After stopping by the CMJ Press Mixer at the Hotel on Rivington for some free cocktails and schmooze, I made my way over to Arlene's Grocery for the Canadian Blast with Halfax's Rich Aucoin, who showed 3D movies and brought out a mulit-colored balloon for us all to hide under, just like when we were in 3rd grade. A bit heavy on the Dan Deacon-esque gimmickry, but not a bad way to break the ice on an early Wednesday. (I'll be back at Arlene's tonight for the M for Montreal showcase - is one of the owners Canadian, or do they just like NOTB music?)
Next was the Sennheiser showcase at LPR, hosted by my favorite maker of headphones (who generously provided me with a sweet schwag bag including some new CX 680's!) Boston's Adam Ezra Band played groove-laden rock, with Ezra telling stories about all the small rooms he's played and lived in over the years, and all the big ideas that have come out of those small rooms.
Unfortunately, I had to dash out after only a couple of songs, making it just in time to catch Phoenix's headlining set at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. (I missed both openers Wavves and Dirty Projectors, as well as Phoenix's monster hit "Lisztomania," which opened their set.) The show was full of surprises, including the band suddenly appearing in the soundbooth for one number, and lead singer Thomas Mars ending up in the upper deck for another.
But, the biggest surprise of all came during the encore, when fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk joined them onstage for "Harder, Faster, Better, Stonger", followed by Phoenix's other major hit, "1901." The capacity crowd of 20,000 went completely bonkers, completely in thrall with the electro-rock majesty in their midst.
More pics on Flickr.