On Saturday, a nice mix of psych-slash-experimental bands took the stage at Bowery Electric to show the attendees a good time on their last CMJ night of the year. Around 9:30, songwriter/producer Harley Prechtel-Cortez, aka Halfbluud, kicked things off with his lo-fi pop tunes that set the ambience and immersed the audience in a pleasantly spacey mood.
Halfbluud’s vibrant sound integrates minimalism with shoegazing, and is stroked by some tints of soul (the band even boasts a sax player). On stage, the songs were emphasized by swirling movie images projected on the band members, giving the performance a trippy touch. Immersed in his own transcendental universe, Cortez rarely addressed the audience, but the quality of the music was more than sufficient to make the crowd feel loved.
Brooklyn locals Lazyeyes came next and captivated the stage with their dream pop tunes and hazy sounds. After some initial technical difficulties the show went on smoothly, allowing the band to prove their musical talent. The warm melodies were accompanied by Jason Abrishami’s smooth vocals that revealed a hint of nostalgia reminiscent of lazy summer days. The performance was loudly applauded by the cheerful audience and Abrishami in turn, sincerely thanked everyone on a number of occasions.
Later, fellow New Yorkers The Midnight Hollow slightly skewed the ambience of the evening into a more upbeat, jolly one. Fronted by the suave singer/songwriter Spencer Draeger, the band cleverly combined electronic-charged rock with psychedelic elements that gave each song a distinct and engaging personality. Moreover, the band recently added Vahak Janbazian’s bells and congas to their set—a dynamic move that was highly appreciated live.
The show began a little late as the band spent a couple minutes making sure the sound technician got everything tuned just right. In the meantime, Draeger engaged in a charismatic conversation with the audience that lasted throughout the show. Somewhere along the way he announced, “Guitar’s over, we’re gonna dance and we’re gonna make romance,” and left the stage to share his quirky dance moves among the crowd.
The band closed the night with a pretty amazingly l-o-o-ong jamming session that was marked by Andrew Segreti’s powerful drums and Matt Liebowitz’s solid basslines. The vocals slowly found their way into the mix, complementing the intense flow that was enjoyed by both band and audience.