Friday night made up the intersection of CMJ and me. We went to the Merge showcase at the Knitting Factory. I'd bought tickets before knowing who was playing (the roster made it a good bet), but was a bit underwhelmed by who turned up on the bill. As I was tired going in, I decided not to stick it out for the sake of sticking it out.
First up were the Broken West, a new signing with a debut album out next January. They were the best thing we saw that night. Nothing particularly new, but pretty well done. They reminded my fellow attendee of the Long Winters. For me, maybe an upbeat Radar Brothers.
Next were Portastatic, in Mac and girl with violin duo mode. Opened with a Go Betweens cover. Since Superchunk has diminished in visibility, Portastatic has released some pretty good songs. I wasn't particularly into this format, as I think either a more straight up acoustic solo thing or pop band setup would have worked the songs better, but this was enjoyable.
Third were White Whale, which is Matt Suggs and a Get Up Kid and some other guys. They were pretty impressed with themselves, but I wasn't. It might have been that the sound wasn't particulary great for any band, and they were most adversely impacted, but there performance was kind of grating and self congratulatory and not particularly compelling or interesting. So we left.
I was sorry to miss Richard Buckner, but he'll be around again, I'm sure.