Ebola scares notwithstanding, this year’s CMJ Music Marathon was packed with seasoned musicians and tons more emerging talent. New York City’s venues rose to the challenge and sometimes accommodated nearly 12-hour days of back to back bands. Our favorite performances of CMJ came from Aurora Aksnes, Vérité, San Fermin, and The Eeries, but check out our day by day round run through below.
Conflict of Interest CMJ Showcase, Brooklyn Bowl
Cold War Kids played an intimate show at the Conflict of Interest showcase at Brooklyn Bowl, celebrating the release of their fifth studio album Hold My Home. As always, the roughhousing between Nathan Willett, Matt Maust, and Dann Gallucci make their shows incredibly fun and rowdy. Brooklyn’s own San Fermin was a surprise guest and was the perfect opener for CWK. Lively and full of energy, the baroque pop band’s songs are emotive and make you want to dance. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises and successes of this week was a tiny teen from Norway. Aurora Aksnes has a beautifully clear voice and tons of stage presence. Take it from us, she’s going to be huge.
Cold War Kids
Gerard Way attracted a mixed crowd of teens who are rediscovering My Chemical Romance and adults who are delighted to relive their youth. He played songs from his debut solo studio album Hesitant Alien. Making ample use of Webster Hall’s stage, he reached out to fans, reducing many of them to tears. L.A. alt-rockers The Eeries opened for Way, providing much headbanging and insane stage theatrics, including a stage dive by Isaiah Silva. Alexz Johnson (of Instant Star fame) also made her first CMJ appearance.
The Cerny Brothers
Popgun CMJ Showcase, Glasslands
Yet another small music venue, Glasslands, announced they were closing their doors. We knew we had to make it over there for the Popgun CMJ showcase and live it up while we could. The Stockholm-based Kate Boy, made up of Australia’s Kate Akhurst and Sweden’s Markus Dextegen and Hampus Nordgren (Rocket Boy), gave us a memorable drum-heavy dance party. Akhurst is all smiles while she plays the keyboard and drums. This was the last night of their North American tour and we’re glad we caught it. The Kite String Tangle is the solo project of another Australian, Danny Harley. He recently released his EP Vessel and we have to say we’re fans. He’s soulful, thoughtful, and an adept producer. New York singer-songwriter Vérité is making an impression wherever she goes. Her Echo EP is a gem and we know we’re going to hear tons more from her.
The Kite String Tangle