Isabel's CMJ Day 2: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting, and Cardiknox

My second night of CMJ started at DROM in the East Village. The lineup consisted it three NYC-based artists: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, and Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting. Shivers started the night at the piano. Her music can be classified as folk pop, but listening closely, both country and celtic influences animate her melodies. During her track, “Fourth of July,” Shivers' voice, harmonizing with another singer, swamped the venue in a sound that was emotional and authentically beautiful. She was also the pianist for the next two acts: Lance Breakfast stepped onto the stage wearing an NYU t-shirt and strumming on a baby blue guitar - or was that an electric Ukulele? Breakfast’s music floated between genres. His voice, gruff and weighty, suggested folk, but his band's instrumentation, which was clear, organized, and hard-hitting, leaned towards rock n’ roll and blues. Although most of his tracks were consistently up-tempo, I appreciated Breakfast’s slower, quieter, moments. It was only then I could hear his lyrics. Progressing through the night, each act amped up the volume and tempo. So, by the time Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting hit the stage, the audience was ready for some punch. Phillips commanded the stage with wide-eyed theatricalism; while watching him sing track “Born to Be Famous” I couldn't help but think that he made a good case for it. Towards the end the night, I headed west to The Studio at Webster Hall. Up next was Cardiknox, (pictured, who recently moved from NYC to LA) and it was the most fun set of the night. Lead singer, Lonnie Angle, bounced around the stage, and her performance energized me and the audience. Angle’s singing is ethereal and amplified by backup vocals, but there is nothing dreamy about Cardiknox. Almost midnight, Angle yelled into the microphone, “Let’s keep fucking doing this.” Their synth-driven anthems were so energetic and empowering, no one at Webster Hall was wishing they were asleep. - Isabel Rolston