Oh! Hello, Velah. So happy to have you back. What with your waves of delay and enchanting melodies, you were truly missed.
I had been looking forward to this one for a while. Velah, The Deep North, The Susan Constant and The Field Effect together at The Middle East Downstairs? That’s a pretty darn good bill. Velah got things going with songs old, new and re-imagined. I think their delay drenched crescendos are still reverberating through the former bowling alley.
Velah’s Skeleton House / Rose Wave 7″ is something special. There’s always been something a bit mysterious to their sound. For this release they embraced that side of the band’s personality.
“Skeleton House” is a reflective number haunted by a tinkling piano sound. Where some Velah songs shower you in layers of reverberating guitars, this one is content to let the melody come front and center. The sparse verses fill out nicely when the chorus comes around. There’s a level of calmness throughout, which makes the song’s ending crescendo all the more effective. Velah’s restraint persists on “Rose Wave”. Guitar melodies, vocal harmonies and controlled swells serve them well.
I love unique packaging ideas, and this one is pretty crazy. Velah puts these things together by hand. There’s the black 7″ itself, but that’s just the start. There’s a key, a skull and symbol cloth thingy, some chalk and a cool little pop up house. I’m not going to pretend to know what it all means, but it’s pretty neat. Everything comes nestled in a box for little skull face guy to peek out of.
Where to get it:
Velah performed as a three-piece at the Future Carnivores album release show. This stripped down configuration drew out some of the different layers in their music. Really cool stuff.
The 2013 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble is in the books. This one won’t soon be forgotten. Anngelle Wood did a tremendous job. The Rumble requires gargantuan effort to pull together under ideal circumstances. This year? The way Angelle, Richard Bouchard, Kerri-Ann Richard and the rest of the Rumble crew navigated this Boston institution through uncharted waters was commendable. A careful balance of tact, compassion, flexibility and understanding the need for normalcy made the Rumble whole. I’m glad I got to be there.
Congratulations to Eddie Japan on their 2013 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble win! They were stellar in every round, never taking a single moment up on the TT’s stage for granted. Thanks to all 24 bands that participated. The talent in this city is inspiring. You kept me thoroughly entertained, even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to be.
I hope I was able to capture some of those special Rumble moments…
The Daily Pravda
Eddie Japan (Semifinal Night #2 Winner)
The New Highway Hymnal
Twin Berlin (Wildcard)
Glenn Yoder And The Western States (Semifinal Night #1 Winner)
Camden (Prelim Night #2 Winner)
Cancer Killing Gemini
The Daily Pravda (Prelim Night #6 Winner)
The Deep North
Eddie Japan (Prelim Night #3 Winner)
The Field Effect
Ruby Rose Fox
Jack Burton Vs. David Lo Pan
Lifestyle (Prelim Night #4 Winner)
The New Highway Hymnal (Prelim Night #1 Winner)
The Okay Win
The Suicide Dolls
Twin Berlin (Wildcard)
White Dynomite (Prelim Night #5 Winner)
Glenn Yoder And The Western States (Wildcard)
* Oh, and a t-shirt from Audio Cotton.
Well, we’re half way through the 2013 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble preliminary round. Things get going again tonight at TT’s with Mount Peru, Whitcomb, Lifestyle and Twin Berlin. I’ve had a few moments to digest the first three nights. Let me regurgitate some of my thoughts for you. You’re welcome for that image.
It’s no secrect I love Eddie Japan. Their win on Preliminary Night #3 was the best set I’ve ever seen from them. I’m a big fan of Velah’s songs. I’m now a fan of Nick Murphy’s stage banter: “I’m sweating like Kevin Youkilis giving birth.” Cancer Killing Gemini’s new drummer helped propel them to a solid outing. The guy hits hard.
I saw five new-to-me bands during the first half of the week. Supermachine, The New Highway Hymnal (Preliminary Night #1 winners), Glenn Yoder And The Western States, Herra Terra and The Okay Win all had impressive performances. What struck me was how good each of those acts is at what they do. The Rumble really does bring out the best in bands.
The Second Time’s The Charm
I mentioned before the Rumble started how much I was looking forward to seeing some of these bands for a second time. They did not disappoint. Camden’s wonderfully loose set took Night #2. Endation blew me away with their set to open that same night. They’re a two-headed beast of sonic turmoil. The Deep North’s songs are really starting to settle in with me. I can’t wait to hear more. Blackbutton wailed away to close out Night #3. No sophomore slumps, here.
Fun With Numbers
- Cover The Spread: The first three nights have featured 1 duo, 2 trios, 5 quartets, 3 quintets and 1 sextet. Did we mention that the sextet had pair of backup vocalists? Oh, and a trio of string players for their closing number? If you’re playing along at home, that means there were anywhere from 2 to 11 people on stage at one time over the first 3 nights.
- The Flexible Four: 4 acts had a member playing at least 2 different instruments.*
- I Can’t Count That High: How many patch cables does Herra Terra have in their rig? However many you think it is, double it.
Play Me Out
I bet Camden grew up listening to their parents’ LPs at 45RPM. “Getting Around” executes a perfect 3 minute pop tune in just over 2 minutes. Here it is, along with a few other tunes that have stuck with me. Now, come on out to a show!
* The Okay Win, Velah, Herra Terra and Eddie Japan
Velah closed out the first night of this year’s Rumble. I continue to be impressed with their high-wire act. Somehow they remain on the tightrope, balanced between the atmospheric and the immediate. They’ve got the songs. They’ve got the sound. Impressive stuff.
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.
- There’s always a good story. Old Jack had quite the memorable run a couple of years ago. Last year Tommy Lada competed against himself in the semifinals playing with Ghosts Of Jupiter and Garvy J. And The Secret Pockets Of Hope And Resistance on the same night. We also had The Grownup Noise as the special guest band after they had to drop out of the competition due to injury. I’m looking forward to watching this year’s event unfold.
- 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 two singles, 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.
It’s always exciting when the Rumble participants are announced. However, the fun really begins when the nightly lineups are drawn. That’s when you realize how crazy-diverse The Rumble is. Just take a look at the schedule below. You certainly won’t leave any of these shows complaining that all of the bands sounded the same. I’m tempted to point out a couple of nights that I think are going to be really special, but experience tells me they all end up being memorable. You might as well pick up a full-boat pass.
Only one of these acts will don the Rumble tiara, but they all get to play on a motley bill of genre crossbreeding. That’s what makes The Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble special. That’s why I can’t wait for April 7th.
Sunday April 7th, 2013 (Tickets)
The Okay Win (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
9:45 – Cancer Killing Gemini (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
10:30 – The New Highway Hymnal (Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:15 – Velah (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
Monday April 8th, 2013 (Tickets)
Tuesday April 9th, 2013 (Tickets)
9:00 – Eddie Japan
9:45 – Supermachine (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
10:30 – Glenn Yoder & The Western States (Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:15 – Blackbutton (Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
Thursday April 11th, 2013 (Tickets)
9:30 – Mount Peru
10:15 – Whitcomb (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:00 – Lifestyle (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:45 – Twin Berlin (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
Friday April 12th, 2013 (Tickets)
9:30 – Coyote Kolb
10:15 – The Field Effect (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:00 – The Suicide Dolls (Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:45 – White Dynomite (Web|Facebook|Bandcamp)
Saturday April 13th, 2013 (Tickets)
9:30 – Parks (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
10:15 – Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan (Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:00 – Ruby Rose Fox (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
11:45 – The Daily Pravda (Web|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp)
More Info: www.rockandrollrumble.com