Out: Rock And Roll Rumble preliminary week

Don't call it a Battle of the Bands, k-thx
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  April 13, 2011

 Mellow Bravo rocks TT's
Keith Pierce of Mellow Bravo

Midnight was fast approaching late last Thursday, April 7, when Keith Pierce of Mellow Bravo extended perhaps the standout set of this year's Rock And Roll Rumble preliminary week. Pierce leaped off the T.T. The Bear's stage, through a crowded room, bolted outside toward Brookline Avenue, guitar in hand, and pounced atop the closest parked car. Watching Pierce wail away, howling at the moon above, a common sentiment of this year's Rumble again rang true: this is not a silly-ass pimple-faced Battle of the Bands.

After three decades, the Rumble is now more a celebration of Boston rock -- a festival of sorts -- and with respect to the myriad sponsors that donated prizes, what'll be most remembered by this year's 24-band/six-night preliminary week in Cambridge is the feel-good camaraderie that's increasingly rampant in our local music scene. That, and heavy helping of an eclectic community. Over a few fast-paced nights, Boston experienced: the garage rock fury of TRiPLE THiCK spitting out what felt like 30 songs in 30 minutes, including one about drinking screwdrivers; singer Tai Heatley nailing every note in Cult 45's set; A Wish For Fire drummer Anthony Mellace savagely bashing his kit like a man possessed; the cascade of blips and bleeps of a Stereo Telescope live set; an intoxicating performance by punk vixens Tijuana Sweetheart; a roaring sound fit for arenas from The Year Million; the towering shoegaze-pop of Static of the Gods; and Dan Nicklin of Old Jack, positioning himself as our city's next great bluesy Americana voice with one much-talked-about set on the opening night of festivities. UPDATE: Old Jack will now move on to Friday's semi-final after Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents pulled out of the Rumble in favor of a one-off gig in Gloucester.

>> Photo Slideshow: Preliminary Night #1 <<
>> Photo Slideshow: Preliminary Night #2 <<

As it were, none of those acts "won" their night and advanced to this week's semifinals. The "victors" were just as varied: Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents' sugar rush of retro girl-pop, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys' towering theatrical steamcrunk presence and sound, the confident and charismatic classic rock of John Powhida International Airport, a raucous Mellow Bravo (side note: if Hollywood ever re-makes the Patrick Swayze flick Road House, Mellow Bravo would be perfect as the bar band playing behind chicken wire as a donnybrook breaks out in front of them), the thunderously crunchy rock duo Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling and Sidewalk Driver's glam army of confetti cannons and glitter-smeared hooks. Two wild cards also emerged from the lineups of Nights 3 and 6: Spirit Kid ran with a crisp sunshine-pop glide, and Black Thai powerdrived a slot for sharp metal into the next round.

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