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03.30.2023: Jones Garage @ Funk'n'Waffles

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

feat. Professional Victims, Zombie Kitten, Pale Green Stars

Ashley Cox of Professional Victims setting the bar the night

I was invited to this show by Stefan, the drummer from Zombie Kitten. (Hint hint: if you want me to cover your gig/event, invite me out via my handy dandy CONTACT FORM ) I had no idea what to expect as I'd honestly never heard of any of these bands, and a name like Zombie Kitten certainly had me jumping to conclusions. I even tried to peek into my future by listening to what I could find on Spotify, and STILL didn't expect what the night would bring.

First up: Upon arriving I learned that Jones Garage is not even a band. In retrospect this makes sense as I couldn't find "their" music online, but I digress. In reality Jones Garage is a monthly feature at Funk'n'Waffles. Named for Jeff Jones, front man of Pale Green Stars, Jones Garage is a showcase curated by Mr. Jones and held the last Thursday of each month. Each Jones Garage show is closed by some variation of his band. The March 30, 2023 lineup saw Professional Victims leading off, followed by Zombie Kitten, and then brought home by an acoustic set by Jeff Jones with his collaborator Brain Coyne and featuring guest support from Shawn Sullivan of Professional Victims.

Professional Vicitms: Shawn Sullivan and his wife Ashley Cox

Professional Victims (2015 SAMMY nominees) got the night rocking from the drop. If they played covers, I didn't recognize them. With a sound like Maps era Yeah Yeah Yeahs with a splash of 90's alternative, they set the bar for the night. Ashley Cox's physical performance proved to be as dramatic as her vocals. Clad in tulle over black lace, she won the crowd over. She lamented having to find a new edgy vice with the legalization of marijuana (expensive whiskey for the record, if I'm recalling correctly) to applause from the masses. Ms. Cox was at her best when she emerged from behind her bank of keyboards, first with knees buckled by emotion, and then venturing down from the stage into the crowd. In my experience, vocal harmonies from local bands can be... mixed. Ms. Cox and her husband, Shawn Sullivan were the exception, trading lead and bolstering each other seamlessly. The show was an energetic 12 songs and the crowd, reflected the energy right back. Where other shows I'd attended at Funk'n'Waffles were relatively sedate/contemplative crowds, the crowd last Thursday came to party.

The crowd throwing shapes to Zombie Kitten

Next up was Zombie Kitten, with a sound reminiscent of Hole and Garbage with a little B-52s for weirdness. Their set was eclectic, playing songs off their album 9 Lives, a cover from Garbage, and the first cryptozoological love song I've ever heard: Bigfoot Is My Boyfriend. Zombie Kitten proved to be a crowd favorite, bringing a pile of plastic cats ears with them for their fans. I feel safe in calling them fans, as a large portion of the crowd left at the close of their set (their loss).

Zombie Kitten

The acoustic set from Pale Green Stars was fitting in its intimacy, with no drums or bass. Lyrics ranged from earnestly wrestling with realizing you're no longer the one of the cool kids, the joys of being a lazy man, to the hard times and the loss of a child. Their cowpunk sound and lyrics reminded me of Lucero, The Replacements, and Social Distortion. When I mentioned earlier that much of the crowd departed after the Zombie Kitten set, that isn't to imply the Pale Green Stars were without fans. Song requests were shouted from those that remained. Some were accepted, some were rejected. While they had a setlist, that was more a suggestion at least in terms of structure if not content.

L to R: Jeff Jones, Brian Coyne, Shawn Sullivan

I enjoyed the freeform nature that was the set. I enjoyed the anecdotes of how Jeff and Brian met and getting some insight into the circumstances that gave rise to the songs. That type of navel gazing must be handled with care as witty stage banter can easily turn into a snore inducing soliloquy if the speaker is not an adept storyteller, but those in attendance had nothing to fear with Mr. Jones on the mic. And with that, I'll hopefully take a page from his book, and wrap this up before it gets too long. While this may have been my first visit to Jones Garage, I expect it wont be my last.

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