Some local pros are in the mix for the 2013 WBRU Rock Hunt title. All bets are off the board this year as a handful of acclaimed Rhody acts are crashing the party, including prime-time bracket-busters like the Brother Kite, Torn Sorts, and Lolita Black, plus previous Rock Hunt finalists Sienna and Satellites Fall among the 12 semifinalists. This year's Rock Hunt is wide open, and should make for a highly entertaining battle over the next two weekends, with the final four eventually squaring off at the Met on Friday, March 29.
More than 80 entries (two songs each) were submitted and eventually narrowed down to the top 11, with an online vote deciding the twelfth semifinalist (congrats to the Bitchin' Aardvarks). I couldn't agree more with station manager Wendell Clough when he recognized the 2013 roster as "the best crop of Rock Hunt talent we've seen in the last six years," and commended 2012's winner, Roz Raskin & the Rice Cakes, for inspiring such a strong turnout of quality bands (the Can't Nots, Dylan Sevey, and the McGunks missed the final cut). At stake is a sweet prize pack valued at $7500, including video production and studio recording time, as well as gigs and steady airplay (Roz's "Magma" received about one trillion spins last year).
The action kicks off on Friday at JR's Bourbon Street Rock House (inside Mardi Gras, 1500 Oaklawn Ave, Cranston, 401.463.3080) and the Spot Underground ("where the Keg Room usedta be," 101 Richmond St, Providence, 401.383.7133). Both shows are $5 at the door and start at 9 pm sharp. Tune into HomeBRU'd weeknights at 9 pm for updates and check back here next week for coverage on the other six semifinalists, slated to square off at Fête in Olneyville and Gillary's in Bristol.
Now onto this weekend's contenders:FRIDAY
THE RARE OCCASIONS (therareoccasions.com): There's no denying the energetic bounce of this Boston-via-Providence quartet (members attend Tufts University), with lead singer Brian McLaughlin and the crew jumping out "Miss Mary Mack." A handful of demos are streaming online (listen at therareoccasions.bandcamp.com) and a debut EP is in the works. I'd bet the upbeat cuts "Wickenden Kids" and "The Uke Song" will get the joint jumping at JR's. TRO band members McLaughlin and drummer Luke Imbusch have previous Rock Hunt experience as members of the Valar a few years back.
SATELLITES FALL (satellitesfall.com): In terms of audience support, these guys won the room over at last year's semifinals at the Ocean Mist (but fell to local URI faves Kingston 530). Vocalist Mark Charron can pen and hit hooks, as heard on the 2012 debut EP Lines On the Road. The first single "Servitude" is a legit alt-pop radio hit. The band reports a new EP is in the works, tentatively titled Pascal's Wager; the single "Strange New Day" premiered last week.