Musings: Rock N Roll Rumble Prelims Halfway Point
Tonight is Night 4 of the 2014 Rock N Roll Rumble prelims, and it promises to be a doozy, with Butterknife, Slowdim, Gondoliers, and Western Education all poised to put on a great show. But that also means that Nights One through Three have come and gone. Sad? Yes; more rock is always welcome. But it also means we can take a little look back, especially after a much-needed day of rest. Let’s see what we learned.
Rebuilder need to get on the road with some of skate-punk and pop-punk’s great masters, like the Descendents and NOFX. Their one-two punch of two lead vocalists and straight barre-chord punk is catchy as hell, and deserves to be heard by the masses.
Bluegrass giants Tigerman WOAH look like a bearded train that can’t be stopped. Their Night One set was a barnburner, and definitely one of the more raucous affairs of the evening, complete with a Misfits cover. By a bluegrass band. That isn’t a typo, don’t worry. They were deserving winners of the night, and beat out some stiff competition.
Sinnet's got the balance between indie rock and indie pop down pat. Maybe I'm a sucker for video games, 'cuz I'm a nerd, but “Castlevania” just sounded overall badass, goofy, and fun, all at the same time. It used the synth organ line from the game (played live, of course), and was a dance-rock banger.
Guillermo Sexo's Noell Dorsey owns the stage, win or not. She was in a trance on Sunday, playing the keyboard, crooning her dark pop, and bouncing around everywhere (fifth photo in this selection is of her dancing her ass off).
Jeffrey Vachon of Doom Lover could have been a revival tent preacher in a past life. The band has three lead singers (Nikki Dessingue and Geoff Smith in addition to Vachon), but the way Jeff bounced around and led the other four Doomers was hypnotic, especially in closer “The Beggar,” which was easily the most captivating part of the night.
It’s awesome when two pieces sound larger than the room they’re in, and that’s exactly how When Particles Collide sounded. The amount of low end almost blew my eardrums out (again).
Goddamn Draculas used their experience to their advantage, putting in a flawless performance, complete with drumstick tricks, to win the night. Throw in some loud-ass punk metal (key song: “Don’t Be Afraid) and solid crowd banter, it was a winning formula from the get-go.
In terms of technical prowess, that accolade clearly went to Emma Ate The Lion. It might have been a little too weird for the judges, but there’s no denying the fact that the South Shore band are masters of their respective instruments.
The summery dance-tinged pop of Barricades took Night Three, who used bubble guns and a three-guitar attack to woo the crowd and judges. They were also one of the first bands to incorporate a standalone drum solo, and their balance of acoustic rhythm guitar and dueling lead electrics was remarkable.
Another band rocking the “one acoustic, two electric” model was Airport, whose country-rock twang played well to the older crowd at TT’s. They definitely played off the Tom Petty Americana vibe, especially with opener “Go Up” and last song “Hate You.”
ZL brought the first real source of rock to the night, with their simple three piece formula playing well to their strengths of rhythm and crunch. It was simple, grungey, and had a kick that had been lacking in the first two bands.
Night Threeclosers The Life Electric lived up to their name, putting out an electrifying set that was head-banging and dancey, all at the same time. Performing as a five-piece instead of their usual four-piece setup, it was clear they were tight and more balanced now that guitarist Ben Leang only had to focus on shredding and singing. A close loss on Night Three
Well, that concludes the first half of Prelims! With that, the majority of Semifinal Night Two (Friday, 4/18), with a wildcard to be determined! See you at Night Four!