Mix ’n’ mashup

It Was the Best of Times triumph at the Rock Hunt
By CHRIS CONTI  |  April 23, 2008

The 2008 WBRU Rock Hunt finals served up an entertainingly diverse lineup at the Living Room last week, from the shock-and-awe must-see duo known as the Awesome Brothers, to the breezy beach-front antics of Someday Providence, to the infectious, pogo-inducing hooks of consensus champs It Was the Best of Times. 

The Awesome Brothers were first on deck (the order was determined at random, according to WBRU program director and Rock Hunt judge Chris Novello). Each band had 30 minutes allotted to bring the noise, and just after 9:30 pm, the duo of Luke Boggia (and his frightening Barry Gibb falsetto) and Ashleigh Carraway, alongside their video projection screen/rhythm section, proceeded to slay the crowd with some fiery, electro-disco madness that swayed some initial head-scratching bystanders to break out into spontaneous dance like a psilocybin-laced sock hop. An Awesome Brothers show is like an avant-garde performance art project (yes, both are RISD grads) with a Commodore 64 tap-dancing on your brain. The video screen offered more than just comic relief (like Adult Swim meets public access under the influence); a test pattern and static intertwined and built into a vicious beat, with Boggia wielding his single drumstick against a multi-faceted drum pad thingy and Carraway pouncing on her synth while channeling Janis Joplin’s dance moves. The debut album 300% was well-represented through the eight-song set, including the standout “Mascara” (with Carraway taking lead vocals on the live version), a catchy scorcher that sounds like Gary Numan and Josh Homme fused together and wired for fun.

HOT BLOODED: It Was the Best of Times.

The second slot belonged to the boondock-based (Carolina, RI representing!) quintet It Was the Best of Times. “It’s okay, you can get closer, I like to feel the body heat,” lead singer Lindsey Powers said. The five-song set was packed with big hooks and tight, stop-and-pop dynamics, but the clincher may have come with “Our Needs.” This one here is FM-ready, like right now, and we’re talking drive-time, not just the graveyard shift. The set feataured tracks from their upcoming Hot Blood EP (slated for a late May release), including “Hell Is Real”  and “Your Life,” and closed with an airtight performance of  “Your Life On a Silver Platter.”

The term “a tough act to follow” rang true for the Warwick-based quartet Someday Providence. With a dash of 311, a splash of Incubus, and a serious dose of Sublime-type riffage, SP provides the perfect auditory complement to backyard barbecues, keg stands, and bong rips. Perhaps the most seasoned of the three bands, the quartet released their debut, The Hidden Vibe, back in September and scored a hit with the top-down fun of “Summertime In Rhode Island,” while “Turn the Lights Down Low” was featured on MTV’s The Hills last season. Someday Providence came out to simply have a party and was genuinely appreciative, engaging the crowd with broad smiles and bringing the dance floor alive with a Jackson 5 cover to boot. They’ll return to the Living Room for a CD release gig on May 24.

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