In a stunning move, we’ve decided that rather than do separate posts we’ll just combine all our live coverage of each Rumble week into one collective post… to save paper. Wait, that’s not right. Whatever the reason, that’s what we’ve decided so you’re going to have to bear with us. Now onto the RAWK!
Night 1 (April 6th, 2023):
Despite the upcoming battle, it was truly a celebration of the Rock & Roll Rumble not only returning after being dormant for a few years but also returning to the intimate setting of Middle East Upstairs. Boston Emissions’ Anngelle Wood, who has been organizing the massive event since 2009 took to the stage shortly before the first act (And later, to introduce subsequent acts) to welcome the collected audience, thank them for attending/being apart of it all, and reminding everyone that the Middle East is a safe space for all and that, if for any reason at all attendees didn’t feel that was the case, Wood had your back along with the rest of the staff.
Graveyard Of The Atlantic had the daunting task of kicking it all off and kick it off they did with an electric 30 minutes of music that, at times, had REM meets Flickerstick tendencies and ventured into Space Rawk territory while blasting through originals like “The Wolf” and “Exit Interview”. Next up, The Shallows waltzed through a bevy of sounds that, at one point, felt like the resurgence of Medicine (Remember them???) as they brought the lush vocal harmonies and vibrant vibes throughout their set which included “Soft Night” and more songs from their upcoming full-length due in May. With a modern take on Old School Boston Rawk, Bird Language took the stage with their anthemic guitar presence and a Hall & Oates/Steve Winwood kind of piano-driven Soul that really comes out in a live setting as they ripped through tracks off last year’s 625 Days and concluded with a rousing version of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Rocket”. A frenzied fan base awaited Kooked Out as they commanded the headlining slot of Night 1 with an electrified Reggae meets Funk meets Ska meets Rawk hybrid sound that began with the title track from recent album Vis Viva and continued through new school anthems like “The Weekend”, “Like We’re 21”, and more!
The winnah: Kooked Out!
Night 2 (April 7th, 2023):
Paper Tigers brought it with vocalist Michael Medlock holding court and leaning over the stage of Middle East Upstairs with a commanding presence through a dynamic set that included “This Means War”, “Goldmine”, “A Portrait Of A Scene”, and a lively preview of their upcoming album with the debut of “Shocker” to the ecstatic crowd. And how do you follow such an explosive set, you might ask? With an even more explosivier (Not a word) set that’s, dare we say, pretty damn incendiary even! And that’s the Gretchen Shae & The Middle Eight live experience in a nutshell and on this particular night they delivered an emotionally charged set that went from thought provoking (“Black Rose”) to rabble rousing (“The Business Of Broken Dreams”) to just plain ass kicking (“Skeleton Closet”). We grew up in the Worcester area so in our initial preview praised Not Bad Not Well for being fellow South Central Massholes but nothing could prepare us for what they would lay down during their set. Lone single “Sleeper” reared its’ beautiful bodacious head late in their set and, along with that, the audience got a rip roaring barrage of never before heard originals (This was actually the outfit’s “Boston” debut) that was like Greg Puciato and Matt Bellamy fronting an amalgamation of Radiohead, Sparta, and OG At The Drive-In. Bleach The Sky went right for the jugular next with a blistering opening track and didn’t let up as they cascaded through a bevy of originals, a cover of Bush’s “Machine Head”, and concluded with latest single “I Just Fade” which opened up the floor to some sing along moments and resulted in some “Bleach! The! Sky” chants following their set.
The winnah: Not Bad Not Well!
Unfortunately, Night 3 (April 8th, 2023) wasn’t in the cards for RNRF so the double Prog power of City Of Dis and Time Wolf wasn’t experienced live, the electric eclecticism of D-Tension wasn’t vibed out to, and the Power Punk prowess of eventual Night 3 winnah One Fall wasn’t felt. But we heard it… through the grapevine… that a fun time was still had by all!