Words by Christine Loughran | Photo by Nick Karp

The CMJ Music Marathon is like a bar crawl for music lovers. At the first spot you visit, you might get a gin & tonic, and a Bud Light at the next. You want it all. The same can be said for the first night of this year’s five-day and night music festival, where artists from all over the world flooded New York City’s airwaves with beach pop, garage punk, dance, electronic, soul, and everything in between.

On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Living Room served up their own happy hour Tuesday night with performances from The City and Horses, Conveyer, Eli Mardock and The Bongos, to name a few. Vadoinmessico, a psychedelic pop group from London started their set around 6 p.m. and laid down a few sunny tracks from their album, Perfect Strangers, after announcing that they hailed from London but considered New York “the best city in the world.” If you like Vampire Weekend and the sounds of a cowbell and banjo, you will love these guys, who brought together sounds from France, Mexico, Austria and Italy.

A few steps down the road, a crowd was already huddled outside Pianos by 7 p.m. to hear The Griswolds, among other artists. The Sydney rockers have called themselves “the chameleons of pop,” a description that could not have been more true when singer Christopher Whitehall started tuning instruments in a crocheted yellow sweater, carved earrings and black combat boots before informing the audience that they had to leave one member back in Australia after he was bitten by a snake. The guys then delved into “The Courtship of Summer Priesley” a track that had everybody dancing in the first few minutes. Check out “Mississippi,” the Griswolds’ first hit in Australia, and “Red Tuxedo” to hear more. They will also be touring the East Coast for the next month.

Also at Pianos, Manhattanites were paid another visit from Australia with a sampling of cheery tracks from Courtney Barnett, a 24-year old singer-songwriter from Melbourne whose debut album, The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas, is set to drop October 15.

Tuesday was just a warm-up for a series of shows that rocked the 212 through Saturday, including sets by Father John Misty, Boxerin Club, Hostage Calm (pictured above), and many, many more.

Need more CMJ? Check out our coverage from the rest of the week:

Interview: Boxerin Club: Italian Pop Rockers Take CMJ by Storm

Photos: Father John Misty @ CMJ 2013


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