Recap & Photos: ASCAP & Next2Shine Present: ‘Champagne Social’ CMJ Showcase



On Tuesday evening, we teamed up with ASCAP and Next2Shine as an official media partner for their CMJ week kickoff showcase ‘Champagne Social,’ held at music venue DROM in the East Village of NYC.

With the RSVP list in the thousands, the room was filled with industry influencers from household names such as Forbes, LiveNation, Shazam, Warner Bros. Records and many more. Mixed among the influencers were plenty of music aficionados ranging from artist managers, producers, upcoming artist and regular fans.

The secret performance lineup proved to be a beautiful surprise as each act delivered beyond expectations and some truly shocked with their impressive stage shows.

Check out the full performance recap and photos below!


Reduction Stutter Funk; one can’t help but wonder what that is exactly well look no further than Aabaraki to give a full demonstration. Self-described as a fusion of “Gnarls Barkley meets the Black Keys”; Aabaraki is where funk, rock and soul collide. Aabaraki brought the room to a roar with their rendition of Prince’s “Wanna Be Your Lover,” and a delightful rendition it was.


Making her U.S. debut, Rainy Milo is where R&B, Jazz, and Hip-Hop meet to create an uncomplicated and cool sound that allows your mind to escape to a place distant from reality. Donning a funky and vibrant robe, black silk pants, a bustier, and chucks, Rainy Milo readies the crowd with a strong drum into. The vibration of the drums pulsate through your entire body you begin an uncontrollable sway to match the songs tempo. Her debut U.S. single “Bank Robber” is reminiscent of an old school reggae track kicked up a notch with new school flare.

Gritty, powerful and sultry are the best adjectives that come to mind to describe Kat Wright and The Indomitable Soul Band. To start their set right they gave it to the horns, you can’t help but love the horn section. To follow up their intro they slowed it down with “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” Kat, the drums and the keys were all that was needed to convey the power of this American spiritual. Their third song was lighthearted and fun, and described that good ol ‘ in love feeling. “All About You” allowed for the guitarist to join Kat on the vocals to tell us about that all consuming love feeling.


Taylor Berrett, the second solo act of the night, starts with a song that represents a feeling we all have known once in our lifetime – heartbreak. Taylor follows heartbreak with having an anxious heart. Moving from guitar to keyboard Taylor slowed it down to share the raw emotion of trying to find love. Holding true to his theme of love and heartache Taylor rounded out his set with a reminder that sometimes we can have off days.

Classically trained in Indian music, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and a native of the Bay Area; Sid Sriram is the perfect blend of hip-hop, indie/alternative, rock, and R&B. His music draws from a place of emotional and social consciousness. His first song “Bring Me Back” set the crowd on fire as cheers rang out; then are quickly silenced to capture every word with precision. “Brother” pays tribute to life in interlude, the loss of someone close and their passing on to the next life. “I Believe” was a crowd favorite as the true followers of Sid’s work sang all the words verbatim. “Moments of Weakness” captivated the crowd with its message of vulnerability.

Mary C & The Stellars started with a soul invigorating song “Give and Take.” They really got the party started the crowd couldn’t help but clap along. To put out the fire she started with “Bang, Bang” Mary C thought the crowd could use a water shower. Keeping with crowd participation Mary and the Stellars got the crowd to join in on the chorus to “Do You Know All About What It is.” They turned it down a few notches and rounded out her performance with “Wish You Would Stay.”

Where are the lyrics? A question one would ask if not familiar with the style of City Of The Sun. A trio made up of two guitarists and various other instruments such as a bells, box, etc. Sometime less is more and this held true as they perform sans lyrics; just instruments, emotion and passion. With the strings of their guitars all frayed you can’t help but silence yourself to catch every stroke of the guitar and beat of the box that delivers a powerful beat that intensifies your own heartbeat to match the performance.


Jay Stolar rounded out the final acts of the night; he took us home with “Just an Animal”. You’re wrong was a great follow up that ended with the bare vocals. Jay gets the crowd involved to support his background singers (Brandi Thompson) with the chorus and the creed was definitely into it. To close out his set Jay let his background singer come to the forefront for a solo session and let’s just say she slayed. (Brooklyn Hustle)

Just as the crowd was ready to wind down for the night, The Rooks gave the crowd the recharge they needed to keep going. The lead singer Garth Taylor can hold a note with the same strength and longevity as Choir Boy from the Five Heartbeats. “Secrets” was the song that made your head bob and wished you had on your iTunes to continuously loop.


The headliners of the night, The Suffers hit the stage to close out the show. Hailing all from Austin, TX this 10-piece band knew how to end the night. The power of Kam Franklin’s voice sent chills down your spine and left the crowd in awe.

Filling up the room with one commonality — the appreciation of undeniable talent — Champagne Social has woven itself into the fabric of music lovers that allows true music enthusiast to get their fix of the world’s music through live instrumentals anchored with powerful vocals. Ears listen with precision, eyes focus with intensity and you at your feet can’t stop from doing a toe tap and that’s only the beginning; by the end of the night all of your senses have been awakened.

Recap by Melissa Menardy (@melegant /

Photos by Aaron Vazquez of

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