Berklee at CMJ Music Marathon

By 
Nick Balkin
November 3, 2011
Sarah Rabdau and Self-Employed Assassins
Endangered Speeches
Bleu
Particle Zoo
Electric Touch

Berklee College of Music, Heavy Rotation Records (HRR), and Berkleemusic.com hosted their fifth official showcase at the CMJ Music Marathon, New York's largest music festival. Held for the third year at Bowery Poetry Club, the packed house was treated to a diverse sample of up-and-coming acts featuring Berklee alumni and students. 

Soul/hip-hop artist Da'Rayia, backed by an airtight rhythm section, led off with two covers—the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away" and Gang of Four's "Not Great Men"—that she recorded for HRR's upcoming album Under the Influence. New Jersey trio Particle Zoo and Austin-based Brit-pop septet Electric Touch followed with a pair of hard rocking, energetic sets. Appearing at her second straight Berklee CMJ event, Julia Easterlin drew the night's thickest crowd, hypnotizing festival-goers with her lilting, loop-based songs.  

Acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer Bleu, accompanied by only cello and viola, played a stripped-down set of acoustic pop. Sarah Rabdau and Self-Employed Assassins took things up a notch, delivering a propulsive set of synth- and piano-driven rock. The 13-member Endangered Speeches, fronted by Greek MC/singer Mariletta Konstantara, closed out the night with their soulful blend of hip-hop and reggae. 

Click on the image to the left to see photos from the event, and check out Berklee's YouTube page for performance videos from the show. Additional photos from the event can be viewed on Flicker.