The CMJ Music Marathon Festival took New York City by storm from October 18th thru the 22nd. Live music, industry panels and parties were the norm during this week of music in New York City.
On Friday, October 21, Berklee held it’s 5th annual CMJ showcase at Bowery Poetry Club. The lineup consisted of Berklee alumni bands, Heavy Rotation student bands and Berkleemusic.com bands. The Berklee showcase wasn’t the only place at CMJ where Berklee alumni bands were performing. Numerous bands played showcases all over the city.
Once upon a time Berklee was a jazz school. And while jazz is still alive and well in our community, we’ve come a long way since, and these days our alumni are doing amazing things in R&B, hip-hop, electronic, indie-rock–you name it! Our 5th annual CMJ Music Marathon Showcase was a great example of this, pulling in alumni acts from Boston and beyond. Check out videos below of Endangered Speeches, Sarah RabDAU & Self-Employed Assassins, and Bleu and see more of all our showcase acts on our YouTube Channel.
Endangered Speeches, a 13-member hip-hop/reggae ensemble, fronted by Greek MC, singer, and Berklee alumna Mariletta Konstantara, and featuring other alumni members from around the globe:
Sarah RabDAU & Self-Employed Assassins, transcendent piano-based indie-rock from Boston, MA, featuring Berklee alums Matt Graber on drums and Peter Moore on keys and vocals:
Bleu, pop artist, professional songwriter, and producer, who’s been hugely involved with the school since he left, giving clinics and concerts for students on campus:
Stay tuned for more videos of our student acts and other performers!
This week in NYC, CMJ Music Marathon takes over the city with showcases, panels, and events all over town. Berklee will be right in the middle of the action. In addition to our fifth annual showcase on Friday, featuring Bleu, Sarah RabDAU & SEA, Endangered Speeches, Julia Easterlin, Particle Zoo, Electric Touch, and Da’Raiya, we’ll be trying to catch as many alumni bands as we can around the city. Here’s our list – add yours if you know of others playing!
For a complete list of performers and show times, go here. To hear the artists on our showcase, check out our bandcamp sampler.
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Christina La Rocca
Cody B. Ware
Hallelujah the Hills
Uptown Party Down
With eight members on stage, the Prigs were literally the big finale to the Berklee CMJ Showcase. There were so many players on stage at the Bowery Poetry Club that some were seldom scene behind the front line of horn players, guitarists, and singers. The Prigs include Berklee alumni guitarists Mack Price and Pete Lalish, bassist David Lizmi, drummer Tom Roslak, trumpeter Dan Brantigan, and Adam Platt on keytar. The band’s lyrics are full of irony, sarcasam, and pop culture references set to music, often very danceable and funky in so far as MTV was ever funky. The song “Crush,” for example, was inspired by Janet Jackson’s music from the late ’90’s, and included the lyrics, “He’s got a crush on her/It will make him believe he’s seeing fairies in the bathroom.”
Leading up to its Berklee CMJ set, the Prigs were named one of the 12 best bands at CMJ on the Wall Street Journal’s blog Speakeasy. How did this distinction boost the band’s profile at the conference? Mack Price gives a surprising answer.
The Wandas returned the rock to the Bowery Poetry Club stage after Oceanographer’s more celestial set. The quartet is tight from touring over many miles in its RV. Three-part harmonies, classic rock guitar solos, reach-for-the sky lead vocals, attendant fans, songs flowing from groovy indie pop blueprints, and a general sense of revelry define this band. The Wandas, based in Boston, include Berklee alumni Keith McEachern and Brent Battey on vocals and guitars. Boston band solidarity occurred during the Wandas set when Keith broke a string mid song, and the Honors’ Brandon Heisler quickly unpacked his guitar and passed it on stage so his turf mates could keep on rocking.
Outside of the Bowery Club, Brent and Keith tackle a CMJ hot topic – DIY touring.