CMJ Music Marathon Wrap-up

CMJ Music Marathon Wrap-up

Listening to: RJD2 – Since We Last Spoke

Ok, so I spent the past week or so in New York City, attending the CMJ Music Marathon. (among other things) Chad Westcott, founder of Lowland Apartments and my co-host on The Acid Lounge on Radio1190 accompanied me to the city. We stayed in my aunts extra apartment ont the upper east side, which is right next to the (4)(5)and(6) trains.

CMJ? CMJ is the College music journal. It’s basically the Billboard or Rolling Stone of the whole indie college music scene. I report my top ten lists to them every week, they publish a magazine, have a website, and help keep tabs on what’s going down in the college music scene. The CMJ Music Marathon is CMJ’s annual convention/ gathering/ showcase held in NYC… there is a convention hall with company’s represented, various parties happening all around town, as well as over 1000 bands playing in hundreds of clubs throughout the city. And what makes it even more incredible is that the whole thing happens in 4 days.

Chad and I walked over to the Javits Center, where the convention section was being held, and immediately ran into Mark, who is a rotation dj at radio1190. We went in and picked up our badges, finding out in the process that not only did our press passes get us into every single CMJ show in the city (over 1000), but it also got us into the Digital Life Expo, being held in the Javits Center also.

Chad and Mark and I spent the week in NYC wandering around during the day, going to forums hosted by CMJ (talking about industry relation topics such as satellite radio, how the digital music age is affecting artist recording contracts, whats going on with electronic music and dance clubs, and a whole bunch more). At night, every night, we went out to anywhere from 2 to 10 clubs/bars/lounges/venues to see the latest and greatest in indie music.

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth fucking sucked. Chad, Mark, Melissa went to Irving plaza to see Sonic Youth, RJD2 and Mix Master Mike. It actually seemed like a decent amount of people came out to see Sonic Youth, but I don’t know if it was a bad night for them or if they just suck in general, but it was terrible. They opened up with an introduction of screetching amps and random noise, and soon broke into some actual songs. But the girl singing’s voice sounded muted and whispy, like she had had a thousand too many cigarettes and was tone deaf. The guitarist was also terrible, acting like a 14 year old coked up drunk asshole during his first night playing for a live audience. He was climbing all around the stage, on top of the amps, and hanging his guitar from its cord in front of the amplifiers. Their set ran close to an hour, and finally ended with ten more minutes of terrible noise.


After Sonic Youth at Irving Plaza, RJD2 came on. He appeared onstage standing in back of a massive bank of 4 turntables, 2 cdj’s, and a sampler. His set was extremely solid, on beat, and pulled from tracks from his latest 2 albums (Deadringer and Since We Last Spoke), as well as a ton of other classic tracks.

RJD2 at Irving Plaza for CMJ

Mix Master Mike

Mix Master Mike, as you may or may not know, is the DJ for the Beastie Boys. However, he’s more than just the musical backing for the rap trio. Standalone, he also happens to be an incredible DJ. Performing with a mere 2 turntables and a microphone, Mike layed down the most incredible scratches, sequences and musical selection that I’ve heard in a while. Check out Mix Master Mike’s new album Bangzilla, out now.

Mix Master Mike at Irving Plaza for CMJ

The Reputation

Chad and I went to see theREPUTATION at the Knitting Factory. I’ve been a long time theREPUTATION fan, but this was my first time seeing them live, and Chad’s first time hearing them at all. What can I say… theREPUTATION was incredible, blowing away my initial high expectations. Elizabeth Elmore’s genuine voice and insightfull lyrics, coupled with the superior musical capability of the whole band was great. As an added bonus, I got to chill with Elizabeth for a minute after the show.

The Reputation at the Knitting Factory for CMJ


Ahh yes, Stupid. Jill, Melissa, Chad and I saw stupid, along with the crazyness of Dana Ehrlich (the bands singer) at the Luna Lounge. They are incredible. All great musicians, and lead singer Dana Ehrlich is one of the craziest girls I’ve ever seen. And the band seems to be doin’ it for their fans, too…. Dana made latke’s for everyone, and all their stickers and flyers were home made.

Dana from Stupid with her accordion at the Luna Lounge duringi CMJ

Tegan and Sara

These two cute Canadian twins did a live acoustic set at the Bowery Ballroom. Having recently released their new album, they sang a bunch of songs off it, plus a few older ones. The girls were great, with their “indie” style voices and cute stage antics. I can’t wait to see them with their whole band someday…


Yes, Mark and I saw Z-Trip. This guy was incredible. With only a minimal amount of gear and infinite musical knowledge and technical skills, Z-Trip managed to wow us by mixing up over 100 tracks in about 30 minutes. Spanning all the way from Rap to Rock to Pop, Z-Trip expertly rips the beat from Led Zeppelin and layers over it the vocals of Jay-Z. An incredible show, and Z-Trips a nice guy, too.

Z-Trip at the Bowery Ballroom for CMJ

So there you go, the official Jeff Donenfeld CMJ Music Marathon Wrapup. Of course, no wrapup is complete without a photo gallery, so here you go. Click here to check out my official CMJ Pictures.

One last note… If you’d like to reprint or reuse any part of my CMJ Wrapup, please contact me at Jamfan2 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Photo gallery

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One response to “CMJ Music Marathon Wrap-up”

  1. >Name: chadTime: Wed Oct 20 12:49:48 2004IP: naEmail: chadwestcott@hotmail.comComment:Cool man!—–Name: Jill DonenfeldTime: Sat Oct 30 07:17:04 2004IP: http://www.TheDishsDish.comEmail: jd2126@columbia.eduComment:hey, brother….how come no pics of me?!?!?!?