I ended up at Cake Shop for a repeat performance of Drink Up, Buttercup, the only band I saw more than once during the five days (though plenty of bands played plenty of times, surely this year broke a record for the number of bands doing a multi-set grind). While the double-dose was pure coincidence, the second set was perhaps even more entertaining than the first. If the first performance was energetic, then the second was manic. The band members seemed peeved at an only somewhat attentive audience, and Cake Shop’s rather meager sound and stage setup – or were maybe just enjoying too many of those cheap PBRs – and channeled all of that into song, flailing around more grandly, banging those trash cans harder, and shouting even louder, including at the audience to demand that they both pay attention and sing along. If being pissed off is what they need to put on this kind of show, then someone should harass these guys before every outing.
Speaking of attitude, the next stop was Little Jackie, the current project of Imani Coppola, known for the ’97 hit, “Legend of a Cowgirl” (which was, incidentally, one of the first songs I downloaded from Napster). Coppola is back and she’s still sassy, a woman after my own heart. She’s doing the soul/girl-group thing, a la Amy Winehouse, and is also unafraid of flaunting her vices. Unlike the diva across the pond, however, Coppola has more than an ounce of pride and self-respect.
Philadelphia’s Pattern Is Movement and I ended CMJ at the same time, with their set in Brooklyn Vegan’s massive Knitting Factory takeover party. As the duo’s latest album, All Together, will undoubtedly rank high in my Top Ten of the year, I’d been itching to see them for the first time since they first caught my ear at the Home Tapes showcase of CMJ ’06. Despite this being their seventh (!!!!!!!) show at CMJ, Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward were a boisterously pair, quite possibly the most obviously enjoying themselves among the bands I saw. Their personalities weren’t the only big presence on stage, as all of the careful qualities of their album were joyfully ripped apart – and, who’d’ve thought, the sounds that seemed so beautifully, intricately planned were just as good, even better, thrown this way and that. They ended the set by encouraging the concert-goers to crowd up nice and close – and did we ever – so they could hear us as we all sang along to “Right Away.” As Thiboldeaux sang, “I hope that she remembers me,” in that moment it seemed more silly than sweet, for who could forget such a band?
For more pictures from CMJ, see here.