NEW YORK — The 2009 CMJ Music Marathon got off to a predictably hectic start Tuesday, with hundreds of bands and the patrons who came out to see them scrambling around Manhattan’s Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn in an attempt to take in as much music as possible in a few hours.
Blast started our coverage off at the Bowery Ballroom for hometown alternative act Lights Resolve. Check back here tomorrow for our interview with them!
Next up was The Bloodsugars at Piano’s. The NYC-based quartet pounded through a short, tight set of indie rock, with a dash of funk thrown in courtesy of bassist Brendan O’Grady and keyboardist Matt Katz, who single-handedly manned a trifecta of instruments. Frontman Jason Rabinowitz gamely worked through an amplifier malfunction, and the near-capacity crowd didn’t seem at all fazed by the technical difficulties.
Afterwards, we moseyed down to the CMJ Official Showcase at the Delancey, where local outfit The Cringe had just begun to work the sizable crowd into a frenzy. The band’s exuberance elevated their straightforward, catchy rock tunes, and guitarist James Rotondi’s blistering solos made the tiny space feel like an arena “" or at least his bandmates’ Guitar Hero-esque fantasy of one. The act began losing steam after a while though, and we decided to move on midway through a number that sounded like David Bowie trying to appeal to the Heartland.
We ended Day One at Crash Mansion with Margaret Cho’s entourage, who were gearing up for their Wednesday showcase as Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers played a sassy, blues- and punk-derived set before a thinning crowd.
Check back with Blast daily for all the CMJ happenings, including artist spotlights and photo galleries to come. Tomorrow’s lineup includes British buzz band The XX (if we can elbow our way into the sold-out show) and literary-minded electro/hip-hop artist Hesta Prynn.
Blast correspondent Sarah Be contributed to this report.