CMJ Night 1 and Day 2 – Big Red takes the Big Apple
Hello Doobie listeners! Roger and Claire here.
Your faithful station manager and music director made it to NYC for the College Music Journal Showcase. CMJ Music Marathon is both a conference for college radio stations and a showcase of several up-and coming artists from all over the world. They have colloquiums and roundtables where radio stations can learn how to improve themselves, as well as small concert lineups for artists to broadcast their talent. CMJ is in it’s 35th year, and we couldn’t be more excited to be here.
After navigating rush hour traffic the likes of which we’d never seen, we were happy to settle in at our Manhattan hotel and start planning our week. Once settled we ventured off to our first showcase stop – Brooklyn. After dining at a hipster Mexican bar we went to the iconic Brooklyn Bowl to see Oberhofer. The venue was incredible, there were rows and rows of colorfully lit bowling alleys adjacent to a large stage. 10$ beer in hand, we waited eagerly as Oberhofer did their soundcheck. Oberhofer is a Brooklyn-based indie-rock band that formed in 2008 by lead-singer/songwriter Brad Oberhofer. He’s found success since signing with Glassnote Records in 2011, with whom they just released their new album Chronovision. They played a few songs from the album during their short set, all of which were a hit with the crowd. Brad Oberhofer has an excellent way of engaging with the crowd and his fellow band members all while giving incredible vocal energy. He walked through the crowd, kiss his band members, and danced around the stage. You can check out their new album on spotify!
Next we made the short walk over to Rough Trade record store to see the British electronic trio Vaults. We arrived a little early and were delighted to catch the tail end of the Australian indie-rock group Methyl Ethel. They were a great new discovery, the lead singer has an incredible voice and the trio has a catchy indie sound. You can also find them on Spotify. The Vaults show was at 11:45 pm, so the crowd was minimal but they brought a wonderful energy to stage. The lead singer has a booming, dynamic voice that was paired with electronic beats and live bells. You can check out their new track “Overcome” here on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/vaults
Favorite Songs from Day 1:
Our first full day in NYC!
Once we were up and ready Roger and I shipped off to the Dream Downtown hotel for conferences and the Sounds Australia luncheon. The Sounds Australia line up included great Aussie acts such as Fraser A. Gorman, Methyl Ethel, SAFIA, Northeast Party house, and The Babe Rainbow. We then attended the Music Director’s Summit panel and the Life on the Executive Board panel. They both involved Exec member’s from all over the country sharing their experiences with managing DJs, other exec members, and dealing with administrational issues. It was a very enriching experience, and Roger and I even made friends all the way from KCSB in Santa Barbra.
Later that evening we hustled with pizza in hand to the Lower East Side to see Jane Decker at the Pianos bar. She’s a fun, upbeat pop-rock singer from Cincinnati, OH. All her songs showcased her belting voice with poppy hooks, especially the tune “Come to Your Senses”. Roger was friends with the other band members so we got a chance to talk to her about her CMJ experience, which she described as exhausting and busy but a lot of fun.
We then walked a few blocks over to the iconic Bowery Ballroom to see Panda Bear. The actual venue was what you would expect, a theatre-like stage with a dance floor and a balcony above. The music, however, was far from traditional. His opener was an artist named Image Man, a little-known electronic artist that employs heavy bass with chilled, distorted vocals and instrumentals. You can check out his latest song “Never Free” on his soundcloud here: www.soundcloud.com/imgm
Panda Bear arrived on stage around 10pm. His set up was small, he was surrounded by his electronic equipment that allowed him to re-create his songs in front of the audience. He didn’t move throughout the show, but what he lacked for in movement he made up for in vocal expression. Listening to his latest album “Panda Bear Meets The Grimm Reaper” (released in January 2015), his vocals are not the highlight of every track. This was easily forgotten in the live show, however, where his vocals were at the forefront of every song. His face was strained and eyes were closed as he belted louder and higher than on the album, notably in songs like “Marijuana Makes my day” (from his EP) and “Mr. Noah”. The show was a complete experience, with a video in the background that included a kaleidoscopic visualizer and images of painted women including one made-up as a sparkly grim reaper. Roger and I agreed it was one of the best shows we had ever been to.
From there we took a taxi over to Brooklyn to the Black Bear bar to see friendships, an electronic male-female duo from Australia. Their appearances and relationship is comparable to that of Die Antword, and their music is intense electronic house-dub. You can follow them on soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/friendships
Favorite Songs Day 2:
Stay tuned for our upcoming posts on day 3,4, and 5!
Claire and Roger