No that’s not one band name but an amalgam of the three alumni bands I saw last night. First up was NYC (Staten Island) band Cymbals Eat Guitars, with alumnus keyboardist Brian Hamilton, who are sandwiching CMJ inbetween a tour with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and upcoming dates with the Flaming Lips. Their set at Le Poisson Rouge (nice club, hadn’t been there) was chock full of 90’s tinged melodic yet noisy indie rock, bringing to mind bands like Pavement, Dismemberment Plan, and Archers of Loaf. I think they were focusing on songs from their new album, which they had on hand on colored vinyl.

Next I trekked over to what turned out to be a very desolate area of Chinatown for Zambri at the 88 Palace. I thought I had the wrong address until I realized the show was inside a Chinese mall, actually inside a dim sum restaurant inside the mall. Very funky (in a good way). Unfortunately, the free dim sum promised on the invite never materialized. No matter, Zambri, featuring alumnae Christi Jo and Jessica Zambri, played their unique brand of electro-rock to an enthusiastic crowd. Incidentally, the group was featured on Heavy Rotation Records first Dorm Sessions CD, way back when.

I then headed back over to Ludlow to see Lost in the Trees, from Chapel Hill, NC. Wow, the Living Room was insanely packed for their set (and therefore quite hot…). The group, fronted by alumnus guitarist/singer/composer Ari Picker, plays gorgeously orchestrated folk with a classical influence. The band is quite large, to the point that they barely all fit on the stage! The lineup includes a string section, accordion, mandolin, trumpet, euphonium, cornet, you name it they had one. Many of the players are adept multi-instrumentalists who traded instruments at the drop of a hat.

Now it’s on to Berklee’s CMJ Showcase!