At The Brighton Bar

Mole from Logs in the Mainstream brought his version of humorous, against the grain folk to Long Branch's Brighton Bar on September 6. His all-acoustic set of thesaurus friendly tunes seemed to get better as the show progressed.

The songs on the bill were dissonant, and Mole, whose real name is Jeff Moller, caught the audience's attention by making them laugh and think. "You do a ballad in a bar and people will talk over you," said Mole. "You do something funny and they'll put their beer down and listen to what you're doing. I hate being ignored." Mole kept the crowd buzzed with his danceable guitar strums and sarcasm filled voice.

Laughter was most noticeable during the two songs, "With a Little Death on the Side," from the latest Logs' CD "Acaustic" and his lyrically changed version of Joan Osborne's "One of Us". Brighton Bar promoter Jack "Jacko" Monahan got up in front of the stage to request the first and the rest of the audience seconded it. Watching Mole stretch his vocal chords and play this death metal spoof on an acoustic guitar was downright hilarious.

Mole said he got the true death metal feel in the middle of the song by going through the dictionary and looking up big words. Mostly words that are unknown to the average human. "I tried to find words that sound like death metal words, but they're not," he said. One passage reads, "The perpetuation of the khowar / The composition of the crenoline / The viridity of the foliage." Mole's strength goes beyond finding words that the spell-checker won't pick up.

Most of his stronger lyrics come from using small words. "Heart on Ice" appears to be a love ballad on the surface, but turns out to be about a guy's uncanny encounters while delivering a heart for a transplant. With this tune, Mole also manages to poke fun at those who are self-absorbed and superficial.

Mole covers more ground with an acoustic that many "punk" rockers can't with a full stack of Marshalls. The set's opener, "Euphemism for G-d" cuts right through the heart of the two-faced society he sees with lyrics like, "When I see the person, I see the person trying / But when I see the people / I see the people lying."

"Mostly I believe that the power that a person has is always underplayed because it serves the structures in society to make people think they don't have power," he said. "I try to empower people. That's really the purpose of the music of Logs in the Mainstream."

On September 9th, Skaba played a show set up by Music Makers' music store in Wall, in front of its parking lot. The set was filled with laid back Sublime sounding jams that peaked with the warm bluesy solos of their guitarist, Corey Genthe. Drummer Nick Marini played in a loose lounge-jazz style and challenged his band mates with some odd timings.

Their songs featured some catchy, energetic hooks and upbeat lyrics. Many were highlighted by punchy guitar chordings and smooth bass grooves. Skaba's songs featured well-rehearsed chops that didn't overreach and loose their rhythmic feel. [ Editor's Note: The band Skaba was originally called Sprout, and has resumed using that name since the publication of this article. ]

The band is also in the advantage by having four quality singers. Their vocal harmonization brings Queen to mind. "We kind of feel them out," said lead singer Rory Fream. "When you're harmonizing, you realize you just need a note enough and you just stay on that note."

The band was formed in May. Genthe and bassist Chris Gunderud played together before in Uncle Stanley. After hooking up with Marini, he suggested singer Fream. After a few months of great crowd response, the band has been named the house band at Asbury's Stone Pony. "Each show we're just stepping up," said Gunderud.

The band hopes hard work on stage will pay off, and their sets will produce repeat draws. "The most important thing is that people come back," said Fream. Being the house band lets them choose what headliners to open up for, such as Joan Jett's appearance at the Pony on September 21st. Prior to that event, Genthe said, "We're gonna blow the roof off the place". And that's exactly the spirit which keeps fans coming back.

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.