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.
Another rousing day of panels and industry talks got into the real nitty-gritty with the talk “Understanding Blockchain: The New Accounting?” A topic which would divide any group between insanely boring and exceptionally enlightening depending on their passion for wanting to completely rewrite the process of collecting music royalties. Luckily, if this topic was too hard to swallow (and it may have been seeing as attendance was low – although those present were utterly spellbound by the discussion), the rest of the evening was crafted for not on those on the musical creation side but those more aligned with the public relations side with a panel on “The Other Data: Tracking and Managing Your Audience.”
This evening’s segue into the nighttime came for some with an exclusive invite to the Littlstar for the IDG.tv VIP Party. The space was limited and offered finger foods and various cocktails. The atmosphere was relaxed, but along with the exclusivity came an awkward sense of being somewhat out of place as if you crashed a house party where everyone knew each other.
Talos @ Bowery Electric Map Room
Squeezed into the tiny space that is the Bowery Electric Map Room was the large presence of Irish band Talos. Opening the night with their uncluttered and minimalistic musical approach the sounds painted atmospheric swatches in which the listeners could lose themselves. The light and sensitive lyrical approach had the audience closing their eyes and swaying to the gentle vibes.
t s h i m a @ Bowery Electric Main Room
A collaboration between electronic musician t s h i m a and Brooklyn-based visual artist by the moniker Videopunks took the main stage in the Bowery Electric. The visual artist, working out of a suitcase, supplemented projected visuals on a far wall for the act which otherwise would have a typical static stage presence. The distorted VHS-styled images cut and spliced random clips saturated in color to a backing track of chilled-out beats and textured synths mixed under digitally altered audio samples.
Turner Cody & The Dukes of Decline @ Pianos
Back at Pianos (QRO venue review), Turner Cody and his backing band The Dukes of Decline were channeling electric Bob Dylan by playing a decidedly rollicking set of folk-rock numbers with a shuffling and upbeat tempo.
Lola’s Ghost @ Leftfield
The Drink More Records Showcase at Leftfield opened with lone performer by the name of Lola’s Ghost. Playing a lonely and haunted soundtrack backed with commanding vocals, she shaped a sobering yet fragile atmosphere.
The Judy Blooms @ Leftfield
In the moments between previous set and the time it took The Judy Blooms to take the stage a surprising number of people filled the small space that makes up the stage area of Leftfield. Not only were the numbers there but also the support was obviously present for the duo with a handful of people calling out to request specific songs by their titles.
Elle Exxe @ The Delancey
The singer with perhaps the most buzz at Mondo NYC the Scottish solo artist Elle Exxe (sans usual backing band). Taking to the spotlight of The Delancey she used all of the available space on the stage to run around and convulse to her hard charging pop hits. She kept the audience entranced with her high-energy performance and would have fared exceptionally well on a larger stage.
Negative Gemini @ Bowery Electric Main Room
Taking to the stage in the Bowery Electric’s Main Room was yet another lone artist. Utilizing loop pedals, excessive reverb, and a plethora of pre-loaded samples and drumbeats was the electronic soloist Negative Gemini.
Twiga @ Cake Shop
In the perfect environment of the Cake Shop (QRO venue review) basement Twiga stepped things up with a rousing brand of psychedelic rock. With tunes that moved the audience to shake around, Twiga jammed out to a twangy reverb soaked lead guitar.
Robot Princess @ Cake Shop
Making the most of their time at Mondo NYC was quartet Robot Princess. The definitive indie rockers cranked through their set with reckless abandon in the basement of Cake Shop.
Reputante @ Pianos
On a moody black-lit Pianos main stage the dance-based Reputante played a jangly and catchy upbeat set. While the audience didn’t partake in much dancing the mood was right if anyone bold enough felt the need.
Pool Cosby @ Bowery Electric Map Room
Stirring up the Map Room of the Bowery Electric were sounds of Pool Cosby. The producer, violinist, drummer trio delighted the tiny venue space with a blend of hip-hop and jazz mixed with live-samples and strings. The small room bounced to the sounds and forced one more track from the group once their set had reached its limit.