Rock and Roll Rumble unveils daily lineups, addresses venue concerns

Corner Soul in 2019. Photo by Victoria Wasylak for Vanyaland.

With less than a month to go until this year’s Rock and Roll Rumble, the time-honored rock competition has shared the daily lineups for 2023, revealing which acts will face off against each other this April.

The 24 contenders — which Boston Emissions unveiled on Sunday — will compete over the course of six preliminary rounds at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, detailed below. Night 1 marks the first Rumble event since the 2019 finals, which ruled in favor of the still-reigning champs Set Fire.

Night 1, Thursday, April 6: Graveyard of the Atlantic, The Shallows, Bird Language, Kooked Out

Night 2, Friday, April 7: Paper Tigers, Gretchen Shae  & The Middle Eight, Not Bad Not Well, Bleach The Sky

Night 3, Saturday, April 8: D-Tension & The Secrets, One Fall, City of Dis, Time Wolf

Night 4, Thursday, April 13: The Freqs, The Endorphins, Tysk Tysk Task, Ruin The Nite

Night 5, Friday, April 14: Luxury Deathtrap, The Chelsea Curve, Kid Disaster, Part Per Million

Night 6, Saturday, April 15: Wildcat Slim, Devil Love, Michael Kane & The Morning Afters, Donaher

After the Rumble whittles down to eight competitors (six winners plus two wild card bands, one from the first three nights and a second from the last three), the festivities will move next door to Sonia for two semifinal rounds on April 21 and 22, followed by a final showdown on May 6.

Roughly one-fifth of the lineup showcases returning bands from the “Class of 2020” who never got the chance to compete, due to the Rumble’s cancellation — and subsequent hibernation — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups stepping back up to bat include Donaher, Graveyard of the Atlantic, The Endorphins, The Shallows, and Wildcat Slim.

“I always have a dream lineup in my head,” Rumble curator Anngelle Wood tells Vanyaland, “and I wanted bands who didn’t get to play in 2020 to be considered. Having a submissions process helps to see who’s interested and available. I like offering that courtesy. The process is tough and took me a lot longer than I expected. There’s criteria I stuck with, like having something new out — at least in the past year. It was really hard for bands to play live the last few years. I kept that in mind [when looking at submissions].”

The 2023 daily lineups were originally set to be unveiled yesterday (March 13), but Wood instead shared a letter addressing some community concerns about hosting the Rumble’s preliminary rounds at the Middle East. The statement acknowledges the Central Square venue’s “past allegations of sexual abuse” and clarifies that Wood has spoken at length with the Middle East’s staff about the safety of all guests and participants.

“I am aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct against a co-owner of the Middle East stemming back to 2018,” Wood writes in her statement. “This person is no longer with the venue. I am in contact with the current venue management. Before choosing to hold the Rumble at the Middle East and Sonia, I asked many questions over several conversations and I am confident in the safety of the venue in holding the Rock & Roll Rumble there.”

Additionally, the letter confirms the involvement the non-profit Calling All Crows to “support the event and ensure community safety and confidence.” Venue staff will be required to take Calling All Crows’ bystander training, at the request of Wood and talent buyers from the Middle East and Sonia.

“I believe we can enact change to strengthen and empower the music community,” Wood’s letter concludes. “We are losing venues. I would like to take this one back. I do not wish to sacrifice any of this year’s bands who’ve worked so hard to get here to play an incredible and positive event like the Rock & Roll Rumble.”

Tickets to this year’s Rumble go on sale today at noon; in the meantime, learn more about the Class of 2023 here, and read Wood’s full letter below.