The past 7 days have been a whirlwind, physically mostly, due to bartending and dayjobbing it during the CMJ festival. Its also been the best musical week of my NYC lifetime. crazy huh? crazy that i actually got to see several bands and not bitch about crowds or costs..
last friday i finally saw the Beach Fossils in the city. Never let down live or recorded, somehow i've always missed the shows in NY. superstoked! Opening was Heavenly Beat, Dive, and Minks...what an overtime nite for the beachies..Regretfully i missed Heavenly Beat due to work..but was gifted a 7 inch from mr. pena, and it'll take wild horses to keep me away from the next show. (note to self: turntable/synthfix are in order)I couldn't see Dive for shit. God bless 285 Kent, but damn i couldnt see much at all. however, what i heard was bliss. Mostly Wild Nothing style and perfect for captured tracks..And Minks, wow! first time for them too. So impressed with the openers and hearing all the BF side project coverage as of late, i coulda been supremely disappointed with the actual headlining set. BUT, damn did i not refall in total heart with beach fossils again and again. It had been too long obviously. fun jolted me in the heart ..Every ounce of presence and magic and jump around jangle was in full force. These dudes dont fucking fool around with the live performance. Crowd surfing and kspot texting in full effect. Wonderfully enough, nothing ever feels forced..the vibe was that if every member on stage had the flu or lost a job/gf/pet/whatever, the show woulda gone on and the sadness wouldn't have shown. They always come thru like that,and way to go NYC for showing respect.
Saturday nite, caught dominant legs and Nurses at Glasslands..then stepped over nextdoor to 285 kent , yet again, yay! where Davilla 666 and xray eyeballs were playin. Was intrigued by the DL full band arrangement and impressed with the dance moves and tropicalia, which i wasn't expecting. Plus giant musclemen in the front row kept dancing and high fiving the band and clapping like they just got on leave from service..no kidding. it was pretty entertaining and had us in giggles. Props to DL for sorta not knowing how to react and smiling at the random fandom and enthusiasm. up front for Nurses had me blown away.. I still cant place the singers voice..except its got range for days and an eerie pitch that is mesmerizing/mysterious/supersexy..Petter from Alberta Cross is the only modern comparison in my head..but there has to be something else..its pristine either way to me. to some it may be an acquired taste...but honestly, i find it to be a well utilized instrument itself. nothing was wrong with this set at all. and a new appreciation for the casio christmas keyboard (as if it ever left). well done yall.
Next door, Davilla 666 kinda blew my mind. Another rookie to the whole live davilla scene..but i highly recommend it to anyone. i think i counted 7 beaming puerto ricans on stage who simply loved to party and displayed this with instruments. The crowd wasn't crowded, if that makes sense.. and fuckies danced like nobodys biz. ya ya know, ppl bitch about NY crowds not caring, but at 285 Kent and Death By Audio i've noticed..anything always goes.. you'd think ppl were fucking on camera and on cue. *APPLAUSE NOW* *DANCE YER ASS OFF* style. it would be real sad if these DIY venues every went somewhere else..or just left...shitty bathrooms, unbearable heat, sweat, makeshift views from torn up couches and tables...somehow, i rarely leave disappointed. oh and you can smoke cigs and nobody cares..yee haw. and the cheap canned beer: Blue Light..hail canada, o canada!
K so then CMJ started and days ran into nights..can't quite remember when was what and tuesday was friday, etc.. I consider myself quite lucky to work at Cake Shop, where i spent many a long shift this week. i can't even count how many band folk roll into the joint..it seeems to be a place close to a lot of hearts.. and ppl say all the time..." i had my first show here..etc." I see why.. the owners totally give a shit. the bands are treated well. promotion is fantastic, and each night is treated with specialty and importance. Lineups are printed, posters hang everywhere in the venue, website updated, talent buyer and owners come in every single goddamn day to make sure each show happens. There seems to be an understanding that the night is going to be a "night" for someone..even if its past midnite on a sunday nite in nyc, the music is important. The motivation and mantra are captivating.. giving the locals and touring bands a place to play in this grand city certainly means a ton.. its evident in the loyalty. So i got to see several shows..most happily viewed whilst slinging beers or drinking freestyle after shift were Cloud Nothings, Diharrea Planet, Eternal Summers, Dive, Royal Baths, teen daze, and hoop dreams.
CMJ was in constant comparison to SXSW all week in my head. As well as many ppl i heard during random chats amongst patrons..I did find that SXSW is much more of a beast than CMJ..you could actually buy fucking tickets to cmj shows and not be ousted by industry fuckies. NY seemed to stay itself while Austin is transformed and mangled to a degree that's overwhelming and kinda disgusting.. Notably, badge entry at CMJ had a nice low cap on it.. so stuff was pretty manageable to get into it seemed. This means fewer pissed off everyday showgoers, and more legitimacy to the actual shows as good old fashioned, awesome rock shows..compare that to buzzy bullshit, next big blah blah events with corporate sponsorships taking precendence over the acts. Honestly, i know there was a Fader Fort somewhere, but never even cared to find out where.. Furthermore, in ATX, everything is usually in walking distance, while CMJ is spread throughout BK and the city.. Less scrambling around here...less pressure to get in/out/onyerway, sprinting to catch a 15 minute set while missing another.Things just seemed so chill this week. Though catching a cab was difficult, i like that it wasn't too much more of a hassle.. and i only had one place to go when i got in.
Not to diss on SXSW, i really would like to go if i could..its just interesting to see the version of a music festival in nyc, and how different it is from the main one i've been so in love with for so many years. Plus getting paid for being at a venue all frickin week has been nice.. versus taking a week off and spending lots of cash.. coupla things CMJ lacked: elfgirl getting to see porcelain raft and gauntlet hair, east side kings, and afterparties.. perhaps i was too tired to go looking for APs. ON the upswing,maybe i'll save some cash and energy for those ones goin on in the Texas Spring.