It's spring in Boston, which means it's time to Rumble. Our city's longstanding music festival disguised as a Battle of the Bands kicks off Sunday with Night 1 of the six-night preliminaries at T. T. the Bear's Place, and really, it's the 24-band stretch of prelim shows that offers the Rumble's true appeal. Winning is cool and all, but rocking out is essential.

Last year's Rumble was pure madness: Keith Pierce of Mellow Bravo performing atop parked cars outside T.T.'s along Brookline Street; Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents controversially bailing on the semis for a gig at a Gloucester seafood bar; Sidewalk Driver exploding in glitter-gasms; and eventual winners John Powhida International Airport showing the new jacks how it's done. Clearly, this year's 33rd annual has its work cut out for it.

Thankfully, the field of 24 is wide open — there's truly no favorite. Perhaps the polished indie glide of Animal Talk will woo judges, or the guitar-grunge attack of Grey Valley Ghost will gloriously recall Central Square's early-'90s heyday. Maybe the dusty folk of Cask Mouse will cast T.T.'s as a wild, Prohibition-era speakeasy, or the Fagettes will seduce Cambridge with a '60s shimmy-shake. Soulful vintage-rock veterans BrownBoot could easily follow Powhida as champion elder statesmen.

Later in the week, Parlour Bells might hypnotize by dangling a rock medallion of noir-ish pop, Motherboar could savagely rip us all a new asshole, and Streight Angular might close out the prelims Saturday with the hugest day-glo party ever, rendering everything else moot. In opening week, all bets are off.

Here are the lineups for each night. May the rockingest Boston band win.

SUNDAY, APRIL 1 — The Grownup Noise, Endless Wave, the Rationales, Cooling Towers

MONDAY, APRIL 2 — Thick Shakes, Animal Talk, Garvy J, Grey Valley Ghost

TUESDAY, APRIL 3 — The Susan Constant, the Tin Thistles, Ghosts of Jupiter, Letterday

THURSDAY, APRIL 5 — Cask Mouse, Never Got Caught, Parlour Bells, the Fagettes

FRIDAY, APRIL 6 — Pray For Polanski, BrownBoot, Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, the Bynars

SATURDAY, APRIL 7 — The Grinds, Sherman Burns, Motherboar, Streight Angular 

Related: Codeine’s careful rock returns to Boston, Review: Julian Casablancas at the Paradise, The Big Hurt: ICP take on magnets, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Boston, Music, The Grinds,  More more >
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 See all articles by: MICHAEL MAROTTA