Drawing crowds of over 120,000 fans, artists and filmmakers from around the globe, the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival invades New York City for five full days this week. From Tuesday October 20th through Saturday October 24th (or Sunday at noon, according to the official schedule) music-lovers of all genres unite at performances, discussions and workshops around the city. In its 29th year, CMJ’s Music Marathon continues its legacy of “rocking with the best,” packing quality musicians and devoted fans into some of New York’s most legendary venues.
CMJ’s 15-year-old Film Festival may seem young in comparison, but don’t be fooled – the event has transformed numerous underground films into Oscar-winners and box-office gems in the mere decade and a half it’s been around. This year’s music highlights include rapper Busta Rhymes (B.B. King’s, 11pm on Thursday), LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (Brooklyn Bowl, 8pm on Thursday) and TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone with his Rain Machine solo project (Bowery Ballroom, 12am on Sunday) among others. To see a complete schedule of concerts and events, check out the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival’s official website.
In addition to each day’s concerts and showings, the festival will showcase a handful of special events, shining an intimate and educational light on this week full of eclectic sights and sounds.
CMJ - Paradigm! @ Mercury Lounge
We can always count on CMJ to provide their loyal followers with free music (at least, in this case, after midnight). Come party at Mercury Lounge with Sean Bones, Local Natives, Hockey, Ambulance LTD, Alec Ounsworth (of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Patrick Watson & JBM. DJ Dave Godowsky will be there to perform between sets to ensure a night without a single gap in the playlist. For more information, click here.
CMJ ’09 Party w/ Eve To Adam, Blood Street & more @ Santos Party House
Santos Party House: the name says it all. CMJ picked the right place to rage and just the right soundtrack, with music by Eve to Adam, Blood Street, The Bleeding Bombshells, Sleepwalkas & Pui and Krista. Special guests Bras and DJ Johnny Famous will also be crashing the house party. For more information, click here.
CMJ: Music From Ireland Showcase @ Bowery Poetry Club
CMJ’s unbiased attention to all types of music is what makes this festival unlike any other in the world. This year, CMJ has chosen five bands to play in a special “Music from Ireland” showcase – but leave your clogs at home – you won’t be dancing any traditional Irish jigs at this show. Hooray for Humans, a pop/electro/death metal group from Cork, take the stage alongside the Heathers, Giveamanakick, The Blizzards and Fighting with Wire in a full night of appreciation for Irish music. For more information, click here.
CMJ '09 Spotlight: Emmanuel Jal @ The Kimmel Center, NYU
An up-close and personal spotlight on Sudanese hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal as he shares his first-hand experience of being a child soldier for a rebel army in Sudan. The artist, who has just finished recording his third album, WARchild, speaks about his dedication to achieving social justice globally and his attempt to impart that message personally, through music. This special event will explore today’s injustices in Darfur, as Jal recounts his own heroic navigation and insatiable drive to “rap for freedom.” For more information, click here.
CMJ '09 Spotlight: HAIR @ The Kimmel Center, NYU
“Let the Sun Shine In” and experience HAIR, winner of the 2009 Tony Award for the Best Revival of a Musical, with an enlightening discussion led by Oskar Eustis (Artistic Director of the Public Theater), Galt MacDermot (Composer of HAIR) and Jim Rado (Writer and Co-creator of HAIR. Stick around for a special performance from Gavin Creel, one of the stars of Hair, as he performs scenes from the production. A limited number of tickets to the full show, now playing at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, will be available at the registrant bag booth at CMJ’s Exhibit Hall (10th floor of NYU’s Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South). For more information, click here.
CMJ '09 Spotlight: Taking Back The Acoustic Performance ft. Fred Mascherino @ The Kimmel Center, NYU
Taking Back Sunday’s Fred Mascherino escapes his typical arena scene for this special event, playing a more intimate show and leading an informal discussion on his experience with the modern music industry and beyond. Mascherino shares stories of his success in multiple artistic endeavors and will enlighten the audience to his multifaceted career through both words and music. For more information, click here.
Mexican Summer/Kemado CMJ Showcase @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
CMJ knows what all hipsters want: cheap beer, below-the-radar bands and all of this at a venue in Brooklyn. Hop on that L train and check out some bands you may have never heard of like the Young Prisms (who don’t even have a MySpace), The Amazing (with members of Dungen), Real Estate, Farmer Dave Scher and Smith Westerns. If you subscribe to CMJ and get the low-down on great indie bands from their monthly CD inserts, you may want to see what this show is all about. For more information, click here.
Rain Machine (Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio) Sharon Van Etten, Violens & Imaad Wasif @ Bowery Ballroom
Guitarist-singer Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio embarks on a new solo project: Rain Machine. For some reason the name conjures up an image of a didgeridoo player somewhere on Venice Beach, but with TV On The Radio’s complex, genre-breaking sound, that possibility seems very unlikely. Press releases say Rain Machine’s sound incorporates elements of modern jazz and bluegrass, but after listening to the song “Give Blood,” infused with Malone’s standard high-pitched trills, Rain Machine, like TVOTR, seems to be in a category of its own. The show will also include performances by Sharon Van Etten, Violens and Imaad Wasif. For more information, click here.
Duck Down CMJ Showcase @ Blender Theatre
Lace up your hippest kicks and bring on the swagger, ‘cause when it comes to hip-hop, the Duck Down CMJ Showcase does not mess around. Host Angela Yee of Sirius Satellite Radio Morning Show leads the show as some of the game’s most talented and least mainstream MC’s take the stage. These are not the type of guys to hog the spotlight like Kanye, these are the guys who produce his tracks. Buckshot with 9th Wonder, Kidz In The Hall, Blue Scholars, Sean Price, Smif N Wessun, Marco Polo & Torae, Skyzoo and Team Facelift will take the stage with tons of special guests including Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique and B-Real of Cypress Hill. For more information, click here.
Tribute Wars CMJ Showcase @ Le Poisson Rouge
After months of being bombarded with Michael Jackson tribute shows, it’s nice to see a spin on the whole thing. For all of us rockahlics, a heavy metal performance of Billy Jean could be the fix we’ve been looking for. Three different tribute bands, three different altered sounds: all-metal versions of our favorites, from the Bee Gees and Metallica to our good old friend MJ. For more information, click here.