So, you’re headed to the sold out Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Finals tonight and you’re wondering what to expect. Look, these things are pretty unpredictable. No one ever really knows what’s going to happen. Petty Morals, Await Rescue and Goddamn Draculas have been on point the whole Rumble. There’s no reason to expect anything less tonight. However, if you think you know what tricks the bands have up their sleeves or who’s going home in a tiara, you may be in for a surprise. We’ll find out soon enough when we pack into TT’s to watch in all unfold. Then we’ll catch a set from The Information before they announce the winner and spray the champagne. In the end, we’ll have our memories. Maybe we’ll have some pictures. Here are a few of mine from the last 3 Rumble Finals. See you tonight!
It’s Rumble season. Every year around this time I’m filled with an equal mix of anticipation and nostalgia. That’s the kind of event The Rumble is. You get to check out 24 of the best bands playing around town in one* fell swoop while making memories that will haunt you you’ll remember for a very long time.** With that in mind, here are 24 reasons why I can’t wait for the 2013 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble to get underway on Sunday night. These are in no particular order, but I numbered them 24 to 1*** because that’s what all important lists do. Oh, and here’s the full schedule in case you missed it.
Opening night is going to be awesome. The lineup of The Okay Win / Cancer Killing Gemini / The New Highway Hymnal / Velah is as good as they come. You’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a Sunday night all year. It’ll be better than the Mad Men premiere.
The Rumble is known for eclectic bills, but this year takes the cake. Saturday’s Parks / Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan / Ruby Rose Fox / The Daily Pravda lineup is certainly in contention for most diverse night of this year’s event. Thursday night’s Mount Peru / Whitcomb / Lifestyle / Twin Berlin bill is in that conversation, as well.
There’s almost no stage banter. With only 30 minutes to impress the judges and win over the crowd, most bands have fine-tuned their sets. That makes a good line all the more memorable. My favorite came from 1998 Rumble winners The Ghost Of Tony Gold: “Vote The Ghost. We need the cash.”
Pre-show beer at the back bar while shooting the breeze with some increasingly tired friends who keep coming out night after night? Yes please.
Anngelle Wood is going to cry. It’s inevitable. She just cares so damn much. This town needs more people like her.
It’s always fun to see a band a second time. You’ve got an idea of what to expect, but you certainly don’t know all of their tricks. I get to do that 3 times on Monday (Endation / The Deep North / Camden) and one more time on Tuesday (Blackbutton).
Editing photos at 3 o’clock in the morning is awesome. I think. I can’t really remember. I mean, half of the time I black out and can’t remember doing it. Sometimes I just fall asleep with my eyes open and my hand on the mouse, waiting for my brain to decide if the exposure needs to be nudged up a bit or… zzz…
Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck won The Rumble last year. Cask Mouse had a stellar showing as well. Girls Guns And Glory won it all a few years back. A touch of twang seems to go over well with the judges. Coyote Kolb and Glenn Yoder & The Western States would probably like to see that trend continue.
I love seeing live bands.
The Rumble is a living, breathing thing. It adapts over time. After a particularly contentious semifinal round in 1998, the wildcard was added to advance to the finals. Since then, three of those wildcards have won the whole shebang. The spirit of the event has evolved, as well. What was once a true competition is now more of a home grown music festival. Change can be a good thing.
I have no idea who is going to win.
I saw some of my current favorite bands for the first time in The Rumble. I’m looking at you Sidewalk Driver****, Mellow Bravo and The Susan Constant. Am I going to become obsessed with The Okay Win, The New Highway Hymnal, Herra Terra, Supermachine, Glenn Yoder & The Western States, Coyote Kolb, The Suicide Dolls, Mount Peru, Whitcomb, Twin Berlin, Parks or Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan? I wouldn’t bet against it.
I love Eddie Japan. It’s movie music where I get to make up the movie in my mind. I don’t know who will advance from Tuesday night’s lineup, but I’m pretty sure everyone will walk out of TT’s with the trumpet line from “A Town Called Nowhere” in their head.
White Dynomite members have participated in more Rumbles than all of the other bands combined. Hell, my band even lost to one of these guys back in 2002. Will all that experience give these guys an edge? Find out next Friday.
Looking at the list of past Rumbles makes me wish time travel was real. If I could go back in time to see one Rumble final that I missed it would be 1996. Trona and Quintaine Americana? Are you kidding me? So good.
I need to see Parks live. I’m in love with their first twosingles, but I haven’t been able to catch a show yet. This all changes next Saturday night.
What about heavy music? Motherboar made it all the way to the finals last year with some brutally amazing sets. Sherman Burns tore their way into the semis as a wildcard. Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan, Whitcomb and Supermachine are likely hoping for similar success.
The time between the last band finishing their set and the night’s winner being announced is gloriously awkward.
The Rumble is never boring. The American Measles wore Kiss makeup. Cracktorch could jump really high. Keith Pierce finished Mellow Bravo’s preliminary round set on top of a car in front of TT’s.***** What’s next?
For the bands, The Rumble is a great way to get in front of people who may not have any idea who you are and win them over. Rumble crowds are good like that. I’ve seen The Field Effect take on some pretty diverse audiences in the past six months. Their enthusiasm is undeniable. Win or lose, The Field Effect is going to walk away with a boatload of new fans.
I’ve seen a lot of Rumble shows over the years, but last year was the first time I was able to attend every night. It was a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.
Have I mentioned that The Okay Win, Cancer Killing Gemini, The New Highway Hymnal, Velah, Endation, The Deep North, Herra Terra, Camden, Eddie Japan, Supermachine, Glenn Yoder & The Western States, Blackbutton, Mount Peru, Whitcomb, Lifestyle, Twin Berlin, Coyote Kolb, The Field Effect, The Suicide Dolls, White Dynomite, Parks, Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan, Ruby Rose Fox and The Daily Pravda are playing? That should be reason enough.
Rumbles are unpredictable. There will be “upsets.” Bands will be “robbed.” Allegations will fly. Someone might get glitter bombed. Life will go on. A good time will be had by most. Friendships will be made. Future shows will be set up. Somone will leave with a tiara on. We’ll all have a good laugh about it in the morning.
Is it Sunday yet?
* Well, nine fell swoops, I guess.
** Personal experience tells me at least 15 years.
*** Oops. That list reversal attribute in an HTML5 tag. some of you may be seeing this 1-24. Isn’t technology fun?
**** Technically not the first time I saw them, but that’s a story for another time.
**** I missed this show. Sad face. Thankfully there’s this video.
Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck’s modern Americana took the 2012 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble tiara* on Friday night. It was certainly no easy task. The band faced tough competition on all of their nights. Through it all they won over judges with well crafted songs and an astonishing display of musicianship, both individually and collectively. Swampy, dirty, twangy and heartfelt, these guys can flat out play.
Congratulations to Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck!
* In reality the Rumble tiara is more of an actual crown now.
We’ve nearly reached the end of the road with the 2012 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. After 31 sets from 23 bands, we’ve got it narrowed down to the final three contenders. Garvy J. And The Secret Pockets Of Hope And Resistance, Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck and Motherboar (wildcard) will play for all the marbles tonight at TT’s. Before you head out, here are a couple of things that have tickled my brain about the Semifinal round.
Are You Experienced?
The Semifinal victors know a thing or two about winning over crowds in Boston. Garvy J. And The Secret Pocket Of Hope And Resistance and Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck are both fronted by scene veterans and have top notch players on every instrument. That’s not to say they go about things the same way. Bow and Co. take a more traditional approach, twanging it up with the best of them. Any one of these guys is capable of stealing the show. Together, they’ve formed an outstanding Americana ensemble. The Resistance, on the other hand, has you wondering where the synth players are. Before long, you realize all three guitar players are masters at manipulating their instruments. Having the amazing rhythm section of Scott Fitts and Tommy Lada gives you that kind of freedom.
Lada Vs. Lada Revisted
Speaking of Tommy Lada, the battle of Lada Vs. Lada was won by Tommy Lada. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small part of me that wanted to see Ghosts Of Jupiter take the wildcard just to see this happen again. It certainly wouldn’t have surprised anyone, as Ghosts Of Jupiter threw down another definitive slab of ’70s classic rock on their Semifinal night.
The State Of Heavy Revisted
In my last Rumble ramble I talked about wanting to see how the two heaviest bands in the festival competition fared in the Semifinals. Well, Motherboar fought their way into the wildcard spot through a shower of beer and metal mayhem. Sherman Burns continued to win over a slew of fans after another rifftacular performance. I love it.
Fun With Numbers
Five keys to success: 5 of the Rumble semifinalists included keyboard based instruments (Thick Shakes, The Rationales, Cask Mouse, Ghost Of Jupiter and Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck).
A dozen golden throats: 12 different people sang lead on a song during the Semifinals.
Tie One On: There was 1 solitary tie worn in the Semifinal round. It was donned by Tim Scholl of Thick Shakes.
Play Me Out
Once again, I’ll leave you with the songs that haven’t left me. Have a listen and then hit up the Finals tonight at TT’s!
The Semifinals of the 2012 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble are in the books. Congratulations to Garvy J. And The Secret Pockets Of Hope And Resistance and Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck for taking their nights. With Motherboar earning the wildcard spot, the Finals are set! After having to withdraw from competition before their prelim night, The Grownup Noise will get to play the Finals as the special guest band. Classy touch, Anngelle.
Finals / Friday, April 20
9:30 – Motherboar (Wildcard)
10:15 – Garvy J.
11:00 – Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck
11:45 – The Grownup Noise (Guest)
These guys have to be some of the best musicians in town. Heck, Jeff Berlin’s drum check before the set started would put a lot of drummers to shame. Individually and collectively, the guys from Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck are playing at the top of their game right now. It’s impressive.
Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck take Rumble Semifinal Night #1.
The 2012 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Semifinals start tonight! Here’s the schedule. I posted some random rumble thoughts on the Rumble day of rest. I thought I’d do the same for the second half of Preliminaries.
The 2012 Rumble saw a few of my favorite bands play the sets of their lives. Parlour Bells got all glammed up to rock out on Thursday night. One set later The Fagettes threw a big old rock n’ roll party on the TT’s stage that blew out a bass amp and the womb of a giant cardboard robot. In a testament to the strength of the Boston music scene, those sets didn’t even take the night! Cask Mouse got the nod from the opening slot for a shaking and stomping good time. The next night had Brownboot leading the crowd into hard rock excess like six-stringed pied pipers. The Bynars had synth-heavy power pop down to a science. Saturday night had back-to-back sets by Motherboar and neon post-punks Streight Angular that made me question the structural integrity of the club. I sure am glad I didn’t have to clean up after that show.
Speaking of heavy, the two heaviest bands of this year’s Rumble both advance to the Semifinals. Motherboar was just plain devastating. It’s amazing how colossal they sounded after just having witnessed the how-the-hell-are-they-doing-this flying hair and riffs attack of Sherman Burns. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the next round.
Fun With Numbers
Do the math: I’m not sure of the exact number, but a bunch of songs got retired during these Rumble Prelim shows. Brownboot put “I Can’t Wait (To Get Away)” on the shelf.* Pray For Polanski put the band on the shelf.
Two for Tue Thursday: There were exactly 2 Explorer shaped guitars in The Rumble. Both were wielded by Motherboar.
One is the loneliest number: The Rumble prelims had exactly one electric banjo (Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck), one upright bass (Cask Mouse), one fiddle (also Cask Mouse), one giant cardboard robot (The Fagettes), one blown bass amp (also The Fagettes) and one Al Polk (Streight Angluar).
Play Me Out
Here are some Rumble tunes that I haven’t been able to shake. It’s quite the varied collection. We’ve got suave pop from Parlour Bells and brutal metal from Motherboar. We’ve got indie rock both manic (Streight Angular) and unsettling (Pray For Polanksi). Top it all of with the searing hard rock of Brownboot and you’ll be humming these tunes for days. Now get thee to TT’s!
* Unless you pay them lots of cash, but you’d have to be a D-Bag to do that…
Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck won over the Rumble judges with some amazing musicianship. These guys play to the song so well. They gather ’round Bow’s gritty tales, pick them up and carry them along to wherever they need to go.
Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck take Preliminary Night #5.
Well, it’s that time of the year again. The Rumble is upon us. Sunday night will kick off the 2012 edition of this rock n’ roll institution. I called the 2011 version “a crash course in Boston awesomeness”. I have no reason to think this year won’t be the same. Having been to many a Rumble show (and participated in a couple) I can tell you these are always a lot of fun.
For the past few years The Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble has been curated by Anngelle Wood. She’s done a fine job, hasn’t she? This year will be no exception. I’ve managed to document exactly half of this year’s participants in the wild. I look forward to checking out the other half. Below is the complete schedule with some links to the bands’ shows I’ve caught in the past. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be seeing lots of Rumble pics up on Daykamp Music over the next few weeks. Check back often. More importantly, go see some of the shows!