With day 1 of the CMJ Music Marathon completed, I was ready to take on day 2. Tired, but ready.
I started off my day by heading to a panel titled “2003: A hipster flashback” because it sounded hilarious. And it was. The panelists all reminisced about New York in the early 2000s and what it was like to serve Julian Casablancas underage at bars. I wanted to share my anecdote about the time he kicked me in the head, but I couldn’t find a way to phrase it as a question, so I kept it to myself. As someone who constantly gets referred to as a hipster (yes, my Elvis Costello inspired glasses are prescription. Yes, I need them to see. No you may not put them on) it was interesting to hear what people actually think the term means, and where they think the “hipster hate” started. I didn’t even hear the term “hipster” until about 2008, so it was mind blowing in and of itself to find out that it was being thrown around ten years ago.
It wasn’t really mind blowing.
It was pretty interesting though.
After the Hipster panel (which happens to be the only panel I have attended so far that had female panelists) I headed to one about songwriting. As someone who only plays guitar in her bedroom when she is 110% sure her roommates are not home, it was cool to hear a professional talk about the creative process that goes into things. Especially when writing songs for other people. I wasn’t inspired to get out of my bedroom and in front of an audience, but it is nice to know that other people have the same songwriting troubles I do (“This melody sucks. Why can’t I get it out of my head?”)
After the panels I took my time making my way over to the Lower East Side to hit up the 24 West Showcase at Ella Lounge. Remember the band The Fleeting Ends that I wrote about a few weeks ago? Well turns out they were playing CMJ so I made sure to be there. I even got there early! Which is how I ended up accidentally crashing a networking event.
(photo via CBS)
I have decided that if I ever start a band (as I stated above though, that is so not likely) I am going to call it “Accidental Networking” because that seems to always happen to me. I really should have seen it coming, CMJ is an amazing place to network. I seriously suggest that anyone who has any music related aspirations (from being an artist to being a lawyer) to attend CMJ. The connections are invaluable. Once I found my footing, and met some really cool people, I felt more comfortable. But seriously, I need to stop wandering into these things accidentally.
Now for the fun part though: the music.
Tattoo Money kicked off the showcase with a sound that I was struggling to define until I went to his Twitter page. His Twitter bio says he is “boom box rock” and that is exactly it. He is a guy with a guitar, and a lap top. It’s boom box rock. It was catchy, and got the energy going in the intimate space. After his set, The Fleeting Ends took the stage.
Even though the small space was packed with people for The Fleeting Ends and they probably couldn’t have fit more than another 3/4 of person, anyone who wasn’t there seriously missed out. They played a good mix of songs from both of their albums, as well as my favorite, a “b-side” called “Return Address.”
Here is where I am going to take a moment to bring up a beef I have with CMJ concert goers: why don’t you dance?
No seriously, why don’t any of you dance? I have attended two nights of showcases so far and there has been a seriously lack of dancing. And not because the music doesn’t permit it. It does. The Fleeting Ends are impossible not to dance to. Maybe I have listened to “Safety Dance” too many times but I just don’t understand how people just stand there when great live music is going on in front of you. Is it because you are embarrassed? Because I promise that no one is more embarrassing than me, and I also promise that absolutely no one is going to care if you enjoy yourself. Especially the band. Bands want to see that you like their music. I do however apologize to the young man standing in the front that I encouraged to fist pump with me. I just don’t have time for all this vertical planking nonsense. End rant.
At the risk of becoming redundant, I won’t wax poetic too much about how much I enjoy The Fleeting Ends. They’re good. Really good. Their sound is refreshing in this heyday of over production, and the lyrics are real. If you are lucky enough to be in a city where they are playing, attend a show. And dance please. They’ll probably thank you after. They’re just those kind of dudes, you know?
I stuck around for one more band after The Fleeting Ends and then made my way home. I’m trying to pace myself and not burn out too quickly, there are still three more days left of this marathon. I am starting to see why they call it a marathon. I am so glad I don’t run marathons.
Will I survive day 3 of CMJ 2013?
Photos via Erin Browne unless otherwise specified