This year marked my first CMJ, I ran the marathon on 5 hours of sleep and a banana. Who had time for sleep and food when there were shows to be seen and parties to attend? It was one week of bouncing from venue to venue, slipping in during the middle of a show to specifically see one band and then jetting off to the next show. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it was exhausting and intense, it was, but it was also a lot of fun and I want to sulk in my apartment now that it’s over.
For my first day I started out slow by only going to one show, however, it was probably my favorite out of the entire week. Life Size Maps are always full of energy, their sound always mechanical and consistent. I’ve seen them multiple times over the years and they never fail to disappoint. After their set I felt my stomach start to get anxious. I have been a fan of Skaters since my days of writing for the Sour Mash Blog and I have been itching to see them play live. I quickly went to get another $3 beer (another reason why Shea Stadium is so awesome), and then set myself back in the crowd. From the second Skaters started playing, I couldn’t help but want to dance and sing and go absolutely crazy. I mean, I did play it cool but at their next show I make no promises. I’ve been wanting to see them for the past year and they totally lived above and beyond my expectations. The next chance I get to see them won’t come soon enough. The So So Glos, like Life Size Maps, are also consistently awesome. They had a huge crowd singing their lyrics, throwing their bodies around, making the room get all hot and sweaty. Just as a live show should be. It was great to watch the energy being given from band to crowd and vice versa, it filled me with that warm feeling of “this is what rock and roll is all about.” Weekend closed out the night and were the perfect band to do so. They had a more shoegazy sound, a little more quiet, a perfect way to end my first night. It was my first time seeing them play and they are definitely a band I would love to catch again.
Day 2- 10/17/12- Surprise Attack! + Aputumpu + Pinnacle Showcase @ Webster Hall-Cultfever, Butter The Children, Wild International, The Danvilles, Joywave, Luke Rathbone, American Royalty, TOPS, The Suzan, Country Mice, Filligar, Lazyeyes, Generationals, Turf War, The Denzels, Avan Lava, The Click Clack Boom
This was an all day showcase featuring 18 bands over the course of 12 hours. It was such an impressive line-up. I spent the day seeing bands I love (The Danvilles, Lazyeyes, The Suzan, Butter The Children) and getting introduced to amazing new bands (Joywave, Cultfever). The showcase took place in the Marlin Room and throughout the night crowds fluctuated in and out but overall it was a very successful evening. A definite highlight was seeing Joywave. This is a band whose sound stood out and whose performance made them memorable. Their songs are electronic powerhouses, really driven and full of energy. It was such an honor to get to see them perform.
This was a day where I was bouncing around between a couple of shows. First I hit MuchMores. I walked in during Honduras’ set and let me tell you…amazing. I hadn’t heard of them previously so I was walking in without knowing what to expect. What I got was a strong case of uncontrollable dancing and punky perfection. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear while bobbing my head and shaking my legs. There were an incredibly fun live band and worth watching for every second.
After I saw Honduras, I had to make an escape to XPO 929 for the Aputumpu/Surprise Attack! Showcase- featuring:Modern Rivals, Cruising USA, Heaven’s Gate, Dead Stars, Gull, HITS, Lazyeyes, Chappo, Osekre and The LBs, Slam Donahue, Beach Day, The Denzels, I.R.O.K
I wanted to catch Lazyeyes and I knew I had a very short window to do so. I left MuchMores, hopped on the subway and made it just in time. For being a newish band, they seem to have it all together. Their songs are strong and catchy and they have something about them that makes them appeal to everyone. There is something about each band member that is unique. You find yourself moving your eyes from each boy, becoming totally enamored before moving your eyes over to the next one. They are a band that I highly recommend you see live, i mean, there’s a reason why I saw them an insane amount of times this past week. I didn’t just see them play but made an effort to see them play and there is a difference. After their set I said my goodbyes and hopped back on the subway.
I went back to MuchMores to catch the end of the Aputumpu showcase. I was over the moon when I walked in just before Joywave. I had seen them the night before and promised myself that no matter what, I wouldn’t miss their next set. Though they only got to play 3 songs, it was just as great as the night before. That energy was there and I was more than happy to have it fill me up.
Day 4-10/19/12-Kanine Records, Wild Honey Pie, Etnies, Brooklyn Brewery and BreakThru Radio Showcase @ Cameo Gallery-Valleys, Beach Day, Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Zambri, Moon King, Roommates
This day was kinda crazy. I had a full schedule of shows and I knew I would be really stretching myself. It was also a Dingus day. Meaning that myself, Andrew Alexander Prieto (Dingus) and Benjamin Leo Spinrad (The Snake Records) all went on this adventure together. Our first stop was to see Beach Day at Cameo Gallery. I had reviewed their music on Dingus before and since they’re not a New York based band, I knew I couldn’t miss them. I immediately fell in love. They are just this sweet yet kickass 3 piece that make you want to dance and swoon. I almost want to cry thinking about the fact that I don’t know when I’m going to see them play live again. That 60′s esque, girl group, “songs about boys” sorta thing just gets me going, it was such a treat. We stuck around for Valleys and I found myself equally as impressed. A two piece, which I have such a soft spot for, they were dreamy and shoegazy and absolutely beautiful. Before we knew it, it was time to move on.
Our next stop was Don Pedro to see Wyldlife. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this band. They’re one of those bands whose songs I know all the lyrics to and will go insane at every single live show. They sweat, they swear, they sing songs about getting wasted…they’re perfect. If you ever want to see some grade A rock and roll, this is the band to see. After their final song and after drinking a few beers, the Dingus crew hopped back in the car and moved onto the next stop.
We had planned on seeing Lazyeyes (yes, again) at Brooklyn Fireproof, however, the show was running late and we were on a tight schedule. So, with promises to return in time for their set, we moved on. Our next stop was at The Flat for Napoleon. The last time I saw Napoleon was a good 3 years ago, so I couldn’t wait to see what they had become. Their sound changed, of course, as well as their lineup but they were just as good as I remembered if not better. Their set was supported by lasers and fog machines, so not only were your ears in heaven but your eyes were being stimulated just as much. Knowing we would be seeing them play the Dingus showcase the night after, the boys wanted to make sure I got back in time for Lazyeyes. So we left a little early and drove back to Brooklyn Fireproof. I made it to their set a little late but, I made it. It’s amazing that after all the times I’ve seen them, I still get excited to see them and I always get bummed when they’re done.
After all of this I managed to make my way to an afterparty hosted by 1.21 Gigawatts, a really great arts and music magazine based in Brooklyn. If you aren’t familiar, please check them out and show them some love. I crawled back to my apartment at 4am, knowing I would be paying for this the next day.
Day 5-10/20/12- The CMJ Show hosted by Dingus and The Snake @ MuchMores-Kings, Alfonso Velez, Johncon, Steady Sun, Flora, Itchy Hearts, Són Boom, Hollis, Lil Kids, Napoleon, Viva Mayday, Happy Lives, Ghost Pal, Il Abanico, Harvey Eyeballs
How are you all doing? Good? Ok, we’re getting down to the homestretch. The final day of CMJ! I woke up after 5 hours of sleep and rushed off to get to Dingus’ very own showcase. It was such and important day for all of us and I can’t help but thank all the bands involved, MuchMores and the entire Dingus staff, especially Andrew Alexander Prieto, Benjamin Leo Spinrad, Nick Adams, Tarra Thiessen and Thomas Miranda, all of which were heavily involved in the planning of this show. For me, the highlights of our show were Johncon, Flora, Lil Kids, Ghost Pal and Harvey Eyeballs.
Here are some reasons why:
1. It was Johncon’s first show ever and not only did he own it, he performed with every ounce of emotion he had.
2. Flora came all the way from Israel just to play at our showcase and she stunned the room with her beautiful performance.
3. Lil Kids projected “adult content” on the ceiling during their set.
4. Harvey Eyeballs played in their underwear.
There was a period in the day where I felt the week catch up to me. I felt sick and exhausted and thought about going home for a nap. So, I took a breath, drank some coffee and made the decision to keep going. They don’t call it the CMJ Marathon for nothing. At around 10pm I slipped out of our showcase (keep it on the down low) to catch Wyldlife at The Grand Victory. This time they were the headliners and played a much longer set then the previous night. I had met up with some friends and couldn’t wait to once again, go crazy. The boys popped open a bottle of champagne and passed it around the room, spirits were high and we danced our little hearts out. When their set came to an end, I walked back to MuchMores for the final few bands of the night. By the time I got back, MuchMores was completely full. People watching the band, getting drinks, it was such a proud moment.
After the last band played the reality sank in that CMJ was over. It was definitely a bittersweet feeling. I loved the rush of it but at the same time really wanted my bed. I know things won’t be as exciting as this past week and I won’t be catching 4 shows per night but it just gives me something to look forward to next year. It was such a great experience and I thank the bands, the venues, the bartenders (especially the bartenders) and YOU for taking the time to read through my recap. Please check out all of these great bands and catch them at a live show very soon. @LeahLovecat