CMJ Wrap Up | 10.20.12

cmj2012I think it’s the artists in the middle that deserve another go on your iPod playlist.


The last day of CMJ Music Marathon 2012 was event filled, with concertgoers both excited to marvel in the final hoorah of the festival, but equally as excited to bring some normalcy back to their lives. I ended CMJ at Wreckroom Records’ launch party, the basement brainchild of actor/musician/entrepreneur Adrian Grenier. While many may recognize his name from being a well-known actor in Entourage, his musical talents are less known.

The Wreckroom event was held at Fontana’s on the Lower East side, and while getting to the venue was a bit of a drag—about an hour’s commute from Crown Heights and smelling the late-night palette satisfiers in Chinatown—but once I arrived, I was all too excited to go out with bang, CMJ style. I spent close to another hour standing in line to go to the downstairs music venue at Fontana’s, but made acquaintances with someone who worked at Allure magazine, which was by far a highlight of the evening. Being on the guest list and having a CMJ pass did little to persuade the people at the door to let me ahead of the line, but my Midwestern-turned-New Yorker ego quickly deflated back to a decent size after entry ages later.

My new acquaintance and I were able to catch the middle to end of Grenier’s set with his band, The Honey Brothers. The fan-frenzied front of the stage involved mostly 20-something females, hoping to catch the wandering eye of Adrian Grenier, who was far too involved in his drum playing to notice. Following the Honey Brothers was Hank & Cupcakes and for those who stuck around for the following act, those actually interested in music for music’s sake and not solely and transparently attempting to catch a glimpse of an A- lister, Hank & Cupcakes didn’t disappoint. The Israeli indie-pop duo brought so much energy to the stage it was unbelievable. I turned to a guy behind me to tell him that the duo was actually a husband and wife collab; he smiled knowingly and said, “I know; they are my friends.”

After Fontana’s, my acquaintance and I headed to Cake Shop and Pianos to see how other Lower East side venues were closing out CMJ. I wasn’t too thrilled with any of the later acts, partially because Hank & Cupcakes were so energetic and crowd-pleasing that, in my mind, CMJ had closed with them.

While it is painstakingly difficult to catch all of the artists that you’ve planned on seeing, despite the time and effort put into schedule after revised schedule, the bottom line is that, with CMJ, like so many other music festivals, the close proximity of venues fools you into thinking that you’ll be able to see everyone and everything; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I learned, that no matter how carefully you time the Google-distance between a 9:45 show and a 10:00 show at another venue, the likelihood of seeing it properly—as in not at the door behind the 50-deep crowd, is next to impossible. For what it’s worth, with three exception of YACHT at Terminal 5, I managed to see a lot of the artists I planned: Dum Dum Girls, Born Ruffians, Icona Pop, and Deap Vally, to name a few. Yet, there were some who surprised me, primarily MS MR and Hank & Cupcakes. To be fair, Hank & Cupcakes did a cover of a Joy Division song, which pulled me in from the start—but I digress.

I would highly recommend checking out the above-mentioned artists, as well as Araabmuzik, The Walkmen, BRAINSTORM, Caged Animals, Robert DeLong, Choir of Young Believers, Sky Ferraira, Death Grips, King Tuff, Teen Daze, Foxygen, and Jensen Sportag. CMJ brings about so many great artists at once, and while some fall through the cracks and others get picked up and catapulted into mainstream success, I think it’s the artists in the middle that deserve another go on your iPod playlist. | Kristyn Potter

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