Left to right: Andrew W.K., Bradford Cox.
Right, so let us explain. When the CMJ scheds first came out, the Windish Agency showcase at Bowery immediately stood out as the night with most party potential. Band to watch No Age? Band to watch White Williams? Dan Deacon? So, who better to turn to than master partier Andrew W.K. to help navigate the field? Amazingly, Andrew was up for being our video correspondent on the night, so what you see above is just a peek at our full Partying At CMJ With Andrew W.K. Video Party, which we promise for you very shortly.
The stacked show started off with Ponytail, a Wham City affiliated outfit we’ve long loved but had never seen (missing them by minutes at Deacon’s crazy show at Mercury earlier this year). Great mix of tight music and not-tight vocals, singer Molly dancing pogo-style over the band’s hyperbeat spazz-pop bursts. Pretty sure they said “We have one more song,” and then played something that lasted 15 minutes. If that was one song … wow. It was their best.
Up next was one of our very favorite newcomers this year, White Williams, at this point a band in the same sense as Beirut, spearheaded by 23-year-old electro/new wave wunderkind Joe Williams. WW’s first band show at Merc impressed, but a round of shows with Girl Talk and Dan Deacon have made White’s set even brighter. Still reserved on stage (Andrew had some tips for him), but spot on with his beat confections: projecting his Eno-y sounds, his Talking Heads grooves, and a trippy fun visual on the backstage screen. And the Beirut analogy is ripe — as we’ve said for months now, expect White to have an amazing run this year.
No Age? Straight killed it. Randy was way more expressive than when we saw ‘em at SXSW. He also seems to have grown out his hair a bit. Loved the extended loop/thingee for “Everybody’s Down” into that final drum blow out. Liked how sloppy they allowed themselves to be, and how playful and hard Dean hits the drums. (Carpel tunnel one day for sure.) Also love how patchwork the songs feel live; on record different tracks blend together, but live you realize how tiny certain pieces really are. All this after an Other Music instore that featured crowd surfing (and, probably, damaged imports of obscure indie records). Not much of that going on at Bowery, but the guys made up for it by hoisting fans on their backs late in the set (check the shot). Their students would be so proud.
For a lot of fest folks, the rest of the night was buzz-gazing, or “let’s see if Dan Deacon and Deerhunter are worth the hype.” Dan responded appropriately: by making sure the lights in the venue were off, and as always setting up in front of the stage, ensuring nobody was seeing shit (unless you were way up front and set to sweat). It’s a logistical thing — this is just how Dan does it — and so if you weren’t into him before, you probably didn’t walk out a fan. Again, unless you were way up front and set to sweat. (And in fairness, the lights did come up for his patented dance tag. Fun!) And later with Deerhunter, Bradford Cox kept the dress in the dressing room (outfitted more like an I-banker on the town for a few cocktails — think he had more than few, actually), rarely perched the band’s equipment (counted two bass drum climbs), and told us how much he missed his family. Often. Colin Mee was back onstage (after telling us he quit) and getting Cox’s high-fives of approval, and the band sounded massive on their collagist/shoegazer freak outs. That “Florescent Grey” will stay with us awhile. Word to the wise, though: Walk out on Deerhunter to take a piss, and be pointed out and interrogated by Cox (but at least he’ll empty out a water bottle for you to leak in).
We sent Abbey to Music Hall Of Williamsburg for the After The Jump showcase and managed to see a couple of bands earlier, but obviously we were pretty tied up with Andrew at Bowery all day. Let us know if we missed anything massive, and take the jump for a fun pic platter.
SPOT THE DEACON