PopMatters’ three-day CMJ wrap-up concludes with our picks for Belles of the Ball, artists who rose to the CMJ challenge and offered the best performances of the entire event.
PopMatters CMJ crew: Stephanie Butler, Eddie Ciminelli, Dave Heaton, Katy Hershberger, Andrew Phillips, and Steve Stirling
There’s a lot to be said for the sense of community that accompanies any major gathering of musicians. But, when push comes to shove, CMJ isn’t just another massive music conference—it’s an old-school Roman arena where the meek are forced to prove their mettle. As hundreds upon hundreds of industry professionals and musicians gather, bands that rise to its challenge are rewarded richly: critical acclaim, record deals, and big-time distribution. Those who falter? Well, let’s just say they face the lion’s fangs.
This year, the PopMatters concerts crew was also out in arms, and we quickly learned that the big winners aren’t necessarily the one’s with the biggest battle cries. Oh no, in 2007 you had to be a crafty, subtle creature to out-maneuver the festival’s big boys. And isn’t that how it ought to be? After all, the only thing better than seeing an over-hyped, fly-by-night fighter fall (as many did) is watching an unknown gladiator eye his chance and go for the glory.
Wednesday, October 24 2007
These artists didn't just rise to the CMJ challenge, they cleared the bar by leaps and bounds, offering the best performances of the entire event. What's more, this year's Belles really are up-and-comers, and a pretty international bunch to boot.
Tuesday, October 23 2007
There's really no shame to coming in second, not when the top tier's talent is essentially unassailable. The following folks each turned in roundly exceptional performances, and, if even half of them live up to their potential, we're gonna need a crane to get them all up the ladder.
Monday, October 22 2007
Sometimes you have an off day. Other times you’re in an off band. Either way, these folks fell just short in the big grab for glory. Still, they did show potential, so don't be surprised if you see a few of these folks move up the ranks next year.
We’ve got to go sometime, and what better time than when there’s a stinker on stage? It's not impossible to escape the bottom rung, but one thing's for sure: the folks below need to get back to the drawing board if they ever want to end up anywhere else.