Amid speculation and rumors of CMJ Music Marathon’s declining reach, the conference and festival drew an impressive 1,300 bands for showcases at venues as large as Terminal 5 and as small as Radio Bushwick in Brooklyn.
Though established acts like The Kills, Cold War Kids and shoegaze pioneer Slowdive slayed their respective headlining performances, baby bands still managed to steal the spotlight: Rising producer Tokimonsta kept the party going until 2 a.m., BJ the Chicago Kid lived up to his hype at NPR’s showcase, viral sensation Ryn Weaver charmed with her glittering kiss-off “OctaHate” — and then, of course, there was rapper Danny Brown‘s intimate red-lit set for the Alternative Distribution Alliance’s boat party (and its 21st birthday bash).
“We’re on a motherf-ing boat!” hyped Brown mid-set, as the crowd enjoyed a cruise along the East River. Willow Smith‘s too-cool-for-school aura at the Fader Fort on Oct. 24 even brought out heavy hitters Drake and Mary J. Blige.
“I hope y’all are feeling the vibes,” she said like a seasoned pro before dueting with SZA and brother Jaden — hard to believe she’s only 13.