Sunday, December 05, 2010

NYC & CMJ (October 23-24, 2010)

  School of Seven Bells @ Santos Party House, NYC: photo by Michael Ligon

For the record, let's wrap up my fifth and final day in NYC and CMJ, which took place over a month ago. Perusing some of the notes I jotted down in my iPhone, time and datestamped 2 am on October 24, I wrote:

"Today it was Broadway and back to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Vegan day party and wandering, the back to the Lower East Side to the Cake Shop, a walk on the QueensWilliamsburg Bridge at sunset, picking up dinner at Tiny's Giant Sandwiches ( ) then night time at Santos Party House. NYC and CMJ it's been swell."

While the previous four days all had it's high points, the fifth day/night was a near perfect experience to end off my trip. The Brooklyn Vegan day party at Public Assembly in Williamsburg began for me with a satisfying solo set from Ted Leo, with the added bonus of Ted asking me to hand him his drink part way through which I did successfully without dropping it and making a fool of myself. I stayed at Public Assembly for a few more set including a satisying though energetically muted set from Australian indiepop group The Crayon Fields with lead vocalist Geoff O'Connor mentioning that their setlist was written up on napkins then made a humourous remark (in his slightly fey, dry tone) that the set would be 'very clean' (or something along those lines). Injecting the festivities with a good dose of energy was Nashville's Heavy Cream featuring a 3/4 female membership who played a thoroughly enjoyable set of old school punk rock and a snarling female lead vocalist. Met a girl who worked at Criminal Records in Atlanta who I chatted with in between sets and then I headed out to the main room which was packed to catch what I could of Titus Andronicus' set. Back to the Lower East Side and Cake Shop I went to try to catch an afternoon set from A Classic Education who's set I either missed or never happened so I grabbed a beer before heading out to wander the neighbourhood. I took a relaxing walk to the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge as the sun went down, then grabbed a delicious pulled pork sandwich at Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop part of which I'd scarf down as I waited for the first band to come on at Santos Party House, for The Windish Agency CMJ showcase.

That final night, while featuring some more than decent acts, also included some sporadic socializing and I guess when one's in a strange city all by one's self, it does somehow motivate one to come out of one's shell. So yes, I did get to talking briefly with a cute Asian local girl with a camera and then a lengthier conversation with a bubbly Chicagoan lovely who I was standing beside near the front of the stage. The music was almost an afterthought, but overall the band lineup made for a musically varied and satisfying evening. Although the first band Los Angeles' Superhumanoids I thought had a terrible name, they did prove to be a satisfying musical act with boy-girl vocals and a dreamy pop sound to boot. Knoxville, Tennessee trio Royal Bangs seemed hell-bent on bringing the rock after the first band, and somehow live seemed a little less interesting than what I'd heard on their MySpace. Local up and comers Cults were the first band I was interested (and as it seemed so were many others in the audience also eagerly awaiting them) this night in seeing live and their stripped down brand of Motown-ish indie pop did impress in the end.

Rounding out the night were two Brooklyn acts that really need no introduction to most of you, first with dream-pop shoegazers Asobi Seksu who played a blistering set with the stage enguled in purplish and reddish hues, then rounding out the night was School of Seven Bells(the duo of Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin Curtis, with touring drummer Zachary Saginaw) with their sultry, rhythmic, electro-fied, guitar driven dream pop, who could very well be my new favourite current band if only I ever get around to buying their most recent album, this year's Disconnect From Desires. The occasion was made even more special as the band's drummer Zachary Saginaw announced to the audience that he had something important to ask his girlfriend, and after several tense minutes of waiting for his girlfriend(who was apparently backstage somewhere) to come on to the stage, everyone knew what was about to happen and he asked her to marry him to which she did say yes. The band continued on with an encore, and then it was over. I decided to end things off on that high note, so no late night sets for me since I had to get up the next morning to pack and get to the airport. Much thanks to the random people I met, to all the bands I saw during the festival who put on great sets, and to well the New York City for being it's wonderful, diverse and spectacular self. We shall meet again.

Photos: NYC & CMJ (October 23-24, 2010)
MySpace: Ted Leo
MySpace: The Crayon Fields
MySpace: Heavy Cream
MySpace: Superhumanoids
MySpace: Royal Bangs
MySpace: Asobi Seksu
MySpace: School of Seven Bells

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