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CMJ Day 5: Fuzz Showcase at 59 Canal St.

by Laura Wasson Metalleg Upstairs Bar Fuzz CMJ 2012

Metalleg at the Fuzz Showcase at 59 Canal St. (Photo credit: Laura Wasson)

After the industrial rap shenanigans of the previous evening, I decided to end my CMJ 2012 experience with something I knew I'd enjoy: good, classic rock in a Chinese karaoke bar on Canal St. Although some music friends had mentioned 59 Canal St., I had no idea what to expect other than that there would probably be some vaguely Far Eastern decor and definitely music videos with subtitles. As I made my way inside the venue for the Fuzz showcase, I spotted a regular or two amongst the unwashed rockers. They seemed a bit confused.

While the venue was unconventional, tiny, and terribly lit, it was ideal for an intimate evening with a slew of talented bands and the accompanying wall-to-wall crowd of friends and fans. Metalleg's energetic set kicked off the evening on an infectious punk note. Combining Ted Nugent’s guitars and swagger with the Ramones' fast and repetitive song structure, Metalleg was a tour de force of fun that got the entire room moshing and jumping around. Songs like “I Bleed A Lot” and “Hard” featured the sort of hilariously off color lyrics you might expect and it was refreshing to see a group that didn’t take their “rock” cred too seriously. More acts should take note of that.

Foxygen Upstairs Lounge Fuzz CMJ 2012

Foxygen at the Fuzz Showcase at 59 Canal St. (Photo credit: Laura Wasson)

Foxygen, surely one of the busiest bands of the week with a performance each day, followed with a hard set in a much different vein. While not quite melodic, the group’s noisy psych rock had a distinct seventies and eighties flavor, which called to mind genre-defying acts like the Talking Heads and Bauhaus. The lyrics weren't always decipherable, and with a keyboard out of commission for most of their set, it was hard to tell what this young band of vagabonds was up to musically, but their hard-to-define work seemed intriguing and worth a second listen.

It would be unfair if I didn’t confess that the real reason I had picked this crummy little venue out of all the crummy little venues in Manhattan was for Team Spirit. I saw the band back in May and it wasn’t long before their wonderfully crafted self-titled EP became my must-listen of the summer. The group’s kinetic and infectious energy was a perfect fit for the space–this is music that should be danced to and no half-empty bar will ever do it justice. Plowing through a set that ranged from the swingy “Fuck the Beach” to the cathedral-worthy rock grandeur of “Jesus, He’s Alright!,” the boys were in fine form and had the entire room of revelers dancing and singing along. It’s moments like these that make going to concerts so much fun week after week.

At two in the morning, the evening's final act, Nashville’s Bad Cop, took the stage. The space had cleared out a bit, but the lucky few that stayed were treated to an electrifying wall of noise that would do Iggy Pop and Ian Curtis proud. Loud and super fast, frontman Adam Moult and company ripped through their darkly punk set without ever letting up and the few fans that remained responded in kind, flailing about the place with reckless abandon. The surprisingly strong showing from these Southern rogues proved why you should never leave a concert early, no matter how late it gets.