Holy crap, my ears are still ringing.
Instead of launching on a Wednesday as it usually does, CMJ started on a Tuesday this year (thereby shifting the annual Conflict of Interest party to Monday) and the total amount of party nights topped off at six. Oy! Seriously, unless it's shopping with someone else's money, I don't think I want to do anything for six days straight. That said, here are the highlights from the last two days of CMJ Music Marathon 2008.
On Friday, I decided to start the night off with some decidedly non-CMJ activities. Specifically, I attended The Happy Corp's Oval Office Happy Hour at Niagra, which offered $1 Dewars specials and a chance to pose for a "presidential portrait." I was strapped into a straightjacket-like contraption that suddenly dressed me in a blazer, dress shirt and tie, and I did my best "Metal President" pose. Look forward to seeing that up here soon.
After that, I walked over to the Heavy Hitter showcase to see Arsonists Get All The Girls and their big draw, I Wrestled A Bear Once. The former provided some stellar math rock and gave my ATL indie-rock homeboy, Aaron "B-Man" Byrd, his first mosh pit encounter. For someone who almost got kicked in the face with a kung-fu roundhouse, he seemed pretty into it. Which is more than either of us could say for ...Bear. In fact, I think the name may have actually referred to the group's singer. She looked pretty tough.
From there, it was off to see Dungen, the Swedish psychedelic lounge band—who perform entirely in Swedish—at the Music Hall of Williamburg. For some, hearing non-English singing may seem distracting, but to my humble, worn-out ears, the mellow vocals served as just another instrument keeping time with the electric piano, guitars, tambourine and occasional flute (yes, really). For all I know, they could have been singing "Kill the Jews" (I doubt they were), but I'd still be into it. And I wasn't alone, the packed house did their best Deadhead dance-offs in response to melodic tracks from Ta Det Lugnt and Tio Bitar, but went completely apeshit when Dungen started playing "Panda." Though I thought about staying for Cheeseburger, the show ran late and I wanted to get back to money-makin' Manhattan (can we still call it that now that the economy is fucked?).
As much as I wanted to sleep in on rainy Saturday, I had to will myself into putting on makeup in time for The Syndicate's metal happy hour at Fontana's, which started at 3 pm. It's a good thing the V2 vodka sponsoring the event contained taurine and caffeine (not to mention sweet, sweet alcohol), otherwise I wouldn't have been able to last the day. The musical entertainment started off with ex-Life of Agony drummer Sal Abruscato's new band, My Mortality. Pretty decent hard rock that could easily be the opening act for Daughtry—and I don't mean that as a diss. I regrettably missed Warship and all the subsequent acts to catch Made Out of Babies and Wetnurse at Crash Mansion.
I have no idea what was up with MOOB's singer, Julie Christmas... maybe she was cycling, or pissed off that she had to play the douche mecca—or even that her openers, Patent Pending, sounded like a shitty version of old Murder 1 (or Mucky Pup, holler!), but punctuating their intense, short set were rants like "I was really hoping you'd all leave by now," and the set closer "Go fuck yourselves... no really!" Damn, girl.
I only stayed a little while longer to see Wetnurse before heading uptown to what I thought would be the perfect climax to CMJ: my beloved Duke Spirit at Irving Plaza. Unfortunately, because headliners Scars on Broadway managed to break up already, the show was cancelled and we were left uninformed. Imagine my dismay when arriving at the venue only to see the place shuttered: EPIC FAIL! Sure, I had enough time to cab it back to Fontana's to see God Forbid and Darkest Hour, but hunger and exhaustion took over and eventually led me on autopilot to my apartment.
Somehow, I managed to get though the entire week without seeing any bands with the word "Crystal" in their moniker, nor did I attend any gifting suites. Oh well... there's always next year. Thank you, and goodnight.