After a somewhat disappointing Day 1, I was really hoping the second night of CMJ would be much more fruitful. I started the night by popping over to an early showcase at Bruar Falls where Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. were playing. I got there ten minutes before the 7:30pm set and DEJJ still had all their gear parked outside the venue.
About 30 minutes later, their huge “JR JR” glowing letters had been set up and the guys took their places on the stage, commenting that they were going to do a stripped down set due to the limited space. (“So stripped down we’re wearing the clothes we normally wear under our jumpsuits.”) The Motor City natives did three lovely songs (including a cover of The Beach Boys song “God Only Knows”) before drawing their show to a close.
At the end of the show they announced that they’d be handing out comment cards (“like the ones they give out on Top Chef”) and that 5 meant awful and 1 meant fantastic . Based on that scale, I would have filled out my imaginary rating card at a 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. charmed me with their fun, poppy songs and upbeat and funny banter.
I made a quick stop at Brooklyn Bowl to catch a few songs from jailbait band Oberhofer, who were pretty impressive for such a young band with a clean, tight set.
I then headed to the other side of the East River to Webster Hall to catch The Drums. Having only known the band through their song “Let’s Go Surfing,” I had no idea what to expect from their live show. I was completely blown away by the amount of the level of energy and showmanship from lead singer Jonathan Pierce, who’s flamboyant stage moves and confident singing voice put a completely different spin on their songs, which tend to a have a subtler, dreamier quality when recorded.
Guitarist Jacob Graham was just as entertaining to watch, with his constant waltzing to and fro across the stage.
Dramatic, sure. Entertaining, yes. Fabulously amazing, I’d have to say so.