CMJ 2009 : Day Two

<img src="" alt=" " />The Bowery area once again dominated on a once-again underwhelming CMJ Day Two. ...
CMJ 2009 Day 2 Recap

CMJ '09 Day Two RecapThe Bowery area once again dominated on a once-again underwhelming CMJ Day Two.  The afternoon provided better free stuff, if not acts, than on Day One (QRO recap), while the evening was dominated by two already-favorites: Midnight Juggernauts & The Lemonheads.


Terrorbird PR party @ Cake Shop

Turbo Fruits, 1:20 PM

 Turbo Fruits

Click image for full gallery

Came to Cake Shop (QRO venue review) early in the afternoon for the free cupcakes, but had expected them to be gone after 1:00 PM.  Instead, was pleasantly surprised to find there were still there, possibly because no one knew about them, just sitting in plastic covered trays in the corner, or that they were free for anyone.  Whatever – had five or six of them.  Also had about eight free vodka & Red Bulls, because a) they tasted pretty light on the vodka, b) had to have something to wash down the cupcakes, c) if you’re gonna have free drinks in the early afternoon vodka & Red Bull makes some sense, d) Turbo Fruits’ party-garage was not that special.


Silver Starlings, 2:30 PM

 Silver Starlings

Click image for full gallery

Though they were listed as stopping at 2:00 PM, the free vodka & Red Bulls just kept being free, which kept me downstairs at Cake Shop.  Not keeping me down there?  Silver Starlings, whose too Southern/country-accented sound was like bad Motel Motel (QRO spotlight on).  Left after snagging the last cupcake, though the drinks were still free…



Subbacultcha party @ Piano’s (upstairs)

Kanipchen Fit (?), 2:40 PM

 Kanipchent Fit (?)

Click image for full gallery

On a sugar-rush from the Red Bull & cupcakes (plus the oh-now-it’s-kicking-in vodka), stopped into Piano’s (QRO venue review).  The main space downstairs was between bands, while the upstairs had some bad, loud act – too loud even when walking up the stairs.  That’s why there was nobody there.  Think it was Kanipchen Fit, but not sure, and don’t care.



Hype Machine showcase @ Santo’s (downstairs)

Theophilus London, 5:00 PM

 Theophilus London

toss that jacket!Click image for full gallery

Christine & Natalia hit up the list-only Hype Machine showcase, downstairs at Santo’s Party House (QRO venue review), for Midnight Juggernauts (see below), but Theophiluus London was still setting up.


Midnight Juggernauts, 6:00 PM

 Midnight Juggernauts

Vincent HeilmannClick image for full gallery

Probably the biggest & best band at CMJ this year has to be Midnight Juggernauts (QRO spotlight on).  The Australian electronic rockers were playing five shows at CMJ, starting at their smallest place, downstairs at Santo’s.  A little nervous & glitch-y, it was still a good trial run for the new songs, to be shown later that night (see below) at the much bigger Bowery Ballroom.

Andrew Szekeres



CMJ showcase @ Ace of Clubs

Red Collar, 8:10 PM

Red Collar

Click image for full gallery

A breakfast/lunch of Red Bull, vodka & cupcakes will end up taking you out for a while, and the lack of anything interesting to go see didn’t help.  So it wasn’t until the evening that I searched for Ace of Clubs, a pseudo-venue in the basement of ACME restaurant on Great Jones Street.  The actual venue wasn’t bad (though surly, old staff didn’t help) – so why never heard of it before?

Red Collar in red

One of the purposes CMJ still tries to serve is enabling press to see small, non-local bands you’ve only heard on record, ’cause they’re still too small to tour, and one of those was Red Collar, whose debut LP, Pilgrim (QRO review), was some better-than-your-average workingman’s punk.  Unfortunately, Red Collar were a little too workingman’s – or at least ‘worker’s comp’, as their drummer had dislocated his elbow a couple of nights earlier in Seacaucus, NJ.  So the band played without one, just two guitars & a bass, with half of a kit behind them.  However, for closer/best Pilgrim song, “Used Guitars”, they got a friend to come up on stage and hit what drums there were, despite no cymbals, and not even a place to sit to play – and he actually got fairly good at it, by the end.

Red Collar w/ semi-drummer

A band struggling to make it to perform at CMJ & the weary, lost dreams of a used guitar salesman topic of “Used Guitars” combined to be very apropos for the festival.  Can’t really judge their live show, though they seemed to be doing pretty good for not having a drummer, and were very funny in breaking out the story of what happened to their drummer into separate chunks between songs (that’s one way to keep people listening…).  Their Springsteen (QRO live review)-influenced punk should be opening for The Gaslight Anthem (QRO photos).

semi-rhythm section



CMJ showcase @ Mercury Lounge

The xx, 9:20 PM

The xx

The xxClick image for full gallery

One of the most buzzed-about, if not the most buzzed-about, bands at CMJ was The xx.  Somehow, they went overnight from opening to headlining to more.  Their Mercury Lounge (QRO venue review), show on November 11th was already bumped up to Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review), so you knew their CMJ show at Mercury was going to be packed.  But did you know it was going to be terribly lit – and boring?…



CMJ showcase @ Piano’s

These United States, 9:10 PM

These United States

Click image for full gallery

sweat mannersThese United States were playing Piano’s for the second time that day (near the end of their set, they thanked anyone who’d been there earlier in the day).  They were rewarded with a very into it crowd, certainly verbally, but also a number of girls seriously country-bopping – even got thrown some roses roses(“You’re gonna hurt someone with those thorns…”)!  Their fun times were stronger than their sad times, but that might have just been the setting – people are more looking for fun than anything as they slog through CMJ.  T.U.S.’s singer was certainly having fun (and certainly sweating…), though was even more mannered than Eric Gundel of Motel Motel (QRO spotlight on).

These United States



PureVolume House @ 169 Bowery

unknown, 10:05 PM


Click image for full gallery

Left Piano’s to head to Fontana’s (QRO venue review) for Arms (QRO album review), the solo project by Todd Goldstein of Harlem Shakes (QRO spotlight on) that preceded him joining that favorite, and has survived their break-up – only to find out that the ‘early show’ at Fontana’s, running 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM, isn’t a CMJ show, on the ‘late show’, starting at 11:00 PM.  Wasn’t going to pay $8.00 during CMJ – and not over the death of Harlem Shakes yet (QRO Tribute to Harlem Shakes)…

So headed to PureVolume House for Sean Bones (see below), only to find the place wasn’t on time, and some lame emotional-country band was ending.  Still don’t know who they were – and still don’t really care…


Sean Bones, 10:20 PM

Sean Bones

Sean KneebonesClick image for full gallery

Sean Bones is the side-project of Sean Sullivan of Sam Champion (QRO spotlight on), but it seems to have eclipsed the Champion, who are in semi-hiatus.  And not only does Bones have Sullivan, Champion drummer Ryan Thornton, and sometimes-Champion (and Sean’s brother) Michael, but even the keyboardist – the only non-Champion-affiliated member – kind of looks like Champion singer/guitarist Noah Chermin (QRO interview)…

Bones’ reggae is nice & enjoyable, but isn’t really gripping or wow-ing – like pretty much all reggae.  And, right early with “Sugar In My Spoon”, Sean Sullivan had serious problems with his pedal board (“A very ‘CMJ’ “Sugar In My Spoon”…), with which he not only kneeled to try to fix it (including literally just banging it), but bent the mike down, so he could play and sing while fixing – serious multi-tasking!

1/2 of Sam Champion



Øya Festival/ohmyrockness showcase @ Santo’s

Real Estate, 10:30 PM

Real Estate

Click image for full gallery

Gaelen & Michael headed to Santos Party House for Cymbals Eat Guitars (QRO live review), but were directed downstairs for Real Estate.  After Real Estate’s equipment crapped out, headed upstairs for Cymbals,who were supposed to start at 10:15 PM, but had somehow already finished – they were sweeping up upstairs.



CMJ showcase @ Piano’s

Evan Dando, 11:10 PM

Evan Dando

Click image for full gallery

Left Sean Bones early, because was sure Piano’s was going to be packed for Evan Dando, considering The Lemonhead was playing such a small place – and I was right.  Signs in the bar at Piano’s had warned that badges might get turned away, if they hit capacity, and the venue in the back of the place was at that during the band before, The Candles.  So I stood in an unmoving line while The Candles played, kicking myself for leaving the back space after These United States (see above), and being bumped from all sides, as my spot on the line was right in front of the entryway that led to the bathroom.

that's Holly, all the way to the right

Evan Dando playing “Rudderless” live at Piano’s in New York, NY on October 21st, 2009:

However, that entryway also led to the ‘back’ door to the venue space – actually, just another door right next to the ‘main’ one, but it is divided from the ‘main’ door by a big of a wall, and has no doorknob on the outside.  When The Candles finished, they started loading their gear out through that back door, and seeing that the line wasn’t moving despite people leaving (with a big security guard blocking the main door – when has Piano’s ever had a security guard?), I slipped in the back way, and slipped all the way up to the very front, way house-left.  Which was where Evan Dando came to the stage from – and his sister, Holly, serving as the classiest of roadies, carrying his guitar over the crowd, untangling his cords, etc.


Evan Dando playing “My Drug Buddy” live at Piano’s in New York, NY on October 21st, 2009:

Alone on stage, Mr. Dando started with mostly material from his latest, the covers record VARSHONS (QRO review), before heading into older material – including, yes, songs from It’s a Shame About Ray.  However, the best might have been his cover of “I Wish I Was Him” – written by a teenage Ben Lee about Evan Dando himself (best line: “He even knows the words to Pavement songs”).  Despite being only Dando + guitar, and in a packed place, the crowd was very quiet & respectful (including a few girls up front clearly in love with alt-icon…).

Evan Dando playing “It’s a Shame About Ray” live at Piano’s in New York, NY on October 21st, 2009:

Dando played not one, but two encores (with numerous requests shouted out) – he’d been told he only had forty-five minutes.  Catching a bigger musician like him, playing solo at a small place during CMJ, is really rife with pitfalls, but Dando pulled it off – and then had to jet off, once he was finally done, as the crowd threatened to mob him (which Holly had to save him from)…

Holly upgraded to sitting on the stage

Evan Dando playing “Rudderless” live at Piano’s in New York, NY on October 21st, 2009:



CMJ showcase @ Bowery Ballroom

Midnight Juggernauts, 12:30 AM

Midnight Juggernauts

Click image for full gallery

One band I had to see at this year’s CMJ – maybe the only band – were Midnight Juggernauts.  They’d seriously impressed with Dystopia (QRO review) and their appearance at Bowery Ballroom last year (QRO review), especially as they do live what so many other electronic bands only do on record.

Unfortunately, headlining during CMJ is really just ‘playing last’ – lots of people arrive for earlier bands & leave before the ‘headliner’.  And Juggernauts were playing after midnight on a Wednesday…  Still, the crowd was of some size, and definitely some people way into it up front.  The new songs were rather unfamiliar – definitely a band better to hear first on record, then see live.  They also didn’t do an encore – actually, couldn’t, because they started so late; it was likely Bowery Ballroom shutting them down – a Juggernaut even apologized!

Midnight Juggernauts



Green Owl showcase @ (le) Poisson Rouge

NinjaSonik, 12:30 AM


Click image for full gallery

NinjaOnItGaelen & Michael went to (le) Poisson Rouge (QRO venue review) for The Very Best, only to find out they’d cancelled (last-minute visa issues – were still listed in CMJ guide, and even our QRO CMJ Preview).  So instead got every Brooklyn hipster’s favorite hip-hop act, don't waste that forty!...NinjaSonik.

NinjaSonik were doing abbreviated versions of their songs – and others’, like “Last of the Famous International Playboys” by Morrissey (QRO album review).  But girls on stage, dry-humping the band?  Musicians diving into/on top of the crowd?  Pouring out a forty on stage?  Yep, “We are NinjaSonik!  We are sonic fuckin’ ninjas!”

ladies really love the sonic ninjas...


Theophilus London, 1:20 AM

Theophilus London

Click image for full gallery

So instead of The Very Best, we got even more Theophilus London?… (see above)

Theophilus London



Unfortunately missed:

– Force Field PR party @ Piano’s (including These United States – see above), 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM.  It was kind of odd that Force Field & Terrorbird would have daytime showcases going up against each other, considering how much the two PR companies work together.  But Force Field didn’t have free cupcakes…

– Orenda Fink (QRO album review), Good Old War (QRO photos), Look Mexico & The Uglysuit (QRO photos) @ Studio @ Webster Hall (QRO venue review), 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

– Black Hollies (QRO live review) @ Cake Shop, 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM.  If the cupcakes had still been flowing…

– Jones Street Station (QRO spotlight on) @ Alphabet Lounge, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

– Dawn Landes (QRO spotlight on) & Surf City (QRO album review), 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ Bell House (QRO venue review)

– Takka Takka (QRO spotlight on) @ Knitting Factory, 8:30 PM – 9:15 PM.  Wary about trying to make any Takka Takka shows, because guitarist Drew Furlow (QRO interview) had said they weren’t playing CMJ (but would have liked to see the new Knitting Factory…)

– The Teenage Prayers (QRO photos), Class Actress (QRO photos), Aeroplane Pageant (QRO album review), Casxio & Paul & the Patients (QRO live review) @ Southpaw (QRO venue review), 8:30 PM – 12:15 AM.  Future Sounds’ Rumble should have come a little closer to the center of things.

– Arms @ Fontana’s, 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  Not a CMJ show – see above

– Broadcast & Atlas Sound (QRO live review) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (QRO venue review), 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Missed ’em again…, but QRO caught them in Portland on November 1st (QRO review).

– Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Santo’s, 10:15 PM – 11:00 PM.  Finished early – see above

– Japanther (QRO photos) @ Suffolk Back Room, 10:15 PM – 11:00 PM.

– Bear Hands (QRO spotlight on) @ Mercury Lounge (QRO venue review), 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Saw them there at last year’s CMJ – and it was great (QRO photos).

– Malajube (QRO album review) @ Arlene’s Grocery (QRO venue review), 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Only interesting band at the ‘M is for Montreal’ showcase.

– Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (QRO interview) @ PureVolume House, 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM.

– The Seedy Seeds (QRO album review) @ Trash Bar, 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Had the Album of the Week (QRO archive) for most of CMJ.

– The Very Best @ (le) Poisson Rouge, 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  Visa issues forced them to cancel – see above

– Electric Tickle Machine (QRO live review) @ Public Assembly (QRO venue review), 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM.  Gotta see ETM at some point during CMJ…


Other notes:

– Even nicer day outside than yesterday!

– Some poor couple was waiting outside, between Cake Shop & Piano’s, during the day, to be shown an apartment there.  Worst real estate agent timing ever

– After the sugar & vodka during the day, kept it teetotaling at night – even at PureVolume House…

Concert Reviews
  • Anonymous
  • No Comment

    Leave a Reply