The bass traveling through the stage upstairs nearly pummeled us into the floor as we entered the basement of Music Hall of Williamsburg for the start of BEMF 2010. The girders were creaking and the studs were moaning, and as we reached the back bathroom, the sound exploded in a breath-stopping cacophony. A good sign, we think.

The Glass was playing when we got to the empty, cavernous expanse of the main floor. “I wouldn’t want to be the opener band at these things,” my friend sighed, as she made her way to find a balcony seat upstairs. There was only a handful of fans at first, but The Glass played a tight set and even managed some electro dance pogo’ing to their insanely catchy tune that repeats “Washed Up, Baby” ad infinitum. Some of the first attendees were a group of “20 year old boys” we deemed the plaid mafia (they were wearing almost matching flannel shirts), a circle of young lasses waving glow sticks, and a picturesque girl we tagged “no emotion coat” who liked to rigidly stand to the sound, no matter how much people were pumping around her.

Upstairs, there was a sweet trio of Asian girls jumping up and down so much it looked as if they might fall from the top floor balcony, since they were so animated about absolutely everything that was happening on stage and around them. They were the ones who taught us about the secret elevator which made the night absolutely phenomenal, scooting between floors without bumping into everyone.

Since the DJs between the acts in each of the venues were on a par with the bands themselves (if not better than, in some cases), it made for a night of little to no dead air. Full-on sound discoveries just might be made at every possible turn. There was no notice of the usual long wait of equipment being set up, one band shuffling off while another shuffles on, quite a plus.

Body Language is a fresh-faced r&b, pop, funk, calypso dance explosion, with enough charisma, 80′s boy falsetto/girl soul and catchy choruses to fill a stadium. It was still fairly early in the night, so the crowd was standing timidly in that formidable U-formation at least ten feet from the band. One of the singers took it upon himself to invite people closer. Sometimes asking is all it takes, since fans moved right on up. Songs like “I’m a mess” were so new yet so polished, and amazingly, it was only the third time they’d been tried this one out on a crowd.

Brahms, up next, is a looker of a band who’s been together just under a year but who’ll be touring with Asobi Seksu this winter. (They’ve also toured with Passion Pit and have done remixes for the likes of Neon Indian and Joy Formidable, so they’ve made impressive progress). They’re a bit like a youthful, percussive-heavy New Order.

Songs like the loop-heavy “Subtext is Deadly” sound much harder on the live stage, where they become massive. We felt for CREEP, about to take the stage, since Brahms was a hard act to follow. And you gotta love a guitarist who can smashingly pull off an outfit which included feather necklace, beads and mink vest.

oOoOO, whose human name is the less mysterious Christopher Dexter Greenspan, played a sumptuously chilling, knob-twisting DJ set in the back room at Public Assembly to a crowd of rabid, swaying fans, among them, no less than miss “no emotion coat” herself, who of course, chose not to sway at all. It was so slit-your-wrists good at times, one of our party got a little freaked out and had to enter the “happy room” up front for a few minutes of live Lemonade before coming back for the oOoOO’s slow build finale, with its melding of twisted hip-hop and r&b with dirgy molasses-churned, chop shop overlays.

Meanwhile, back at Music Hall, CREEP’s DJ set started out slow and smooth, and progressed into a fun, menacing and sharp mix of unexpected beats and sharp surges peaking towards the end, much to the crowded room’s darkside glee. They managed to follow Brahms with a free flowing set that proved these Laurens have the power.

Much dancing ensued during CREEP. Being a guy with a video camera, I got some young girls to get up on stage for some dancing, eagerly hamming it up for their few minutes in the spotlight. The girls looked more 17 than 18, and uh, I’m going to get in trouble with that video. Their dads are going to make not-so-vague threats from their comfy computer rooms (one in the basement and another office upstairs by the master bedroom, since Willow had already gone to two years of college and seems to be sticking with it). The ladies of CREEP, however, fully appreciated the stage visitors and blew me a kiss and gave them high fives as the bouncers finally led them off, (only after a long, full song). Score.

Cubic Zirconia, led by singer Tiombe, who list “sake bombs” among their influences on their myspace page, killed it next with their sexy, show-stopping ethnic disco/house set, but midway through, the dutiful bouncers made us put an end to the video.

We then felt it most freeing to flit back and forth between venues dancing blindly, not taking notes, so if there are any readers with a quest for discussion, please feel free to e-mail us here at zabatay@sentimentalistmag.com. Leader photo: CREEP blow us kisses

 
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