Photos by Lucy Florence. For more shows, check out our photo section
The showcase Saturday night at Cameo Gallery embodied what CMJ is all about: discovering new bands. There was a mix of youngsters and old guards of the alternative genre, as well as an interesting surprise in the form of Gobble Gobble, and an abundance of experimental compositions.
L'Altra, while nice to listen to before bed, were not exactly the most exciting way to start off a varied and wonderful showcase. The band members live in opposite parts of the globe and the songs off their latest album, Telepathic, were written by guitarist Joseph Costa and keyboardist Lindsey Anderson in separate locations. This left the set with a hardly cohesive feel, not only in the songs but also in the energy between band members. L'Altra's lazily dreamlike vocals and simple chord progressions would be more suited to relaxing in a hammock, but no doubt they will hit their stride again soon enough after a few more performances.
Buke and Gass, the result of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez' modified instruments, the Buke (baritone uke) and Gass (Guitar Bass), and some explosive vocals and syncopation, provided enough sound and complicated lines for a five piece band. Their dissonant heaviness is tempered by Dyer's powerful vocals to provide a wonderfully chaotic element to their music. The set was filled with smiles from Dyer and an awed crowd; the wall of sound that the band creates with their instruments (throw some modified percussion into the mix) seems almost impossible with the knowledge that there are only two members.
Gobble Gobble left one wondering if they were where MGMT got the idea for their ironically trippy music videos. With instruments ranging from snow shovels, helmets with drum sticks, and ribbit-ing stuffed frogs, the set was filled with surprisingly rhythmic synth pop. Cecil Frena, the voice of Gobble Gobble, was accompanied by his three tutu-ed band members, whose tribal beats are as awesome as their costumes. They have an intense following; a large crowd showed up for this performance, danced like wild things, and followed the band to one of their other three gigs of the night.
The show finished with Canadian newcomers Braids, whose set of larger than life experimental pop was eerily breathtaking. The buzz surrounding Braids is definitely not unfounded; each member is superbly talented and the sound the band produced was complex and built to cacophonous climax by the end of the set. However, there was an incomplete feeling in their performance; Braids has not quite reached their pinnacle and it is especially obvious in their lack of interaction with the audience. But this is a small critique when faced with their spine tingling harmonies and masterful technique.
After a full week of CMJ, the bands, like most of the audience, where tired, and it showed. However, this didn't stop them from each putting on superb sets which showcased their tremendous musical abilities.-lucy florence