Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.
We kicked off our Thursday late with Glass Animals at 8pm at Terminal 5. At this point we were well rested and ready to jam. Glass Animals was not a show to miss. This ensemble from England brought the heat combining instrumentals with dreamy soundscapes they transported us to a fantasy world where sound melted around us. Frontman Dave Bailey commanded the room with lazer focus on his sound which took the crowd with him to whatever twisted land his mind goes to when he performs. The whole group created an atmosphere of acid sound that was infectious and inescapable.
Following Glass Animals we jetted across Manhattan to Rockwood Music Hall to catch Alex Vargas (who, thankfully for us, started late through no fault of his own). Alex and his support Tommy Sheen captured the crowd with their humble attitudes. If an angel had its heart broken and then wrote a song about it that was the only way to describe Alex‘s encore performance of his hit song “Solid Ground“. A tear jerker for the whole crowd, except Microbes because we’re a tough bunch. A future Sam Smith, we were all so glad we made it in time for his show.
The first solo performer we’ve seen since our arrival to CMJ, Howqua took the stage with just his guitar, his soul, and his voice. The purity of his sound bounded through the hall as we all refrained from our conversations to tune into his raw sound and many existing fans even sang along. He titled one of his songs “Fishing for Gold“, yet he is absolutely acoustic gold. This winter you will find us curled up with a cup of tea blasting Howqua on the stereo and reminiscing of our intimate night with him on the Rockwood stage.
EWERT AND THE TWO DRAGONS
We mingled our way to stage 2 of the Rockwood to check out Ewert and the Two Dragons. A beautiful mix of country twang, folk, and acoustic pop harmony they kept our hands clapping. Their song “Circles” made our heads spin round from the beautiful execution and “Good Man Down” knocked us down. Their music tells a story, and when front-man and vocalist Ewert Sundja sings you can see him closing his eyes as if he’s replaying in his mind the events that inspired his music.
To top off our night we stuck around the Rockwood to catch Young Empires who followed Ewert. Young Empires name sounds like the title a new school clothing line, and much like new clothes their sound is fresh and clean. Reminiscent of X Ambassadors and Imagine Dragons they bring a light and airy electric feel with lyrics that make u want to put your arms up and sing along, as we did for a few songs. Conquering the stage, the crowd cheered with glee as they strummed through their tunes. We had “Uncover Your Eyes” stuck in our head the rest of the night.
Post by Valya