studio. The Amboys’ first EP, 2010s’ Everything under the Moon and Sun: an electric collection of their bar brawl classics was well received. More recently, the foursome purposely lost themselves in the backwoods of Pennsylvania and found a fresh, redefined, and potentially bolder sound. Their sophomore effort, "Led Me into the Woods", is due out later this summer. One constant that you can expect from The Amboys is that their innovating melodies will be sure to celebrate life and all of its ironic absurdities.

"The Amboys' "Everything Between the Moon & the Sun'' is a brassy, rousing collection of scrappy, country-fired rock 'n' roll. On the album, the 'boys capture the dusty drawl of classic soul-driven Memphis rock 'n' roll better than any group of East Coast guys who've never done time should ever have the right to, fusing a gamut of sounds ranging from Johnny Cash to the Stax/Volt Collection."
Steve Bove-Asbury Park Press

"Fantastic debut album, blending rock & roll with honky tonk, rockabilly and a little of the blues, resulting in auditory bliss."
Lazlo of

"Not power pop, but power roots-rock if you want to categorize this one. Like a favorite dive on a Saturday night, this album will leave you bleary-eyed and wanting to come back for more."

"I would highly reccomend this album to anyone who likes hearing, dancing, thinking or breathing. If any of these activities interests you buy this album!"
Josh Matson