CMJ 2009 : Day Four

<img src="https://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/cmj09day4recap.jpg" alt=" " />Though the weather got colder, the music stayed pretty hot on Day Four. ...
CMJ 2009 Day 4 Recap

CMJ 2009 : Day FourDay Four was the first day with poor weather, but the acts were pretty strong, between Piano’s (QRO venue review) & Rockwood Music Hall during the day, more out & about at night:

 

Skewer party @ Piano’s

Superdrag, 2:50 PM

 Superdrag

SuperdragClick image for full gallery

A band that’s headlining at Highline Ballroom (QRO venue review) is really too big to be playing this early at Piano’s, but because Superdrag was playing Highline that same day, they had to pay early, in order to be able to make it to their second gig.  Not as packed as you might think, but that’s early daytime show on the first cold day of CMJ for ya, Superdrag were still strong.  The nineties act reunited a couple of years ago (QRO reunion review), and their kind of nineties alt-punk/rock with emotion & ass0kick, but without being overbearing, is what emo-hard bands of today only wish they were.

 Superdrag

 

Imaad Wasif, 3:15 PM

 Imaad Wasif

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Imaad WasifJust popped in upstairs at Piano’s to see Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr. – QRO live review)’s favorite guitarist (and it’s not J Mascis…), Imaad Wasif, playing his new record, The Voidist.  Wasif was playing truly solo, and there were only a few people there to see him, making the whole upstairs kind of spooky.

~

 

Spin Magazine party @ Rockwood Music Hall

Drug Rug, 3:35 PM

 Drug Rug

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Had always heard about Rockwood Music Hall, but there was never anyone I wanted to see there – until CMJ, of course.  Right in the Bowery area, it was still rather hard to find, but finally made it to the separate bar, and thus had to slide through the (very) small doorway between that space and the main area with the band.  Reminiscent of nearby Living Room (QRO venue review ), just smaller (the drummer has to play on the floor), Rockwood has the coffee house-style tables & chairs, and is usually free (though they pass around a tip jar – also like Living Room).

 Sarah Cronin & Thomas Allen

Squeezing amongst a packed, barely-even-standing-room crowd for Boston’s Drug Rug (another favorite of QRO’s Michael Gutierrez – QRO articles), their alt-country/roc was loud for Rockwood, but otherwise well-suited.  Do feel a bit of a rivalry between boyfriend/girlfriend singer/guitarists Sarah Cronin & Thomas Allen – and she seems to be winning the attention battle.  For the last two songs, Cronin switched with the drummer – with which all the cameras immediately followed her to the drum kit.  Poor drummer – it was his time to shine…

 Drug Rug

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Skewer party @ Piano’s

Bear Hands, 3:40 PM

 Bear Hands

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It was a little early (read: sober) for the boys & the crowd, Bear Hands (QRO spotlight on) et. al. Val Lopez & Dylan Raudid get more comfortable as the set went on.  Speaking of friendly quasi-rivalries (see above), still always feel a bit of one between singer/guitarist Dylan Rau & bassist Val Lopez (QRO interview with both) – while Rau’s the ‘artiste’, Lopez is kind of the attractive eye-candy, always in the center of the stage (and he had the best lighting at Piano’s).  Rau just needs to let his locks…

Lopez on percussionThis summer, Bear Hands recorded their new record, whose songs were on display at CMJ (while we wait for it to come out).  One can see why “Buried Treasure” is a favorite of the bands, but the still played their earlier, released material like “Vietnam”.  It was also cool to see Lopez’s drum stick, when laying on his standing drum at the front of the stage, shake to Bear Hands’ loud beat.

~

 

Spin Magazine party @ Rockwood Music Hall

JayMay, 4:35 PM

 Jaymay

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Jaymay @ SpinEven after hitting up Rodolfo’s Pizza in the Bowery (it’s not CMJ if you don’t…), still arrived early at Rockwood for Au Revoir Simone (see below), and caught some of JayMay.  She has a nice female alt-folk voice, but have heard a million of voices like that.  She did have a funny, if slightly insulting, story about doing a filmed Spin showcase four or five years ago that was never posted, leading her to doubt whether this event would ever come off (she also asked if Spin was still a magazine, or just a website now – had to be shown a copy…).

 

Au Revoir Simone, 5:20 PM

 Au Revoir Simone

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The three lovely ladies of Au Revoir Simone (QRO spotlight on) Foster & Hartadmitted from the get-go that their whole set-up on the tiny Rockwood stage was rather make-shift, so they abandoned any set list, and did some songs differently than ever before (or at least in a long while), like “Sad Song”.  They did use Rockwood’s piano, and said that it & more would be used at their official CMJ show, tomorrow night (QRO concert listing) at Bell House (QRO venue review).

 Foster & Hart

The show wasn’t perfect, but the girls did the best they could, including Annie Hart (QRO interview) & Erika Foster trading off on keyboard or piano, not to mention playing piano together, and, for one song, one of them literally started on piano with the other, then stood up & stretched to play the keyboard as well, then finally moved to the keys fully.  They also were charming, telling stories Foster & Hart(pretty much a necessity at the intimate Rockwood) about how this space used to be a foam store.  Heather D’Angelo did seem a little isolated, separate from the two lighter-haired brunettes by the piano & her cymbal, but Hart was particularly energetic.

~

 

The Hours Records & High Rise PR presents @ Norwood

Showed up at 7:15 PM for the 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM open bar at private club Norwood, only to have everyone who works there have never heard of it.  But found out the open bar was upstairs, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM, so had an expensive bottle of water and waited during the least-active hour of CMJ.  Thankfully, the upstairs open bar did come about, and the second floor was even classier – though you could tell some of the people there were indie-music types just there for the drinks, and not quite ‘up to snuff’ for Norwood otherwise (particularly gruff old man at front door of the place).

 

Via Tania, 8:30 PM

 Via Tania

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Via TaniaIf only the third floor was as nice.  Obviously added on to the brownstone, or at least completely re-done, the actual ‘venue’ was basically a nice new attic.  Via Tania remarked that, “This is so much like my bedroom…”  It led to claustrophobic-like crowds (especially if you tried to leave during the set to get another free drink) – the only way to really enjoy Tania was to go way upfront and crouch/kneel/sit (since she was playing from the floor, with no riser).  Of course, once your photographer did that, for photos, others (mostly somewhat tipsy ladies) followed suit.

Via Tania’s stripped, singer/songwriter heartbreak was definitely improved with her British accent & persona (reminiscent of the lady ghost on BBC’s restrained supernatural Being Human – or maybe that’s just me…) [editor’s note: Via Tania is actually Australian…].  And she also isn’t just stripped, as there’s rock-power in her emotion.  Tania quieted the crowd early on, and then built to something louder, which let her louder, later material really push, even in the small setting.

 Via Tania

~

 

CMJ showcase @ Mercury Lounge

Ravens & Chimes, 9:30 PM

 Ravens & Chimes

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more of a Chime than a RavenThe late Norwood open bar pushed back arrival at Mercury Lounge (QRO venue review) for Ravens & Chimes, so only caught the last two of their songs definitely a Raven, not a Chime(and had to pee during those two…).  But what was heard was some really good don’t-want-to-call-it-power-pop.  Reminiscent of Bishop Allen (QRO spotlight on) – and not just because the singer/guitarist wore a blazer, or the attractive female singer/keyboardist (who actually beats out Allen’s Darbie Notwatka).  They had their own funny, final story, before their last song, a cover, whose original artist said to them when coming to town, “If you get the New York crowd rocking while I’m here, it’s yours…”

 Ravens & Chimes

 

The Dig, 10:05 PM

 The Dig

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Another diggerAt CMJ, certain bands seem to be pre-ordained to be blowing up, whether you like it or not, but there are others that you can see just starting to – and can see why.  The Dig was definitely that.  Described as, “Like Vampire Weekend, only grittier”  by KEXP’s Jonathan Thaler (QRO interview), who called ’em before QRO did, The Dig had video A diggercameras filming their set – a sure sign that someone’s putting some $$$ behind ’em.  The ladies seemed to particularly like The Dig – they are good-looking boys, in different ways.

digging on filmCompared to even recently (QRO photos), The Dig’s set was well-rounded, ironic, given it was CMJ.  They’ve got country-grit, but also alt-rock & rock-rock.  “I’m Gonna Kill That Boy” is still their stand out, but “Shadow” is coming up strong.

 ladies & cameras love The Dig

~

 

Polyvinyl showcase @ Bell House

Cale Parks, 10:50 PM

 Cale Parks

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Gaelen & Michael headed to Brooklyn’s Park Slope for James Husband of of Montreal (see below) at the Polyvinyl showcase at Bell House, and caught the tail end of Cale Parks.

 

James Husband, 11:25 PM

 James Husband

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One of the better usages of CMJ is for a musician in a known band to show his new solo or side project.  It’s that rare time where country timean ‘industry’ crowd is actually more open than ‘regular’ fans – while fans are wishing that it was the known band they were seeing, not the solo or side project, industry types have likely already seen that band, and know who the musician is, but haven’t seen his or her solo or side project, and are looking for something new.  Such was the case with James Husband of of Montreal.

 James Husband

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PureVolume House @ 169 Bowery

Twin Atlantic, 11:15 PM

 Twin Atlantic

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Hitting up PureVolume for a drink or two (or three…), saw the hard-rock Glaswegian outfit Twin Atlantic.  They’re being pumped more in the teenage, emo-mainstream, but wasn’t against or into.  For PureVolume House, that’s a compliment…

~

 

CMJ showcase @ Arlene’s Grocery

Paul & The Patients, 11:35 PM

 Paul & The Patients

Paul HolmesClick image for full gallery

Closely intertwined with the Hooray For Earth-Zambri circle of Friends-of-the-Q of CMJ Day (QRO recap) is Paul & The Patients.  Their live show is strong (even at the less-than-ideal Arlene’s Grocery – QRO venue review), straight-up rock straight-up enjoyable, afterwards leaving you with the “Post-Show Blues”.  But they didn’t play To the Lion‘s (QRO review) “Blackbeards”?!?

 Paul & Jonny Leather

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Polyvinyl showcase @ Bell House

Japandroids, 1:00 AM

 Japandroids

JapandroidsClick image for full gallery

Gaelen & Michael stuck around at Bell House for wild garage-rock Vancouver duo Japandroids, including seeing the drummer crowd-surf.

 surfdroids

 

Unfortunately missed:

– The Uglysuit (QRO photos) @ Rockwood Music Hall, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.  Nice manager, but didn’t want to stick around at Rockwood Music Hall.

– Daptone Records showcase @ Knitting Factory, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM.  But do you care about The Dap-Kings without Sharon Jones (QRO album review)?

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Day Three– Mac McCaughan & Laura Ballance of Superchunk (QRO live review) @ Housing Works Used Bookstore Café (QRO venue review), 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM.  A book reading of their Our Noise, also featured the founders of Merge Records covering their label’s artists (Arcade Fire, Spoon, M. Ward…).

– Mint Records showcase @ Fat Baby, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  Wasn’t sure if Kathryn Calder (also of New Pornographers – QRO live review ) was going to be playing with Immaculate Machine (QRO live review), and didn’t want to get burned, like at SXSW (QRO recap).  But Hot Panda (QRO photos) did deserve another look.

– Seaport Music showcase @ @Seaport (QRO venue review), 7:00 PM – 1:00 AM.  The people at South Street Seaport (QRO venue review) couldn’t be any nicer, but their ‘On-the-Side’ venue (block away from South Street Seaport) is too far away from the action – and the subway.

Holly Miranda & mikes - Day Three– Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (QRO interview), Cymbals Eat Guitars (QRO live review) & Holly Miranda (of The Jealous Girlfriends) (QRO spotlight on) @ (le) Poisson Rouge (QRO venue review), 7:15 PM – 10:00 PM.  Just saw MBAR & Miranda the day before (QRO recap) – but would Miranda’s backing band still only be supporting MBAR?…

– PopGun Booking unofficial showcase @ Glasslands Gallery (QRO venue review), 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  ‘Unofficial’ meant ‘You had to pay’, and Glasslands is an awful venue, but did have some free beer & the funniest flyer of CMJ.

– Arms (QRO album review) @ Piano’s, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.  But playing a record release party there on November 12th (QRO concert listing).

– Chromeo & Amazing Baby (QRO live review) @ Brooklyn Bowl (QRO venue review), 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  But you knew there was going to be a long line for this unofficial, might-even-have-had-to-pay showcase.

– The rest of The Hours Records & High Rise PR showcase @ Norwood (see above), 9:00 PM – 12:30 AM.  The Midnight Juggernauts (QRO spotlight on) appearance was likely just a DJ set, but missed Dan Black & Casxio.

– Bear Hands, Rumspringa & Savoir Adore (QRO album review) @ Bowery Electric, 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Though saw during the day, Bear Hands (see above) would definitely be better, late at night.

– School of Seven Bells (QRO album review) & The xx (QRO album review) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (QRO venue review), 10:40 PM – 12:45 AM.  SVIIB & The xx together again (QRO photos of the former with the latter & QRO photos of the latter with the former), but Music Hall’s ‘one in, anybody out doesn’t count’ policy to badges meant early turn aways (and Gaelen was pretty bored by The xx on Day Two – QRO recap).

– The Picture (QRO live review) @ Mercury Lounge, 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  The last I saw The Picture there, it was packed (QRO review)!

– Portugal. The Man (QRO album review) @ Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review), 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  Camera battery died during Paul & The Patients (see above).

– Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (QRO photos) @ The Suffolk, 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  Yep, turned away from a big-name artists at a never-heard-of-it place.

 

Other notes:

– First cold, overcast day of CMJ.  The good luck couldn’t last forever…

– Rockwood Music Hall apparently has a $5.00 minimum, which meant had to buy a beer earlier than really wanted to drink (and didn’t at all want to spend on liquor at CMJ…).

– The free vodka drinks at Norwood & PureVolume House caught up by the time of Arlene’s Grocery.  Almost didn’t notice Paul Holmes tapping me on the back, from the stage, to say hi, told some others in the crowd they shouldn’t try to balance their beer on a flat music stand (when has anyone ever used a music stand at Arlene’s Grocery?…), tried to balance a beer snuck out of PureVolume on a flat music stand (and jokingly called on it), drank someone else’s beer (who was about as nice as you could be, if someone had drunk from your beer), and witnessed my camera battery die.  Definite signs that the night should end…

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