CMJ 2011:Day 3 - GIVERS, Dum Dum Girls, The Lonely Forest, Joy Wave, Secret Music, Static Jacks, Waters, The Damn Personals, Recover, And We Are Scientists. After such an incredible collection of events which transpired the day before I kept finding myself wondering on Thursday morning “How will today be better?” but if there’s one thing CMJ is great at doing it’s surprising you, and boy did that happen loads on Thursday.
I began my day again at Ace Hotel. The space was a little less crowded when I walked in but it only took less than ten minutes for that to change once GIVERS took the stage. This band has been tipped to me by many throughout the year and I had yet to give them a proper listen up to that point. I have no idea why, they were signed to Glassnote Records and aside from being incredible people that label just has an ear for what’s incredible. Well that word alone certainly describes the bands performance, absolutely incredible! The bands front-man flailed his arms, face, and guitar yet still hit every chord with clear precision. Their keyboardist/xylophone player smiled as she bombastically banged a drum stick onto her xylophone’s keys. The crowd was certainly taken aback by the performance, I guess I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what to expect.
Next up were Dum Dum Girls, a four piece of some really beautiful women. But don’t let that description fool you. Despite carrying a dark aesthetic there is one thing the band care about and that’s playing music. Once they were tuned up and ready to go they wasted no time driving themselves into a barrage of garage driven guitar chords. It was so abrupt that some people in the crowd got a bit winded, but the Dum Dum Girls simply didn’t wait for you to catch up, either you were into their performance or not.
After the ladies finished up some familiar faces began setting up. The Lonely Forest, a band I have seen many times this year took the stage and you could just tell they were bursting to play a show. Front-man John Van Deusen smiled as he received the green light to start strumming. The room went quiet as his chords filled the room, allowing his voice room to carry into the ears of everyone. It truly was a wicked performance to watch. Each band member plays with a pure individual distinction, guitarist Tony Ruland shreds his guitar with his Wolverine esque hair cut as bass player Eric Strugeon sways from left to right as though he was in shoegazing band, all the while drummer Braydon Krueger bangs away as his massive mane of hair flops in all directions and Von Deuson simply bangs on his Telecaster and jumps to every area on stage during the bridges of the tracks, yet they still find a way to play in perfect synch. Not near perfect, simply perfect.
My next objective for the day was a task I was looking very much forward to, catching the showcase of Fenway Recordings. What made this really special was that We Are Scientists were headlining.
When I got into Webster Hall’s Studio section a really talented young band called Joy Wave. The front-man reminded me of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys in the way he carried himself on stage. Their performance consisted of straight to the point indie tracks with an alternative edge. After they departed from the stage a band called Secret Music took the stage. Low toned synth keys filled the venue and guitar chords stepped in full force. Their lead singers face was obscured by his long hair but this didn’t stop him from playing his guitar insanely fast as his co-pilot (well co-guitarist) played away next to him providing backing vocals.
Their set was met with applause and the band was clearly grateful for such a reception. Static Jacks took the stage next and their mission was clear: Provide an unforgettable fucking performance for the crowd at Webster Hall, and boy did they deliver. This time the band literally embodied The Undertones, Buzzcocks, and to some extent Tokyo Police Club, who are also one of the bands biggest influences. The front-man (whose name is Ian Devaney) played a slow driven track with a synth yet still stomped his feet while doing so, clearly allowing his energy to rise to provide a high octane performance.
Taking the stage after the lads of Static Jacks finished was a band from California called Waters. For some reason a wave of “mehness” sweeped the venue (at least from where I was standing) after the band took the stage, yet this didn’t falter their confidence or form in one bit. The members of the band played tunes which felt like Southern Punk mixed with pure garage rock. The front-man sported shoulder-length blonde hair which he loved to toss around as he banged his head along to the bands tracks.
The Damn Personals were next up. They were a band I was not familiar with, so much in fact that it didn’t seem many at the venue did as well. Front-man Ken Cook joked about that fact during their set yet such a trivial fact didn’t matter one bit, The Damn Personals were absolutely fucking incredible. A review probably shouldn’t be as straight to the point as that but there literally is no better way to describe the performance which I experienced at Webster Hall. Anthony Rossomando performed razor sharp guitar chords and Cook’s voice soared with a twinge of scorn and aggressiveness which just felt right.
The next band up was called Recover. Now they had a very tricky task ahead of them, warm up the stage before the headliners go on after the crowd had to endure various opening acts before them. So what did Recover decide to do with this knowledge? They pushed it to the side in a vicious matter and just played an absolutely ferocious set. The bass player used a Rickenbacker and used it in a way I have never seen before. If you’re a fan of post-hardcore and alternative bands such as At The Drive In or Underoath than you really owe it to yourself to check out Recover…before they break through your door.
Keith Murray and Chris Cain of We Are Scientists took the stage to a mighty applause from the crowd and began their set with Nice Guys from their most recent album, Barbara. The band was joined by guest drummer Chris Egan of Computer Magic. He certainly earned the crowds respect when he played an incredible rendition of Callbacks.
During the last set of the night (After Hours of course) Ken Cook and Anthony Rossomando joined the stage and Murray and Cain could be seen smiling as though Christmas came early. The feeling of an early Christmas was certainly visible on the faces of the crowd as well and an escalating amount of cheers grew as Murray took to the crowd, Microphone at hand singing the chorus of the song.
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