CMJ 2011

Many people find it shocking that I never saw Crystal Castles live before. They make sure to confirm how ridiculous the notion is, because of how utterly ridiculous the Crystal Castles live experience is. Rest assured, I believed them, but I surely didn’t know just how true the sentiment was at the time.

Being a small intimate private party, I was lucky enough to have a position side by side with One Thirty BPM’s very own Evan Kaloudis right near the front of the stage. I may have never seen the band live before, but I was aware of how important a good spot was, as lead singer Alice Glass is known for spending a large amount of her time crowd surfing and making sure you’re aware of her presence.

It didn’t take time for me to realize that all my friends were incredibly correct about Crystal Castles live power. Immediately we were pistol whipped into a dance rave frenzy that was marvelous controlled chaos. Alice Glass lived up to her reputation as a hypnotic performer, crowd surfing numerous times. At one point she grabbed my hand, and I helped propel her into the crowd as I gloriously multi-tasked snapping photos. Her presence is a mixture of wild sexiness that is also quite intimidating. While taking photos I was pretty concerned that she would crack her bottle of Jim Bean over my head.

Thankfully things never got that wild, but this show was copious amounts of ecstasy ready fun. The whole show flew by, with all the best cuts from the bands 2 LP’s guiding the way towards the rave-tastic event that left us out of breath, and instead, filled with joy.

I can tell you right now, do whatever you can to see Crystal Castles live. Everything that you’ve heard about their live show is beyond true. Their performance was the highlight of my CMJ, and easily one of the most genuinely fun concert experiences of my time.

It truly is ridiculous that I never saw them until last night.

Get the rest of the photos, after the jump:

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The Rapture reminded us of why they are the true dance-rock champions of the 2000’s. Their set at the Spin/Ray-Ban party was heavy on the classics, only playing a few cuts off the new LP such as “How Deep Is Your Love?”, which sounding 10x more epic live.

“Whoo! Alright – Yeah… Uh Huh” was insanely good, to the point where I was questioning why it doesn’t get more love by the general music public. Of course “House Of Jealous Lovers” was the true champion of the night, striking a chord with every living being in the firehouse. It was a heavy version that left me transfixed with goosebumps. Hearing that song live should be on everyone’s bucket-list, no questions asked.

Regardless of how you feel about the new LP, The Rapture are still a treat to see live. If you like punk ridden dance music that will make your rock out without being self conscious, there isn’t anyone better for the job.

More photos are posted after the jump, along with a video of “House Of Jealous Lovers”:
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A-Track got things started for Spin Magazine/Ray-Ban’s private party that took place at the firehouse at 87 Lafayette Street. It was a tough show to get into, but one that was certainly well worth being accounted for. A-Track spun an incredible set that got the blood pumping. He spun Ducksauce’s new single “Big Bad Wolf” which was funky fun, as was his remix of Jay-Z & Kanye’s “Niggas In Paris” and his popular remix of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll”. By the end of his set, there was only one thing left for him to drop: “Barbra Streisand”.

There’s a reason A-Track is such a popular DJ, he knows what he’s doing.

[CMJ]: Danny Brown @ Fader Fort (10/22/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 24th 2011

Even I have been paying attention to the hype that rapper Danny Brown has been getting from the indie hip-hop world this year. Did he live up to it? Easily.

As you’ve surely noticed, live rap shows can be hit or miss. Especially with me. So for me to say that I had a lot of fun keeping up with this up and comer from Detroit is saying a lot. His deliver is pretty distinct, allowing him to stand out from the overwhelming amount of rappers popping up these days.

There’s probably a reason a label such as Fool’s Gold signed him up. He’s got a lot going for him. He’s an interesting watch, and an even more interesting listen.

[CMJ]: Kendrick Lamar @ Fader Fort (10/22/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 24th 2011 — with 1 comment

One of the cool things about Fader Fort is that they have something for both indie rock fans and fans of underground hip hop. Kendrick Lamar played a surprise set, which I ended up enjoying a lot. Pretty smart lyricist with a lot of energy that had the crowd going. Seemed very humble and honest. Something was just different about him.

Kendrick released an album called Section 80 this year that has been getting great reviews. Just may have to check it out. I had no idea about Kendrick Lamar beforehand, but I’m definitely going to do my research.

[CMJ]: Purity Ring @ Fader Fort (10/22/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 24th 2011 — with 1 comment

Purity Ring delivered to the heavy amounts of hype that came along the way. Heavy electronic beats and Megan James hypnotizing vocals do wonders live. The heavy industry crowd at Fader Fort were talking over the set at the start (free booze will do that), but everyone was watching in awe by the sets end. It was a short but sweet set, that was more than effective.

Got to get more Purity Ring into my musical diet, ’cause these two are in for a big 2012. An album is expected sometime early in the year, possibly in January.

Check out the wonderful trance that is their song, “Lofticries”:

[mp3]: Purity Ring – Lofticries

[CMJ]: Active Child @ Glasslands Gallery (10/21/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 23rd 2011

Active Child put on a great performance, but the actual set was very troublesome – though, it wasn’t his fault. It was a long brutal wait, and once he finally got set up, sound problems overshadowed his impressive set.

The set was an impressionable affair of electronic beauty with hints of r&b. The sound problems were persistent enough to distract all parties involved. They never got resolved, eventually causing a furious Pat Grossi to loose his cool threateningly the sound guy with a threat that went something like, “I’m going to throw my fucking harp at your face”.

Things calmed down a bit when he was joined by How To Dress Well who performed a live duet together that immediately lightened the mood. How To Dress Well finished up with a quick solo song, which Active Child surely didn’t mind.

It was a good performance, but Active Child definitely deserves a second watch from every in attendance that night.

Hit the jump for more photos and a video I took (on my phone, sorry for the less than hd quality) of their collab with How To Dress Well:
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[CMJ]: Memoryhouse @ Glasslands Gallery (10/21/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 23rd 2011

Memoryhouse delighted with a lush set full of dreamy songs that reminder me a whole lot of Beach House. They played a solid number of tracks from their The Years EP, which translated very well live. It was hard not to crush on the adorably cute lead singer Denise Nouvion who had the crowd in her palm.

These guys set the mood alright. Wouldn’t hesitate seeing them again.

[CMJ] Caveman @ Glasslands Gallery (10/21/2011)

By Will Oliver, October 23rd 2011 — with 1 comment

I’m not a very organized person in general. Imagine how I am with CMJ. One of the few things I was on top of was making sure I saw Caveman, who were one of my must see acts of CMJ 2011. Everything that I’ve heard from their debut album, CoCo Beware has been pure maigc. Their performance of “Great Life” was enough to sell me that these guys are a must see live act.

They didn’t disappoint. Heavenly arrays of strong willed percussion filtered through harmonies that sounded like a trippier Grizzly Bear. The set was nothing short of incredible chamber pop. Lead singer Matthew Iwanusa admitted that the band was tired, after a very busy CMJ schedule, but it didn’t stop them from dazzling.

The whole point of CMJ is discovering great young acts that will transition into some of the best and brightest of the future. Even more importantly, you may find your next new favorite act. That’s exactly what happened during this heartwarming set.

Hit the jump for more photos, and the performance of “Great Life”:
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Monday Morning Matinee

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