CMJ 2009 : Day Five

<img src="" alt=" " />The worst weather of CMJ also brought some of the best showcases & bands to close out the festival. ...
CMJ 2009 Day 5 Recap

CMJ 2009 Day Five RecapIn addition to having the worst weather of the festival, the last day of CMJ was, in some ways, the most full.  More venues had afternoon showcases, because they expected more people to show up on the afternoon of a Saturday.  That included the only day of FADER Fort.  There were also a bunch of unofficial, free drinks-provided evening parties, but did you need more free drinks at this point?  Besides, the official line-ups were some of the most interesting, featuring bands you had to catch – even if you’d already seen them before at CMJ:


FADER Fort @ Ace Hotel

MNDR, 3:05 PM


MNDRClick image for full gallery

You know the economy’s bad when FADER Fort has been reduced to one day at CMJ.  Last year, they had one of the best CMJ spaces (QRO CMJ 2008 recap), and even at SXSW this year, they had Kanye close it out (QRO SXSW 2009 recap)!  But this year, FADER Fort was only on Saturday, and it was farther from the action, up north at Ace Hotel.  You still had to RSVP for a wristband – but that’s because it was still open bar (a.k.a., the most important thing…).

Downstairs Ace Hotel was hot, and already running late – came for 3:00 PM Temper Trap (see below), MNDR was still on, a dance-hop girl.  But open bar was pretty nice, beers & various mixed drinks.


The Temper Trap, 3:55 PM

 The Temper Trap

The Temper TrapClick image for full gallery

Needed those fluids when hanging around for The Temper Trap, who started almost an hour later than scheduled.  The thermostat literally said 82° – some girls tried to change it, but it seemed stuck (QRO photo).  The set up at Ace Hotel basement was also kind of a hassle, with the band playing in one space, which had three spaces attached to it (either side & the front).  So it was hard to get from one space to another, and ended up being trapped in space on the far side from the bar, under the hot lights (there was a fan, but girls kept stepping in front of it, bogarting my fan…).

FADER Fort looked to be electronica-heavy, so was surprised to find The Temper Trap kind of mainstream rock, with twangy, mainstream voice – a little country-rock.  It was also even harder to leave, as there seemed to be a million doors down there, which you weren’t supposed to go into…

 The Temper Trap



This Side Up/The Deli/ party @ The Delancey

Elizabeth & The Catapult, 4:40 PM

 Elizabeth & The Catapult

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Left the swelteringly hot & packed basement at Ace Hotel for the packed upstairs at The Delancey.  The rooftop patio was awkwardly set up (but at least with a roof), and the palm fronds made it very reminiscent to the one at the late Studio B (QRO venue review – which is probably where Studio B got the idea).  Elizabeth & The Catapult were cute, but not worth the walk.

Headed downstairs for Freelance Whales, but downstairs at The Delancey was the same long, thin, tightly packed place it had been two years ago for CMJ (QRO recap), so left rather than deal.

~ party @ Living Room

Savoir Adore, 4:55 PM

 Savoir Adore

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Chris of/is had his own showcase at Living Room (had seen him around before, but always thought he was British – though he did Alec Ounsworth about The Phillies on adoreDay Three – QRO recap).  The Living Room (QRO venue review) isn’t the best The Music Snobplace for most bands, but Savoir Adore actually fit in rather well there (and they did say it had, “The best sound in New York City”).  Their Americana-meets-indietronica live sounds like on In the Wooded Forest (QRO review), which isn’t a bad thing.  And had to appreciate how much the bassist was into it (and the cute girl…).

 Savoir Adore



FADER Fort @ Ace Hotel

Midnight Juggernauts (QRO spotlight on) at FADER Fort sounded like the best thing at all of CMJ – best band in relatively small place with free booze.  Unfortunately, many other people thought that, which left one standing in line in the rain, hoping people would leave the at-capacity basement at Ace Hotel.  There wasn’t much else going on, so hung around a while, but eventually left when was told by the (very nice) staff that Midnight Juggernauts had already started.

There was a ‘special guest’ booked to close the Fort, which turned out to be Kyp Malone’s Rain Machine – which we turned out to catch later that night (see below).



Colt 45 X Etnies collaboration party @ Etnies Showroom

Drink Up Buttercup, 8:10 PM

 Drink Up Buttercup

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And standing on the street, under an umbrella & near a building kept the rain out, relatively.  No such luck at Canal & Broadway – the rain was a torrent by then, headed the wrong way out of the subway stop, could barely read the street signs, before finding the Etnies Showroom.  Headed downstairs for the free beer, which was weirdly served in these little bags, like shopping bags – so you could drink your mini Colt 45 on the street?

Have really tried to like Drink Up Buttercup, but couldn’t stand them at this showcase – though that was mostly because of the endurance challenge it took to get to Etnies Showroom, and that the downstairs was a long basement with too loud speakers.  Really didn’t need to be hearing them bang trash cans.  Did run into them later, upstairs, when one was getting photographed in his new Nikes provided by Etnies – he was the only one being photographed because, after asking everyone in the band their shoe sizes, just gave them all 12s.  It worked much better at Northside Festival (QRO recap) – whose free shoes the band had been sporting when playing.



CMJ showcase @ Bell House

Still Flyin’, 9:20 PM

 Still Flyin'

dancin' on stage......and offClick image for full gallery

Dried out on the ride into Brooklyn (for the first time of CMJ!), trying to make The Postmarks at Bell House (QRO venue review) at 9:00 PM – only to find they’d been switched with Still Flyin’, who were Still On.  The up-cheer party ensemble was enjoyable but forgettable – though did see Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone (see below) dancin’ & even trying to form a congo line…

 Still Flyin'


The Postmarks, 10:05 PM

 The Postmarks

drinkchampagneClick image for full gallery

One of Christine’s favorites, the Miami band started in a sixties French New Wave style (reminiscent of Camera Obscura – QRO live review) – helped, without a doubt, by the singer’s pourstriped sixties dress, and her penchant for champagne, not beer.  However, the new songs the band ended with were expansive & rocking, making for a great set progression.

 The Postmarks


Au Revoir Simone, 11:10 PM

 Au Revoir Simone

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Heather D'Angelo & Erika FosterDidn’t really need to see Au Revoir Simone (QRO spotlight on) for the second time in as many days (QRO Day Four recap), but how can you say no to Heather D’Angelo, Erika Foster & Annie Hart (QRO interview)?  They’d promised some sort of special line-up at Bell House, but didn’t see much of that beyond an extra xylophone.  Bell House was also very packed, and maybe the girls were a little nervous – they had to Annie Hart & xylophonestop & restart their first song.

Next up for them?  Playing China!  Unfortunately, next up for me was the spooky Smith-9th St. subway stop – which was out & out closed.  There was some sort of shuttle bus, but took the wrong one, then tried to catch a cab to head to Williamsburg, but the cabbie out & out said he didn’t know how to get from here to there.  So had to take a livery cab – lucky it was around, but it wasn’t cheap…

 Au Revoir Simone



CMJ showcase @ Bowery Ballroom

Violens, 10:35 PM


ViolensClick image for full gallery

Gaelen hit Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review) on the last day of CMJ for one of the more interesting and diverse major showcases of CMJ, starting with Violens.



Sharon Van Etten, 11:25 PM

 Sharon Van Etten

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In a world with a million-and-one indie alt-folk singer/songwriters, male and female, Sharon Van Etten is still getting some attention.

 Sharon Van Etten


Rain Machine, 12:30 AM

 Rain Machine

Kyp MaloneClick image for full gallery

Kyp MaloneBut the main purpose of Gaelen going to Bowery was for Rain Machine, a.k.a. the latest project from Kyp Malone of TV On the Radio (QRO live review).  Of course, he’s already reunited Iran (QRO live review), and produced Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson’s Summer of Fear (QRO review), but what’s one more?…

 Rain Machine



CMJ showcase @ Spike Hill

Electric Tickle Machine, 12:20 AM

 Electric Tickle Machine

 Click here for QRO’s review of Electric Tickle Machine at N8 in Brooklyn, NY on July 25th, 2009 in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery

 Click here for photos of Electric Tickle Machine at 2009 Northside Festival in Brooklyn, NY in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery

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ladies + Electric Tickle MachineAll the difficulties & cost getting from Park Slope to Brooklyn (see above) were worth it for the perfect band with which to end my CMJ – Electric Tickle Machine.  They hadn’t started yet, so got all of ETM, including some great new material.  The wild garage-party band surprisingly delivered on record with Blew It Again ( – our ‘Album of the Week’ for the last day of CMJ – QRO archive), and their new stuff shows growth, while retaining that ETM rock.

 the ladies love their Electric Tickle Machine

concentrateatop the speakerThe show had all the great hallmarks of an Electric Tickle Machine show, including the percussionist dancing in the crowd & on top of a speaker (was Lucas Guerin of Casxio talking about seeing them? – QRO interview).  The crowd knew the Blew It material, which seemed to startle & please the singer/guitarist.  One has to feel a little bad for the keyboardist – not just because his (now ex-) girlfriend wasn’t there, but because he looks like he’s concentrating so much harder than everyone else in the band.  Guess he’s the ‘artiste’…

 Electric Tickle the crowd

check dem abs!check dem ladies!Electric Tickle Machine is also developing a serious fan base – and unlike most wild bands, it’s not mostly minors and/or male (though 21+ Spike Hill – QRO venue review – stopped the former), but ladies – and they can’t all be dating someone in the band (though ETM are four good-looking guys, especially the drummer’s abs…).  In fact, when the singer’s mike stand started screwing up, it was one of the ladies who stepped up to fix it, while he still sung.  And some other young woman with a foreign accent (Italian?) asked about purchasing a CD (unfortunately, they only had vinyl…).

 Electric Tickle the ladies

havin' funis crucial for cowboysOld-timers say that rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t have the rebellion & revolution of yesteryear, and to some extent that’s true, as it’s not brand new & can’t fight things like the draft or segregation.  But Electric Tickle Machine come close to what it must have been like to see psych-rock bands back in the day, before they got big, when they were still playing small places.

 Electric Tickle the stage



CMJ showcase @ Santo’s Party House

Midnight Juggernauts, 1:35 AM

 Midnight Juggernauts

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While I was ending CMJ right with Electric Tickle Machine (see above), Christine & Natalia were ending it right with the best band of CMJ, Midnight Juggernauts.  Now playing upstairs at Santo’s Party House (QRO venue review), the two of them were able to parlay having interviewed the Juggernauts & now knowing them into getting to stand (and shoot from) on stage – while others tried & were tossed off!

 midnight fans

Another highlight was watching the band destroy the drum set to close out their set.  This CMJ might have been lacking in big-name bands, but Midnight Juggernauts are becoming one.

 Midnight Juggernauts



Unfortunately missed:

– Dawn Landes (QRO spotlight on) @ Living Room, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM.

– Still Life Still (QRO album review) @ Piano’s (QRO venue review), 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM.  Missed really the only Canadian band at CMJ was interested in.

– Freelance Whales @ The Delancey, 4:45 PM – 5:30 PM.  Thanks to The Delancey – see above

– Florence & The Machine and Midnight Juggernauts @ FADER Fort, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM.  Thanks to FADER Fort – see above

– Phil & The Osophers (QRO spotlight on) @ Bruar Falls, 8:00 PM – 8:45 PM.  Sorry, Phil – and never got a chance to see the new Bruar Falls.

– múm and Sin Fang Bous (album review) @ (le) Poisson Rouge (QRO venue review), 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM.  First missed a chance to interview múm, then was turned away about a half-hour before this Icelandic double-bill started.

– Dan Black @ Santo’s Party House, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

– The Jaguar Club (QRO album review) @ The Delancey, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

– Jelly NYC showcase @ ROOT Studios, 9:30 PM – 1:00 AM.  Went right from Electric Tickle Machine (see above) to ROOT Studios, just a bit north – and made it there right when it was letting out.  Had gone more for the free drinks (something JellyNYC specialize…) than headliner The Almighty Defenders, which features members of Black Lips (QRO live review).  And they would have been a poor ending to CMJ, since Electric Tickle Machine are like Black Lips, but better (i.e., good).

– Vulture Whale (album review) @ Trash Bar, 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  Have to see this fun band at some point…


Other notes:

– It wouldn’t be CMJ without subway problems.

– Worst weather of all of CMJ on Day Five.

– My back hurts from carrying my photo bag around for five days…

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