Playing your CMJ show the last day of the marathon cannot be easy. You know everybody is tired and very little patient so you gotta show your best asap. I decided to head early to Mercury Lounge to make sure I wasn't going to be left out to see Professor Murder, so I got there by 7 pm and stayed until 1 am. Fortunately Professor Murder, my most anticipated show of the night, wasn't the only good thing I got to see.
New Violators were first and had a decent crowd at the Lounge for a 7 pm show. Their music sometimes sound like U2 to me, or Bono more precisely, and as soon as they shake that off in their songs they sound not only original but better. The singer's look easily reminds you David Bowie but the comparisons stop right there. I really appreciated the drummer's skills... they sometimes sounded to me like the very noticeable drums in the new Shocking Pinks album. I sympathized with them just because of the fact that they made their way from Denmark to the States just to play a 35 minute show, so let me say that even though they don't need what I am about to say, because they should be about to pop up (if they haven't already), I wish them good luck.
The next band was called Baby Dayliner and by the time they were supposed to start, 8 pm, only one person was on stage getting ready a computer and plugging in a microphone. I thought the band was going to lose some of their time but the music started right on time... the band was only this guy crooning (and sometimes sort of rapping) on top of a track played by iTunes. I felt I was in a Karaoke show, except that the singer was good and the songs were actually his. As Jamie Lidell's take on soul music is new in the sense of being adventurous, Baby Dayliner's is new in the sense of being ironic... good ironic.
Then I saw TV on the Radio. Wait, right, TV on the Radio was not playing CMJ. Dragons of Zynth was the band playing. Their image and, most of the time, their music, didn't really let me enjoy them because of this unavoidable comparison to the Brooklyn favorites. Sometimes they did, but for being new music I am not interested.
I was getting sleepy so I had to buy a drink. Scotch. The next band didn't help... Georgie James. First of all, a recommendation from a guy that knows absolutely nothing: stop adding the "ex - Q and not U" to your name every time you announce a show... it's cheesy. Q and not U fans surely know who you were if you were good, and if you were not you don't really want to remind them that. They were not bad, but not great either... just all right. Q and not U... I mean, Georgie James... you see it's confusing me already. Anyway, Georgie James' indie pop was effective to me while it sounded, but forgettable right after. Especially knowing that right after Professor Murder was going to take the stage...
So this is CMJ, right? and CMJ is about new music, right? Out of all the bands that I already knew their music who were playing this week, Professor Murder and Islands were the only ones in my list that took seriously CMJ for what it is for, previewing new music. Michael Bell-Smith, the one below with the gym whistle hanging from his neck, announced the show was called Professor Murder tries new material, and he was serious. The only old song they played, Free Stress Test, was the one they use to close their set to have their old time fans happy, but for the rest of the time previewd new song hitting toms, cowbells, tambourines, drums and played bass, keyboards and a drum machine covering big ground in such a small time without feeling in a rush or overambitious.
People three rows towards the back were barely moving so I guess they hadn't experienced a Professor show before. I hope they liked it. I did and enjoyed the new material, especially the killer Dutch Hex that live kicked ass as much as when I heard it for the first time three months ago. So, when is the album coming out?
I was ready to go to Brooklyn Vegan after party (with Professor Murder's three guys playing as King Oppression), but the concert goers I met wanted to check out The Harlem Shakes, so I stayed for a bit. Although didn't listen to the whole set for stepping in and out trying to buy a t-shirt and a drink, what I heard was pretty good, particularly the singer with an interesting high hoarse voice, and the guitarist's energy. They had a big crowd of fans and they semt to be happy with the effect their songs were having on them. I'll give them a shot another day again...
But I wanted more Professor Murder... I've never have enough of them. Their Rides the Subway EP is short, but fantastic, so I play it severeal times consecutively. Their live show is short too, of course, they only have one EP and like three or four new songs. So when BV announced he was having an unofficial CMJ after party with King Oppression (three guys out of four from Professor Murder) playing different versions of Professor Murder material, I could not miss out. The party was excellent, including a guy called David Sugar, King Oppression and Brooklyn Vegan himself just by walking around...
I hope you had a happy CMJ! I know once I have enough rest I am gonna miss it... until 2008. [photos of the show]