CMW Night #2: AWOLNATION and more.

Wow, last night was one big fuck up. I was pretty jazzed to be venue-hopping after my first night was so relaxed, but somewhere along the line the angry CMW gods stepped in and threw a wrench into my plans. Here’s a run down of how my evening went last night:

I started things out at The Garrison. My schedule had me there to see Rituals at 9 and Actual Water at 10. I arrived at ten to nine — late by my standards —  to a pretty empty house. No one was manning the doors either. A two-piece were setting up in the front room, which threw me for a loop because I had just assumed the show would be in the back. After about 10 minutes the duo started a quick sound check, but I guess there weren’t any monitors for the vocals so that put a stop to things. They sounded cool though, from what I heard. A bit standard for a garage two-piece, but I liked what little I heard. By this point it’s understandable that sound issues were throwing the night off course, so I decided to wait it out a while longer.

The monitor finally showed up and another band got up for a sound check. They sounded very much like 90s slacker indie-rock (which I guess is the new in thing and that’s totally fine by me). Keep in mind it is now after 10 pm, over a full hour without any music. The venue is just now setting up the door, so it dawns on me that maybe they just decided to push back the whole night. That sucks though, as I was scheduled to hit The Rivoli at 11 and because of all this I got screwed out of two full sets of music. It’s especially a shame because they both seemed like cool bands that I’d be into. Shitty Garrison, shitty.

Since nobody seemed to be in any rush to get the show started, I bailed and headed through the rain down to The Rivoli to see Yeti Lane. Dan described them to me as glitched out french indie-pop, so I’m excited I get to finally see an actual set of music. I got there at 20 minutes to 11 pm and find the band setting up. They get up a little early, and I think “finally, a venue running early!”. I spoke (thought?) too soon, because the band isn’t Yeti Lane at all, it’s 1979 (pictured above).

1979 had a very big, arena ready indie-rock sound that verged on… lame? Some of the songs I caught had a spaced-out vibe to them which was alright, but for the most part it all seemed very blasé. I will admit that their rhythm section was doing it for me on one song, their bassist had some really fun melodic lines going and the drummer did that really fast electronic/trip-hop sounding beat that gets to me. Otherwise, not for me at all.

I bail about halfway through the set so I can arrive early at Rancho for a beer and a shot before I see AWOLNATION. I caught a few songs from the Icelandic dance band Bloodgroup who were playing to a packed house. They sounded very fun with lots of upbeat dance beats and even had two (!!) keytars. I feel like I should note that I stopped paying attention and didn’t realize they had stopped playing when the DJ’s music came up. Take that as you will.

AWOLNATION were up next at midnight, and they are definitely one of the slickest sounding bands I’ve seen at the festival so far. They were extremely tight, with a very charismatic frontman who was doing his best to hype the crowd up. The problem I had with their music though, was that they never really planted a foot in one genre. One song sounded like a funk jam, another had the singer doing some soul-shrieks, and then the next had heavy chugging riffs and speak-rap singing. Then they followed all that up with a ska tinged number. The crowd loved them though, and they put in a solid performance. I’m a fan of bands who genre jump, but I just felt like with AWOLNATION there wasn’t anything for me to grab on to from song-to-song.

So after a night of scheduling and venue woes, of course the only fitting way to end it would be if I went to the wrong venue. I stumbled into Sneaky Dee’s expecting Silly Kissers but instead got Teenage Kicks. At the time I thought it was just another case of a show being behind, but I realize now I was at the complete wrong venue (Silly Kissers played at The Dollar). Would have saved me some soaked sneakers had I not made this mistake.

And that’s the story of how Dan Gorman fucked up his CMW Thursday evening! I fully expect to bounce back tonight because I’m seeing some great bands including Pick A Piper, Paper Lions and The Meligrove Band. Let’s do this!!

Dan Gorman
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Filed under cmw, live reviews, tour dates

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