THE CMJ MUSIC MARATHON

Words: Chris Pacifico :: Images: Christie Harrison


An Albatross :: CMJ 2006
The annual CMJ Music Marathon went down between October 31st and November 4th, and JamBase was there to take it all in. After experiencing a few detours, parties, green fairies, boat ragers, subway preachers, cold winds, hangovers, some shenanigans, a ringing sound in the ears from leaving the earplugs back home, and a couple other situations for which we'll plead The Fifth, we made it back alive and (somewhat) sane to share our chronicles with you. Normally JamBase tends to give its festival coverage the "Day 1, Day 2" format, but at CMJ everything happens so quickly and unexpectedly that it all seems like one big rapid head rush, so we're going to present it as such.

CMJ usually goes down in September sometime around Labor Day, but for some reason it was bumped back to the October/November borderline this year. After waltzing around the 16-acre Lincoln Center in order to obtain press credentials and a goodie tote, we had a couple of hours to kill and did so by pub-hopping around Manhattan's Upper West Side. Stepping out into the Big Apple it just happened to be October 31st and wee lads were trick or treating at all the businesses, soliciting their sugar fix while the regular pedestrians were walking around with outrageous costumes in the midst of their daily commute. Yet to the New Yorkers, it seemed as normal a day as any.


Max Levine Ensemble - The Temptress :: CMJ 2006
Around 9pm it was off to 41st Street to party aboard the Temptress, a two-level 500-person-capacity boat and flagship of The Rocks Off Concert Cruise, stocked with two bars, a hardwood dancing floor, and a glass atrium. If I thought that Manhattan was where the bulk of the crazy costumes were, I had another thing coming when I set foot on this ship and set eyes on some of the outlandishly garbed attendees. Among the costumes donned were Frank Zappa, Charles Manson, Ogre from the Revenge of the Nerds films, a bullet-riddled Andy Warhol with his assailant Valerie Solanas, and even America's favorite crack addict, Tyrone Biggums from Chapelle's Show was dressed to the hilt, complete with the ashy lips. The great thing about boat concerts is that almost anything goes. Whereas a bouncer can merely toss you out of a land venue, they have very few options when you're on a three-hour trek of the Hudson River.


World/Inferno Friendship Society
The Temptress :: CMJ 2006
The ship's bow served mostly as an area for congregating with folks sipping on their drinks, shooting the breeze, and smoking cigarettes, while the stern area was frequented mostly by those vomiting. The interior was the place to be as the dinosaur outfit-wearing Max Levine Ensemble plugged in to churn out their set of mostly sophomoric-yet-catchy-sounding punk rock.

After that, all nine members of World/Inferno Friendship Society put on a rousing set of cabaret-filled punk ruckus and fist-pumping melodies led by their colorful front man Jack Terricloth, paying homage to his obvious idol Peter Lorre between songs. He declared to a tipsy crowd, "If this boat were to sink tonight, there's no place I'd rather be than at the bottom of the sea with all of you," to a roaring and slurred commendation.


World/Inferno Friendship Society
The Temptress :: CMJ 2006
It's no secret among WIFS's long-time fans that their shows have long carried a reputation of getting "way out of hand," to say the least, with high levels of alcohol consumption and over-the-top antics, including effigy burning, stampedes, and just about every conceivable form of horseplay to include fire and/or booze, which has led to them being banned from many venues across the globe. As the band was swigging bottles of wine in full swing, their ability to fire up a crowd showed no signs of waning. Their romping tunes caused people to dance so hard that crowd members were getting knocked over and trampled left and right. At one point while I was getting some air on the bow, a young lady stepped out with what appeared to be a broken nose, gushing blood after she had apparently sustained some sort of impact from the inner mosh pit. Her friends came to her aid by sitting her down and tilting her head back in order to stop the bleeding, but as soon as the first few notes of "Only Anarchists Are Pretty" hit her ears, she instantly jumped up screaming, "I love this song," downed her friend's cocktail, and rushed back into the pit a bloodied mess. This night was indeed spent on a ship of fools.


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