CMJ 2009

Day 1 - Kingston + Die!Die!Die! + Kidz in Space

by Vijith Assar

21 October 2009


Red Bull Space, New York City
The sort of indie rock band that probably has no problem labeling itself as such, Kingston is led by a shaggy-haired frontman apparently so chosen more for his love of the attention than any other obvious qualifications.  Engaging drums, but between the words “thank” and “you” during that last climactic fill I somehow forgot literally all the lyrics and riffs from the songs they’d just performed (I know because I was trying to write this down at the time).  I give this two kiwis out of a possible five, but to be fair, I was getting pretty frustrated trying to figure out what this image had to do with New Zealand, CMJ, indie rock, or, you know, anything.

Die! Die! Die!
Red Bull Space, New York City
Monotonous guitar gristle burying the less abrasive melodic flourishes made their opening number come across a bit like a Queens Of The Stone Age from the future.  I expected the next number might be less so, since the pummeled power chords eventually unraveled into shimmering pop-rock guitar arpeggios and hollow Dinosaur Jr guitar tones, but that was before they abruptly changed time signatures as the amps started swelling with feedback.  Not like watching a car crash, but instead close to safely trailing someone as they drive drunk down to the corner 7-11.  Afterward, one of the other performers told me she considered them the best band in New Zealand, and I’m inclined to believe it being that the population is roughly comparable to that of Kentucky.  Well done, guys—four kiwis out of five, and maybe even a strawberry too!

Kidz In Space
Red Bull Space, New York City
Hip hop, but, devastatingly, the accents were indiscernible—and let’s be honest, why else would you want to listen to rappers from New Zealand?  Overall, it’s the sort of perfectly pleasant but immaterial party-rap that made your Friday nights fun back when you were 19 but to which you haven’t been compelled to listen to again since.  Three kiwis, but without a knife so you have to eat the fuzzy part too.


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