New York’s CMJ music showcase festival featured key performances by both known artists and those still under the mainstream radar. Fader magazine’s Fort showcases presented an eclectic line-up of neo-punk, dirty south rap, electronic goth, and more. Highlights from day two are below…
Three-piece Weekend brought a rock sound with almost ambient overtones suffused with carefully cultivated feedback. Though not given to theatrics in their appearance or performance, they ended their set mounting the reverb and feedback squealing from the speakers as one by one, they left the stage.
Atlanta rapper Future moved the crowd with a paced flow to match the bounce in the dirty south beat of his songs, including current hit “Tony Montana.” Rapping along to pre-recorded tracks with a DJ by his side to add call-and-response vocal depth to each track, Future managed to transform 3pm in a lower West side garage into a hot nightclub.
Gauntlet Hair was one of the most active bands of the CMJ festival, playing upwards of 10 shows in far fewer days to promote their newly released self-titled debut album. Their ubiquity was not for want; however, as their energetic power-pop was among the best-received sounds of the fest.
Polica (pronounced police-a) then took up every square inch of the stage with two full drumkits (and drummers), a bassist, and a laptop playing drone tracks to back singer Channy Moon Casselle. Polica offered up a set of intricately woven rhythms, electronic textures, and Casselle’s effortlessly lilting voice wafting above it all.
Next up was the most bizarre, yet inviting, set provided by hometown act Purity Ring. Performing mostly in the dark — all stage lights were turned off and lead singer Megan James lit herself with a small lantern and glowing bass drum while accompaniest Corin Roddick played electrified metal plumbing pipes with tiny light bulbs pulsing to the beat — Purity Ring used swirling electronica, the pipes, and James’ pure, clear voice to create a witchy, oddly illuminating set.
The closing set was handled by current indie darling Wavves. Nathan Williams and crew managed a frenetic punk set that inspired a ladies-only mosh pit by the front of the stage. Williams encouraged the dancing over the objections of security who rushed in to contain the chaos.