HITS Daily Double
Coheed and Cambria’s show reminded me why I wanted to get into this crazy business in the first place.


A Final Reflection on CMJ by Erica Ramon
The latter half of CMJ tends to blend together even more so than the first. As momentum builds with panels and bands it is inevitable that sleep diminishes, but the energy of New York City is more than enough to keep me going. The last few days of CMJ presented some more informative panels and in my opinion, the best bands of the week.

Friday morning’s panel on “Music and Philanthropy” highlighted the ways in which our industry is impacting the lives of those less fortunate around the world. Pretty serious stuff, I know, but Annie Balliro of Hard Rock International moderated an eye-opening panel with Noreen Springstead of World Hunger Year (WHY), Michael Solomon of Musicians on Call, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Rebecca Lichtenfeld of Witness. By far one of the most interactive panels of the week, we explored ways in which artists can affect the community at large with their time and their music. From traveling to hospitals and playing for kids with disease to donating a portion of proceeds from merch and ticket sales, the panelists highlighted the ease with which we can all make a difference.

I left there feeling inspired and empowered and decided to wander into a lighter panel that came highly recommended. “One Nation, One Groove: The Changing Role of the Producer,” moderated by Saadiq Busby of Hustle Nation Enterprises, was the most entertaining panel of the week, with some of the legends of production from the past 30 plus years. Comprised of the original funk-master George Clinton, Keith Shocklee, William Clip Payne, Gary Shyder, True Master and Mark Bass these legends discussed how the art of producing has changed, where it is going and how they are adapting. From roots of analog recording to the advent of Pro Tools, the landscape has changed drastically. They provided some real world expertise, offered advice to the audience and discussed the challenges they faced when they were coming up. Because this panel ran more than two hours, I missed the last panel of the day, but such is CMJ.

The panels officially came to a close on Friday afternoon, I left NYU (where the panels were held all week) and ran back to the Upper East Side to refresh and renew before the music started again. Not more than a few minutes to grab a bite and change and I was off to see another Blaze James band, Coheed and Cambria. I caught them in night three of a four-night series and was blown away, but I am not biased or anything. The best view came from side-stage, where we planted ourselves. This section allowed for a great view of both the fans as well as the band. Just when I was convinced that great live shows were few and far between, I was proven wrong. They were outta control, in the best way possible! Playing through their third album, the band ramped up the intensity continued with each song, and the fans could not be calmed. I haven’t seen a pit (or three) quite like this in years. This show reminded me why I wanted to get into this crazy business in the first place. The security at the front of the stage could not keep up with the crowd surfers, as one after another made their way to the front, many of them a few times over.

We stayed through the encore and jetted down to National Underground for Sisters 3; you may remember them as co-winners of our SonicBids contest a few weeks ago. A small and intimate setting was perfect for this Ani DiFranco-meets-Dixie Chicks outfit that rocked an unsuspecting crowd. A quick set and we were off to Perez Hilton’s party for Semi Precious Weapons and Lady Gaga. The Los Angeles mentality, that I had hoped to escape this week, was ever present in this downtown club, complete with men in drag and women in heels they could barely walk in. Great way to round out the night and the week as SPW banged out a set reminiscent of the glam-rock bands of the ’70s and Lady Gaga, complete with four male dancers, had us moving to the groove until the wee hours of the morning. A late night of music wouldn’t be complete, however, without a quick stop at Katz’ for some corned beef and cream soda—what a way to end the hectic week; now I am complete.

I have returned with minimal war wounds—just a wicked sore throat and a stuffy nose. Today, it’s back to the grind and back to reality. Let me know about some of the bands I missed at [email protected]