October 27, 2007

CMJ Diary

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:51 pm by leahpav


I was lucky enough to get hooked up with a CMJ badge this year from music marketing company The Syndicate. I discovered when they call it a music marathon, they really mean it – I saw 25+ bands, slept an average of 3 hours a night and was essentially homeless for a week in New York City. Was it worth it? Every gosh darn minute. Pictures to come as soon as I figure out how to use the interweb.

Monday, 10/15/07

1:30 PM – Contemplate beginning article with a poem titled “Ode to the Chinatown Bus.” Idea is unceremoniously nixed after sitting in traffic on Jersey Turnpike for two hours.

4 PM – Arrive in NYC and make my way to the midtown club Rebel NYC for The Syndicate Conflict of Interest party. Hugs are exchanged, and I am promptly recruited to dress mannequins in gear from 66 North, one of our sponsors. Glamorous.

7 PM – Doors open, and important people begin arriving.

8 PM – Discover the wonder of industry free drink tickets.

8:30 PM – 9 PM – Regain my composure to catch a hot minute of We Are Scientists at the main stage, then head over to work the raffle table. Stare longingly at the Pabst Blue Ribbon guitar.

10 PM – Start a dance party with my boss in the DJ Room.

1 AM – Carnival punk rockers World Inferno Friendship Society begin to play. Forgive them for starting an hour an a half late after they rock my face off.

2:30 AM – Collapse onto couch #1 at a friends’ house in Jersey City.

Tuesday, 10/16/07

10 AM – Wake up. Curse free drink tickets.

12 PM – Head into the city and chill with friends in Washington Square Park for a few hours. Actually find myself thinking “Hey, this homeless thing isn’t so bad.”

8 PM – Head to Mercury Lounge for the first showcase of the night. Sweet talk a doorman into letting me into a sold out show. Me – 1, The Man – 0.

8:30 PM – House and Parish, featuring former members of The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Rival Schools and Texas Is The Reason, begin to play. Can barely concentrate on what the music actually sounds like as I stand in awe of the talent on the stage in front of me. I think they were good?

9 PM – Jesse Lacey of Brand New takes the stage for an acoustic set and begins with “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.” I immediately turn into a 14 year old girl.

10 PM – Webster Hall to see punk veterans Lifetime. Last time I saw them opening for Thursday about a year ago, they, well, kinda sucked. Vastly improved since then.

11 PM – Bouncing Souls begin to play. Have two epiphanies. One: Bouncing Souls fans are intensely devoted to this band, almost worshipful. Two – No one who isn’t a Bouncing Souls fan will ever understand why.

12 PM – See a random band at Pianos that really, really wants to be on Guitar Hero.

1 PM – Run to catch the last bus out to Secaucus, NJ to take advantage of open couch #2.

4 AM – Glorious, glorious sleep.

Wednesday, 10/17/07

11 AM – Attempt to get up for some music industry panels. After an epic internal struggle, give up.

3 PM – Meet up with some friends at the Pirate! Party at Arlene’s Grocery. Wonder why there are no pirates present.

4 PM – Eat a $2 falafel, thereby staying within my $8 a day food budget.

5 PM – $2 falafel catches up with me a bad way.

7 PM – Chelsea Hotel for a private acoustic performance from Coheed and Cambria. Spend most of it staring at Claudio’s hair.

10:30 PM – Head to Bowery Ballroom the Windish Agency showcase. Thank God for friends who can get me on lists when I arrive and see the block long line of badge holders trying to get into the show. Catch enough of No Age to make me wish I got there earlier.

11 PM – Dan Deacon starts a venue wide dance pit. I climb onstage and view the sea of sweaty kids from above. Deacon points out Diplo in the crowd; I swoon.

12 PM – The Delancy for a hot second of Black Ghosts, a DJ who used to be a part of Simian before they split and became Simian Mobile disco. Find my co-workers inebriated and dancing. Head to company hotel room for midnight pizza. Hilarious cab pictures result.

3 AM – Couch #3.

Thursday, 10/18/07

10:45 AM – Finally haul my ass to a panel discussion about music in literature and music writing. Jonathan Lethman, one of my favorite authors, is a panelist. Feel educated.

2 PM – Private screening at Scandinavia House of the new Thursday DVD with a Q&A with the band after. Am introduced to Geoff Rickley. Manage to main professional composure….barely.

3 PM – Go on a wild goose chase around the city to attend a screening of Wristcutters: A Love Story. Arrive at Tribecca Grand to be told screening is full. Drown my sorrow in cupcakes.

8 PM – Fat Wreck showcase at Knitting Factory. The Falcon entertains us with energetic punk rock and highly inappropriate stage banter. Smoke or Fire is not quite as energetic or entertaining.

10 PM – Webster Hall for Holy F*ck, a glitchy electronic band along the lines of Battles. Arrive as they launch into their last song. Still rocks.

10:30 PM – Music Hall of Williamsburg for Simian Mobile Disco. Dance till I hurt.1 AM – New Young Pony Club (you know, the kids who do that song “I can give you what you want”) takes the stage at Studio B 45 minutes late, and quickly prove they weren’t worth the wait. Leave.

2 AM – Run to Grammercy Theater to catch a late night Spoon show. Arrive as they exit the stage. Curse MTA.

4 AM – Couch #4, also in Jersey. Am becoming a connoisseur of upholstery.

Friday, 10/19/07

11 AM – Am introduced to the wonders of the Donut Pub on 7th and 14th St. in Manhattan. 12 PM – Go into office. Mind snaps at amount of work to catch up on.

4 PM – Leave office with brain barely intact.

7 PM – Head to Highline Ballroom to see As Tall As Lions open for Coheed and Cambria. Make friends with some college radio kids from Long Island. They buy me a $4 Diet Coke.

8 PM – As Tall As Lions play, and are fantastic as always.

9 PM – Coheed and Cambria surprise me with an awesome live show. Who knew?

10 PM – Irving Plaza. Catch a song of Yo Majesty, a sludgy garage rock band with soulful female vocals. Are followed by The Noisettes, who are pretty much the same kind of music but better – and British.

11 PM – Spank Rock, a mix of rap, electronica and R&B. Make the mistake of actually listening to some of their lyrics, and blush for the rest of the night.

12 AM – Night of Doom begins. Phone dies, get lost on the subway, lose friends and wander the street of NYC till 5 in the morning. Lets not talk about it. Manage to see a half hour of MSTRKRFT.

5 AM – Finally find friends and a couch.

Saturday, 10/20/07

12 PM – Try to catch The King Left at Pianos. Miss them. See 30 seconds of Tiny Masters of Today before realizing there’s a reason why there aren’t more 10 year olds in the music industry.

1 PM – Vegan brunch at Kate’s Joint on the Lower East Side. Hooray for french toast and company expense accounts!

3 PM – The Syndicate Metal Party. Dude from Rammstein shows up. Want to poke his spiky hair; refrain. Take way too much advantage of open bar.

6 PM – Brooklyn to catch Oslo, an Interpol-ish band from overseas.

9 PM – The King Left play Brooklyn Vegan showcase at Pianos. Blow me away.

11 PM – Catch the last Chinatown Bus back to Philly. Sleep for 24 hours.



Like a proud mommy, I have watched this band grow and mature for the past year and a half after first seeing them open for The North Atlantic in Brooklyn. Their live show is one of the best I’ve ever seen from a band signed or unsigned, and to me they have the perfect mix of musical prowess, stage presence and catchy songwriting to really, really make something of themselves. They’ll be expanding into the Philly area shortly, so definitely watch out for The King Left invasion. They are not to be missed.


I have to admit, when I heard recordings of the Noisettes, my feelings were decidedly mediocre. However, after seeing their explosive live performance at CMJ, I have a whole newfound respect for this band.


Some people find Dan Deacon’s music extremely annoying. My theory is that these people have cold, shriveled hearts. By far the happiest music and show I experienced in the entire week of madness. Also one of the hardest shows to get into.


1 Comment »

  1. htshell said,

    sounds like you had a rad time. i wish i could have gone! i would have had a much different schedule than you (mika miko, kavinsky, turzi, high places). but i did see NO AGE and they ruled.

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