Melbourne, Australia’s Crayon Fields admirably took on the crowds at Public Assembly in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall in short order on Friday night. The easy, melodic sounds of their twee pop, Belle & Sebastian/Camera Obscura-esque gems were nicely mixed with some serious ’60s British Invasion.  “All the Pleasures of the World,” which singer Geoff O’Connor dedicated to all of the artists performing during CMJ, was sexy and swayable, conjuring up deserving comparisons to The Zombies.

After a 30-minute wait on line at the Mercury Lounge, I was finally able to get in to the highly anticipated Francis and the Lights gig.  As I excuse’d-me/sorry’d my way through the packed-as-sardines room, I luckily snagged a front-row spot. Frontman Francis Farewell Starlite got his funk and groove going on, while his funk and groove sounds backed up his fancy footwork.  The best part was watching Starlite’s moves, as he was internally possessed by the legends of soul. Even on a tight schedule, the Mercury Lounge was able to accommodate an encore, as the crowd feverishly chanted “one more song!”

Then it was off to Pianos, conveniently located right around the corner from the Mercury Lounge, for another long wait in line for Virginia’s hotly tipped Wild Nothing. A fast-rising project from the mind of frontman Jack Tatum whose shoegaze style is not as apparent as other rising bands, as it was only a minor element to their beautiful, romantic melodies, which seemed more influenced by British ’80s and ’90s alternative rock from The Cure to Echo and the Bunnymen.

–Tear-n Tan, Photos by Tear-n Tan