Last night at Santos Party House there was a jam-packed night of music for the Neon Gold CMJ showcase. With bands playing simultaneously on the main floor and in the basement from 7 p.m. till late this morning, there was not a single moment of silence.
Synth-driven, electro-pop group Lovelife bopped around the main floor stage early in the night. Meanwhile, Gabriel Bruce was beginning his set in the basement backed up by two gorgeous flapper-esque singers. The venue was about half full at this point, with a notable amount of Australians floating around.
As soon as Citizens took the stage at around 9:20 p.m., the venue seemed to magically fill up and there was a line around the block. The band wore Western-style shirts and kept engaging the fans, asking them to clap their hands or lift their arms into the air. They started their set with the well-received “Reptile” and interacted with the crowd throughout the rest of their set, exclaiming, “Santos, how you doing? This is so weird. It’s our first time in New York. It’s our first time in America!” At one point the keyboardist switched to shaking maracas and hilariously started rubbing himself cat-like onto the lead singer.
Downstairs, Jinja Safari was in the middle of its tribal set, wearing funky printed pants and playing with bongo drums. The lead singer introduced every member of the band and announced, “What we’re looking for from CMJ is someone to help us be a bit more professional.” Later on in the night, L.A.-based pop sensation JJAMZ and blonde bombshell Sky Ferreira played to a full crowd, capping off the eclectic mix of bands handpicked by Neon Gold.
Photos by Jessica Cullen and Chris Becker