Last night on 100.7 WZLX’s Boston Emissions, host and Rumble curator Anngelle Wood selected the six preliminary week lineups for next month’s “World Series of Boston Rock,” which kicks off Sunday, April 2 at ONCE Ballroom in Somerville. Twenty-four bands will do battle over six preliminary nights, with a winner from each group moving on to one of two semi-finals. Two wild card bands — one from Nights 1 to 3 and a second from Nights 4 to 6 — will round out the prelim lineups. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
We’ve long said the best part of the Rumble, a Boston institution since 1979, are these first preliminary nights, where four bands from across the music scene spectrum throw down in the name of friendly competition. It brings together bands that have likely never performed on the same bill as one another, and fans and friends who may never have partied in the same room. The lineups — drawn at random by Wood live on Boston Emissions — represent a cross-section of the music scene, and usually break down any sort of genre barrier.
It’s a good time for all. So, how does the 2017 Rumble’s preliminary week shake out? Scroll through the full list below, and get all ticket information, including Six Pack passes, through the official Rumble page at ONCE. [Note: All bios below pulled from the Rumble page at WZLX.com; featured photo of Tom Baker And The Snakes.
Location: Boston, MA. Bio: Though new to the Boston scene as Barns, two of the faces you see are those of Boston Music Award winners in the punk rock category as Dead Cats Dead Rats. Influenced by early Kings of Leon (sorry new KoL) and Weezer, adopted brothers Chris and Matt Wolz fill out the string section, while drummer Travis Tenney is the proverbial red headed stepchild that they actually like. Their sound is a collection of punk, rock n’ roll, grunge, indie, and blues. With their 2016 self-titled debut EP Barns, they are ready and eager to play live, play loud, and play often.
Location: Somerville, MA. Bio: There was an afternoon once when you were laying on your bed staring at the Creem and Hit Parader rock star posters on your wall. You were listening to your new favorite record; the one you’d picked up at Crazy Eddie and then ran home to play on your Dad’s old turntable that you’ve snagged for your own. You can’t quite place the band in this memory, but there were elements of the Stones in there; echoes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It had the snarl and the slide of the Replacements; but then again, raised a pint to Steve Marriott. Sit up, kick aside the empty beer cans on the floor, and flip the record. Discover that it’s Tom Baker and the Snakes. A Boston rock mainstay, Tom Baker cut his teeth playing every club and bar in town, writing, recording and fronting local faves Nana (Roadrunner) and the Dirty Truckers. The Snakes feature a who’s who of current Boston rock legends including John Brookhouse (Worshipper, The Dirty Truckers); John Sheeran (Spitzz, Township); Charles Hansen (Gymnasium, The Handymen); and Johnny Blout (Watts).
Location: Boston, MA. Bio: Boston’s Cruel Miracle are a four-piece rock and roll band serving up powerhouse vocals, killer guitar leads and pounds of soul on their energetic debut album, Manifesto. Vocalist Sadie Vada, guitarist Sir-Ken Celli, bassist Charlie Black and drummer Luis Castellanos offer a sound reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors, but with a fresh perspective. Cruel Miracle are classic rock with a sense of danger and romance that has been long absent from modern music. Touring the East Coast since their 2014 formation, Cruel Miracle aim to deliver rock and roll realness to a hungry audience.
Location: Boston, MA. Bio: First appearing live at a Boston basement party late 2013, Heel and Arrow have slowly found their way upstairs. The group comes into 2017 with a new full-length, an additional member, and what appears to be an active Spring agenda. As they initially stepped out into new pockets of Boston’s music scene, Heel and Arrow’s debut EP, Drugs acted more as a Trojan Horse. Its softer tones and alt rock leanings failed to prepare audiences for the emotionally charged yelling and string breaking sound they had grown into. “Part of finding your crowd is driving the other ones out” seems to sum up the band’s towing the line between the tamer indie rock circuit and the underground punk scene. Two years and a couple of iPhone demos later, they seemed to have resolved the issue. Heel and Arrow released their 12 song self-titled full-length in October of 2016, on DIY label, Animals With Records. Cameos from friends Sasha Alcott (When Particles Collide), Chris Harvey (I was Awake), and Adam Kaz (Tigerman Woah) helped to push the record in the direction of grittier hooks, aggressive back beats, and personal lyrics echoing back to mid-90s punk. “Part of finding your crowd is driving the other ones out” seems to sum up the band’s towing the line between the tamer indie rock circuit and the underground punk scene.