The de-facto demise of WBCN might have been the best thing that could've happened to the Rock And Roll Rumble, if the finals Friday at T.T. the Bear's – capped off by a curtain call/group hug decreeing John Powhida International Airport the 2011 champs – was any indicator.
No disrespect to the folks keeping the rock alive on wbcn.com, but the 30-plus-year enduring slobber-knocker o' local rock doesn't belong to a corporate radio station anymore. This year, it felt like it belonged to the rest of us, thereby annihilating any aura of cynicism. Well, almost.
"This victory tastes so much sweeter than the scallops at Captain Carlo's," Powhida proclaimed during his coronation, not-so-subtly knocking Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents' decision to bail on the semi-finals to fulfill an engagement at a Gloucester seafood restaurant.
To offer a few more eyebrow-raisers: Whoever made the pickleback (cheap whiskey with a pickle juice chaser) the unofficial shot of the Rumble clearly lifted the concept from Great Scott. And it was odd how out of 24 competitors, all three finalists play versions of classic rock. Is it possible all 45 judges from different nights harbor the same genre-bias? Probably not, but I'll raise the question anyway. What's the point of a battle of the bands without any controversy?
Powhida, a good facsimile of Alice Cooper with David Bowie's fashion sense, employed a troupe of dancing Asian girls (uh, that's not as sordid as it sounds), lemming noises, and raunchy power pop to vanquish the gospel rock bonanza of Oldjack and the shimmering throwback of Spirit Kid -- both of whom had lost to Powhida in previous rounds and advanced via wild cards.
So the way things worked out was a foregone conclusion, though special guests The Shods tore the fucking house down. In the 1999 Rumble, The Shods apparently won a gift certificate to Applebee's. Next year, the second place winner should get free dinner at Captain Carlo's.