2008 Rock N' Roll Rumble

Girls, Guns, Glory and Gall at Harpers Ferry, April 25, 2008
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  May 1, 2008
GIRLS GUNS & GLORY: The Rumble winners proved you simply can’t go wrong covering “Folsom
Prison Blues.”

Night four of this year’s Rumble surprised me, but not for the usual reasons. Smudging the rules by giving the nod to the Men (who the majority of judges thought won) instead of Clouds (who actually received one point more and eventually got a wild-card pass into the semifinals, where both bands lost) probably seemed a good idea at the time. But this turn of events refuted my long-held and baseless assumption that the Rumble has always been fixed. It would take a very cagy individual to manipulate the convoluted scoring process unnoticed, and such a person would surely rather invest his energy into more lucrative evildoing, such as white-collar crime.

No villain would’ve scripted a well-deserved victory for honky-tonky good ol’ boys Girls Guns & Glory. Frontdude Ward Hayden could pass for a late-’50s teen idol displaced in time, and though tear-in-my-whiskey Americana requires a divier location than Harpers, you simply can’t go wrong covering “Folsom Prison Blues.” The Rumble is history, but for GGG, a harsher challenge looms: they’ve won a spot on the River Rave, where they’ll play for a thousand white hats there to see — dear God — Everlast.

A.K.A.C.O.D. piqued my curiosity. Why does Larry Dersch hold his sticks in marching-band style instead of match grip? Wouldn’t it be easier for ex-Morphiner Dana Colley to play a guitar instead of a saxophone tricked out to sound like one? Do these things matter when, combined with Monique Ortiz’s husky vocals and fretless bass sortilege, it all melts together into smoky, trippy, heavy blues/low rock? Furthermore, why didn’t A.K.A.C.O.D get second place? Granted, though I’d love to shit all over their fluffy power pop, Great Bandini had the most stage presence (or “zazz”) of the three. “I went to Paul Stanley’s art show tonight,” announced drummer Matt Burwell. “Never meet your idols.” Good advice — especially if they’re in Kiss.

Special guests the Neighborhoods won the very first Rumble, and they came dangerously close to stealing the show at the 30th one, capping off what was, despite much groaning from the message boards, a successful evening of rock.

Related: Retro, active, All dolled up, Rakim: Return of the King, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Dana Colley, Larry Dersch, Monique Ortiz,  More more >
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