’Bru Bracket-Busters

You Scream I Scream and Santa Mamba get to the finals
By CHRIS CONTI  |  March 24, 2010

Part 1 of the 2010 WBRU Rock Hunt semi-finals is in the books, with Santa Mamba and underdogs You Scream I Scream advancing to the finals, and this weekend six more bands will vie for the two remaining spots. The final four will battle it out at Lupo’s on April 10 (hit WBRU.com for details) in what promises to be one of the more sonically diverse lineups in recent Rock Hunt history. In Newport, heavily-favored Latin-funk pros Santa Mamba squeaked out a two-point victory over Paper Eagles and Barrington kids the Valar. I was one of three judges at Jerky’s Bar on Saturday, and our final tally unanimously crowned ’09 semi-finalists You Scream I Scream the night’s winner which, following the announcement, prompted genuinely-bewildered YSIS frontman Floyd Kellogg to ask his bandmates and WBRU program director Wendell Clough, “So, what happens now? We play where? When?” YSIS were much more confident and less schticky than last year, kicking out some great extended jams from their recent full-length debut Bug In a Light. The trio clearly were stunned, their Morphine-meets-Cake (toss in a dash of the Rentals too), bouncy-stoner vibe having outshined keyboard-screamo trio Herra Terra, who opened the night with a large cheering section (including friends from Makeupbreakup), and Boston’s Flight Patterns, whose spiked anthems closed out a long evening with perhaps too much of the call-and-response thing while standing atop monitors, repeatedly unsuccessful in their “clap and repeat after me” attempts.

Speaking of Boston, I asked Clough to address grumblings about bands outside WBRU’s signal being allowed to enter the Rock Hunt; four of the 12 semi-finalists call Boston home.

“Rock Hunt rules state that each band must have at least one member living in the WBRU listening area, and all 12 semi-finalists fulfilled that criterion,” he told me following the battle at Jerky’s. Judges were also culled from around the region, including the program director at WFNX and label reps from RCA, Universal Motown, and Atlantic Records.

And now a preview of the remaining six semi-finalists set to throw down this weekend

Playoffs Pub, 4263 North Main St, Fall River, Massachusetts | March 26 @ 8 pm | $5 | 21+ | 508.235.0434

MUSIC032610_Intel_main 
OUT FOR BLOOD The Intel.

Birthed at Berklee College of Music in 2002 and fresh off a weekend of SXSW gigs, veteran quartet THE WANDAS (The Wandas.com) come in with a can’t-lose resume. The mid-tempo alt-pop jams on their 2008 debut New Wave Blues occasionally recall the sweetened, jangly stuff the Gigolo Aunts kicked out back in the day.

The bracket gods (’BRU interns?) must have been smiling down upon hometown favorites FIGHTING THE INFLUENCE (MySpace.com/FightingTheInfluence). The Fall River foursome released a self-titled EP back in ’08, and their new single “Breathe In Breathe Out” displays a more mature sound, with honed-in, huskier vocals from Joshua Pereira and an unexpected unplugged piano closing out the power-pop track.

Fans and friends of THE INTEL (MySpace.com/TheIntelRI) almost rioted last year when the Providence-based sextet were knocked out of the Rock Hunt semis at Club Hell following an impassioned, borderline-insane set. I assumed these kids would give ’BRU the finger and be done with it, but apparently lead vocalist Justin McGovern & Co. have unfinished business.

“Last year was a rough night. I was at the hospital waiting for our guitarist [Rob Stubbs], who was in the emergency room until literally right before we played,” McGovern told me earlier this week. “Rob went from hospital johnny to the car to the Club Hell stage, and played through a lot of pain.

“Losing last year never hurt our momentum, though. We recently played an East Coast tour, put out a full-length CD (Dear Icarus, Thanks for Nothin’) and we’re currently writing and preparing new material for the studio again.

“We’re out for blood, and your girlfriend.”

The Wheelhouse, 294 Great Island Rd, Narragansett | March 27 @ 8 pm | $5 | 18+ | 401.284.0246

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