On my last day of CMJ, I decided to switch things up and head out to Pianos. While our own party raged upstairs, I hung out downstairs for a little while to check out Mothers and Gramma’s Boyfriend.
Mothers, hailing from Athens, Georgia, kicked things off with their interpretation of indie rock. Lead singer Kristine Leschper’s voice held equal parts fragility and grit which grabbed on and refused to let go. On “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” there were some especially interesting chord and tempo changes that I loved. Throw in a few killer solos from guitarist Drew Kirby and this was quite an enjoyable set from start to finish, even during the oh so somber “Mother and Wife.”
Next up by way of Minneapolis, Minnesota was Gramma’s Boyfriend. I had the pleasure of seeing this 5-piece during last year’s Eaux Claires Festival in Wisconsin, and they were just as eclectic and dynamic during their set as when I saw them back then. Lead singer Haley Bonar’s contributions are a far cry away from her solo work, but she still lays down some excellent vocals and is the consummate bandleader and part spectacle, posing in her flesh colored bodysuit with felt ovaries. There were a ton of yells from the back of the room for the song “We R Ctrl,” which was a quick and dirty assault on the senses. Another song, “Senor Suitcase” made me crack a smile with their robotic dance moves, but the line “Everybody have fun sometimes” certainly did get the crowd moving.
After a quick bite to refuel, I walked a few blocks down to Leftfield where Belgian band Robbing Millions were about to start their set. The 5 members packed themselves and all of their gear onto an impossibly small stage, but made the best of it with their ambient and ethereal sounding songs. Having previously been compared to Radiohead, the comparison proved accurate, most prominently on the song “Ritualistic.” While lead singer Gaspard Ryelandt might not have the bleeding heart soaring vocals of Thom Yorke, he can absolutely rival him in expressionism and freeform dance moves during the song “Ages and Sun.” For a band from Brussels, they had a large amount of fans in the room, mostly French speaking, and it delighted me to hear them yelling “one more song” with their accents. They were also willing to dance hard at the drop of a dime, which always brings a smile to my face.
Article: Lesley Keller