It’s only day two and CMJ is already well underway with a plethora of official and unofficial parties and showcases packing venues on each side of the East River seemingly 24 hours a day.  On Wednesday night at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, no one seemed to care about getting up for work the next morning. This event, “forthebeat Presents CMJ Party for ABC News Amplified,” featured Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, X-Wife, We Have Band and Electric Tickle Machine in a night that went well into the wee hours.

Sleigh Bells promptly riled up the crowd, happy to dance at the feet of Alexis, the band’s chanteuse, who was headbanging and hip swinging in electric pink tights. The Bells were perhaps the best act of the night, with the boy-girl duo’s perfectly pitched yelling and excellent guitar, (occasionally played slide), and wild stage presence.


Following them on the cozy, strobe-lit stage was Phantogram, another boy-girl power team, who captivated everyone in the room with their ethereal dance tunes. When the music stopped in the first song due to a sound problem, they fixed it fast and carried on like pros. A fan in the crowd shouted to his surrounding friends, “What’s most important is that they’re so hot!” No one could argue.


X-Wife, stopping in after a regional tour, wowed the crowd with their synth-punk and electro background beats, followed by We Have Band, about to kick off a lengthy worldwide tour.  They kept the energy pulsing, though the night was getting on.  No one in the crowd seemed to notice the time.


Electric Tickle Machine, last but not least (and also back in town after touring), played a feverish set, bringing out the best of their Golden Nuggets-styled, psychedelic songs and tambourine-frenzied intensity.


Stylish in tight clothes and cool hats, they closed the show on a high note, most of the crowd filling the front of the house to join in their riotous dance party.–Michele Koury/ETM photos by Zabatay