Speak Into My Good Eye

CMJ 2015 Day 2: Dilly Dally, Perfect Pussy, Protomartyr, Tobias Jesso Jr + More

Mike Mehalick October 15, 2015 Live, Reviews No Comments

Speak Into My Good Eye hosts its first ever official CMJ showcase tonight at Littlefield. Mount Sharp, A Deer A Horse, Vivid Dreams, Deal Casino & Julian Fulton will perform. RSVP here. $8 advance, $10 at the door, 21+.

Well that was, relatively, quick, my hearing is completely shot and my body hurts in the best way possible. Yay CMJ!

Last night started at The Knitting Factory, onto Webster Hall, back to Brooklyn at Music Hall of Williamsburg and wrapped at Santos Party House where the middle word in that name truly lived up to its meaning. Without further ado…

Wednesday night kicked off with a stop at The Knit for Panache Booking’s showcase, but really I was there primarily to see one of the latest objects of my affection, Gramma’s Boyfriend. Having spoken to Haley Bonar last week and seeing all of the excited snaps coming from stunned onlookers at their earlier performance at Cake Shop, it was great seeing everything come to life, irl.

Bonar stalked the stage wonderfully with all of the cantankerous movements of LES legends, namely one David Byrne. Switching from beautiful and melodic to punk screaming song to song, Gramma’s Boyfriend made a huge impression on the room that was just trickling in. Please, please keep it going if you’re reading this Hayley.

Something, something best laid plans. The cap for badges for Neon Indian’s marquee headlining set at Webster Hall maxed out early on with the bouncers trolling out some hissy fits from this-is-my-first-time journalists in offering the paid, $30 ticket option for entry. So, I popped downstairs to The Studio, caught a little of the extremely talented Donna Missal at the ASCAP showcase and raced towards the L train for my plan B. Watch out for Missal, she doesn’t really have anything out yet I can point to, but she ripped a cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” that would make Erykah Badu blush.

Good luck in train arrivals was met with another badge hold up at the door of Music Hall of Williamsburg which eased up after about five minutes. Thus, I was only able to catch the tail end of Brooklyn trio Wet’s set, but it was enough to gather that big things are on the horizon for them. Captivating in the short amount of time I caught them.

It was clear that break out songwriter extraordinaire Tobias Jesso Jr was ready to bring something lively and fun to his Music Hall of Williamsburg headlining set, he’ll do it again tonight. Traveling with and backed by the LA band Duk, who opened the show from the balcony as you can see above, Jesso Jr strode out on stage, all 6 foot 7 of him, clad in a bomber a jacket, ready to belt out some singalong inducing tunes from his debut LP, Goon.

Working with source material that is somewhat subdued, Jesso Jr has played enough big rooms by now to know how to vamp it up a bit musically, experimenting with and adapting some different tempos and styles. You wouldn’t think he could pull off a reggae time signature, but I thought it worked pretty well. All of it is made all the more fun, intimate and friendly with Jesso Jr’s sense of humor, which makes any theatre seem like he’s inviting you into his living room or small LA studio.

HALFTIME

A hop, skip and scoot back into the Manhattan as I arrived just in time for Detroit post-punks Protomartyr.

The top floor of Santos Party House was absolutely jammed with plenty of posturing fans who pulled off the disaffected white person thing really well. Very aggressive crowd, but I digress. Frontman Joe Casey was able to command the attention of everyone in the room despite hardly moving at all. His sneers and cries soundtracking the disillusionment of modern America, love and God, carry tremendous weight backed by the firestorm of a band behind him. Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect dropped earlier this month. Cop it if you haven’t already.

Then it was a quick run downstairs for SIMGE favs Downtown Boys, who, like a fine wine or Susan Sarandon, only get better and better with age. Our affinity for their urgent, politically charged, explosive skronk punk is well documented here, but might as well say it again; Downtown Boys are one of the most important bands operating in the underground right now.

Back upstairs, Perfect Pussy laid waste to the area surrounding them as they are wont to do. Their incendiary performances are an absolute whirlwind with Meredith Graves throwing every inch of her frame into her singing/screaming. New music was teased, hopefully more on that early next year, and favorites like “Interference Fits” whipped up some friendly moshing, which I was happy to indulge in.

OK, that was it for me. Bye, see you Thursday.

Well, maybe not. Dilly Dally, what can I say. Their performance closing down the night was the embodiment of why CMJ exists in the first place. The Toronto grunge-rockers, who just released their debut album, Sore, absolutely blew the doors off the place with Katie Monks indomitable howl rising above the fray. Fans of Hop Along, Speedy Ortiz or Bully, all aboard the hype train. These guys are the real dilly-dally-deal.

AND WITH THAT, night two of CMJ came to a close. Ears ringing, waiting for an R train at 3am that was more myth than reality.

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About The Author

Mike is a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts with a BFA in Film & Video focused on screenwriting. His career stops have included editing positions at AOL, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. He regularly contributes to a variety of outlets. Follow him @mmehalick

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