Thank God for coffee. After two nights in here at the beast that is CMJ, we've hit the midway point of our all you can eat music buffet. The day began at the FADER Sideshow, which is always a great location to catch a few bands you might not be familiar with. After a few ice cold Budweiser Selects, it was time to get the trusty digital camera warmed up and a fresh pair of earplugs in place.
While you can read Erin Chandler's reviews on The Deadly Syndrome and MGMT, I'll kick things off with the Airborne Toxic Event. The Los Feliz five-piece got the party going with some quality indie/pop/rock. I have to admit that I got sidetracked by the Guitar Hero 3 that was setup in the front of the space, but distractions aside, what I heard was solid.
Up next was a band that I knew absolutely nothing about, HEALTH. I wandered up to the front to take a few snaps, watching them set up an impressive amount of effects pedals and other noise-making gadgetry. After hearing a few notes of their "sound check," it became immediately obvious that earplugs would be required, as these fuckers were going to be loud. For fans of abstract, experimental noise with very little song structure and no melody, this band is for you. Unfortunately, yours truly simply wasn't feeling it. Some kids were totally digging this LA group's spastic musical oddness, but I ended up back at the bar.
After the maelstrom of HEALTH, my ears were craving melody, badly. Ezra Furman & The Harpoons were up next, and they totally did the trick. Since I had never personally witnessed our former On The Cover artist perform before, this was a real treat. With the plastic goose on stage, Ezra and his bandmates gave us a fantastic set of Dylan-esque pop/rock songs. For such a young band, Furman has already developed a great stage presence, tossing in bits of stories between his songs. They played plenty of infectious tunes off their LP, Banging Down The Doors, such as personal favorites "Mother's Day" and the stomper "Halloween Snow." Our Harpoon buddies have enormous mountains of potential, and will only get better as they keep on performing.
Around 7pm the hunger pains kicked in, so the Tripwire entourage opted to call it a day from the FADER Sideshow. It was time for a bite to eat, then off to a few official CMJ showcases. Stay tuned...