Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘bands’

CMJ 2009 from NZ to UK to Iceland

Posted by xneverwherex on November 2, 2009

10/20 – 10/24 – CMJ Music Marathon

Tuesday: New Zealand Showcase @ Red Bull Space – SOHO

The first night of CMJ was almost a failure. Thankfully some friends of mine who get off of work earlier managed to get a great place in line. Unfortunately, so many people werent able to get in. The great thing about this was once you were inside, it wasnt painfully crowded. There was so much alcohol (thank you 42below!) flowing. Better yet, they created their own drink concoctions which were beyond potent. The vodka was insanely delicious but the redbull combination was enough to do anyone in. Oh and free food all night long! All in all – easily the best CMJ showcase I attended (and it didn’t hurt that it was free). 🙂

Now – lets get to why we’re all really reading this. The music. New Zealand never disappoints when it comes to bringing in bands. Think: Cut Off Your Hands. And this year, there were a lot of great bands from there.

First up at the ridiculously early hour of 6:30pm was Surf City. They were beyond insanely hyped and were playing everywhere at CMJ. I have to say it was unreal how many shows they had. Unfortunately for the band, their first night they had a lot of sound issues. Vocals were non-existent and everything was so insanely loud and muddy. It just sounded like 30 mins worth of noise and it was not pleasant. (not to fret – I saw them Wed night too and they killed it!).

Motocade was up next and they were the band that I was really looking forward to. Very catchy hooks and that oh-so familiar britpop sound had me really excited. And they were good and catchy and the lead singer was charming. They were fun. I would definitely see them again.

At this point, with plenty of drinking going on, it was a great time to have Bang Bang Eche come on. Hard to believe that the band is comprised of what seems to be teenagers. I cant imagine they’re more than 17 years. But didnt matter. They played their hearts out and were jumping around all over the place, into the crowd and really had the energy. A sort of synthy-electro sound with lots and lots of keyboards and guitars. Nice to see the guys of Die Die Die in the crowd supporting them.

Ive decided that Kingston is my new Electric Touch. Indie-power-pop music at its finest. A lead singer that is very charismatic and has the personality and looks to engage everyone. All the women wanted to be near him and touching him. Their music is very catchy and will have everyone dancing along in no time. The lead singer managed to climb up on top of nearly everything from the bar to the speakers and even did some crowd surfing. Very cool and not something you see all the time. With songs like “You Want It”, youll definitely be singing along in no time…. You want it, You got it! Kinda sums them up. Theyre playing at Pianos in a week or so, so dont miss them. Will be a fun show if anything.

Last up for the night was Die! Die! Die! They definitely continued on where Kingston left off, in a total different direction. Their music is definitely not nearly as pop-sounding as Kingston’s. But their brand of electro-experimental-punk definitely had people moving and jumping. Soon enough a pseudo-mosh pit broke out featuring a lot of Bang Bang Eche. Lots of keyboards, heavy guitars and nearly shouting for vocals was a great way to end the night. Everyone was involved and walked out a sweaty mess.

I then ventured onwards to The Suffolk and had regrets about my last vodka/redbull. I was beyond wired and jittery and it was an awful combination. I was so irate with The Suffolk people who pretty much knew nothing when they told me The Lovemakers was not going to be free. So I ended up taking me and my buzz home for the night.

By far the New Zealand showcase killed it! Overall it was the best group of bands that actually remotely sounded like they should be on one bill. Most other shows were so many random bands it was easy to walk out after just a few.

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Blown Away By The Helio Sequence

Posted by xneverwherex on October 10, 2007

10/8/07

Lots of great bands as always at The Mercury Lounge on this past Monday night. The first band of the night was Sleeping States from the UK. Markland, the genuis behind Sleeping States, put on an amazing set. He was simply adorable as he’d say before a number of songs ‘This is (insert song), and heres how it sounds’. Then on occasion they’d mess up, and he’d say “This isn’t how it sounds. This is how it sounds”. The band had a small 8″ tv set (maybe smaller?) on the edge of the stage playing various clips. Alien Resurrection stood out in my mind as they use a lot of the ambient noise in their music. Experimental is a great way to describe the style as they bring in all sorts of random objects that make noise and amplify their sound during the set. It was definitely something quite different to see and mix that up with sparse vocals, a great drum beat and heavy guitars and you’d get Sleeping States.

Markland proved himself to be quite the cool guy, as I stopped to congratulate him on a great set and asked him if they’d be playing in DC. I mentioned a great friend of mine lived there and she’d love to see their stuff, and he said ‘tell your friend she HAS to come see us’. Very charming, with a great British accent, how can you not fall in love.

Next up was Kill The Lights from Canada. Kill The Lights has 4 guys and 1 female in the band. I wasnt blown away by them, but some songs were really great. The vocals were really hit or miss and between the songs that sounded like they were screamed through, to songs that had more melodies it felt like 2 different bands at times. I’m not sure I’d see them again, but it was a good addition on the set.

NYC’s own Benzos is whom I was most excited to see. I have been a big fan of them since I first saw them opening for Elefant. And have seen them several times since, so it was great to finally be seeing them again. Their 2nd album continues where their first album left off and brings together heavy swirling guitars with gorgeous unassuming vocals from Christian Celaya. Their music is still as brilliant live as it was last I had seen them. Their music still flows through your body as you close your eyes and let it take you to wherever as Christian’s vocals fill the air and lush guitars complement his voice.

Definitely a band not to miss. They are playing 4 shows at CMJ, if not more and for those who have never seen them, be ready for some great dreamy indie rock to transport you. Besides Christian is quite the nice guy as I got to talk with him for a bit after his set while deciding which album to buy. Actually I hadnt listened to the first album in so long, I didnt even know which one I had owned. He told me which was new while telling me I had to come see them again at CMJ. And I was *completely* won over!  – Yeah such a fangirl Im turning into!

Lastly was the brilliant Helio Sequence. I am convinced that some of the most amazing bands come out of Portland, OR. It must be something in the water. Everyone had told me it was a show I couldnt miss and everyone was right. The Helio Sequence is 2 guys – a drummer and guitarist. Ben and Brandon.

Their show went from being good to better than great! I thought it started off on the slower side, and it could have been the fact that I was so annoyed by the guy in front of me who was drunk off his ass and thought he was in the band. I think the band might have been annoyed too, or at least the drummer appeared to be. This guy would bang on the drums and finally security told him to stand back. I guess that wasnt good enough, because he wanted to continue.

Aside for that mess, and getting beer spilled all over me twice, I had the most amazing time watching them, dancing. It was hard not to stay still as the drummer went crazy on the drums, and the lead singer filled the room with his guitar and voice. Long guitars that carried most the songs without a heavy abundance of lyrics is what really had me into the music. The guitars would sweep you off your feet, while the drums kept you grounded moving to the music. About an hour and 15 minutes the band played, and everyone wished they would have kept on playing. Now, Im just waiting till they return again, as there’s no way I’ll ever miss them again.

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