GZA And Kimbra Among Highlights At 2012 CMJ Music Marathon

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October 21, 2012 | 1:00am EST

By Melisa Tang and Jonathan Clark

The CMJ Music Marathon always promises to deliver the best in up-and-coming, new artists and this year was no different.
For five days, thousands of fans flocked to gigs held at venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn to discover for themselves the artists who would soon be blowing up the airwaves, and they were treated to an array of sets from the likes of JJAMZ and Icona Pop to The Soul Rebels and rising rapper Theophilus London.
The 2012 edition kicked off with early concerts from The Young Evils and Sky Ferreira, and the Hype Machine showcase served up a musical treat as pop supergroup JJAMZ hit the stage at Brooklyn Bowl. The band, comprised of guitarist James Valentine from Maroon 5, Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel, Phantom Planet frontman Alex Greenwald, Michael Runion, and The Like singer Z Berg, had the crowd yearning for the days of summer with a set of feel-good pop-tinged tracks, while Unknown Mortal Orchestra had the audience captivated with their psychadelic beats with songs like Ffunny Ffrends.
Seasoned musicians The Walkmen, Joss Stone and Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard also performed during CMJ, while New Zealand singer Kimbra, who shot to fame after featuring on Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know got her chance to shine by taking over Webster Hall. She delivered a high-energy gig for the sold-out crowd with renditions of Settle Down, Limbo, Warrior and Call Me.
Wu-Tang Clan rapper GZA was another of the festival’s highlights, playing his classic album Liquid Swords in its entirety to his hometown crowd. His show at Irving Plaza had fans going back to 1995 as he dug deep into his discography to run through songs like I Gotcha Back, Cold World, Shadowboxin’ and the title track, backed by a full live band. He was supported by tour mates Killer Mike, Bear Hands, Color Film and Haleek Maul.
All in all, the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon was full of what we’ve come to expect from the annual event – quality, quality, quality, and just downright good music!