Rock And Roll Rumble announces 2019 comeback, change in format

Scott Murry for Vanyaland


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ONCE Ballroom and Lounge is back, Boston Emissions is back… and now so is the Rock And Roll Rumble.


Boston’s venerable live music competition has eyed a return for 2019, announcing its 40th anniversary dates and a change in its traditional format. Next year’s nine-night Rumble will go down April 4 to April 26 at the independent Somerville club, with the six nights of preliminary shows — where four bands compete to move on to the semi-finals — will take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday across two weeks, as opposed to its Sunday to Saturday week-long prelim schedule.

For example, Week 1 of the preliminaries will be Thursday, April 4; Friday, April 5; and Saturday April 6. Week 2 prelim nights are set for Thursday, April 11; Friday, April 12; and Saturday, April 13. No more Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday Rumble prelim shows. And no need for that traditional “day of rest” on Wednesday.

The rest of the Rumble format shakes out roughly the same as previous years — its semi-finals will be Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20; its final will be Friday, April 26.


The 2018 Rumble was scrapped after WZLX 100.7 FM canceled its long-running Sunday night local music show, Boston Emissions, earlier this year. Boston Emissions host and Rumble curator Anngelle Wood says the break gave her a chance to recalibrate, and has since relaunched Boston Emissions as an online program.

“I could not be more ready to get back to work,” Wood says. “I heard from a lot of people who felt the void this past spring. There are great things in store. I’m back, the show is back, and ONCE is back — all reinvigorated and ready to go. I anticipate an incredible year, and I look forward to working with the new staff at ONCE.”

According to Wood, the first “official” Rumble went down at The Rat in Kenmore Square in 1979, where bands like Mission of Burma, Le Peste, Lyres, Classic Ruins performed. The first Rumble crown was won by The Neighborhoods. “Expect surprises on this, the ruby anniversary year,” Wood adds.

After winning in 2017, Carissa Johnson is still the defending Rumble champ.


Wood says bands interested in playing the 2019 Rumble can get application info here. The lineups are usually announced

Featured image by Scott Murry for Vanyaland, from the 2017 Rumble final.