The CMJ Music Marathon last week welcomed me into a new realm of music. Miss May I at the CMJ Music Marathon introduced me to a new band and a new culture.
I’ll be the first to say that when it comes to music, I’m a little narrow minded. I’m a Hip Hop enthusiast who never step out of the circle – that’s a problem I know. CMJ opened my mind, introduced me to music that I thought I would never listen to. Despite that the week long music marathon ended about a week ago, the artists we met and the shows we went to are memorable. Most will agree when I say that life-long fans grow from events like these.
Last Wednesday, I had the awesome opportunity to cover Miss May I at Irving Plaza during their AP Tour. I won’t lie, I came in with an open mind, and gladly took notes when one of my closest friends, who’s brother is in a hardcore band, explained the right way to protect myself from the pit. That wasn’t a joke. My editor Sarah gladly and happily made fun of my attire, telling me to at least take off my tie, “you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.” I wasn’t sure what I was about to get into.
As Miss May I was setting up, there was an exciting feeling in the air. People were getting ready: kids were wrapping shirts around their knuckles, girls were taking off their jewelry, and a circle in the center of the crowd started to slowly form. From the first strung of Justin Aufdemkampe guitar, they had one mission in mind, ROCK THE HELL OUT OF IRVING PLAZA, NEW YORK.
The next 45-minutes was school to me. I wasn’t just covering a show anymore, I was being introduced to a new culture, to brand new music, that I NEVER, EVER WOULD’VE LISTENED TO. It’s different to see a live band, the organization and how each member of the band correlate and complement each other is truly beautiful. Despite what may seem like chaos, Miss May I had Irving Plaza under control.
They performed their tracks from their summer release At Heart like “Hey Mister” but also took long-time fans back to their first album Apologies Are for the Weak when they ended their set with “Forgive and Forget.” I swear to you when I say that despite the very clean, it may look violent on the outside, moshing that was going on, the fans were in harmony. The breakdowns was simply brain-melting. Levi Benton’s voice was so strong that regardless of Boyd’s drums and/or Aufdemkampe’s guitar, he got through to the packed crowd.You couldn’t turn away from the words he was singing.
Benton ended their set with a speech about rock & roll. About how rock & roll, about how metal, punk, hardcore, and everything in between is still alive and kicking.
Let me tell you, it sure is. Regardless of lack of radio play, airtime, or MTV video slots, bands like Miss May I keep rock & roll alive through memorable live performances.
Huge shoutout to Kimberly Anne for the photos.
John Vincent is a blogger, entrepreneur, and social media strategist. A retired sneakerhead and men’s wear aficionado, he’s currently the creative director of the up and coming clothing line, Arevalo & Co. He’s a biased 90s hip-hop head and a die hard NY Knicks fan. For his daily rants and words of wisdom, follow him on twitter at @johnvince_.