CMJ Day 1: XNY & The Return of The Incredibly Small Hulk

Well I survived day 1 of CMJ and I didn’t even get lost (yet). The press badge pick-up was refreshingly easy and unlike this past Lollapalooza I didn’t have to wait in a single file line out the door of a tiny bar in order to grab my credentials.

My next stop was the press mixer party which was nice (I will never turn down some free bourbon) but I always end up feeling a bit awkward hanging out drinking by myself and doing small circles around a room filled with other bloggers, photographers and publicity people. When I finally get comfortable enough to introduce myself to strangers at a table it feels like a bizarre speed-dating experience but without the glimmer of hope I can only assume someone gets when they sit down across from a potential date.

When the free booze was gone there was a mass exodus out of the building and everyone headed to whatever showcase they were most excited about. While I didn’t attend the New Zealand showcase at Le Poisson Rouge, it seemed like everyone I spoke with was headed that way.

Listening to them now I can kind of understand why but I wasn’t really in the mood to cram into the venue with everyone and their mother. Instead, I headed to The Delancey to check out XNY. Unfortunately, the dude running the soundboard couldn’t get his shit together so there was a good amount of feedback followed by microphones refusing to work altogether every few minutes. The band held it together pretty well though and even managed to keep going after pieces of the drum kit almost plunged off of the stage due to how small the area was and the vibrations slowly moving the hi-hat closer to the edge with every beat.


XNY playing The Bowery Electric

The duo of Pam Autuori (singer/guitarist) and Jacob Schreiber (drummer/backing vocals) had another gig to play that night and since it was just down the road at the Bowery Electric, I thought I’d check them out with proper sound at the Outlet Collective/Deli showcase.

I arrived just in time to have missed seeing Texas rockers, The Phuss, but I spent some time talking to them and they are some fun dudes with adorable Southern accents. I haven’t had time to listen to their whole album but I like what I’m hearing with the song “You Ought to Know”. It’s got kind of a Jet vibe.

I did get to see a band called The Ugly Club and, in all honesty, I couldn’t tell you what they sounded like. I was super distracted by the lead singer looking like Ryan Gosling (circa Remember the Titans) and the keyboardist looking like a cross between Topher Grace and the guy who plays Navid on the 90210 reboot. I mean, can we talk about this?

Finally it was time for XNY to play again and I’m so happy I was able to catch them on a larger stage with a working sound system. They were like a totally new band and damn Pam can wail and play that damn guitar! I caught a clip of one of their songs which you can stream here:

Download: XNY at the Bowery Electric

I’m sure if you’ve made it this far into the post you’re probably wondering where the Incredibly Small Hulk comes into play. Well my friends, I wasn’t the only one getting into XNY’s music. Two men in suits and one of their girlfriends (all of who were old enough to know better) decided this intimate CMJ showcase would be the perfect place to try out their combination Muay Thai boxing/moshing techniques. I can’t imagine what was going through their minds (most likely a lot of cocaine) but they could care less about the fact that everyone else in the room was standing there watching the music and they were flailing around like Ally Sheedy dancing in The Breakfast Club on steroids. When they started getting too close to my friend and myself, I went over and nicely asked them to calm down. I told them they should feel more than free to punch each other but I’d appreciate it if they kept their fists and arms and legs to themselves.

Less than ten minutes later, I could see the suits were back to acting like Ronnie from Jersey Shore doing what I will now dub the “Come At Me Bro Dance”. As I could have predicted, one of their elbows made full contact with my friend’s head. The guy didn’t even stop to apologize and that is when I fully grabbed him by the sides of his shirt and pushed him all the way back to the benched area and finally into the hands of a bouncer.

For some reason, the bouncer didn’t think to step in before that moment and those assholes never got kicked out. All I know is, next time I’m going for the balls and I’ll be unapologetic about it.

Now, I’m off to Cake Shop to get my party on with the good folks at Terrorbird. Tonight I’m really hoping to catch The Hollows at Sullivan Hall, Maluca at Webster Hall, Nina Sky also at Webster Hall and hopefully I can catch some of The Suzan.

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