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CMJ 2013, CMJ 2013: Day Four, Eleanor Friedberger, Willis Earl Beal

CMJ Day Four: Eleanor Friedberger and Willis Earl Beal, October 18th, 2013

Oct 24, 2013 CMJ 2013 Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

The highlights of day four of CMJ were two very different artists: Eleanor Friedberger and Willis Earl Beal. While both are incredibly talented musicians with idiosyncratic worldviews, their varying levels of commitment made for two very different sets.

Eleanor Friedberger took the Judson Memorial Church stage at noon for KEXP’s live CMJ broadcast. Despite the early(ish) hour, the former Fiery Furnaces frontwoman managed to make it through the tricky wordplay featured on her two solo albums Last Summer and Personal Record. Still, Friedberger didn’t seem particularly thrilled to be on stage. “The only thing we love more than performing at noon is performing in a church” she cracked. Sure, the quip might have been meant in jest, but her flawless performance couldn’t hide the disinterest in her eyes. Isn’t it every musician’s dream to literally perform on an altar?

Willis Earl Beal had no such issues bringing passion to his 10pm set at The Mercury Lounge. Wearing a Zorro-style, and a black cape emblazoned Nobody Knows, the name of his recently release sophomore album, the singer/songwriter played a set that brings the phrase “a man possessed” to mind. From balancing on a chair, to stalking around the stage, to rolling on the floor, the 27-year-old singer/songwriter engaged his whole body in bringing his swampy blues to life. He might have referred to his antics as “assholery,” but the more appropriate term would be any one of the following: fun, dazzling, engaging, wild, bizarre, startling, or damn impressive. Really, take your pick.

Check out a gallery of day four photos here.





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