CMJ Music and Film Marathon

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Photo by Jeremy Gordon

It happens once a year. You know, that time when starving artists bring their busted equipment to the Big Apple with high hopes of making headlines.  When the media straps on their shiny press badges, waving them at anyone who will notice, and when New York City is reeling from the influx of a thousand bands vying for your undivided attention.

Yes, from October 18th-22nd the CMJ Music & Film Marathon took hold of venues big and small all over NYC and Brooklyn. For many musicians on the rise, CMJ is a chance to truly be heard. And from the crowded basements of the Bowery to the posh balconies of the Hiro Ballroom, no space was safe from critics searching for the ‘next big thing’. So with stamped hands and an open mind, yours truly tried to forgo the hype and focus on the ear candy.

One of the great things about CMJ is the sheer variety of music scheduled each day.  Take the Marathon’s kick-off on Tuesday, when you could head to Brooklyn to catch some loud and wild New Jersey punk care of Titus Andronicus, or wander down the Meatpacking District to mellow out with the New Orleans jazz styles of Kermit Ruffins & The BBQ Swingers. Or both! To get the most out of CMJ week, it’s really a matter of endurance.

Portugal. The Man: Photo by, Jeremy Gordon

Seattle based radio station KEXP kept it classy by broadcasting live from the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Midtown, featuring up and comers like The Atlas Sound and Caveman. KEXP is known for its impeccable taste, and on Wednesday afternoon the station hosted intimate sets by indie darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Portugal. The Man.

Thursday night at Bowery Electric, DIY blues duo The Courtesy Tier captivated the congregation with songs off their new EP Holy Hot Fire. And then Black Taxi showed up.  Lead vocalist Ezra Huleatt rocked a captain’s hat while working the mic, some keys, a trumpet AND a bass drum, and it was pretty clear that the aforementioned ‘next big thing’ had arrived. Like Talking Heads with sex appeal, Black Taxi stole the showcase during manically catchy songs like ‘Tightrope’, ‘Head on a Pike’ and ‘Take a Ticket’. 

That’s the beauty of CMJ – for five days the city streets are littered with guitar-toting drifters and beat up vans full of weathered gear - a music fan’s wonderland set in the heart of autumn in New York.
By  Audra Tracy

Posted by admin on Oct 28th, 2011 and filed under Arts & Entertainment, Other News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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