I’m not packing clothes
for this year’s CMJ Marathon in New
York City. In fact, I’m not even bringing down a
laptop. Instead of spending five straight days inhaling various poisons,
feverishly blogging on the same nonsense that everyone else is covering, and
ransacking my weathered eardrums with out-of-tune guitar shreds and swollen
bass lines, I’m limiting my trip to one day and two nights, and seeing how much
I can cram in.
Armed with two
note pads, running shoes, an itinerary, and a fistful of Ritalin, I’m leaving Boston on Wednesday
afternoon. Upon arrival in Manhattan,
I’ll check in with CMJ, then head directly to a showcase (Please note: I won’t
have to drop bags off since I’m not bringing any). I’m aware that this seems silly.
How much can I actually cover in such a short time? Why not spend the whole
weekend? Surely I’ll end up staying for more debauchery.
Not so much. I
turned 29 this year, and music festivals are squandering my hopes of living one
more decade. This past March at South by Southwest in Austin I lost 13 pounds;
my trainer at the time said it was the result of complete malnutrition. He was probably
correct – I barely ate for an entire week, and, save for some shower water, I
hadn’t drunk a thing besides canned beer and whatever free cocktails were
served at sponsored happy hours.
So that I don’t
waste your time and mine, I devised a strategy. On my first night, the plan is
to check Homeboy Sandman and P. Casso at S.O.B.’s, then roll to the Gallery Bar
for Arabian Prince before peeping NY Oil and other progressive cats at Studio B
in Brooklyn. From there I’ll smash back
downtown for Ho-Ag at Bowery Poetry Club, then to Hollywood Holt at 205
Chrystie, Moby at Le Royale, and, finally, the Fools Gold Showcase at Webster
Hall until at least four in the morning.
On Thursday I’ll
wake early off whoever’s couch and gorge myself in a Burger King French toast
sticks before bouncing to the NYU
for a workshop. Despite having gone to CMJ more than half-a-dozen times, I’ve
never actually seen a panel; but I can’t miss the flagitiously phony DJ Spooky
partaking in a discussion titled “Current Independent Culture through the Eyes
of True Indie Pioneers.”
Since I’m out of
words like “run,” “hop,” and “roll” to over-describe how I’ll be commuting between
shows, here goes a simplified list of some remaining artists who I’ll be trying
to see before I jet early Friday morning: Ovum, Dirty On Purpose, Cheeseburger,
U-N-I, 88 Keys, George Clinton, Ill Bill, Sean Price, Dujeous, Mobius Collective,
Pharoahe Monch, Statik Selektah, Reks, Termanology, J-Zone, Q-Tip, Yo Majesty!,
Hercules and Love Affair, and Shout Out Out Out Out.
I won’t make
more predictions – other than that I’ll feel badly for the person sitting next
to me on the bus ride back – but I will make one promise: my exclusive on line
feature, “CMJ In One Day,” will be posted on The Phoenix web site before 5pm
this Friday. Hang tough.