Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

CMJ Begins…The Good And Not So Good…

Posted by xneverwherex on October 19, 2011

CMJ – 10/18/11

So many bands, so little time! It seems its the same thing year after year with CMJ. Ive got a complete schedule that ends up useless in the first 5 minutes. Bands either fail to deliver or theyre so great – I end up seeing other bands on the showcase I might have passed up. Unfortunately, there are also times when you’d rather just shoot yourself and call it a night when disappointments continue.

The Good:

The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit – technically, they shouldnt even be included in this. Theyre established and damn good! Of course, they were the highlight of the night – and I fear if I continue to see them not much else will compare. Liela looking smokin’ hot as usual is always great fun to watch. She has so much energy when she performs and she commands the stage. Its hard to take your eyes off of her when she moves as she glances around the room. Her voice is perfection as she growls through the songs.

Surprisingly, they played their older songs instead of playing newer songs. Perhaps it was due to a really tight schedule in which they were needing to be in Brooklyn. They played a way too short set of about 8 songs but it couldnt have sounded better. The dirty, muddy sounding guitars were a great complement to Liela’s voice. The garage rock psychedelic sounded great in the posh Bowery Hotel. It couldnt have been a greater set.

Hands, from LA, took the stage prior to The Duke Spirit. They had a pretty big turn out with what seemed to be lots of friends (or maybe girlfriends) from Cali.

Hands

They sounded incredible and much better than I could have expected. The backing of the psychedlic, lush sounding keyboards and guitars filled the air, with a similar sound to Sun Airway. The vocals are strong and it seemed like if Division Day (another LA band) had continued and made their songs a bit more dancey this is what youd get.

The drummer, playing barefoot naturally, keeps the beats going. The keyboards nearly swallowing the lead singers voice on some songs works out beautifully. The music, the vocals and the guitars all blend so perfectly well together it gives such a complete sound.  If youre not sure of who to see during CMJ, this band is definitely not to be missed. They have a show on Thurs afternoon at Pianos which should be great.

Alamo Race Track – who I actually saw on Monday (pre-CMJ) are also a band that you dont want to miss. Hailing from The Netherlands, it seemed the Dutch contingency came out in full support for them. I had never seen so many insanely tall people in my life. The band started off a bit shaky, and its hard to say whether or not it was the band

Alamo Race Track

or the actual songs they chose, but as their set continued the music definitely got better. They have some great melodies and their voices play off each other’s quite well.

“The Northern Territory” which they ended with was easily one of their best songs and definitely more popular. A lot of people were singing along and its catchy and fun. It sounds so much better live, that its worth seeing them just to hear that song. Its a punchy, fun toe-tapping awesome song. “Black Cat John Brown” was also another highlight. The other band members broke out with other instruments during the song. It seems they’re all quite talented players going back and forth on instruments.

They’ve got a free showcase on Thurs over at The Delancey with some other Dutch bands. If youre not doing much – its worth checking out.

And the well — not so good and you might walk out on bands.

Marcellus Hall – now if youre quite into country music, youd probably find the band quite good. They had a good sound and the lead singer was pretty amusing – so this alone made it better. As Im not a fan of country music – this was pretty painful and it seemed each song kept getting longer. Thankfully when soon there were only 3 songs, it became 2. And naturally, they’re all about love and relationships. The woman on violin did sound pretty awesome and it was her birthday – so cheers to that!

The Silent Comedy – which has such an awesome band name – so disappointed. I couldnt wait to get out of the show and it couldnt happen fast enough. Sounded like some sorta folky-bluegrass jangly type thing with banjos and all. Maybe they should have played after Marcellus Hall insteaad of spacing it out so oddly. Perhaps that was the original set- but with The Duke Spirit having to be in Brooklyn lots of things were changed. Either way – meant an early night.

And oh New Zealand – I had such high hopes for you. Andrew Keoghan, who was oh so nice to look at, was a little underwhelming. The guitar and drum thing had so much potential, but it was more of just a singer-songwriter act. Not bad sounding all, just a bit boring.

Princess Chelsea was interesting. The women had good voices and the way the band mixed it up on instruments was pretty cool. Their first song, which I knew from online, was very catchy, but then it just sounded like more of the same. It really seemed like 2 girls on their computers, mixing it up with sounds and beats and 2 guitars who added a bit more, with a drummer occasionally filling it in. Not a bad thing, just a bit slow and was near sleep inducing. Prob a great band to end a night with.

Heres to Day/Night 2. Hoping for some great things!

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