It is safe to say that this year’s lineup for the annual CMJ festival was the most underwhelming in years, maybe ever. Usually there are 10-20 established acts, and a handful of showcases packed with up and coming contenders that everyone is clamoring to get into, not so for ’09.
On the Friday night Cymbals Eat Guitars, Holly Miranda, and Delorean played the Self-Titled Magazine/Pop Mart Media Showcase in the Village at Le Poisson Rogue. The venue is gorgeous and hosts a plethora of varied events from plays to rock shows. Tonight CMJ took over, and while the bartenders were not happy with constant complaints of over priced drinks the crowd did arrive early for the opener Delorean.
From Barcelona this foursome pleasantly surprised with wave after wave of high powered Electronica. After recently focusing on remixing popular tracks, they now produce their own pop/dance music that would be great for clubs or late night ecstasy fueled dance parties on the beach. There are definite flashes of MGMT and any fans of Particle who have grown up a bit and want songs to go along with their jam should check these guys out immediately.
Holly Miranda was next; she played backed by a single guitarist for this show. You can’t deny Miranda’s voice is powerful as all hell and one of the strongest I have heard; I just have to question how she uses it. All the songs were similar, containing minimal to non-existent strumming and then vocal bombardment. I had never seen such a stripped down, basically soloist set, overpower her own songs by using only her voice before. It was off putting, perhaps that was the point, but it wasn’t engaging or entertaining.
The third band to play was Cymbals Eat Guitars from Staten Island, New York. The four-piece came out firing with their excellent tune “And The Hazy Sea”. Their set was workmen like; they combined technical parts with upbeat chords and clear vocals from Joseph Ferocious. The band has an early Modest Mouse thing going on, and plays with power; however you wouldn’t know it by the crowd. Standing like zombies reacting minimally, (one chucklehead was even writing on his laptop) it was a strange environment to catch a show when the band on stage was clearly giving it there all. Oh well, until next years CMJ…