CMJ Day 3: Jaill, the Blow, Screaming Females, and more
There's something to be said for sleep deprivation amidst towering talent and charming people. Thursday's marathon was completely dominated by women; shredding, bellowing, musing, and farting. Day three was a doozy.
She Keeps Bees
After a late start by the interesting if brand-new True Womanhood, She Keeps Bees' set was cut far short, allowed but fifteen minutes or so for this two-piece to break some plates. Guitarist and singer Jessica Larrabee is a barely contained fount of soul and tremble, all gorgeous voice and straightforward guitar. This band singe-handedly inflamed the day.
New Sub Pop signees and sons of Cream City Jaill were at Webster Hall for a sparsely-attended evening set of straightforward garage rock that was, if not boring, somewhat predictable but polished; they've yet to write The Single, but it seems within reach.
Maybe best known for her turn as the psycho Mel on Flight of the Conchords, Kristen Schaal brought some friends along to NYU's Skirball Center for a variety comedy show that was absurd and playful and confusing in just the right ways. While I missed the last bit of the show, Schaal performed everything I saw under the guise of a self-flagellating whoopee cushion, recalling the days of yore when farts were still funny (at which point she'd press a button for a long whiner, or a short burst, depending on the punchline). Kurt Braunohler, her comedic partner, performed a breathtaking ribbon dance that put him out of breath for an alarming amount of time (I can't say much on the topic; walking up from the subway platform to the street nearly kills me every single time) and then shared some interesting animal facts, before the amazing Reggie Watts took his turn, sharing some looped songs and his take on the rules of Skir Ball, the game he's probably really good at. A comedy show of this caliber wasn't to be missed.
I don't know the technical details of the PA system at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, but this was far and away the best I've ever heard the Screaming Females in the ten or so times I've seen them. It was massive, Marissa Paternoster shredding every inch out of the place and probably psychically affecting every musician within a mile radius of her. No, Screaming Females aren't a new band - they won't be hailed as the next Best Coast or Surfer Blood or whatever - but that's completely irrelevant because they're far better and far stronger than most of them. All of them.
Khaela Maricich is, in a word, confident. Stalking the stage alone, with her sound lady cueing songs from the mixing board, the crowd was putty in her hands. Wearing black tights and a large white t-shirt, more than a couple times she started a song only to stop singing and begin ranting about lights or somesuch, asking to stop the song and start over. This was a good thing, not the perfectionist quibbles of an amateur. With hips pushed up and left she looked out to the crowd and said, in a warm, curious voice: "Sometime when I'm doing 'the moves' I look at the crowd and wonder if they think they can have me. Can they have me? No." Cue song.
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