CMJ 2008
The Johnny Chiba PhotoJournal Experiential

click thumbnails for big pics

Monday. Oct 21. 08

Holidays of Seventeen, Ovum @ Santos Party House

Media Factory Japan, pre-CMJ showcase opened my eyes and ears to the wonders of Ovum, their egg-like name representing an instrumental
birthing of guitars strummed slowly, a build-up of life-inducing feedback, the maelstrom of living thru the void, ending in the quietude of death..
something like that... i enjoyed it. I also dug the happy sound of Holidays of Seventeen, which I can only imagine as a prepubescent weekend
of punk pop rock... with glasses.


Tuesday. Oct 22. 08

Bang Bang Eche @ The Delancey (featuring Murray from Flights of the Condoms)

Bang Bang Eche make my balls bang bang Ache! A fucking sexy five-piece punk band from the mean streets of
Churr Churr, New Zealand, they play with Chk Chk Chk, So So Modern, Die Die Die, and other bands/towns with repeating names.
Think of Entertainment-era Gang of Four with Sara Lee on bass, and Butch from the Little Rascals drumming the dancebeat.
The accent-enhanced vocals and hard-driving rawkishness of BBE have been a staple of KEXP radio, soon to be worldwide.
Their last song was general mayhem, with broken guitars, feedback, switching instruments and a wot-the-fuck, fuckit attititude.
Murray from HBO's Flight of the Conchords MC'd the show, and was a funny kiwi for sure mate! Present!

Ovum @ Knitting Factory (old office)

I had to take Skowgal to see Ovum, to egg-perience
the sound that is Ovum. we were both blown away... again.

Tracy Shedd @ Ace of Clubs

I'm a fan of Tracy Shedd's music, an emotional indie songstress with a love for distortion,
inspired by hubbie-guitarist James' excellent guitar shredding and shedding of riffs.
I animated a couple pics that let you catch an optic whiff of his full-frontal guitar attack.
Only years of practice and playing together will let one experience such craftiness and rocking.
From Boston to Tucson, Tracy Shedd is an accomplished artist, soon to be discovered by y'all.

H.R. @Crash Mansion - upstairs

As the singer of the Bad Brains, H.R. has influenced thousands of hardcore kids, from DC to Cali H.R.'s latest incarnation brings him back
to his reggae roots, with a killer guitarist in tow. After a lengthy wait, as H.R. attempted to plug in his guitar, he appeared extremely high on life,
spoke softly ala Michael Jackson ("here's a new song I wrote, for you...") and performed new songs to the delight of his adoring throng.
Stand up for your Human Rights!

Wednesday. Oct 23. 08

Battle Circus @ Crash Mansion

Another export from New Zealand, with yet another sexy Asian gal on keyboards, Battle Circus laid down
the Kiwi sound at Crash Mansion with a rollicking set with a minor sound problems. Drummer Jester was a
jolly chap I enjoyed meeting, who anchored the Circus spectacular. The music was ephemeral and pleasing,
as was the keyboard solo during a sound breakdown, accompanied by the wide-screen surf video.

Art @ Crash Mansion and Rivington Street

As wonderskow read her book under the tremendous Crash Mansion mural, I noticed the wall of Shepard Fairey,
and later marveled at the century-old synagogue along Rivington Street. Take a click of the temple window,
for a full-on Star of David experiential, animated by Jefe aka Johnny Chiba


Bang Bang Eche @ Crash Mansion

Later that eve, I crashed back into Bang Bang Eche performing yet again, on a bigger stage, and room to dance, along with a slew of KEXP folks.
More instrument switching from guitar and keyboardist. Personally, I think the tall lanky boy should stay on guitar, his chops were more Gang of Four.
Nevertheless, another fun for all free for all. Kee Wee!

Mostly Bears @ The Charleston

As I walked into The Charleston in WIlliamsburg Brooklyn, 3 hairy barechested guys barreled up the basement stairs
(mostly bare!), and proceeded to smear on day-glo paint, readying the Mostly Bears anthemic, tribal attack.
(After introducing myself,
I drew a pair of arty day-glo tits on the back of the drummer)
The band was impressive, visually and musically, with a dash of John Lennon-esque vocalage.
Overall, I found them to be Mostly Awesome. Desert Space Rock from Tucson AZ


Thursday. Oct 23. 08

mr. Gnome @ Knitting Factory (Fanatic/Redeye/Panache party)

I caught a couple songs from mr. Gnome last nite, and impressed I was, was I, that I returned next day to KnitFact
daytime party to catch the Cleveland duo. They bring their own carpet and lights to create atmosphere, and they craft
excellent transitory indie ditties forged into a full-fledged sonic Gnomenclature. Led by interesting female vocals, and
powerful furry riffs, songs become stories, sung with gusto and derision, invoking something you've heard or read before.
One of the nicest bands I met at CMJ08, their El Marko record "Deliver This Creature" is a must-hear.
That mr. Gnome is a cool guy! Cool T-shirt too!

Brass Amazons vs. Brass Bed

I "banged" into the brass band-clad amazons of Wet Secrets, their 6-inch heels enticing me to bust in on the sausage party
surrounding them, with "hey studs, who wants to take my picture with these gals". They were prime-time Canadian Mount-tease.
I filtered downstairs to the KnitFact's old office, to catch the over and above interesting indie rocktones of Brass Bed
from Lafayette Louisiana. Fine rocking with an extra dose of gravy, nice lead picking and harmonies. Brassy Chiba!


Lymbyc Systym @ Webster Hall
These Modern Socks @ National Underground

The New Surreal @ Alphabet Lounge

Global Hip Hop Throwdown @Drom
Lymbyc twins bros create danceable instrumentally-bound sound systymycs. The keyboard/drum duo made great use of massive
Webster Hall speakers, with dubbed vocals splayed ambience bouncing quadrophonia around dance floor. Intristing CD art and t-shirts.

Enjoyed a few songs from These Modern Socks at the quaint Nat'l Underground, which is really underground. Five guys from St. Paul/Minneapolis
do the pop savvy, savory pop tarts of simple, yet intricately intelligent tunes. Park on guitar was a good player yo!

Popped by The Alphabet Lounge for surreal popsters The New Surreal. Nice vocals and smooth poptones were part of the
giant disco ball atmosphere, complimented by the LES gabbing crowd, paying more attention to each other than the band.
Everyone I talked to knew the band and liked the music, but no one knew the elusive Don from Sunset Records...

Walked on up to DROM nightclub on Avenue A, hoping to catch DJ Soulscape and Drunken TIger from Korea,
at the Global Hip Hop Throwdown. Unfortunately, they were running late, so we caught some cool raps from King Reign from Toronto,
who got off dissing NY being on Toronto's dick, which solicited boos from the crowd and audi-2000 from Chiba, once we realized
that the next DJ was from Haiti, and not Korea. Haiti-ed it!

Friday. Oct 24. 08

The Fader Fort (Levi's) presents a way cool day party

All The Saints
, Ponytail
Crystal Antlers
Crystallized Antlerized
One of the more interesting day parties at CMJ08, the Fader Fort off of Delancey Street had an arty feel,
with Alfred Hitchcockian mural backlighting the bands. Caught the end tones of All The Saints, sounding
like Joy Division-cum-Jesus&MaryChain riff heavy surges of pain, angst and feedback. Next up, Ponytail's
singer, hopping about like Pan on acid, yelped and hooted enfrente the double guitar, no-bass attack.
Finally, Crystal Antlers performed a fine set of 70's era Uriah Heep turned 21st century frenzy of fuzzy noise
mayhem, fronted by a spectacled spectacular percussiveness of perversion. Fun stuffs!


Snake Trap @ Lit
Akimbo @ The Knitting Factory
Australian Cattle God showcase at Lit was up against the Panache showcase at the Knitting Factory
Lit vs Knit, what to do? We decided to catch Snake Trap at Lit, with label owners Bryan and Lee on
drums/beard and guitar, respectively. Mental instrumental riffs a plenty!

Cabbed on down to the KnitFact to catch Akimbo running an hour late. Thankfully.
The trio were heavy hairy heaviness, steeped in sabbathian tones and metallic shards. Awesome Akimbo!
trodded downstairs to watch the Japantics of one of this planet's best rock bands, known collectively as...

DMBQ @ Knitting Factory (Tap Bar)

Pictures speak 1000 words. The good points of seeing DMBQ up front are being
able to see the 2 guitar players make horror-mask faces, hold guitar in teeth, spit and kick and
rock the world fantastic. The bad points are getting spit on, kicked, having beer and water flung
at you from crowd and band, and having to hold the drummer up in the air, when they do that
thing they do. An overall awe-inspiring performance, we were too tired to hang out for Monotonix
who were to play ater 1AM that night, but we knew another show was tomorrow...


Saturday. Oct 25. 08

Monotonix @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (AAM Party)

Once again, Monotonix live up to the hype of number 1 rock and roll, crowd pleasing show.
Their singer doesn't stay in one place, as he cavorts and confronts crowd and garbage pails with an abandoned
frenzy. He sings in your face, on the floor, off the stage, in the crowd, under some guy's shirt, up to the rafters,
leading the laughing audience to respond to his vocals and talkings with a loud: "YASOO!"

We had plans to go out again that night, to catch Monotonix again, along with Die! Die! DIe! and Octopus Project,
as well as the late night Australian Cattle God party, but we suffered from exhaustion, exhausted by suffering of
the constant running, constant fun of CMJ Music & Film Marathon.

all pics by Jefe aka Johnny Chiba
chiba (at) - testpress - (dot) net