CMJ, the war-horse of music conventions, has definitely lost some luster over the years to other conferences like South by Southwest. Still, there's a wonderful tradition of CMJ hosting indie and hard rock bands—and I intend to see as many as I can this year. Hopefully, my brain and body will hold up.
And, per tradition, The Syndicate hosted their 10th annual Conflict of Interest pre-party last night to kick things off. Packed beyond belief, the three-story party held at Rebel (the space formerly known as Goth haven, the Bat Cave) was an excellent first stop to catch up with friends who just arrived in town (Tessa!!), figure out this week's hot shows (yes, I will be at The Bronx tonight) and run into a bunch of unexpected old pals.
I have a theory that most people remember me because I have a weird name (and I've been in the scene forever). So it's especially anxiety-inducing when someone shouts out: "Hey Zena, do you remember me?" and I don't. My usual response if I have no clue is to tell them I probably smoked that memory away, and ask for something to jog my memory. In the case of the man-panions below, Patrick (L) responded: "Yeah, we met at Philly Con. I had a black eye." And that's all it took! [Note the black eye below from that fateful meeting.]
In addition to all the booze, old friends, bathroom lines and free shoes, some artists also played. Anyone remember Rival Schools? Walter Schreifels' post-Quicksand band played, as did ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, who put in a tight performance. And their old manager (and dare I say, my old protege), Josh, being there only made the show that much more special.
But along with the good, comes the bad. In this case, "bad" consists of ongoing early morning construction work outside my apt/home office. Nothing like going to bed drunk at 3:00 am only to wake up to the sound of jackhammers at 8.
This is going to be a long week...