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RUMBLE RUNDOWN ’12: SEMI-FINALS, NIGHT 2

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The semi-finals of WZLX’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble at TT the Bear’s Place are over, and what a competition it was. Thankfully, I didn’t have to endure any glitterbombing, and if TT’s ran out of pickle juice, it did not affect me.

THE SEMI-FINALS, NIGHT 2

I am not sure how often people use the term nowadays, but Sherman Burns was full-on heavy metal. Well, maybe not completely full-on, as the Allston quartet also employed intricate prog-rock rhythms and thrash-like speed to create an aggressive, sludgy, head-banging stew. Some of the bands that popped into my mind as I listened were the 80s metal meisters Dokken, Rio, and Iron Maiden, and, from the following decade, Rage Against the Machine.

This overall combination meant that the lyrics weren’t exactly intelligible. No matter, though, as the lead guitarist and bassist, each of whom also sang, were way into it, with the former attempting on two occasions to mosh. The crowd, either having not been around in the 90s or just not up for it, opted to give him his space. The drummer and the rhythm guitarist, meanwhile, were pretty chill, providing a certain degree of balance on the TT’s stage.

Overall, Sherman Burns was an in-synch, well-oiled hard-rocking machine.

Where Sherman Burns was heavy metal, Ghosts of Jupiter was classic rock for the new millennium. Interestingly, a young woman near the front of the stage told me, unsolicitedly, that she had seen a laser show at the Museum of Science that was set to the band’s music. Cool!

At this point, TT’s—which seems to have added a bit of space since the last time I was there—had filled up steadily. This gave batters #3, The Rationales, a crowd that they truly deserved. After a wish of “Happy birthday, Dave” to lead singer David Mirabella, the band dove headfirst into a set of vibrant, sparkling, custom-made for TT’s-type-venues power pop.

All of the essential elements of the genre were perfectly in place:

Sunny vocal harmonies, check; crunchy distorted guitars, check; a steady thumping bass, check; and stomp-your-foot-to-the-beat drums, oh yeah! These were they type of tunes that you want to learn the words to before they were over so that you wouldn’t miss the chance to sing along.

With three of the four performances in the books, this second night of the semi-finals had gotten better and better as it went along. And it had started of pretty well. With the members of the audience now standing shoulder-to-shoulder, Garvy J. took the stage to close out the night. The band, clad in motorcycle gang leather attire, played like it knew that it had the difficult task of keeping up the evening’s momentum.

Despite the rocking rambunctiousness and insertion of lyrics by The Police and Eddie Money into their songs, I was not convinced that they had topped off the night with a cherry. The crowd seemed to like them, though.

At 12:40am, WZLX’s Anngelle Wood announced the winner: Garvy J. Had the band and many of the attendees known what I was thinking, they would have had the last laugh at my expense.

The band will be back on Friday, April 20, along with whomever the wild card selections are.

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RUMBLE FINALS
TT THE BEAR’S PLACE
15 BROOKLINE ST., CENTRAL SQUARE
CAMBRIDGE
617.492.BEAR
DOORS 9PM

About Blake Maddux

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't do or teach, write. Follow me: @blakeSmaddux.
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