It was another two very busy days for Gothamist. Again, we're gonna focus on just the highlights because there were far too many bands we saw this weekend to mention them all.

2005_09_artstwogallants.jpgFirst on Friday were Two Gallants. They put on one of the best performances we saw all week. With just drums and a guitar with Adam Stevenson's distressed voice, they played a set of contemporary Dylanesque Americana that was remarkably articulate and precise. From everything we heard this week, these two are the most likely to go on and stand the test of time.

Later that night, after a couple disappointing sets in Williamsburg by Neon Blonde and The Rakes, we came back into Manhattan for the Grand Rapids band Smallspace. While they seemed very young and green, The Radiohead influenced songs were outstanding and their dazzling performance, despite the cramped confines of the 169 bar stage, effectively grabbed the attention of even the crabby old 169 regulars sitting up at the bar. Keep an eye out for them next time they pass through town, because they've certainly got something good going on here.

There were a ton of great bands playing on the Lower East Side earlier in the day on Saturday. One noteworthy standout from the pack was LA band Silversun Pickups. Buried for their official CMJ showcase at The Ace of Clubs at the same time as The Arcade Fire was playing Summerstage, they made the most out of their short time at the Fader Room on Orchard Street by nearly rocking the amps off the stage during a blistering and surprisingly loud set. Expect to hear their name come up a lot more in the coming year. They were fantastic.

Everything on Saturday, however, was really just a warm-up for CMJ's most hyped band, Wolf Parade...

44363942_863d2e5c42.jpgAll eyes were on the carnival-rock quintet to be this year’s breakout story. Guitarist Dan Boeckner's unprecedented level of intoxication on Saturday night, perhaps in reaction to all the attention, seemed to make fellow songwriter Spencer Krug extremely nervous on stage, perhaps worried his antics might ruin their big shot at CMJ in front of God, Gibbard, and everyone else. Fortunately for them, with the exception of a few amateurish remarks in between songs, the band absolutely killed, more than surpassing the hype that had been haunting them for the last few weeks. Ironically, it was Boeckner's complete disregard for his body or anything else that ended up blowing them through the roof. He kept on insisting in his surly sweaty drawl that they're really just a punk band from Canada. Despite their best efforts, they're gonna have to get used to being a whole lot more.

That's that for this year. There were hundreds of other bands in town last week that we didn't get a chance to write up. Who was the best? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

Photos by Jen Carlson and Jeff Baum