CMJ Day 1: Unsacred Hearts, Bryan Scary

By David Wharton

Oct 22, 2009 1:32pm

We'll have a number of CMJ related posts on the Amplified Blog this week, including a roundup of the forthebeat.com-produced show for Amplified at Public Assembly last night (which featured Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, X-Wife, We Have Band and Electric Tickle Machine). Here's the first from World News' Susan Shin: After months of waiting and circling all my favorite venues and bands to see and then circling some more, The CMJ Marathon has finally arrived! Since I’ve been anticipating this moment pretty much ever since last year’s marathon ended, I laced up my sneakers and headed out the door faster than you could say “music junkie.” I started out at Piano’s on the Lower East Side. I got my badge scanned, fought my way through the crowd of asymmetrical haircuts and cocktail glasses to get a good look at a band named Unsacred Hearts. After a few songs, I got that the band was made of folk-country rock with a solid beat. The lyrics are funny and relatable: the audience’s clear favorite was a rendition of “I will never let you drink alone.” Lead singer Joe Willie’s voice has the lilting rhythm and the roughness of Springsteen – it was oddly comforting to me. Notable moment: Willie’s enthusiastic stage presence sent him over the edge, literally: at the height of one song he sprung up into the air wildly, only to land stage’s border. He would have been artist roadkill were it not for a kindly photographer up front to catch his back and prop him back up on stage without missing a beat. What a trooper! Last but not least: bassist Andy Bean’s outfit for the performance. Leave it to Beaver haircut + argyle vest + white collared shirt = dressed for success in my book.     Speaking of clothing, I wasn’t expecting costume changes when I hurried over to Arlene’s Grocery to check out the stylings of Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears. Lead singer Bryan Scary was already decked out valentine style in blood red pants and a candy-cane pink colored shirt. But then he insisted on changing into something different for every song. Sunglasses for one set, and then he busted out a vest covered with what looked like heart shaped pellets of fur. Real, or fake, I have no idea – I’m just glad PETA wasn’t there to see this. They would have rocked out to the music though – this band knows how to make the crowd get up and dance! I’d say that if you like bands like Mika, you’ll like Bryan Scary. It’s hard not to tap your toes along with the band’s blend of power pop and glam rock with a bit of a modern jazz twist. Scary’s sweet, melodious falsetto vocals made for an irresistible sound, especially when combined with his deft handling of the ivory keys which accompanied the four other keyboards that were being used on stage. Bryan Scary is not scared of keyboards, that’s for sure. A great night all in all, and I can’t wait for more CMJ madness!  (Susan Shin / ABC News)

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