SITTING PRETTY POLLY!

NME.COM brings you all the news from day one in New York, including details of a surprise set from PJ Harvey...

The US‘s famous CMJ MUSIC MARATHON 2000 kicked off last night (19 October) in NEW YORK, bringing boundless more entertainment options to a city already ridiculously overbooked on any given night.

The four-day, New York City-based festival is the world’s largest music business gathering – kind of like the UK‘s In The City, but on a much grander scale.

Dozens of bands play at dozens of venues across the metropolis over four consecutive days for scores of industry types – as well as many music lovers – desperate to pick up on the next big thing.

Biggest surprise of the opening night was an early, unannounced set by PJ Harvey at the Bowery Ballroom.

The gig wasn?t listed on the CMJ line-up, and only

people who had bought four-day passes were let into the small venue. The singer, on fine form, performed material from

her upcoming album ‘Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea’, as well as old

favourites, like ‘Man-Size’ to a rapturous reception from those lucky enough to be there.

Later on in the evening, four-day badge passes didn’t always come in so handy. Holders were frequently turned away early in the night from events, as club owners tried to maintain a balance between industry people and the ordinary ticket-buying public.

At the Mercury Lounge, badge-holders were sent packing by 9pm

because the allotted 100 had already entered. Inside, the young

crowd enjoyed Sweden‘s Cinnamon with their petite blond singer and cheered when another band on the bill, popular Pennsylvania outfit Ocean Blue, reached into their back catalogue to play ‘Sublime’ and ‘Ballerina Out Of Control’. San Francisco‘s Creeper Lagoon closed the Lounge‘s line-up for the night.

Over at the Bowery Ballroom, after Harvey’s set, the venue become a Jetset Records showcase.

The label’s roster jumps from Spoozy – geeky, space-age Japanese punk rockers (in NASA suits, no less) that left the crowd quizzical – to Scotland’s Arab Strap, whose sombre, tension-filled melodies subdued the full house. Macha/Bedhead

came next, followed by comeback Aussie strummers The Go-Betweens.

Over at The Roxy, Ministry of Sound was having one of its rare Stateside parties, this time with DJs Danny Howells, Tall Paul and George Acosta. The

venue, strangely, was not even close to being full, but clubbers surrendered themselves to the music and, most important, they had acres of room to dance.

Other acts worthy of note last night included Bratmobile and The Donnas at the Westbeth Theatre; Ulysses, Detroit Grand Pubahs, DJ Rap and Sho’ Wood at Frying Pan; Endo, Fly Banger and Union Underground at Irving Plaza, and Handsome Boy Modelling School, Schoolly D, People Under The Stars and six other hip-hop artists at the opening party at Nix.

Even coffee shop Starbucks hosted a gig last night as New York went live music crazy – some indie metal with that latte, perhaps?

Check back here on Monday for more CMJ reports as NME.COM tells you what’s hot and what’s not in The Big Apple.