The final day of CMJ is a love/hate relationship kind of day. The fact that it’s Saturday means you have a much easier time making your way from venue to venue without worrying about catching as many acts as you can before 2am hits. After a full week of work during the day, shows until late at night, cab rides home, little sleep, early mornings spent writing reviews of the previous night’s shows while eating leftover chili at 7am, the final day of CMJ reminds you why they call the annual event a Music Marathon. While the sun made it a perfect day to bounce from venue to venue, Saturday was the first really chilly day of fall, and made for a cold reminder that the end of CMJ means the beginning of the winter concert season.
At Rockwood Music Hall the EiPR and Illegal Mezcal daytime showcase, familiar faces Animal Years brought out their own crowd to fill the venue early on in the afternoon. The four piece Americana rock band is no stranger to being on Pancakes & Whiskey’s radar, but it’s always refreshing going out to see them every now and then. Like almost every other rock band in New York City they’re another band made up of beards, but their roots style of rock orchestrated by singer/guitarist Mike McFadden has always set them apart with great guitar tone-fueled rock songs.
Right across the river at the much more crowded and dimly lit Baby’s All Right, The So So Glos were helping Brooklyn Vegan throw a different kind of rock party, one with a lot more attitude and much higher decibels. The Brooklyn punk rock band always knows how to bring the noise, and bassist Alex Levine in his leather vest and baseball hat, once again displayed his showmanship in pure Brooklyn punk rock form. The band played a few new songs off an upcoming album, and then closed out with a few fan favorites in what was a shorter set than one would’ve wished. It was the band’s first show with a new guitarist, who fit right in with the rest of the wrecking crew.
Heading back over the Williamsburg Bridge to the Aussie BBQ at The Delancey, one of the true hidden gems and arguably most exciting unknown act at CMJ was the guitarist from down under, Harts. I’ve been a huge fan of Harts since he released his debut album last summer, but for those who don’t know him, his playing is as flashy and abstract as the flower paintings on his signature white Stratocaster. The guitarist mixes funk, R&B, and bluesy rock into a sound that resembles a rebirth of Prince, whom Harts had worked on his album with. Courtney Barnett made a dent at the same showcase a few years back and hopefully it was Harts’ turn this year to show the U.S. that Australia can produce some killer guitar players and songwriters.
Article: Tom Shackleford