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.
As the mid-point of the festival hit and anybody who had made it this far was rewarded with another full day of industry talks and panels (although some were not so lucky enough as to make it that early, unfortunately). For those who cut straight to the party there was the TuneCore Mondo Crawl upstairs at The Delancey Lounge from 6-8 PM. While the setting was picturesque all of the seats were “reserved” for some people obviously too exclusive to attend because every booth was practically empty. This mattered little since the booze ran out by a mere 7:15 so it was onto the basement to see what the night had to offer.
Kathryn Gallagher @ The Delancey
Two floors down the guitarist/singer Kathryn Gallagher played twangy-country influenced songs. Playing alongside a percussionist she captivated the audience with her juxtaposition of soft and strong vocal parts over gently plucked acoustic chords.
Jocelyn & Chris Arndt @ The Delancey
Immediately following in the basement of The Delancey was the brother sister duo of Jocelyn & Chris Arndt. The brother/sister duo rocked the basement of The Delancey with deep bluesy riffs and R&B inspired grooves. The two offer an incredibly polished and soulful performance, which was perfectly complimented by an outstanding backing band.
Faulkner @ Pianos
THICK @ Bowery Electric Main Room
The all-female trio of THICK started their set spitting beer one another thanks to some audience participation – and that was before the first song was even finished.
Psychobaby @ Bowery Electric Main Room
With a name like Psychobaby, the performance was left with something more to be desired.
Marilyn Carino @ DROM
Across town in the basement of DROM (QRO venue review) was artist Marilyn Carino singing over trip-hop a styling in the vein of early Portishead. Carino shared the stage with a live drummer but while she was relatively tethered to her position near the keyboard eyes were drawn to the overhead projection that created a central focus for the eye.
The Everymen @ Pianos
The Everymen played an exciting set over at Pianos main stage in the throes of evening’s festivities. The New Jersey natives packed the stage and cranked through an exciting set. They even delightfully closed out their set with a wonderful rendition of “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” including a direct homage to the Blues Brothers with synchronized dance steps!
Carnival Youth @ Pianos
Carnival Youth closed out the evening with a clean pop-rock showcase on the main stage. Easy and accessible songs closed out the night leaving good vibes for the trek home.