Young Love Records threw down on Thursday night of CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Setting Sun, Quitzow, Live Footage, and Skidmore Fountain all took the stage at the Side Walk Cafe in the East Village, as part of the label’s free showcase.
The venue was quaint and a pleasant escape from the hustle and rushed atmosphere that CMJ sometimes offers. Nestled in the back of a restaurant/bar was a small stage. In front of the stage and scattered amongst the room were candlelit tables for patrons to sit, relax, and enjoy the show. As Setting Sun frontman, Gary Levitt said to start the show, “It’s like we’re all backstage”.
Setting Sun opened the showcase with their track “No Devil Me No More” from their third studio album, Children of The Wild. The song was followed up by “How Long” off of the same album. After a couple more favorites, the band then played a new track entitled “Make You Feel” from their soon to be released fourth studio album.
The five-piece band provides a comforting folk feel. Their sound is very crisp and full, with a rotating lineup of instruments including both cello and violin. Levitt has been compared to David Bowie and Elliott Smith. However, all comparisons aside, the man has his own set of pipes and their is something very pure and inviting in his voice.
That voice made an appearance in the next act as well. As the cast of characters rotated and Quitzow took the stage. This time Erica Quitzow, who played violin, bass, and guitar for Setting Sun took the reins and Levitt provided backing vocals and instrumentals.
Quitzow opened with the infectious tune “Peanut” from their album Art College. Infectious is an appropriate word, as it describes Quitzow herself perfectly. She is extremely charismatic and the allure transfers to her songs quite effortlessly. Quitzow’s lyrics and music are easily digested and relatable. The title track off of the band’s debut album Art College is one that many who majored it something semi-useless in college can relate to.
Keeping the close-knit, communal feel between acts, the Side Walk Cafe’s host for the evening passed around a mandolin for band donations from those in attendance. A great way for patrons to show their appreciation for the wonderful music bestowed upon them.
The pleasing sounds continued next with Live Footage. The duo consists of Topu Lyo (electric cello) and Mike Thies (drums, synth). Topu Lyo and his phenomenal cello skills are captivating. In fact, he played with all four bands during the evening and was intense and mesmerizing the entire time.
The set from Live Footage transformed the room. Each song started out simple and then built upon itself creating a fuller sound that engulfed the room. The band recently released their self-titled debut record and there is sure to be nothing but praise and accolades in their future. Simply magnificent.
The final band of the evening was Skidmore Fountain. The band is comprised of Randy Bergida (vocals, guitar), Topu Lyo (cello, vocals), Steven Cohen (guitar, vocals), and Dylan Wissing (drums). The group played quite a few songs from their new release Cloudless Blue, including “Purple Mountain” and “Cloudless”, all to great crowd response.
The band provided classic indie rock with a pop-twist. Their harmonies were clean and smooth and the added element of the cello differentiates them from many bands who may fall into similar genres. They did a superb job of closing down an incredibly impressive evening.
Keep listening to BTR for music from all of these artists!
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– Emily Smith