LIVE! Review: CMJ 2015- BalconyTV Kick-Off Showcase (Webster Hall 10/13)

10/15/2015 tunes4loons 0 Comments

ALL HAIL the music Gods for giv—what? No! Sit da fuq down, Kanye! I wasn't referring to you in the slightest! Now, where was I? Right, ALL HAIL the actual music Gods for giving me the gift of CMJ's Music Marathon this week. It's like the Hanukkah of the NYC-music scene, except with alternative-indie tunes in place of the Hanerot Halalu and Bud Light in place of the miracle oil. Maybe that's a metaphor stretched too far, but it got your attention, riiiiight?

Before we begin our drunken ramblings, first we have to give a big shoutout to BalconyTV for kicking the CMJ festivities off with a BANG. I didn't even know BalconyTV was a corporate entity until like 26 hours ago, but thx for letting me crash your party regardless, guys!! You provided an excuse for me to "go up on a Tuesday". AKA y'all made me feel like Drake for .25 seconds. The ultimate rush.


This is now the 3rd time I have seen EVVY in person and I still don't think I would be able to pick her out of a line-up. I've literally stood 5 feet away from her, and yet I still thought a stranger had poisoned EVVY and abducted her CMJ spot*. Sorry, homegirl, it's not you, it's me, honestly. I'm 93% sure I have that face blindness disease like that dude from Arrested Development Season 4.

Although my probable proposagnosia prevented me from recognizing her by sight, as soon as EVVY started her set, her distinct, crystalline vocals assured me there was no foul play going on backstage. (Also there were like 30 people in the crowd—and I'm being generous with that number—so I figured no one would commit a crime and risk life in prison to play for a group too small to form a legal-sized football team.) EVVY's voice sounded as exceptional as ever, but her mic could have been a teeny, tiny bit louder. Although, her mic was loud enough for me to hear her call the crowd "beautiful" two times in a span of 10 minutes. Thx EVVY!! I know since you repeated the statement twice that it must be true. I iz kind. I iz smart. I iz booooootiful.

Now, I had already expected EVVY's vocals to be stellar, but I was also pleasantly surprised by her stage presence and personal styling. Not only did she play the standing drum with the enthusiasm of a Blue-Man Group member, but she was also rocking a thick metallic choker. This only further supports t4L's summertime claims that the 90's-style choker is BACK in a big way. And who doesn't love when they're proven right?!? Perhaps the most memorable part of EVVY's performance was that she was romping around the stage completely barefoot, which added to the chill vibes of her set, but also almost gave me a second-hand panic attack. I just imagined like her foot stepping straight onto a nail so rusty that Salad Fingers would swoon at the sight of it. But she survived! A performance ending without someone in the room contracting Hepatitis is always a good thing. (Also it was probably like a huge rarity in the 1960s.)

* I hear that's kinda T. Swift's move. She's the one that got Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson hooked on those Calteen bars.


The lead singer of Stone Cold Fox definitely lives up to the band's name. He's a hot guy holding a guitar, aka I'm pretty sure he's the reason the fire emoji was invented. And the cat with heart eyes one too come to think of it.  He actually managed to wear a Hawaiian shirt and still look cool. Like 2015's version of Scarface minus, well, all the scars on his face #shittysimiles. And his voice had the purrrrfect combination of grit and whine. It's a difficult balance to get right but so sweet when it all comes together.

The rest of the band honestly looked as if they had all just emerged from their respective parents' basements for this one performance. But that's actually probably a good thing! It means in 40 years when we all die from skin cancer, they will still be fit as fiddles and producing stellar surf-rock tunes. Speaking of surf-rock, I'm pretty sure it will be the theme of CMJ. Surf-rock is to Fall 2015 as Hansel was to 2001 (ssssso hot RN). But Stone Cold Fox played the kick-off showcase, so anyone else with surf-rock vibes I will deem as copycats. Yah snooze, yah lose, Day Wave #srynotsry. The best part about the band's performance was that they made me feel as if I had been transported into the Bait Shop circa 2004. I was really hoping to run into my soulmate, Seth Cohen, but, alas, he must have still been recovering from Comic-Con or something.


If I had to compare Spirit Animal's performance to one blockbuster movie, it would be "Man on a Ledge". The lead singer spent approximately 47% of the set perched on the edge of the stage with all the balance and poise of a Romanian gymnast. He also attempted the classic frontman-move of removing his shirt and singing half the set in a wifebeater. It was very rock & roll of him, but he didn't quite have the arm-muscle definition needed to make the reveal as dramatic as intended. Although, I really shouldn't talk because I, myself, have the muscle definition of the Pillsbury dough boy.

I got major "Red Hot Chili Peppers" vibes from these boys. Also the guitarist was rocking a Canadian tuxedo, only furthering their resemblance to the RHCPs. What with his denim-on-denim and EVVY's metallic choker, I felt the attack of the '90s was in full force. I meannnnnn, I didn't hate it. The one caveat in their performance came in the form of what sounded like a Metallica version of the "Cha Cha Slide". That was weird. But A MILLION points to Gryffindor for going off-stage and getting jiggy with the crowd. Also the award for best sound check of CMJ hands-down goes to them. It made me lol hard and was possibly the highlight of my night. U rock, nvr change, Spirit Animal.


Sloane from Entourage, I didn't know you sang! Oh wait that's Kylie Jenner. Oh, no, wait it's Alex Winston. I couldn't tell for sure because she didn't play Velvet Elvis!! MY FAVORITE SONG! I forgive you though, Ms. Winston, as your set had '80s synth for dayyyyyys. But your lack of drummer baffled and enraged me. Maybe it's just that I've recently been overly-obsessed with Keith Moon, but I feel as though a drummer is a crucial part of any performance.

I was really digging Winston's bootcut jeans** but her overall outfit was kind of blah. An off-white shirt, black jeans and a motocross jacket? Yawwwwn. Without the jacket I could have mistaken her for a cater waiter and asked her for shrimp puffs. Also, i neeeeeed to ask before I conclude this review, Alex: HOW do I get ur flawless bone structure and your delicate brow-line? I'm envious AF of both and I think that's why the majority of this review was laced with bitterness. Sry, I'm immature like that. Your voice sounded amazzzz, tho.

**ATTACK OF THE FUCKING '90s PPL, I TOLD U. Take cover or be prepared pull your mood rings and over-sized scrunchies out of retirement.


Idk who this girl is but I came in from outside and she was smack dab in the middle of singing a slowed-down, less soulful version of RESPECT..........literally WUT? Her choreography looked like that of a '70's flash-mob. In short, she's not gonna be a finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" anytime soon. When she wasn't following the moves choreographed for her by The Village People, she romped around stage like she was trying to expel a demon from her body. She was definitely trying to be Robyn, but didn't quite manage to pull it off.

Her belt said "MOSCHINO" which is funny cause the rest of her outfit said "I just got off my shift at the strip club." I know nothing about fashion and yet I still know those are two completely contradictory styles. The most distressing part of her outfit, however, was her accessories. I couldn't tell where her earrings ended and her necklace began. This made me concerned that she was going to auto-asphixiate herself with her inter-twined jewelry. However, my anxiety soon subsided as FEMME actually had a stunning voice and amazing vocal control. It's hard to describe, but it was like she had a hair dryer diffuser built into her vocal chords. And she had the Siren-esque sound down-fucking-pat.

She ended the performance by wishing everyone a "great weekend".......... it was Tuesday. SMH, FEMME, SMH.


Although there were approximately enough people on stage during this performance to start their own fully-functioning sovereign nation, French Horn Rebellion is actually just two people. One looked like the love-child of Jack White and Wolverine. The other a mixture between Elvis and Danesh from Silicon Valley #weirdbuttrue. Also Joey Fatone was straight killing it on the drums. Jk, but the resemblance was uncanny.

The best part of FHR's performance*** was that they had a legit dance-off mid-set. I was feeling it so much that I probably would have joined in if I had a little more alcohol in my system. Their set was just one infectious song after another. Up until this point I always thought that the steel drum was the most underrated instrument for an electronic ditty, but these boys proved me wrong. French horn is where it's at, y'all!!

***other than bringing Catey Shaw up on stage #fuckingDUH