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CMJ '08: Conversion Time

Btwthe_muslims Unlike South by Southwest, where my main activities are pretty much limited to seeing shows and drinking tequila, CMJ happens in New York, and thus has to be incorporated into my real life. That real life includes time at the office and things like showing up at a hotel at 8 a.m, to interview Debbie Harry on a red carpet. Tough life, sure, but it does cut in to one's late night party plans a bit.

Thus, I've been hitting a lot of day shows, and have managed to see one band three times in last three days. L.A.-based band the Muslims sound like a more punk-rock version of the Kinks, are being buzzed about on a number of blogs, and have a name that lends itself to any number of witty headlines.

The first time I saw them was at the Fader Fort, a packed sweatbox that has duct-tape art on the wall and a stage so low I could only see the tops of the band's heads. Despite being packed in, the crowd seemed to respond well, and a friend I ran into remarked he'd heard more people talking about the Muslims than Chairlift, the iPod-endorsed band that had played before them.

The second and third Muslims shows I saw were at Piano's, in a tiny room that was definitely not created with loud rock bands in mind. The crowd had to stand a few feet back from the stage, making things feel even more crowded. Now that I could see the band, I discovered just how charismatic they were on stage, and they ripped through short sets with songs that ranged from straight punk tunes to cheerful Britpop tracks. While they could stand to work on their stage banter a bit, they definitely demonstrate potential. I've loved them three times, though, and that's probably enough for now. -- Cortney Harding

October 25, 2008 in CMJ | Permalink


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