From Oct. 15-19 New York is completely overrun with musicians, free booze
CMJ, a New York-based showcase festival, is literal bedlam.
Hundreds of musicians from all across the world are brought together to perform in venues in a city notorious for its complete lack of parking and traffic that could only be described as chaos.
Which, of course, is awesome if you have a vague idea of what you are doing.
Having attended as both a musician and a fan, using public transit and cabs cannot be understated, even if you have five guitars, three pedal boards and drum hardware in tow. Driving in-between venues at CMJ is a good way to see the city if you don’t mind seeing it one inch at a time.
Having broken up a decade ago, Washington D.C.’s Dismemberment Plan have been periodically reuniting for one-off shows, tours and even a new record, Uncanney Valley. Playing a mid-afternoon showcase at Judson Memorial Church, the four-piece sounded every bit as tightly-wound as their past brilliant albums. Playing off-kilter indie rock along with atypical, albeit heavy, rhythms, the group still managed to exude an energetic stage presence while several fans front and centre sang along with big, stupid grins plastered to their faces.
Having Puff Daddy come out to introduce your set by saying your band is “gonna blow through the stratosphere” is pretty funny. Especially when you’re Deerhunter and you’re playing a Brooklyn loft party. This was one of those remember-forever-type moments. That is, if the limitless free booze didn’t get to you first.
Not quite punk, at least in a straightforward sense but entirely in delivery, front woman Sadie Dupuis nevertheless thrashed and tore up the stage at Baby’s Alright while her bandmates held down insanely tight rhythms – along with the guitar player jumping into the crowd. Nah, this was total punk rock.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Amidst complimentary rum drinks being served at the bar, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan played an incendiary performance while awing those in attendance with a strage presence that included contorted face make-up and genre-defying theatrics. Also, the guitar was deliriously sludgy throughout the entirety of their set, making for some interesting heaviosity.
Originating in London, Yuck crank out fuzzy indie rock anthems in the vein of virtually every ’90s alt heavyweight you could imagine, including Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr. and Teenage Fanclub. But the highlight of their Brooklyn performance came from their cover of “Age of Consent” by New Order.