[TOUR DIARY] CMJ: Part 1
Tuesday, October 21. 2014. Let the marathon begin. The marathon that is a feat of running around New York City, from venue to venue, desperately trying to catch all desired sets and failing miserably. As we had a laundry list of acts to see, people to meet and venues to check out - we attempted to pace ourselves this time around...
After a brief evening of mingling with friends at the press lounge, we headed over to Baby's to catch the tail end of the Mom + Pop showcase. Norwegian/Bulgarian musician, Mikhael Paskalev took the stage for a demure and stripped back set. His vocals were beautifully accented by the minimalism of an acoustic guitar.
It would have been rude not to stay for fellow Aussie's, DMA's set. The venue filled up in anticipation for these 90's clad dudes to showcase their (as Lauren put it) 'thunder from down under'. Their gritty set was perfectly paired with appropriately fitting 'vintage' attire. The combination of style and attitude was entertaining to say the least.
Just as quickly as it had filled up, the venue cleared again. Londoner, Oscar was up next to perform a more stripped-back set. Despite rocking a loud American tee, he is about at British as it comes.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014. The weather decided to take a gloomy turn, so we turned to venues for solace - first up was Pianos. We met our friends to catch UK four piece Spring King play a frisky set upstairs at Pianos. Their energy was fresh and commanding; everything you would expect from a hungry band making their US debut. Keeping with the theme, buzzy Brits Ultimate Painting brought their 60's vintage soaked rock to our attention. Their set was more refined, relaxed and avant garde if you will, than the previous.
We gathered up the courage to brace the cold outside elements and ventured over to Carroll Place to get our Aussie fix. We met our friends, OXBLVD to watch their friend (and OZ equivalent of Father John Misty), Ernest Ellis perform to an intimate crowd.
The wind picked up, rain fell down and we gathered our things for the night's Brooklyn descent. After a failed attempt of getting into Glasslands' overcrowded NME showcase, we said hi to the familiar face of Yuki (Bo Ningen) in the pouring rain before running around the corner to Rough Trade. Unfortunate wind gusts, puddle incidents and broken umbrellas did not stop us from seeing the spectacular Moses Sumney. We arrived at Rough Trade rocking the oh-so-chic drowned rat look, attempted to dry off in the bathroom just in time to debut our look to the sweet girls of Little May (and most likely dampened the mood).
Moses was magnificent as usual. Even better once the token obnoxiously inebriated guy was removed from the crowd. His humble approach and honest demeanor is always refreshing to see, only adding to our profound respect for him.
His set was soulful and compassionate. The room did his vocals justice, beautifully complimenting every pitch, layer and frequency progression from light and falsetto to deep and resonant. Sumney's performance was perfectly imperfect; in the face of sound issues or technical difficulties, he handled the situations with humility and grace. At one point, his microphone was down to which he responded something along the lines of, "if things aren't going well, just say something stupid about your face". Wise grasshopper. The crowd was served a treat when he played the one song he vowed to never play, until Karen O forced it out of him: "San Fran". The show was one of our weekend's highlights... although if we had to choose a favorite moment from the night, it would have be swapping stories and sharing a laugh with him afterwards.
If the night wasn't long enough, we made sure to exhaust ourselves further by heading to the Knitting Factory to catch an amazingly energetic set by King Gizzard. With two drummers, about 8 people in total on stage and brief cameos of a Jethro Tull style flute solo from Stu, it's amazing they kept up the energy for the entire 40 minute set. It could easily be summed up as a psychedelic wizard jam. We chatted to Stu and Jake after the show about their tour, travels, upcoming adventures, and cameras. White Fence were up next, who we'd easily mistake for British if we didn't know any better. Believe it or not, our exhaustion caught up with us and we called it a night for Day 2.