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Bathroom Breaks

Midnight Juggernauts

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.

PopMatters CMJ crew: Stephanie Butler, Eddie Ciminelli, Dave Heaton, Katy Hershberger, Andrew Phillips, and Steve Stirling

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 (this year, Harlem Shakes catapulted from Bathroom Break to Honorable Mention with just a little ingenuity), 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.

Baby Dayliner, The Beasts of Eden, Biffy Clyro, Made in Mexico, Midnight Juggernauts, Skybox, Tiny Masters of Today


BABY DAYLINER
- Day 5 @ Mercury Lounge

Baby Dayliner is probably a killer karaoke singer, but that does not a pop star make. Singing along with his computer as it produces '70s-style disco, lilting, old-school soul, and rock beats, Ethan Marunas sounds in many ways like a poor man’s Jens Lekman. He doesn’t “play” the laptop like a DJ but instead lets his iTunes playlist run through the prerecorded tracks. Except for one song in which he dances a soft-shoe jig during the instrumental parts, he strolls across the stage, mic-cord in hand. It’s like watching him sing to a bar of drunken business men. That said, he might make an Honorable Mention -- or at least a Nice Try, Guy -- if he had a band behind him. (KH)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

THE BEASTS OF EDEN
- Day 1 @ Crash Mansion

I wasn’t there, but it’s clear to me the Beasts of Eden’s conception and statement of intent went something like this:

Bro 1: “Dude, how bout we start a band that’s just a lot of really loud feedback?”

Bro 2: “Totally, as long as I can sing lyrics no one can understand!”

Bro 1: “This shit is gonna be so metal!”

Bro 2: “Party on, dude!” (SB)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

BIFFY CLYRO
Day 3 @ Blender Theater

This Glasgow trio can hold its own instrumentally, but when it comes to engaging a crowd, the group is woefully inept. They play furious hard rock without an established melody and dabble in maddened guitar sounds that are both fuzzy and metal-tinged. It's the repetitive guitar riffs that stand at the forefront of the sound. That’s all well and good, but they ruined any headway made when a band member threw two microphones into the crowd. One hit the sound board with a technician-angering pop and the other caught an audience member in the very back of the venue. Sure, they’re dicks for doing it, but at least they’ve got good arms. (KH)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

MADE IN MEXICO
Day 4 @ Knitting Factory

While Made in Mexico’s frontwoman does scream, she seems more concerned with writhing behind the microphone than actually getting anything across. Unfortunately, the blasé, sultry quality she attempts to affect comes off as tired and stoned. The guitar is shaped like a machine gun, which looks gimmicky, and the basslines are rudimentary and repetitive. Despite the band’s attempts at punky noise, there are a few fast breakdowns, and, mostly, the guitar-bass-drums make a boring mix -- with the exception of tiny South American-style rhythms. As angry as the singer sounds, there isn’t any energy or passion in the performance. A cheap knock-off indeed. (KH)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS
- Day 5 @ Terminal 5

The crowd cheered when Midnight Juggernauts came on. They cheered when they left. But, they also cheered when the roadies began cleaning up, so I think it's safe to say we were just an excitable bunch. It certainly didn't have anything to do with what was actually happening on stage. An exercise in irony, anyone? (SS)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

SKYBOX
Day 4 @ Arlene’s Grocery

Skybox is a band from Chicago. I can’t tell you much more about them, because they suffer from split-personality disorder. In the course of their 30-minute set, the group played raucous carnival rock a la Man Man, Something Corporate-style emo, straight-up college rock, and made much use of the kind of keyboard distortion that was edgy in 1967. A sans-mic singalong would have been awesome, had I been 15, stoned, and eating s’mores over a campfire. In short, it was one heck of a confusing clusterfuck. (SB)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

TINY MASTERS OF TODAY
Day 2 @ Bowery Ballroom

The lights go out, and the band’s three members take their spots on stage. I cannot believe how tiny the female lead singer is; I laugh out loud when the lights come on and I’m staring at two wee rockers. Ivan (age 13) and Ada (age 11) grew up in nearby Brooklyn but look as terrified as a tourist in the big city for the first time. I consider that their thirty-something drummer may have the most embarrassing gig in music today and assume that these kids' parents pushed them onto the stage, because they don’t look like they want to be here. Their pre-pubescent voices squeak, the bass guitar is almost as tall as Ada, and the only coherent thing that I can make out of either of their mouths during their set is an introduction for “one about how much we dislike President Bush.” I am all for impeachment, but now I think I need a drink. As I sit in the basement bar, I hear the band close with a cover of House of Pain’s “Jump Around”. Oh, how I long to hear grown-ups again. (EC)

     * Multiple songs MySpace

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