CMJ 2009

Day 4 - Body Language + VEGA + We Are Enfant Terrible

by Thomas Hauner

24 October 2009

The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat. Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner
We Are Enfant Terrible entertains at the Studio at Webster Hall Friday night. 

Body Language
AM Only Booking Showcase
The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City
Body Language, a Brooklyn four-piece, played colorful synth pop shaped by Tropicalia climaxes and a compelling lead singer, Angelica Bess.  Saccharine synthesizer lines harmonized three ways, along with bells, forged dreamy melodies under a dance beat.  Though their sound was saturated in electronica, practically all of it was played live on multiple keyboards creating a refreshing live dynamic and a lush full sound many electronic-focused bands couldn’t touch.  Their last song, “Holiday,” showed off more of their melancholy vocals over another strong but ethereal beat.

AM Only Booking Showcase
The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City
VEGA’s brief set was over before it could even establish itself—though its unclear it ever would have even reached such a threshold.  An uninspiring, and at times painfully off-beat, rhythm section left VEGA architect Alan Polomo sounding isolated as he sang and danced over his programmed samples.  At one point the guitarist, after switching from bass, started playing a miserably out of tune instrument, only to wait and mingle with fans until someone brought him a tuned instrument while the band played the rest of the song as a two-piece.  Given their short set time it was a pretty diva move.  On top of this their mix was completely off.  It ended up highlighting a divergent bass instead of the perfect pop hook in “No Reasons.”  “All Too Vivid” was marginally better, but unfortunately these were the same problems that marred the last VEGA show I caught in New York at Studio B last May.  If Polomo wants to elevate VEGA’s live shows to match his superb records, he needs a new rhythm section.

We Are Enfant Terrible
AM Only Booking Showcase
The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City
This spastic French post-punk outfit easily lived up to its reprobate name Friday night.  As chanteuse Clo Floret screamed, moaned, and chanted idiosyncratic epithets on love, drummer Cyril Debarge was more or less acrobatic.  He started off each song by spraying a gulp of water into the air at the count of four, like the Fontaine Latone, and performed jumping jacks and choreographed arm movements throughout each song.  Holding down the backing music was relatively a calm Thomas Fourny on guitar, as well as an instrument I had yet to see at CMJ: a Nintendo DS.

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