When the dust settled Friday (well, the crack of Saturday, actually) at TT the Bear's, the swinging sounds of Eddie Japan swept up the crown at finals of the 34th Rock 'n' Roll Rumble.
Eddie Japan faced off against Glenn Yoder and the Western States and Twin Berlin for the conclusion of a wild Rumble season, one disrupted by tragedy then transformed into a powerful symbol of community. Before Rumble Queen Anngelle Wood announced the winner, chants of "We are Boston" filled TTs.
Eddie Japan offers a sprawling sound laced with trumpet, keys, twin guitars, back-up singers and_ for its big finale_ strings on "A Town Called Nowhere." The band puts a sharp, modern edge on a retro sound, proffering "Pulp Fiction" rock.
Eddie Japan and Glenn Yoder and the Western States faced off on Night 3 of the preliminaries. Eddie Japan won that night, but Yoder and crew advanced to the semi-finals as a wild card and beat its field in that round. Twin Berlin made it to the finals via two wild-card nods.
Watching all three at work Friday was a celebration of the long-held diversity within the Boston music scene. Eddie Japan's tarted up R&B brought to mind Lou Miami and the Kozmetics; Yoder's tumbleweed and Crazy Horse concoction summoned memories of Del Fuegos; and Twin Berlin's punked-out pop smacked of the Neighborhoods. No doubt all those elder statesmen had their doppelgangers as well.
And really, I'd rather have this type of smorgasbord than a Sunset Strip, CBGBs, or easily pegged "Boston sound." So cheers, Rumble, for celebrating all that does go into the real rock of Boston.
A few finals observations, and then you can check out a thorough recap of the finals in Monday's Boston Globe.
State Rep. Marty "Roadrunner" Walsh is running to succeed Tom Menino as mayor of Boston. Walsh, who filed the legislation to make the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" the state rock song, stumped for votes from the Rumble stage, making him perhaps the first of the Boston mayoral hopefuls to campaign in Cambridge.
The Dogmatics, who played a special guest set before the Rumble winner was announced, need a minimum two songs to warm up. But once they get cooking, these '80s garage punks summon all the snot and swagger of that era's club scene. The Dogmatics nailed its cover of Charlie Chesterman's "King Size Cigarette," and noted the passing of George Jones with a roaring cover of No Show's "White Lightning" (featuring TT's own Kevin Patey on harmony vocals).
And one last shout out to TT the Bear's for being a such a great place to watch the Rumbling. Happy 40th anniversary.
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