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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Sky Report's Amazing Unofficial CMJ Party

This year I decided not to do full-on CMJ. I usually end up being pretty exhausted by the third or fourth day, so this year I decided to pick a few shows I wanted to attend instead of the five to ten a day I would cover in the past.

The first of these shows was Scot Bowman of The Sky Report's Unofficial CMJ Party. I've been to many a CMJ show—usually the ones with all the buzz bands or bands I love and am excited to see live again. This eclectic show was off the beaten path – off the L-Train Jefferson stop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Once you walk in the extremely beautiful venue Tandem—a one story building on a residential street which is easy to miss—you are teleported back in time.

I showed up a bit late in the evening, stepped into the back room and caught the one-woman eletronica act Shadowbox. Shadowbox is Brooklyn's lovely Bonnie Baxter who, at the time I walked in, was crawling on the floor armed with a musical box and keyboard on a sheet music stand, and a mic hooked up to delay and reverb pedals which she manipulated her voice with. She created very strong ambient dance tunes and even had a beautiful ballad. By the end, she’d won the crowd over and received an encore.


Next up was a three-piece Brooklyn band called Fan-Tan. The band instantly seduced the crowd with the swaying-in-a-pond hypnotic songs. The band’s singer, Ryan Lee Dunlap, had an unusual-but-nice voice, and played some very lush and dreamy guitar. The bassist, Sandee Kooks, kept Mike Walters’ unique and sporadic beats in time with her sticky grooves. Definitely check out their EP, Bars in Window, and their 7-inch record, On Your Wall/No Complaint.

I also caught a bit of MeKaniKdolls set. The band is made up of two ladies with a Kaoss Pad, keyboards, a tiny amp and lot's of knob twisty toys. One gal sang into a mic with tons of effects, while the other created music that sounded like a cross between Defender the video game and a speech synthesizer Speak & Spell. Added percussion spiced up the mix, and at one point one of the girls even came out into the audience with a tiny amp strapped to her waist and began handing out flyers.

All in all it was a great night full of nice people and great music. The only downside was that the Jefferson subway was not running on my way back home. Maybe it was a sign to have stayed at the show longer.



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