Day one of CMJ is officially over. The badge has been picked up and a panel and shows have been seen. Read more below for reviews of Francis and the Lights, (part of a set by) Fenech-Soler and Dan Black. Francis and the Lights made their 2010 CMJ entrance clad formally in dark clothing and sunglasses, but the New York band’s packed set at the Studio at Webster Hall, which has roughly a capacity of 300 people, was anything but stiff. Frontman Francis Farewell Starlite soon ditched his shades, black cowl neck sweater and jacket to be left only in a t-shirt. He also began dancing and throwing himself around the stage, upping the energy level and drawing the crowd in at every opportunity, while his bandmates remained stationary and stoic. The band drew their set heavily from their new album It’ll Be Better. ‘Darling, It’s Alright,’ a track off that album, was a particular highlight that started off almost ballad-like, with even the venue lights taking on a hue of purple, before its synth-packed breakdown sent the crowd – and indeed Starlite himself – into a mad dance frenzy. From there the set was a whirlwind, with Starlite commanding the attention of the room while still delivering vocals and the occasional plonk to the keys on the keyboard behind him. Francis and the Lights started their set about half an hour later than originally scheduled, which threw off timing for other shows, so unfortunately I missed the first part of Fenech-Soler’s show at Pianos. But the latter portion of Fenech-Soler's set in the small room at the back of Pianos was worth catching. Partway through ‘Lies,’ the venue was fairly well-filled and the band seemed buzz off the energy from those who were into it. The songs, well ‘Lies’ until the closer of ‘Stop and Stare,’ were generally well-received, but the latter managed to get a fair bit of the previously stationary audience members dancing along. ‘Demons’ was probable strongest track overall during that ‘Lies’ to ‘Stop and Stare’ portion of the set, with the band amping things up to really deliver it. Catching a full Fenech-Soler set sometime this week is a priority. And finally, there was Dan Black. He closed out the evening over at Highline Ballroom, playing his only CMJ show and his last New York date for the year. In short, he’s an amazing performer. He always seems to give it his all during live shows and this was no exception. Between his dance skills, vocals (which were spot on) and dry-witted banter, the energy he brings to the stage is entirely palpable. His set was relatively similar to what he played in New York back in September, with it including songs like ‘Yours,’ ‘Symphonies’ and ‘Ecstasy,’ but ‘Wonder’ was a notable omission this time. Black also played his Boys Noize/Missy Elliott/other artists mash-up ‘Pass That Head Noize’ from his Weird Science mixtape, which saw him almost vibrating with energy as he danced and shook on the stage. Tonight the bassist who normally plays live with him was missing, but his guitarist (and most likely, computer set-up) made up for it. The guitar riff in ‘Yours,’ which was the encore, was absolutely killer and put the song on a whole new level. An all-around great set. Coming tomorrow: Reviews of performances from the Popjustice + High Rise showcase. Until then, check out the bands reviewed today: http://www.myspace.com/francisandthelights http://www.myspace.com/fenechsoler http://www.myspace.com/danblacksound

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