October 25, 2013 Filter, Red, Otherwise, & We As Human lead the way at CMJ 2013 10-16-13 at Gramercy Theatre NYC (Exclusive Coverage)
CMJ Music Marathon was born in 1981 at a small venue in NYC. Over the years the annual festival has built itself as one of the largest and most important in the world. In a 4 day period the festival has over 1,400 artists of all types from all over the world play various venues throughout NYC. There have many music careers started by performances at the CMJ Music Marathon over the years and we shall see what 2013 has in hold. Among many new, unknown, and independent artists there are an extensive list of established bands gracing the festival as well. On Wednesday October 16th at Gramercy Theatre in NYC Filter, Red, Otherwise, We As Human, Crobot, Mother/Father, and Kingswood joined forced for a showcase of veteran, rising, and upcoming rock bands.
Popping the cork on the evening’s festivities were Kingswood from the land down under, Melbourne, Australia. Labeled as a four-piece indie rock band Kingswood sound derives influence from classic and garage rock. Having tour Australia with such acts as The Living End, British India and The Saints the band found themselves as support for Aereosmith at the Grovin The Moo, Big Pineapple and Big Day Out Festivals.
Their performance was filled with energy and excitement. They showed their gritty guitar sound provided by Alex Laska and dynamic vocals by Fergus Linacre. Kingswood stood out with songs like “Ohio” and “Yeah Go Die” and are sure to gained some new fans in this special performance.
Next were Brooklyn, NY based band Mother Feather. Classifying themselves as Pop cock-rock Mother Feather is fronted by Ann Courtney. Her partner in crime is Elizabeth Carena which adds even more flare to the larger than life appearance they portray. With massive influence from the best of 70’s glam rock they take the appearance of David Bowie and the musical style of T-Rex and translate it into 2013. These two girls are balls of energy engaging to the eyes and ears. Showcasing choreographed dance movements and glamorous glittery costumes certainly made them different from the rest of the acts that night.
The performance of “Trampoline” got the crowd moving. The song is fun and catchy with it’s double meaning playing with the words ‘tramp’ o line. Another fun and interesting track performed was “747” where they re-enacting directing plane traffic on stage in coordination with the music. Mother Feather are fun, flamboyant, and celebrate the more theatrical side of rock n roll.
Our next band were Pottsville, Pa rockers Crobot. When you look at Crobot you are immediately drawn to the idea that this band is heavily influenced by classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Rainbow just on their appearance alone. Consisting of Brandon Yeagley (Lead Vocals, Harp), Bishop (Guitar, Vocals), Jake Figueroa (Bass), and Paul Figueroa (Drums) Crobot has been making the rounds playing shows all over the tri-state area. Cryptic Rock first caught Crobot earlier this year opening for Buckcherry and they left a lasting impression on us.
Yeagley and his band came out onto to the stage and were ready to rock. With tracks heavily driven by grooving guitars and classic rock vibe Crobot had heads bopping. Yeagley moved his body like crazy and did not stop for a moment throughout the set. The energy their music and stage presence showcased certainly kept the crowd moving. The groovy vibe of the music was enchanced by the throbbing bass of Jake Figueroa which appeared present through the sets endurance. Crobot’s debut album The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer is out now and we recommend you give it a listen if you appreciate good old rock n roll.
After a diverse mix of fresh new bands starting things out it was time for Atlantic Records band We As Human to hit the stage. From Nashville, TN We As Human has blasted into the mainstream after they were given a unforeseen opportunity by Skillet frontman John Cooper. Story goes We As Human road manager handed Cooper the band’s EP at a show and Cooper took a listen and loved it. Next thing you know We As Human is signed to Atlantic Records and touring all over the USA support Skillet. Quite a exciting and inspiring story to anyone looking to follow their dreams. Their debut album We As Human is receiving rave reviews across the board and the band found themselves with an opening slot on this years Carnival Of Madness festival. Prior to their performance the band was walking about the venue signing autographs and holding conversations with their growing fan base.
The high energy rock band played an 8 song set which had the crowd moving. Showing respect and admiration for all of the service men / women of the FDNY and NYPD Justin Cordle dedicated the track “I Stand” in their honor. With energy level through the roof there were even some female fans screaming “I love Justin” throughout the set. It was when the band performed their single “Strike Back” the entire audience went crazy in excitement. We As Human are climbing the ranks in the hard rock world and they are climbing them fast. It won’t be long before we see these guys headlining more shows on their own.
From Las Vegas, NV Otherwise are another hard rock band with a fast rising stock. Signed to Century Media the band are one of the few hard rock acts on the label which adds to diversity and changes one’s perception of what to expect. With the release of True Love Never Dies (2012) the album caught the attention of many receiving stellar reviews and gaining peak positions in rock charts. If you have been paying attention to the hard rock scene in the past 2 years you’d probably know Otherwise has toured consistently in that time and it sometimes appears these guys are road warriors on many big tours and festivals.
Their set of 8 tracks engaged the audience and there were many which knew the words to each song played. Adrian Patrick vocals are filled with emotion and ride high with amplification, clarity and energy. Tracks like “I Die For You” , “Silence Reigns”, and “Soldiers” sound epic in a live setting and NYC had that experience first hand on this evening. Otherwise show their pop sense on a track like “I Don’t Apologize (1,000 pictures) while maintaining their hard rock edge. It will be exciting time for fans on October 31 when Otherwise will release their new five-song acoustic EP Enjoy The Pain. The EP will consist of of all new songs, written and recorded entirely on the road. The album will be free, and available for download through a dedicated site that will be announced at 5pm ET on Halloween on SiriusXM Octane.
Also from Nashville, TN Red are a hard rock band with a soul unmatched by many others in the genre. Since the release of their debut album End of Silence (2006) to the blistering new record Release The Panic (2013) these guys are becoming a rock force to be reckoned with. With powerful distinctive guitar sounds, meaningful lyrics, and emotional vocals Red are a band you should know. Known to most as a Christian rock band Red are ready to make non-believers believe! It’s too often in hard rock fans will discount a band labeled as Christian rock merely because of the label. This is blindsided and unfortunately regardless of your belief system because you will miss out on some powerful hard rock.
The band performed a 10 song set of balancing tracks from all 4 of their records. Tracks like “Death Of Me” and “Let Go” mixed in nicely with newer tracks “Perfect Life”, “Die For You”, and “Release The Panic”. Michael Barnes vocals sound just as powerful and emotionally driven live as they do on the record and that was never more evident than during the performance of “Faceless” and “Feed the Machine”. The mix of Anthony Armstrong’s guitar grooves, Randy Armstrong’s bass lines, and Joe Rickard’s hard hitting drumming with Barnes vocals made the hairs on your neck stand up. With such passionate emotional songs the guys match that intensity with each movement and facial expression. Saving the explosion of emotion until the end Red closed out with perhaps their most powerful lyrical and music songs “Breathe Into Me”. Red’s message is loud and clear, no matter what walk of life you are on remember to stay true to yourself and don’t give into pressures of a decaying social system and what better way to say it then through rock n roll.
Last but not least were rock veterans Filter. Rocking for the better part of 20 years Filter’s Richard Patrick has achieved some of rock n roll’s highest honors with hit singles “Hey, Man Nice Shot” and “Take A Picture” among others. Now 6 records deep Patrick revisited the style that made Short Bus (1995) and Title of Record (1999) as magical of records as they are on the newest Filter album The Sun Comes Out Tonight (2013). With addition of Jonathan Radtke on guitar and backing vocals Patrick has seemed to found the song writing partnership he always wanted . In an interview with Cryptic Rock this summer Patrick said this about Radtke “He comes in and offers this incredible bevy of guitar talent, then there is his song writing ability because he’s a hit maker in his own right, and then there is the style. To have it all in one person to a level where it’s at now, where he says let’s try this or let’s try that, that’s the team work I’ve always wanted.”
With a packed Gramercy Theatre ready for Filter the set began with “Welcome To The Fold” and “Jurassitol”. The epic sound tracks sounded just as large live and Patrick’s voice appeared to be in top form. Screams lead into melodies into screams just like Filter was always meant to be. The set went into new hit “What Do You Say” which had all in attendance moving. Treating dedicated fans to a good mix of new and old tracks like “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” and massive breakout hit “Take A Picture” were sprinkled among new Filter masterpieces like “Surprise” and “Self Inflicted”. Patrick conversed with screaming fans and it seemed each fed off it each other throughout the set. When the distinctive bass line of “Hey Man Nice Shot” began the cheers reached a new decibel level. The crowd went chaotic and brought many back to the 1990’s when Filter first hit the scene. Their set closed out nicely with the enchanting melodic track “Skinny” and the killer early track “Dose”.
With a series of tours over the past few months including Summerland 2013 and supporting Stone Temple Pilots the time was right for Filter to hit the road as the main attraction. They made the most of it on this powerful diverse evening of heavy hiting rock music. Fans definitely will anticipate the next time Filter strolls through town.