CMJ is upon us. The festival has been a sort of benchmark for my relationship with live music - I unwittingly went to two shows in my freshman year of college, then went all-out in 2007 and 2008. But last year, I only managed to catch a random day set on the Lower East Side halfway through the festival, and I wasn't really seeing many concerts at all. But having recently returned to music blogging, I resolved to make the most of this year's CMJ, and hopefully rekindle that beautiful feeling of discovery.
Tuesday night, I made my way over to Mog's show over at the Brooklyn Bowl. It was my first time inside the venue (I waited outside unsuccessfully on two rainy occasions), and I was impressed with the size of the place, and the swankiness of the many flat television screens and furnishings. (Disclosure: ÜberDrivel is a part of the Mog Music Network, and they sell us ads.)
The show began promptly, with opener Screaming Females wasting no time in blasting the crowd. Singer Marisa Paternoster was a force of nature, with guitar heroics and a powerful voice. Strangely, her presence in between songs was tiny - apparently due to nerves - but the intensity of the music made up for it.
DOM were a shaggy-haired quartet, with grungy fuzz but the occasional hook emerging from the guitar fog. The singer - who apparently goes by Dom, but won't reveal his last name - had vocals were as thick as his hair, obscuring his lyrics, but the band was going for mood over meaning. This actually transitioned pretty well into the first few songs of Yo La Tengo's set, which were bottom-heavy burnouts with guitar freakouts.
I was a little concerned about surviving the remainder of the show, but then the band launched into "Mr. Tough," and James McNew's falsetto assured me that all was well. I was really impressed with the band's versatility, which makes sense, considering they've been around longer than, well, I have. The three-part acoustic harmonies on a couple tracks were great - Ira Kaplan accounted for the tempo shift as a way of not interrupting the nearby bowlers, and even rolled a set himself.
All in all, a great way to kick things off.
Here's some footage of the set (more here), and rest of the photos after the jump.
Yo La Tengo