My most hated weather event of all time is definitely rain. There has to be a good reason for me to get out of my warm, dry bed to venture out into monsoon-like conditions. Wednesday night, I had a damn great reason: the official CMJ showcase that Holy Underground was hosting at Niagara, a tiny bar/venue in the Lower East Side.
Drenched beyond reason, I settled into the tiny stage area where the show had already been well underway for 2 hours. Pageantry was just finishing up their set, playing their version of dream-pop. The 3-piece band had a great sound, with catchy lyrics, soaring vocals and melodies that almost made it hard to believe it wasn’t a much larger band onstage. I have a feeling we won’t be seeing the last of these Texas natives here in the big city.
Next up singer/songwriter Walker Lukens brought his uniquely looped and layered compositions. Not wanting to be classified as folk music, and I could totally see why, Walker and his band were able to take the audience as a whole by surprise with a song called “Year of The Dog” that inspired an impromptu sing-a-long.
Taking the stage afterward, Brooklyn based Little Racer started off with a bang; performing songs off their newest EP “Modern Accent”, showcasing powerful guitars and infectious choruses. The band had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands throughout their entire set.
New Myths hailing from good ole NYC took the stage next. An all girl band, clad in all black; they cite The Cure and Blondie as musical influences that I could definitely hear in their sound. Having just released their first album this month, the band was in great spirits, playing passionately and interacting with the crowd. I enjoyed their performance judging from the applause at the mention of their other showcases this week, and when their set ended, the crowd did as well.
My last band of the night was none other than The Dig, one of my all time favorite NY based bands. Yes, I know I just recently saw them perform in Brooklyn, but it’s like those potato chips – you can’t just have one. This band is easily one of the most consistent bands out there, with intelligent lyrics, excellent musicianship and dynamic stage presence. They certainly didn’t disappoint, packing the tiny room all the way to the edge of the stage. There were people standing on benches, straining to hold their phones still enough to get videos and photos for Instagram. Hoots and hollers as each song ended; and when the show was totally over, I overheard this one guy mention how terrible a day he was having until he saw them perform. “You guys totally made my day, man” he said talking to Emile Mosseri and David Baldwin.
While all you people were warm and dry in your beds, I was out seeing one of the best showcases CMJ had to offer. Next time, grab your umbrella and don’t be afraid to get a little wet. When a lineup is this good, it’s always worth it.
Article by: Lesley Keller