Fort Wilson Riot, an energetic duo from Minneapolis juggled a variety of instruments to play some very catchy and intriguing songs. Really fun to see live. Part theater, part music, all fun.
Cloud Cult is one of the bands I always buy tickets for. Their live shows have this amazing sense of community among the fans and their songs always contain a lot of positive energy. I was eager to catch them play some of their new stuff. They started the show energized with their 2 artists painting feverishly on rotating canvases and the show never lost momentum. They played many of their hits with added enthusiasm. There was something very special in the air tonight. Maybe it was the perfect setting of the Bell House, the flawless set, or the great new songs, but there was an amazing energy coming from the stage. It was easily one of the best and most moving performances I’ve seen this band do. The live show does a better job capturing the energy found on their new album. I could feel the chance of new beginnings around me. It was an unforgettable night.
Sometimes things are so connected that it’s hard not to see the signs. Sometimes you remember that song or that place, or that feeling that just isn’t there anymore…. Not knowing that life could change or ever be the same. And then it does. Sometimes you meet that person that was to cross your path just at the exact moment you were supposed to. Sometimes we are so close that we don’t even realize that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. right now. right here. Sometimes you wake up and realize that the present changes the past. There’s so much energy here, it’s overwhelming.
A girl prancing around in her underwear onstage will surely garner attention. The 18 year old from Berkshire England had these great electro gothy pop songs. After a few songs I was kinda hooked to what The Good Natured were doing. Someone to watch out for.
Very eager to catch Brooklyn’s Cults. There were way more people onstage than I had expected. I absolutely love their 7″ as it has this years best summer songs that are so damn catchy. However they couldn’t pull it off live and the setting just didn’t seem right. Better listening to this outside on your ipod as the sun is setting over the horizon.
Chain Gang of 1974 is essentially 1 guy from Denver Colorodo. Tonight he had help onstage doing some pretty addictive indie electro tunes to dance to. The set got better and more energized towards the end where he utilized a crazy percussion contraption for the beats. Reminded me a little of Professor Murder.
Venue got really crowded to catch Asobi Seksu. I dig their recordings but their live show just didn’t capture all the nuances and delicacies in their songs. People around me surely disagreed.
Stuck around for School of Seven Bells whose latest album has been heavily played here as of late. When I caught them debuting their new material, both sisters were there, but tonight they were a trio. They played their dreamy pop music to a receptive crowd. An interesting highlight was the drummer proposing to his girlfriend onstage. And on their final night after a long tour, she said yes.
Lissie was the only show that I had advanced tickets for, as I was not going to miss a chance to catch this incredible singer song writer. Dylan Leblanc opened up for her and he was boring and awful.
I’ve been talking about Lissie as of last year and this musician from Rock Island Illinois has been gaining lots of deserved adulation. Recovering from damaged vocal chords, she still came out to play for a sold out CMJ crowd. Right from the first song you can tell you were experiencing something special. She sings from the heart and you can’t help become emotionally connected to her onstage. Her voice is just incredible and her songs live were more than amazing. I was truly in awe after the show. It’s been awhile since I’ve been floored by an artist at CMJ but she was easily the highlight of many many years of marathoning. We were singing and humming along to her songs for several hours after.
Although I could have been content to end my night on such a high note, we were able to catch the buzzy First Aid Kit. This duo from Sweden sings very simple yet beautiful songs. The melodies are nice and they harmonize perfectly. The place was packed and by the end I was hooked, especially after their cover of Fleet Foxes “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. They stepped away from their microphones to sing a song to a surprisingly silent crowd. Check it out here.
Starting the night on a great note catching Dan Mangan. Recently signed to the Arts & Crafts label this impressive song-writer plays some really great alt-country tunes. Of course he ended the show singing into the crowd as every Canadian musician seems to do.
Had no intention to see John Vanderslice on next as I think his new stuff is kinda boring, but NYCTaper was there so listen here. We bolted to the Delancey to catch a band on my radar called Sky Larkin. This trio from the UK played a great collection of songs full of hooks and chiming guitar melodies. During their song Still Windmills, Katie sang “I know there’s potential” which I believe this band surely has.
Ran back to Mercury Lounge to catch The Extra Lens comprising of John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue, the Human Hearts). Although I’m not a fan of the tunes of this collaboration, I’ll never pass down a chance to see John in such an intimate setting. They were extremely comfortable on stage and John was quite chatty between songs. Franklin had to constantly persuade him to tune his guitar and stop talking. For the encore he jumped off stage to sing from the back of the crowd.
Went back to the Delancey to catch First Aid Kit but the set times were running late and unfortunately Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson was performing who I can not stand seeing live and has a knack of ruining my CMJ experiences.
My plans to take it easy this year for CMJ backfired when the marathon finally posted their lineup of bands. I was very excited to catch Ume from Austin play a free Relix Mag show at some store in soho. Weird setting for their post punk guitar driven sound. I was hooked after the first song and slightly in love. Highly recommend. A great start to CMJ.
Then ran to Santos Party house for the Stereogum Party. Came in for the Tamaryn set. This band from San Francisco played their drony shoe gaze music in complete darkness. Nothing new here that you couldn’t get from the Cure and Siousie.
The buzz around DOM was already pretty heavy so I was excited. These guys came strong with their energized arena rock. With 3 guitars shredding the tunes it was full of sound and excitement and they hooked a good crowd. Heavy layered sounds but I’d rather catch Free Energy.
The highlight was Marnie Stern, armed with a charming yet biting stage presence. Very impressive on the guitar with finger tapping and jumping into elaborate and jarring guitar melodies. It’s hard not to be impressed or at least intrigued by her. Her banter was great saying things like “We’ve got two more, and then Wild Nothings are up. I wish it were Wild Somethings!” as she gyrated her hips to the crowd. Marnie, you are a rock gem. Please call me…..