by Dan Bolles
So it seems not everything at CMJ is as totally rad as I may have been led to believe following my stellar first night on the town. Who knew?
I began the evening at a Press Mixer at a swanky hotel on the Lower East Side, figuring free booze and food would help bandage my hemorrhaging wallet, at least temporarily. However, what I failed to remember was just how much I despise social mixers, gladhanding and pretending I give a shit about who you are, where you're from and what big name band you just interviewed. Blech.
I left after about 30 minutes and bounced around from club to club, with very little to show for it, I'm afraid. I don't know if the rock gods were simply conspiring against me last night or what, but it seemed as though every show I caught featured band after band even more forgettable than the last.
Cutting my losses, I decided to make my way uptown to Webster Hall a little early for Surfer Blood, who I've been dying to see for months. Unfortunately, I didn't go nearly early enough. On the chance that any of you folks reading this ever attend CMJ with any sort of press or artist credentials, here's a word to the wise. For most of the bigger shows, you can flash your badge to get in. However, they often limit the number of badgeholders they will allow in at one time. And once they reach capacity, it's a one-out, one-in scenario. So it was that I found myself waiting in line with about 50 other disgruntled rock critics whose badges were barely worth the plastic they were printed on. We're kind of a prickly bunch by nature. Knock us down a peg and tell us we're not as big a deal in NYC as we are in our hometowns … what a nightmare. I actually overheard a fairly well-known writer for a big deal music website say, "What the fuck? I write for (insert big deal website here), and they're telling me I can't get in? This is bullshit." (cough) Prick. (cough)
After not moving in line for about a half an hour, and growing increasingly annoyed by my pissy colleagues, I decided to leave, and trek all the way back down to the Canal Room, which was roughly 756 blocks from Webster Hall. I may be exaggerating the distance … slightly. Though I think I must have walked close to that many blocks before I realized that Broadway and West Broadway are two completely different streets … oops.
Fortunately, I made it just in time to catch most of a set by my old friends Good Old War, who rocked a completely packed house. Those cats are good, and just keep getting better. So glad to see a truly talented young band find so much good fortune and success. It almost made the rest of the night worth it … almost.
On the docket for tonight … um, I'm not sure yet, actually. But I might go check out Neutral Uke Hotel, whom I only just discovered are not, in fact, Neutral Milk Hotel. One more word to the wise: read the CMJ guidebook very carefully, lest you too mistake the word "uke" for "milk" while skimming through it. Ahem. Anyway, here's a snippet. It's actually kinda cool. More tomorrow!