Mondo NYC, New York City’s latest annual music festival and business summit, had its inaugural kick-off event happen on September 14th at New York University’s Kimmel Center. It was at this location overlooking Washington Square Park that the five-day festival began with a proclamation read on behalf of Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing the days spanning September 14th through 18th as officially being “Mondo NYC Days”. While the festival included “music, tech, (and) media” as proclaimed in its logo, it also offered a chance for participants to “listen, connect, disrupt, (and) create.”
The festival model may have induced in some people a sense of familiarity especially to any patrons who once attended the highly beloved but seemingly now-defunct CMJ Music Marathon. While this similarity lay in part to the event’s structure, its most notable connection can be recognized in co-founders Bobby Haber and Joanne Abbot Green, and with good purpose; the Mondo co-founders originally created the CMJ Music Marathon way back in 1980.
Following in the footsteps of CMJ’s format, Mondo NYC’s five-day event had a lot to offer for anyone either involved with or even merely interested in the music industry.
One mystifying anecdote occurred during the “Press & PR: How to Rise Above the Din” panel when Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Christopher Weingarten, contributor to the monthly column “10 New Artists You Need To Know”, made it quite clear that most bands would not stand a snowball’s chance in hell in trying to get him to see them perform live.
While the daytime schedules included industry talks and panel discussions the evenings offered up musical showcases for the up-and-coming talents.
The perfect segue between the morning panels and afternoon acts was a bar-crawl mixer hosted by Sneak Attack Media located at Piano’s. The meet-up offered an opportunity for the day-to-night transitional period to incorporate musicians and industry sorts to share and discuss the morning’s events upcoming nighttime festivities. The event attracted a robust crowd and offered a centralized location to other nearby NYC Mondo locations touting a mere ten-minute walk in any direction.
Echoic @ Cake Shop
With the mixer winding down it was off to neighboring Cake Shop (QRO venue review) to catch UK alt-rockers, Echoic, start off the Pledge Music showcase. This set was their first of three throughout the week in a festival where most bands were only allotted one slot. Starting off the festival with a decidedly European take on pop-rock, Echoic oozed confidence taking the tiny basement venue as it they were headlining an open-air music festival before thousands of people.
The Commuters @ Cake Shop
Up next for the Pledge Music Showcase were The Commuters. These five musicians had a similar style aurally to the previous band Echoic, but with an underlying sense of New York City cool. While not quite at home in the seedier underbelly of Cake Shop, The Commuters emanated a confidence and demeanor that bred a sense of belonging despite these musicians all being born and raised outside of the five boroughs.
Organized Scum @ Cake Shop
Songwriting two-piece Organized Scum had an additional two-member support team to bring their songs to the stage. Continuing the Pledge Music showcase this group cranked through a set of feel-good jams keeping the mood light and bouncy. The soft vocals and easy melodies had the audience rocking gently back and forth to their light-rocking soundtrack.
DethRok @ The Delancey
Offering up some industrial-stylized tunes (and a major departure from previous day’s acts) over at The Delancey was solo artist DethRok. The droning synths and monotone vocals created hypnotic grooves with dark underpinnings to a mostly smaller but engaged audience. DethRok, the once sound engineer for industrial trailblazers Ministry, had influential traces elements from the legendary group throughout the set list but carried and altogether dissimilar sound despite the record being created with the aid from frontman Al Jourgensen.
Autodrone @ The Delancey
Pulling slightly back from the more obscure edges of the industrial scene while presenting a decidedly more accessible in-road were veteran alt-goth-rockers Autodrone. The group served fuzzy layers of guitars, thumping drums, with a pretty vocal to further explore the darker musical elements where perhaps Siouxsie & the Banshees left off.