CMJ: Japanese Motors and Friendly Fires at Pianos, In Broad Daylight


Same clothes, different venue. Photos by Rebecca Smeyne

Japanese Motors+Friendly Fires
October 23

“This is our last song,” said Friendly Fires frontman Ed Macfarlane at Brooklyn Vegan’s Thursday afternoon showcase–surely the eight, ninth, or twenty-first last song this ubiquitous quartet has played this week. “It’s called ‘Ex-Lover.'” From the crowd: meow.

Afternoon showcases are surely CMJ’s most humbling ritual. How sexy can you be in broad daylight, your outfit showing signs of copious sweat as you lug gear past the spare change dudes on Ludlow Street? Inside, the crowd turns over every fifteen minutes (with the presumable exception of the ladies making the cat noises; they were not budging). The soundman wants no part of your dustbuster.

Japanese Motors, Vice-signees of the uh uh school–a record exec might say something about the Strokes or, if he was really up on his Modern Lovers/garage/nasalist-revivalists, the Virgins–were more game; that may be because their thing is more casual. They are said to be from California, but the four Motors almost certainly know a thing or five about hanging out on Ludlow Street at three in the afternoon.

“This is a ballad for all you romantics,” said Macfarlane, a half hour later, trying to get himself in the mood. Which romantics exactly?