CMJ Day Five Wrap Up
Last day of CMJ: Neon Indian, Surfer Blood and more!

The Static Jacks, 4:00 p.m., Bowery Ballroom

by Ryan Egan

Do you wonder why you should love the Static Jacks? Well, it's easy.  This band has a similar passion and camaraderie of your first high school rock band, the only catch is they're really, intensely good.  The group is yet another beacon of hope shining in New Jersey, sending out signals that the scene is not dead.  The live experience has fans remembering At the Drive In and Refused all the while realizing this music never left.  My only critique of the performance is that we should have thrown the Jacks in a bus, high tailed it out of the Bowery Ballroom and propped them on stage at Madison Square Garden where their sound and energy could truly be harvested.  The Static Jacks are musically begging to break down barriers and small venue walls, and soon enough we'll see them doing just that.

The Golden Filter, 8:30 p.m., Webster Hall

by Kelsey Paine

New York City based electronic pop band The Golden Filter transfixed the crowd with their pounding, bass heavy dance music at Webster Hall on Saturday night. Australian-born front woman Penelope Trappes played the perfect ethereal pop princess with her blonde, wispy hair and gauzy, white-winged outfit. After performing at SXSW and remixing tracks by Empire of the Sun, Little Boots and Yeasayer, the Golden Filter have become well-known in the music blog world. Songs like “Dance Around the Fire,” with its startling and dramatic string section and “Stardust,” where Trappes chants over and over “look at the cat eyes,” are mesmerizing, expertly showcasing Trappes' whisper-like vocals and the band's delirious dance beats.

Angus and Julia Stone 10PM, Big Top at Lincoln Center

by Kelsey Paine

A huge circus-ready big top was constructed in the middle of Lincoln Center for Saturday night's acts: the stage was encircled by seating on all sides, giving the audience the feeling of peering down on the musical acts from on high. Australian brother and sister duo Angus and Julia were a bit of a odd fit with this theatrical setup. Looking like they stepped straight out of the hippie '70s with their long, unkempt hair and off-kilter fashion choices, the duo are extremely soft spoken, bordering on downright timid onstage. Julia did most of the talking--in a barely-there whisper—and most of the singing, alternating between trumpet, harmonica and guitar for the band's gorgeous and calming folk-rock tunes. But it was Angus' turn to take the mic for breakout song “Big Jet Plane,” a melancholy and heartfelt slow burner that builds its way up into epic indie pop at its finest.

DeVotchKa 11PM, Big Top at Lincoln Center

by Kelsey Paine

With a flair for the dramatic perfectly befitting the circus-ring atmosphere, the multi-instrumental ensemble DeVotchKa fused Romani, Greek, Bolero and Mariachi music with a cool mix of punk rock and folk during their showcase. Sounds like an odd mix, but it works. The Denver-based band have been around for at least 10 years and developed a loyal following. Originally performing as a backup band for burlesque shows, DeVotchKa has even toured with the famous Dita von Teese—and a hint of  this burlesque glamor permeated their set. Before the band took the stage, 3 dancers dressed in tutus and wearing bison costume heads pranced around the ring throwing roses into the crowd; a strange, yet intriguing spectacle. Only a few of the instruments in DeVotchKa's arsenal, the accordion, sousaphone and double bass solos illustrated the band's musical expertise in each power packed and multi-national song they performed.

Neon Indian 12AM, Bowery Ballroom

by Kelsey Paine

After some finagling, I managed to get into the excellent Bowery Ballroom to catch Neon Indian. Named one of the hottest bands of 2010 by many hip music publications, the Texas-based electronic, experimental pop band fuse each dreamy synth-heavy tune seamlessly into the next. The brain-child of Mexican-born Alan Palomo, Neon Indian's “Terminally Chill” and “Deadbeat Summer” radiate a cool mix of mid-tempo chill out music, with just enough anthemic guitar and sexy bass lines to be danceable. The packed crowd rocked out to the band's clap-along ready beats, enthusiastically obliging Palomo's request for a mass sing-along. Neon Indian proved themselves worthy of the hype, making their set one of CMJ's best.

Surfer Blood 1AM Bowery Ballroom

by Kelsey Paine

Palm Beach, Florida's beach rock kings Surfer Blood ended the night on a high note with their infectious laid-back rock. Although much of the band looks like they've barely graduated from high school, front man John Paul Pitts and Co. commanded the stage with the driving, insanely catchy guitar riffs on tracks like “Swim,” “Take It Easy” and “Floating Vibes.” Since this was their last show at CMJ and drummer TJ's birthday, the guys even performed two brand new tracks. The crowd couldn't have been more into it, actually moshing to the surfer pop tracks, one kid even jumped onstage for a few head bangs before his swift removal. Another crowd member had his own tambourine that he shook frantically in a valiant attempt to become Surfer Blood's new percussionist. The band couldn't hide their smiles at the commotion. As the crowd-surfing commenced and the set came to a close, Surfer Blood wound down CMJ with some stunning music that transported the crowd from dingy Delancy St. to
a sunny palm-tree lined beach somewhere, far, far away.