CMJ Diary: Wednesday October 20th

By Sedera Ranaivoarinosy

Not to going to go into detail, but my life has never been busier. Still, I decided this year I would let it affect my CMJ time as little as possible. Sure, for these first few days, that means no day parties for me, but hey, there’s plenty for me to see at night. So here’s a little run through of last night:

1. Pujol at Santos Party House

Pujol @ Santos, Oct. 20th, 2011

After almost going in the wrong entrance–two shows were happening at the same time–I make it inside Santos while the members of the band are finishing up their mic checks. Not to be stereotypical but Pujol‘s garage rock is not necessarily the type of music you’d necessarily expect to hear out of Nashville, TN. The club was at that point where there are quite a few people around but it’s not so full that you are squished into everyone so the vibe was welcoming but it was maybe still a bit early for a rager. Nonetheless, Pujol brought it: the bass made the ground under my feet shake and I caught myself checking if someone was texting me because the waves of sound were making my jacket vibrate. Cute note: Daniel Pujol ended the set mentioning that it was his sister’s birthday. It didn’t seem like she was in the audience but if I had had that set dedicated to me, I’d be pretty happy.

Next stop was Pianos. On the train over, I saw a contestant from the dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. It felt like an odd intrusion of the mainstream into my evening of indie takeover.

2. Cloud Nothings and Exitmusic at Pianos

Cloud Nothings @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

Going from Pujol to Cloud Nothings (if you subtract the subway ride from Santos to Pianos) made for a fairly seamless transition, although the Cleveland outfit could have used the clarity of sound Pujol enjoyed at Santos. Needless to say, my ears might not really ever function the same again but that didn’t ruin their performance per se. In fact, there was something kind of pleasant in the way the songs sounded and the flow of the band’s set. From one track to the next, I felt like I was going back through all the various stages of adolescence: the pop-punk “rebel” phase, followed by the angsty, more “hard rock” one and the more exploratory one, represented by more experimental and noisy sounds. Since these days I live running from place to place without much breathing time, that little bit of nostalgic energy was pretty comforting. But next time, I’ll be careful not to stay as close to the speakers.

Exitmusic @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

The second Exitmusic started playing, the pace changed immediately. While the music I’d heard until then was immediate and very raw, this was carefully calculated and orchestrated. It was obvious from the moment the band stepped on stage; their polished appearance was a long way away from the torn t-shirts and plain old jeans of the previous bands. In some way, it was almost a little intimidating to see how attractive everyone was in the band but bit by bit, that feeling faded away as the music and Aleksa Palladino’s haunting vocals shrouded the room. As the set built up, it was like we were all suspended mid-air, as if carried by the lofty guitars. And then Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Up To Dry” started playing as they took off their instruments and it was back to reality where class the next day meant no more shows for that night.

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