Jake's CMJ Day 1: The Sediment Club, Guerrilla Toss, Roomrunner, Celestial Shore

Getting to know you, CMJ

By: Jake Saunders

October 22, 2014

"... despite my grievances against the corporate shmuck-holes, my first CMJ night was pretty good; I saws four great bands consecutively at two venues and honestly, couldn't have been happier. "

As my first CMJ, I didn't know what to expect in the beginning.  As it got closer to the week I slowly began to realize that it's more corporate than I expected. The most "exciting" thing that's happened to me so far is that I saw some guy from Rolling Stone that was on "I Love the 90's" at Palisades last night.  Fuuuuck that shit.  My goal for the week is to see as many great bands as I possibly can and avoid the 'buzz' as much as possible - in perfect Deli style.  I don't really know that much or care about any of the industry events or any of the 'big' shows, so I'm going to seek out as many great bills as I can and go from there.

I will say that despite my grievances against the corporate shmuck-holes, my first CMJ night was pretty good; I saws four great bands consecutively at two venues and honestly, couldn't have been happier.  I don't think either of them were official showcases (I don't care either way), but it's looking like the unofficial shows are getting the best bills in my book.

My first of two venues that night was The Silent Barn.  Every time I visit this place it's a little different.  The art is different, the people, the bands, and this time the back yard was completely refurbished into a DiY paradise.  Oh, and now we can drink beer in the yard?  When did that happen?  Anyways, my two go-to bands for this show were locals Sediment Club and Bostonians Guerrilla Toss (who, much to my delight, were added days earlier), two of the most hardcore experimental noise rock acts of the east coast and two huge inspirations for myself and others. 

Describing Sediment Club is going to be really difficult.  For starters, they run along the same vein as bands like Palberta, New England Patriots, Big Neck Police; all bands that have been utilizing a forward thinking off-kilter punk atmosphere.  They're noisy, loud and angry as hell.  Austin Julian is a viscous front man, pushing lyrical, vocal and melodic boundaries; it's hard to take your eyes off of him as he glares at the audience.  Their rhythms are complicated and highly composed, which just makes it an amazing live experience…they're in their own worlds, and I don't know if I've even scratched the surface of Sediment Club yet.  I do know that this band fuckin kills it so check them out.

Guerrilla Toss took the stage directly after, and despite that their lineup having received a huge makeover (previous guitarist Simon, who was known for getting naked at every show, was kind of sad to say goodbye to), are still a fuckin' powerhouse of a band.  What's my favorite thing about Guerrilla Toss?  First of all, they put me in another world (much like Sediment Club), a very specific world.  When I'm at a G Toss show I kind of feel like I'm in a dirty basement rave and everyone around me is tripping on some weird drug and just getting freaky weird.  As a follow up to that, they also make me want to get weird, which I love, because I don't get that with most bands; I literally can't not dance to Guerrilla Toss, it's like they've tapped into some inner groove that they bring out of me every time.  Their music is this strange disco/dance/industrial/punk fusion, and I don't really know anything that sounds like it. Kassie Carlson, the dangerously energetic and frightening front-lady, screams her head off, experimenting with strange timbres and rhythmic lines that turn her voice into an instrument way more extended than what we're used to hearing come out of someones vocal chords. I have a very fond memory of their album release show for Gay Disco a few summers back, when she locked eyes with me during the first song and continued to grab and claw at my face for a good fifteen seconds…that was the day I feel in love with Guerrilla Toss.  After their show Kassie gave me some very kind words and a hug and I knew that she wasn't as viscous as she appears on stage (although she might not want you to know that).  If you're reading this Kassie, I'm sorry for blowing your cover as a nice person and I forgive you for clawing my face, I know you were in the moment and I would've been jealous if the kid next to me had had his face clawed.  

After my G Toss experience I quickly biked over to Palisades to catch the final half of Celestial Shore's set, a band whose album 10X blew me away and whose new music is still blowing me away.  They've travelled their sound into a grungier, more linear kind of deal, but their songs are still as complex as they've always been except with more power chords.  Those guys can play and there's not much else to say (well actually there's a lot to say, but I'll save it for another time); they're talented musicians and honestly, I'm grateful that instrumentalists as skilled as these guys are working in the realm of rock n' roll, because we need to find that balance between sintrumental skill, pure simplicity and heady complexity.  (Go see them at a show I booked on November 12th at Shea Stadium with Leapling, Flashlight O and Cave Cricket)

After that, Roomrunner (also pictured in the main photo in this page - that was not from last night, we don't take pics here at The Deli), a grunge band from Baltimore, played a killer set to a crowd that should have been a lot bigger considering their EP had dropped that day.  You could tell they were a little disappointed, but I don't think that stopped them from going hard in the PAINT. These guys I think are the best modern representation of grunge I've heard in a while.  My friends Sammy said they sound like early Foo Fighters, I'll take his word for it.  There was one guy in the crowd who was saying he had waited two years to see the band, and demanded they play an extra song when their set was over, which they did.  These guys jam hard, and they've got an overwhelming energy that is hard to pass up, so make sure you seem them this Saturday at Exploding in Sound's birthday show.

As the night wound down I hung around talking with my cool band buddies, Steve Hartlett (Ovlov), Mac Kelly (Big Neck Police) and Sammy Weisberg (The Gradients), three bands that have ZERO official CMJ shows and three bands that I respect IMMENSELY for their general lack of bullshit.  We talked about CMJ and how big a corporate show it all is, and that's when Mac dropped the golden line of the evening: "CMJ?  More like stay at home and smoke a J!"  That's what I'll leave you with, although I won't stay at home this week. Much love and respect to all the musicians.