CMJ Day 4: I'll Put My Arm Around You And I'll Walk You Outside
Probably time to get a camera.
Gonna ditch the holy shit, guys, I stayed up late last night travelogue stuff for a second here, and replace it with some real talk:
"It was some kinda festival. People who liked music were there." - Erase Errata
For Kill Rock Stars, who at least acted liked CMJ matters and threw out the easiest bill to love of the week - Excepter, Mary Timony, Erase Errata, and Deerhoof – plus made a liar out of me by letting in badges until the club was full-up. They also made no big deal of managing three-and-a-half out of four female front-persons--more of an achievement than they let on.
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"This somebody's sister or something?" – Crowd, Hiro Ballroom
To Mary Timony, who led a fifteenth-band-practice-this-week-tight and workman-like set. The way she hopped on one foot while kicking the other mid-solo, transposing the melody lines from her voice onto her guitar, then flipping them til they were unrecognizable; the way she had her voice way down just to get more guitar in the mix, I mean fuck. She had the garish red lanterns at Hiro swaying.
"You are all my backup dancers." - The Blow
An understated Excepter set saw me up front, unconsciously tapping my pen along with. They tossed off their percussion as if it were totally incidental: a little monkey toy with cymbals for hands; the horn-player shaking her bracelet into the mic; me and my pen, etc. Halfway through the sound was so bare and raw that their drink-bracelets had them looking like five hospital refugees, which who knows.
"Thank you, it’s really good to be back in New York City." - Oakley Hall
Erase Errata had a forgettable June show at Club Exit, one of their first as a three-piece and way worse for it. Credit this one for taking care of that memory: they began with the house music still on and were finished with two songs before the soundman even caught up. Hoysten hoisted the mic one point, tucked it into her armpit, and sang old songs from At Crystal Palace, which had me missing the days when she was unencumbered by her guitar and aided by her now-departed guitarist, but. At least now we know these three are gonna be OK.
"God didn't have to give me a clitoris - he could've just drilled a hole in there." - Taylor Wane
For Deerhoof. Put me in the minority camp of liking this band's records less and less, but no one could doubt that Satomi owns pretty much any stage she walks out on to. Tiny, in suspenders and one pigtail, she'd let you think her voice was just an accessory, then cue the crashing halt - all eyes on her.
"She's the female Jonathan Richman." – Joshua Mann
To the Blow - makes sense, doesn't it?
"Sometimes when I sing this song, I imagine the audience as a giant polar bear." - The Blow
Oakley Hall don't seem to imagine their audience much at all, which is no knock. The two-part, male-female harmonies they work into just about every song are better for how insular they are, as if the band's two singers were the only two people in the room. They don't work very hard to sell their Brooklyn-as-the-countryside fried solos, etc. which live is initially jarring and then seductive. As if Bushwick got planted somewhere out west, grimy streets, graffiti, 40 bottles and all.
"Getting the shakes now. Last call for drinks. Bar's closing down. Sun is out. Where're we going for breakfast?" - Excepter
This one goes to Dirty on Purpose, whose stuff should be perfect for late nights because of how much it always anticipates the coming morning – "a [sic:] melancoly-languor thing," if you prefer - but last night wasn't. Chalk it up to their 1AM set being the band's nearly- physically impossible third of the night. They covered "Send Me An Angel" in a half-empty Sin-e like they really needed the help.
"Can we make a deal? This is the last time we ever play this song." - Dirty on Purpose
To the Slits.
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