For those of you who have never experienced CMJ, SXSW, or any other huge music conference, they are really had to put into words. So many bands spread across almost every venue in town – all playing at the same time – for about 14 hours a day. It is… crazy. The TSI Team always tries to put a plan in place for these type of conferences, but, once you are there, plans for the most part go out the window. Any plan you set is sure to change about 100 times. Between travel time to each venue, must-see show suggestions from friends and people you just met, or arriving at venues for a show to find they are already at capacity; it’s just a whirlwind. But once you are familiar with conferences like CMJ you come to the realization to just make somewhat of guide before arriving vs a plan and allowing the excitement to lead the way.
Arriving on Wednesday to NYC it was really a shitty day – rainy with high humidity. So there was a Fall like temperature, but muggy. Despite the crap weather, we must say that we really didn’t see one band that was bad on Wednesday. Everyone had something cool to bring to the table, all styles and genres. But there definitely were some highlights and that’s what we’ll talk about here.
Wednesday’s dampness made getting around the city even more difficult than usual, especially with camera gear. Getting off the train at Penn Station, I then trekked over to pick up my badge which was a very smooth process and walked to the Bowery Electric for the Bang This! showcase. I walked in just as music had started and Marvin Glover, who came all the way from LA, was on stage. Marvin was very relaxed on stage, kinda like you were watching him perform in your living room. You could tell that he and his band went way back. They were tight and flowed together like old friends finishing each others sentences. Marvin beautifully executed his set of well composed, smooth, but yet pop rock jams. Everyone in the room was really into it and he and the band were just a delight to watch together.
Next on stage was Invisible Lines. These guys are from NJ and are known for selling out venues like Maxwell’s in Hoboken. This was a complete 360 from Mavin’s set. I really dug this band and so did the crowd. The Bowery Electric asked them after their set to play there again soon. You can definitely hear the post puck influence in Invisible Lines, but there’s also a more modern twist. I spent most of their set trying to put my finger on a comparison for Invisible Lines. But after their set when Will (guitar & vox) asked me who I would compare them too, all I could come up with was At The Drive In, which, yea, made a little sense but still isn’t the best comparison to describe their sound. They really reminded me of this band called Kill Radio who are not around anymore and most people would not know of. So I would say if you are into bands like NoFx and Jawbreaker mixed with straight up rock, you’ll dig Invisible Lines.
Lost Romance is Gerry Perlinski along with Dana LaMarca on drums & Dan Fabricatore slapping the bass. We met Gerry at the Seaside Heights Music festival this past May and I missed his set, so it was very nice to see him play here in NYC. Lost Romance was great because it’s just so rock n’ roll – catchy hooks, solid 3 cord progressions, they were instantly likable for me. Lost romance is refreshing to see and hear – so many bands today are trying to be so different while the art of great rock n roll gets lost. The adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies to music as well. This trio that makes up Lost Romance are who they are and I’m down with that.
Those Mocking Birds were awesome. They were kinda grungy, but with the addition of a female twist. Tory Daines plays violine and keys, but she also sings back up and has one track she sings lead. I was totally into grunge – I was in high school in the 90’s – so this was a refreshing turn to a sound that I’m very familiar with. So for me, again, this band was instantly like-able. Those Mockingbirds are not reinventing the wheel here either, but doing what they do really well and their live performance was tight. Adding an element like violin & female voice gave their sounds a breath of freshness.
The Dead EX’s have received acclaim from publications like The Deli and we at TSI had been hearing their name pop up in places like Philly since playing a show at Kung fu Necktie the week prior. So I was very excited to see/hear the hype. Just 2 members, Dave Pittillo and Wylie Wirth on drums. Some would say that since they play the blues, you instantly think of The Black Keys. But Dave Pittillo brings something very different to the table. He’s all over the place on stage, manifesting this energy from the crowd to their very rich and full sound for just a 2 piece. Dave used a bullet mic, which is usually used for harmonica, for lead vocals. This added a distorted sound and a cool visual that amplified the Dead Exs experience.
Headlining the event was TAB the Band. For those of you who don’t know, TAB the Band is made up of two of Joe Perry’s (Aerosmith) sons. Although the boys come from a rock icon, they are super modest, friendly and cool – on stage and off. The band was tight and the songs were really great. Having a rock star dad or not, these boy got a great thing going. Apparently the band doesn’t like to mention or have people know that they’re Perry’s kids; they want to make it own their own, which is great. Even better, they have awesome attitudes and their song writing and performance skills are top notch.