Musicians hate CMJ....
It's true. Most CMJ sets are rush jobs where most of your 35 minute set is spent tuning your instruments, you'll never get the exposure you need b/c there's usually something like 27 shows going on at once, and the indie snobs won't give you the time of day unless you have a coveted 1 AM timeslot.
That said, Brooklyn based female popsters Palomar did a more than admirable job with their 10:00 slot at the Tribeca Rock Club last night. Buzzing through a tight 35 minute set (about 10 minutes of which was used for arguing with the soundman), they managed to charm with their sugary power pop and 4-part harmonies. The sound was far from perfect, frontwoman Rachel Warren's mic only seemed to be working half the time, but the band is never any less than tight and extremely charismatic. The girlfriend claims that at least five minutes of every Palomar show is devoted to bitching about technical difficulties and making fun of drummer Dale, the lone male who looks like an extra from 'My So-Called Life,' and the band did not disappoint in this regard. Their latest record, Palomar III, is excellent, and they were kind enough to link my review of it on their website, which can be found here: The Official Palomar Homepage
Palomar was followed at 11 by Brooklyn "chamber-pop" outfit Sea Ray, who always go onstage with the gimmick of playing in front of a white sheet which is used to display random images from a film projector. Virtually every Sea Ray song ends in chaos, and when you've got six people each with their own indie haircut flailing onstage while getting wacky images projected onto them, the effect is kind of cool. However, this was my second time seeing Sea Ray, and I'm becoming convinced that the 'kind of cool' projector effect is all these guys have going for them. They have an impressive lineup onstage, including a cello player who's far more than just a stage prop, but every one of their songs sounds the same; standard, mellow indie-fare that always culminates with two minutes of craziness. The cello player's hair is always whipping in her face and the bass player with the Beatle haircut always looks like he's about to have a seizure, but there's no real melodies or hooks to latch onto. Meh.
Considering that I didn't see this show listed in any one of those "CMJ must see schedules" that surfaces everywhere, there was still a decent sized crowd, mostly of Palomar fans. There was even a guy who was a dead ringer for (and probably was) Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino, although one has to wonder why he would opt to see this show over many others. Probably because the members of Palomar are really cute and he stood a lower chance of being harassed at Tribeca than anywhere else. I didn't stop him at the bar to tell him that Antics rules only because one time a nameless member of my crew had a run in with a guy who was a dead ringer for Julian Casablancas, and embarassment ensued when it was determined that homeboy was definitely not the sexy Strokes frontman. There's a Jeff Tweedy look alike who goes to shows in NYC too. I think his name is Mike.