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New Music Seminar (Shinobi Ninja) on Tuesday February 15th, 2011 at the Roxy.

The ‘Artist on the verge’ finals, an event of the New Music Seminar held at the Roxy on Tuesday night, were featuring Nylon Pink, Mike Del Rio, The Daylights, and Shinobi Ninja, 4 very different bands chosen from more than 800 acts by the NMS music committee.  How do you choose when there are so many? Many factors such as music sales, ticket sales, frequency of gigs, touring history, merchandize sales, media (online and printed)… were taken into consideration, and then artists were evaluated using analytics from BigChampagne, Next Big Sound, ReverbNation and OurStage, music industry experts and tastemakers.

Nylon Pink was first, an all-female-band, a sort of Asian Go-Go’s (well they covered ‘We got the beat’) in ultra-sexy outfits. ‘Hello kitty on Acid’, as they have self-described themselves, although I saw more kitties than acid. It’s sugar rock coated in glam with a light naughtiness as if Katy Perry could rock and dance. It’s all about the visuals, the black lingerie and the high heels boots, and males in the audience went out of control.

Then, NYC singer songwriter Mike Del Rio took the stage with his full band and did not let the energy go down with his eclectic pop-rock songs, which he sang with a lot of conviction, and his powerful and intense stage presence. Despite the facts that he has recently released his first EP, ‘The Mad World’, that Billboard Magazine declared him as one of the top unsigned talent in the industry, I had never heard of him, but there was a guy behind me who knew all the lyrics!

The Daylights, a brother-duo, plus a drummer, from Los Angeles, were third and they transformed a little bit the energy level into something a little more familiar in the pop world, with big soaring chorus and plenty of rock guitars, or loud ballads with heavy beats. And did I mention they opened for Katy Perry in 2009?

Then the most expected act of the night Shinobi Ninja took the stage with their delirious energy and mix of hip-hop, reggae and metal …and what else? Whereas the Daylights look-alike brothers were making me see double, the 6 Ninjas formed the most eclectic band of the night; with DA on vocals and hip-hop moves, party girl leader Baby Girl on vocals, Jonny on the Rocks on bass, Terminator Dave on drums, Maniac Mike on guitar, and DJ Axis Powers on turntable, the band put on an explosive party, mixing all the genres, always staying outside of the box, with unexpected combinations, impregnated with metal guitar riffs. Most of the songs ended up in a crazy bouncing dance, with hair-flapping, body bending, arm-balancing, guitar-jumping, crowd haranguing, until you were lost in the middle of all these body parts moving too fast for your eyes.

Colorful? It is an understatement! DA, with his busy Garfield tee-shirt, was wearing doll-heads-collars as if he was coming back from a headhunter gathering, Baby Girl, in tights, black leather body and panther panty was looking like a young Tina Turner, and Jonny on the Rocks’ guitar was plastered with colorful ’weedeater’ stickers.  They were looking like outrageous and psychedelic cartoon characters fueled by Beastie-Boys-inspired-tunes, and reinventing themselves at each song,
They managed to maintain this original fusion-sound, going in all directions, with always a heavy dose of Hip-Hop during the complete live experience, inspiring the public to try some of their moves.
Yesterday, it was announced that they had won the second place of the Artist On the Verge contest, just behind the Daylights.

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