Sunday, November 05, 2006

Interlude: See 'em Play at CMJ, Part I

I hope this post makes up for the lack of recent concert attendance. I finally got a taste of the much publicized CMJ Music Marathon over the weekend, and I can attest that it lives up to its name. It's a bit of a relief that this insanity occurs only once a year, as one show, never mind a week's worth, is rather draining. CMJ is truly a unique experience, as even the most hyped up, pitchforking music geek is exposed to multiple cases of obscurity. While some won the crowd over, others screeched, burned and were upstaged by inflated...contraceptive devices. It's a jungle out there, and not just 'cause the headliners had tribal, possibly Aboriginal, drumming. Here's the first half of my CMJ experience.

November 3rd, 2006 - Irving Plaza

Chicago rockers Tenki started things off. For better or worse, more than a few bands seem to be featuring a horn section these days, including these guys. The short but steady set featured an Arab Strap cover, and in retrospect they made for a fine opener.

Stream Tracks: Here

Ashmatic Kitty is home to the quirky genius of Sufjan, and Vancouver is the home of the epitome of fun, the New Pornographers. While some incredibly synthesis of those two might seem to be in order, Shapes' label and geographical associates do not seem to have had any positive influence. Screeching guitar pyrotechnics and cheerily bizarre vocals made for an unsettling listen, to say the least. I suppose they're what one would call an acquired taste, but it's not one I'm particularly interested in acquiring.

Stream Tracks: Here

Left of center and dynamic were the defining elements of Khaela Maricich's performance. While there was a bit of that ubiquitous heartbreak content lyrically, the set was ultimately very appealing and enjoyable. She began with simple fingersnapping and a subdued vocal, and was eventually complemented with programmed electro-beats. I'll admit that I have a bit of a weakness for such, but I don't believe that anyone was expecting her spontaneous breakdancing.

As noted, she was able to induce all the hipsters, myself included, to do the wave (if not the upcoming whirlwind), which was quite a spectacle.

Stream Tracks: Here

As the fatigue began to set in, I think I was simply thirsting for some good 'ol rock and roll. Apples provided an ample dose of percussion, as well as two keyboardists providing melodies. While their nutritional value is still questionable, it was quite therapeutic at the time. And, after all, who doesn't like free ringtones?

Stream tracks: Here

After an eternity, headliners Architecture came on shortly after midnight. As they emerged from the fog, a number of my alcohol fueled neighbors became a wee bit overexcited. I wasn't aware that you could mosh to this sort of music, but suffice to say that I was enlightened. The omission of "The Owls Go," was the greatest disappointment of the show, but the finale of "Do The Whirlwind" was quite epic, reaching an Arcade Fire scale of drama. Perhaps it was the exhaustion and my relative unfamiliarity with the material, but I wasn't completely enamored with their set. While I credit the band, particularly frontman Cameron Bird, for their enthusiasm, it seemed that a bit of melodicism was lost in translation.

Stream Tracks: Here

All in all, a hell of a show, but of a length that should be seen sparingly. Oh, and then there's the rest of Saturday...


Anonymous said...

Tenki was amazing. The cover they did was an Arab Strap cover, not an Afghan Whigs cover.

Roland said...

Oops, I'll go ahead and fix that. Thanks for stopping by.

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