Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Rumble Night One Coverage

Live Impressions
by Cara Giaimo

by Kira Doucette

Rock N’ Roll Rumble
Night 1 - April 1st, 2012 at
TT the Bear’s Place

Pete Zeigler and The Rationales took Rumble Night One

THE RUMBLE IS UNDERWAY - I moved to Boston almost a year ago, but I’m still a newbie. I constantly stumble onto citywide institutions and treat them like news and immediately betray my greenness. Hey, the Prudential Building lights up for special occasions! Hey, everyone else calls the Prudential Building the Pru! Hey, there’s this thing called the Rock’N’Roll Rumble! And the Rumble is more than a decade older than me! I got to TT the Bear’s on Sunday night with a naïve idea of the Boston rock scene and ears as pearly as a newborn babe’s. I left with slight but stubborn tinnitus, a new habit of dropping my R’s, and a much better understanding of the kind of wealth that surrounds a Beantown music fan. I feel baptized.

Boston Emissions host Anngelle Wood

The Rumble took the funhouse that is TT’s and amplified it – on top of the everyday pool tables, arcade machines, and “mystery shots,” Sunday night added a photo stage, cupcakes, and tabletop treasure troves (free candy, yo-yos, and rawk-themed temporary tattoos). The extra sugar bolstered an already energetic crowd – emcee Anngelle Wood didn’t have to shout “everybody to the front!” twice. After soliciting get-well Tweets for Paul the injured guitarist of The Grownup Noise, who elected to sit this year out rather than put anyone in traction, Wood made way for the first Rumblers.

Andre Obin and Endless Wave

Cambridge trio Endless Wave set the bar high with their first song and then just kept clearing it, saturating the whole club with anthems that conjured up rain-blurred windshields, empty football fields, and skylines at night. They played shoegaze for sneaker-wearers, their wash of noise anchored by heavy, hooky basslines and brightened by guitar riffs that recalled The Edge if he lost the mustache and the bombast. Andre Obin, on bass and vocals, played with his mouth open and his eyes closed – his voice was mixed a little too low, but when it surfaced, I could hear him deliver his lines like a doomed action hero, Ian Curtis style.

RSL Streaming Photo Album

Endless Wave's Timothy Ryan made great splay-lipped guitar faces and muscled his axe around, hopping all over the stage and stretching in between plumes of notes, and drummer Tucker Dawson’s flop of curls practically vibrated every time he cracked his snare. All in all, they more than lived up to their name – I could easily imagine the whole band on surfboards, wielding their silvery instruments, propelled forever toward a dusky beach.

Endless Wave
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After stepping outside for a breath of air and wet Cambridge pavement, I came back in and was toasted up by The Rationales, a six-person Boston outfit with true songwriting chops and a sound even fuller than its size suggested. Their songs, alt-rock with a touch of country, rely on a balance between vocal and poetic grit and warm guitar and synth tones, and find beauty in that contrast, like in dust eddies in the sun. Sunday night, the rest of the band kept a tight orbit around frontman David Mirabella, who leaned himself on a stool and his guitar on himself, and leaned the weight of a long life on his voice even as he mined that life for lyrical details.

David Mirabella

Lead guitarist Pete Ziegler channeled Mirabella’s pain into bluesy guitar solos that brought him to the lip of the stage, while bassist and backup singer Sean Black provided sympathetic company on the mic. The band is obviously taking off – they have three whole T-shirt designs and their own drumhead – and it’s easy to see why. I can find some of their choruses in my head after just one listen, and a sizeable chunk of the crowd at TT’s did me one better, yelling the words to “Jaded” and “Drunk All The Time” and filling out Mirabella and Black’s already rich two-part harmonies. The Rationales ended up winning last night, so be sure to turn out to see them at the semis later this week. You’ll know nine or ten more songs by the time you leave.

RSL Streaming Photo Album

The Rationales
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The last band of the night, and the weirdest, was Cooling Towers. All decked out in red-accented clothes, shredding red instruments and under red stage lights, the misleadingly named band burned hot, whipping up goth-tinted rock songs that churned with restless energy. Frontman Commodore Vic had the run of the stage, sneering like a gargoyle, pacing, and waving his arms around as he wove tales of graveyards and jilted lovers.

The rest of the band remained unflappable, each working magic in his or her own corner even as Vic horned in on the other microphones and put empty plastic cups all over the equipment, and they were dressed (and coiffed) like library staff from hell. Between the propulsive backing grooves and Vic’s manic wandering, the band kept the audience engaged and dancing until the night’s end. In fact, I’m still dancing a little now. Hopefully it’ll tide me over until next time.

RSL Streaming Photo Album

Cooling Towers
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