Yesterday was the first day of the CMJ music festival here in New York. I picked up my badge near Washington Square park, but skipped the press meet and greet to finish my shopping and errands. After a quick dinner, I ran over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was my first time attending a show there. The venue is small, but impressive. The crowd was at capacity, but there was still room to move with out being smothered.
Around 9:30, Laura Marling took the stage. I wondered how Laura and her guitar (alone with just a cello player accompanying her) would be loud enough to hear over the crowd. But Laura’s voice is clear and powerful, and the audience was amused by her quiet small talk. She seemed a bit shy, but very excited to be in Williamsburg, which she said is one of her favorite places on Earth.
Laura’s set was short, but sweet. She played a lot of new material, which I wasn’t familiar with, mixed in with songs from her first album “Alas I Cannot Swim” (like “Ghosts”, My Manic and I”), and a few outtakes (like “No Hope in the Air” and “Blackberry Stone”). I’d been waiting what seemed like months for Laura to come to the US. After her short set last night, I’m very sorry I missed the chance to get tickets for her sold out show at the Public Theater this Friday.
I wasn’t familiar with The Antlers before seeing them last night. But I can understand why they have a growing following. Their live show is fast, and intense for a 3 person band, and had the audience captivated. I only caught half of the show, due to not feeling very well and wanting to get home before my train stopped running. But I can definitely see The Antlers, on many “CMJ bands to watch” lists becoming even more popular in the future.
Read the L magazine’s review of the entire show here. The author compares Laura to Joni Mitchell, which I couldn’t agree with more!