“It’s not a competition, it’s a celebration!”
Helen McWIliams, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for eventual 2023 NEW CHAMP One Fall, probably summed up the entirety of this year’s Rock & Roll Rumble the best during their crown (And crowd) winning set on Saturday evening in front of a packed house at Sonia on Night 9 of 9 of the Rumble’s triumphant return.
But I digress.
It all had to come to an end at some point, right? The return of the 2023 Rock & Roll Rumble, following an unexpectedly long hiatus due to a global pandemic, came to its’ inevitable conclusion on the evening of Saturday, May 6th at Sonia (Formerly TT The Bear’s) in Cambridge. 9 shows. 25 bands. 1 night to decide the winner. Boston Emissions’ own Anngelle Wood once again brought the music from your town to the stage, hosted the whole shebang (Her 10th overall), and made it seem effortless despite a monumental amount of work behind the scenes. Now let’s dive into the finalists (Including returning champ Eddie Japan headlining) and see how it all played out:
Ruin The Nite kicked off the evening with the horniest set of the night. Because of their horn section (Dan McCool on trumpet, Nathan Blaser on saxophone), of course! What did you think we meant?? That said, if showmanship and on stage swagger complemented by matching suits is your bag then maybe we did mean it the other way??? Anyway! RTN brought it once again, having battled through the previous rounds and making the Finals as the Wild Card entrant, with a stunning set featuring a bevy of tracks from their latest full-length Sound The Alarm that included “Voices, “Watcher”, and “Fire Away” featuring keyboardist Jim Nicolai (Also of 2023 Rumble band Bird Language) temporarily sharing the lead vocal reigns with Chris Duggan.
Speaking of bringing it, The Chelsea Curve brought Mod to the masses on Saturday evening as the trio tore it up with a set comprised mostly of tracks off their debut full-length All The Things. Sans the horn section found on that record, their high energy set had a very overall ’90’s Alt feel as they played through tracks like “Don’t Look Down” and “Eye On You” and later, really let loose with “Do All The Things” which had a decidedly more Punk/Rockabilly feel in a live setting.
In regards to One Fall, the Salem trio upped their game considerably from the last time we saw them at Sonia (Has it only been two weeks???). Their performance was like the best deja vu ever with a blistering set including tracks from their debut EP and another run through of “Born To Run” preluded by McWilliams pointing out that One Fall is for “orgasm equity, Trans rights, and women childless by choice”. And we don’t wanna think too much of ourselves but it did seem that McWilliams put maybe a little too much emphasis on the closing “We’re ONE FALL from SALEM, Massachusetts” this time following a “We’re Salem from One Fall, Massachusetts” during their appearance during the Semi-Final rounds (And for the record, we dig the hell out of living in One Fall, Massachusetts if the soundtrack is like this all the time). Just sayin’!
Eddie Japan, complete with vocalist David Santos sporting a tee from their winning Rumble year in 2013, hit the stage last with a bit of a triumphant moment of their own having just released their latest full-length (Pop Fiction which we are bound and determined to review super soon) featuring two songs with frequent collaborator Greg Hawkes of The Cars. Their brand of Electro-Pop was both the perfect cap and comedown to the Finals as they sashayed and swayed through glistening new tracks like “Lost Weekend” and “Time Machine” which gelled nicely with Eddie Japan staples like “Golden Age”, “When Things Fall Apart” (Both from 2017’s Golden Age), and “Albert”. It was a mesmerizing set complete with a stare off early on between vocalist Emily Drohan & Santos that was like watching a private moment you’re not supposed to be seeing… but can’t turn away. If you haven’t boarded the Eddie Japan train yet, you should really consider purchasing a ticket soon.
After a short deliberation, it was over and One Fall was crowned the 2023 Rock & Roll Rumble champs by Anngelle Wood and, one half of 2019 champs Set Fire (Which was the last time the Rumble happened) Jim Healey (Currently kicking ass in Blood Lightning among other projects) in a shower of Prosecco and non-alcoholic Champagne.
Now can we do this all again next year???
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