Last night, the Bowery Electric was at full capacity, abuzz with excitement over the first artist announcement of the CMJ Music Marathon 2014 season. Projected on the wall opposite Champion’s glowing décor were the names of the first batch of bands confirmed to play this year’s Marathon. The CMJ team drank and was merry as a packed house of concertgoers and revelers prepared for a night of great music. Although the event was invite-only, a few lucky contest-winners made it onto the list as well. They were last seen vanishing into the night with their gift bags, replete with Champion hoodies and beer cozies.
 
The evening kicked off with a speech from Adam Klein, President & CEO of CMJ’s new home, Abaculi Media. Congratulations were in order, especially to Matt McDonald, who celebrated his tenth CMJ Music Marathon as SVP of Artist and Events. Klein also introduced Queens’ own Juan Wauters, who kicked off the night with a rousing, charismatic solo acoustic set. Wauters, also known for his work in the Beets, treated the crowd to a non-stop set of his most charming material, celebratory lo-fi pop delivered with all the sincerity and directness of a folk troubadour. Surrounded by flags, blankets and Christmas lights, and joined by a floutist halfway through his set, Wauters was indoctrinated into the CMJ fold in style.
 
Next up was New York’s Porches, who brought along a full five-piece band to help celebrate. Some of the band donned Champion apparel, with frontman Aaron Maine opting to rock a full Champion fatigue pattern jumpsuit swiped off a mannequin (don’t ask), as they tore through a powerful set of material new and old. Well-rehearsed and perfectly mixed, Porches chose to show off their more danceable side, augmenting their brooding indie rock sound with some truly killer grooves.
 
Juan Wauters and Porches are among the artists announced thus far for this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Check out the preliminary list here.
 
Photos by Victor Castro.