CMJ Is Way More Fun When You're Badgeless, Broke, and Young

CMJ Is Way More Fun When You're Badgeless, Broke, and Young
Photos: Laura June Kirsch

It's that time of the year again: South By Southwest's mean, jealous sister to the North, CMJ, is upon us. There's little sunshine, no margaritas, no tacos and yet, the thing can be a blast! Musicians and writers and industry folk from all over the planet are in NYC for under a week, giving Austin's live music reputation a run for its money.

Let's not forget that the CM part of the equation stands for College Music and yet, for young brilliant minds under the age of 21, navigating the isle of Manhattan and whatnot can seem daunting. In truth, being young and stoked on new music is the best thing in the world when you have some guidance. Here's what to know and where to go.

See also: How To Maximize Your CMJ Experience

1) YOU DON'T NEED A BADGE. Like most large festival conferences, you can totally see the best bands and go to the best parties without shelling out a couple hundreds. Know where to look! Our own Concert Calendar is a great place to start, and aggregators like Oh My Rockness are pros at listing age regulations and whatnot. If you're unsure, go to the venue's website or call/tweet them! No harm in being engaged.

2) Understand that not having a badge means you need to show up on time. That is, if you're attending official / buzzy showcases. Everyone and their mother knows that the Pitchfork showcase on Friday is unofficial and at an all-ages venue, but that doesn't mean you should show up right before your favorite act. You need to be timely. This is also the best way to get turned on to something you never thought you would: sitting through unidentifiable opening acts can actually be rewarding!

2.) ALCOHOL: We're not condoning underage drinking here (wink wink), but If you're gonna drink, do so from the comfort of your own home (or hotel room, etc.) While there may be open bars as far as the eye can see, don't risk getting kicked out or banned from a venue, especially if you live around here. It's not worth it.

3.) Have your priorities in line. Especially if your underage and broke, the band you might want to see the most could be playing 18,000 times, but only once at an all ages space for seven dollars. Nothing is worse than missing something or someone you really care about.

4.) Let's be totally honest, unofficial showcases are often the best because if you wanna really discover new music, you know the best place is from the underground. If you can't get into shitty 21+ clubs you're often inspired to throw your own events and what not (exclusivity promotes community), which makes the environment of DIY spaces more inclusive and fun. Don't fret if, like, Converse isn't sponsoring all the events you attend.

Here are some all ages and cheap show recommendations (NOTE: all are in the Williamsburg/Bushwick areas of Brooklyn, mostly because these areas are able to host all ages DIY spaces more so than Manhattan.) All easily accessible via the L train and all, like, way more fun than you'd have at a bar on the Lower East Side or whatever:


CMJ Is Way More Fun When You're Badgeless, Broke, and Young


Gimmie Tinnitus & IPSUM Mag Unofficial Showcase @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) $8 Low Fat Getting High Big Ups Vulture Shit Flagland Hive Bent A Guide to Rational Living

Campers' Rule Records Official CMJ Showcase @ Muchmore's (2 Havemeyer Street) $8 8:00 Spirit Plate 9:00 Radical Dads 10:00 Norwegian Arms 11:00 Caged Animals 12:00 Hippy

Force Field PR CMJ Showcase @ Ran Tea House (269 Kent Avenue) 8:00 - 8:25pm Weaves 8:35 - 9:00pm Geoffrey O'Connor 9:10 - 9:40 Body Parts 9:55 - 10:25 Free Time 10:40 - 11:10 Celestial Shore 11:25 - 11:55 The History Of Apple Pie 12:10 - 12:40 Joanna Gruesome 12:55 - 2:00 Super Secret Guest!


Father/Daughter Records @ Muchmore's (2 Havemeyer Street) 6:30 Running in the Fog 7:15 Mutual Benefit 8:00 Flagland 9:00 The Everywheres 10:00 Bent Shapes 11:00 Body Parts

Portals + S&S Unofficial CMJ Showcase @ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Avenue) 8:00 Daniel Klag 8:30 The Interest Group 9:00 Gem Trails 9:45 Emily Reo 10:30 Special Guest 11:15 White Poppy

Panache Booking CMJ Showcase @ Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) 7pm Onwards Sim Twig ARP U.S. Girls Saint Rich Jacco Gardner Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Newtown Radio Unofficial CMJ Party @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) 8:40 Calvin Love 9:20 Christines 10:00 Mood Rings 11:00 Young Braised

Terrible Records / Purple Party @ Ran Tea House (269 Kent Avenue) 9:00 Texture 10:00 Diamond Terrifier 11:00 Sick Feeling 12:00 Regal Degal 1:00 Kirin J Callinan

SHOT! CMJ Showcase Afterparty w/ Perfect Pussy, Total Slacker, Sisu, Hunters, Tweens, Lodro @ Secret Loft (announced day of show) BYOB Saint Pepsi (dj set) Weekend Money Kitty (dj set) Salomon Faye Kristina Tequila (dj set) Surprise Guest


My Social List CMJ DAY Showcase @ Muchmore's (2 Havemeyer Street) 12:00pm - 6:00pm Calvin Love Krill Jamaican Queens Ava Luna Ratking

Impose, Terroreyes, The Needle Drop Unofficial CMJ Showcase @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) FREE 8:00pm Doors Billy Woods Wreck and Reference YC the Cynic Guardian Alien Odonis Odonis Sisu

Panache CMJ Showcase @ 285 Kent Avenue 7:00pm Doors Big Ups Homeshake Calvin Love Hunters Ex-Cult Speedy Ortiz

Hardly Art CMJ Showcase @ Death By Audio (49 South 2nd Street) $8 8:30 Rose Windows 9:15 Lost Animal 10:00 The Moondoggies 10:45 Hausu 11:30 The Beets


Gimme Tinnitus + X4EYEZ Unofficial CMJ @ Cloud City (85 North 1st Street) $5 7:00pm Doors Advaeta Psychic Blood The Flag EULA Bleeding Rainbow

Pitchfork Unofficial CMJ @ 285 Kent Avenue $10 8:00 Eleanor Friedberger [Solo Set] 9:00 Courtney Barnett 9:45 Perfect Pussy 10:30 Priests 11:15 Joanna Gruesome 12:00 Speedy Ortiz 1:00 Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Gigawatts/Black Bell/Last Place Tapes Unofficial CMJ @ The Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Avenue) $10 7:00pm Doors Haybay Slonk Donkerson Tank Honduras Advaeta Sweet Bulbs Total Slacker

This showcase is actually $12 if you have a badge so, you know, unofficial life forever.


Exploding In Sound Records + Friends Unofficial CMJ @ The Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Avenue) $7 + FREE PIZZA Speedy Ortiz Pile Ovlov Porches Kal Marks Two Inch Astronaut Grass is Green Roomrunner Palehound Krill Bad History Month

Sugarmamabk Unofficial CMJ @ 94 Evergreen (Backyard Party) Free/Donations 5:00pm Sideasideb Sharkmuffin N y t y l y Honey Wild Sun Club Knucklewagon

Pitchfork Unofficial CMJ @ 285 Kent Avenue $10 8:15 Mas Ysa 9:15 Huerco S. 10:15 Jahiliyya Fields 11:00 The Range 12:00 Traxman 1:00 Kelela 1:45 Ryan Hemsworth

Arbutus Records CMJ Party @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) $10 Agatha Dimm Tops Special Guest Solar Year Lydia Ainsworth DJ Empress Of DJ Paula DJ Maria Minerva

Carry on, young go-getters! Use your fresh eyes and unweary spirits to discover and enjoy yourselves! Lord knows more agism is the last thing this industry needs. Remember that you probably have better taste than all of the curmudgeons out there combined, and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

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