My hope was to see The xx last night, but the Mercury Lounge was overflowing by the time I got there, and I was one of 100 people who couldn't get in. I'll see the band today and post an in-studio session from KEXP here on the blog.
I also had plans last night to hear a band called Tigercity. I loved the set of Leonard Cohen songs the band did at SXSW in March. Instead, I ran into a friend and we headed over to the IAmSound Records showcase. I wanted to hear Fool's Gold at the end of the night, but I'd never heard Apache Beat and thought I should hear something absolutely new to me (the best part of these music marathons, really).
I must first apologize to Apache Beat, Suckers and Golden Silvers, because once Fool's Gold took the stage, I momentarily forgot those bands had played. I also forgot the fact that I had arms and legs and lived on planet earth. (I was also six feet from two Fender Twin Reverbs and two wonderfully mellifluous guitar players.)
Fool's Gold is a Los Angeles-based big band, propelled by African beats, Malian melody and a love of pop. Its members also sing their songs in Hebrew. Though they've just finished a tour, when they fire it up again and come near your town, go see them.
Maybe they'll stop by NPR and play my desk. In fact: Hey, Fool's Gold, consider this an official invite.
I thought all the bands last night at the Bowery Poetry Club were good. Apache Beat's secret weapon may be its guitarist, Phillip Aceto. He's choppy at times, melodic at others. But the obvious center of attention was the band's singer, Ilirjana Alushaj. She's got a powerful voice and tremendous charisma, and the songs were strong.
Suckers is a New York-based band we've featured on our show. There's a bit of MGMT to them, good synth work, beats and some chanting. They also had a fun bunch of projected fractals and animations running on a screen behind them, which -- I learned as they were running out the door -- they created themselves.
Golden Silvers played the night's shortest set and maybe the most-loved, at least from the crowd, though not so much from me. They have a British blue-eyed-soul feel that's fun and sweet and, when the chorus kicks in, can inspire a sing-along. I found the keyboards a bit too '80s at times, nicely distorted at other times. I think I need to hear the record, because I was missing something everyone else loved.
I have plans for today that include The xx's in-studio session and Patrick Watson's concert tonight, which we plan to post online. But really, with CMJ, you never know.