BEST MUSIC WEEK: Needy Visions, Hands and Knees, Thick Shakes free show 5 pm Downtown Crossing

It's been a rough year for local-music dinosaurs. The ever-irrelevant Boston Music Awards locked out the public and fulfilled their mission of becoming an event that only 250 industry types vote on or care about. And the Rumble, along with WBCN, has been shelved by its corporate overlords.

So when we huddled up to start thinking about the 2010 BEST MUSIC POLL -- Boston's only democratic expression of musical awesomeness -- we decided to try something new and simple. We wanted to showcase a bunch of up-and-coming bands without the fake-wrestling premise of a "battle." And we wanted to make those bands available to everyone who wants to see them, regardless of whether you "know someone." We also knew the Celtics were going to the NBA Finals, and that on Tuesday and Thursday you would need to be back in a bar or your living room by 9 pm. 

So here we are. Meet BEST MUSIC WEEK: Three nights, nine of Boston's best up-and-coming bands, for free, outdoors, in beautiful, up-and-coming Downtown Crossing. For full disclosure, the bands were chosen by (outgoing) music editor Michael Brodeur before the results of the Best Music Poll were harvested -- without knowing who the winners would be. Also, we purposefully did not announce the lineup until after voting had ended, so as not to give any of these bands an unfair advantage in the balloting. The results of the 2010 Best Music Poll will be released this Thursday at, just in time for the final night of Best Music Week. 

So get ready: the bands are going on at 5 and will be done by 8, which gives you a FULL HOUR to make it to wherever you're going for tipoff. 

Tonight, it's our great pleasure to present three bands who, if there was no Best Music Week, and there was still an Abbey Lounge, would probably be playing the Abbey. (Did we mention there's $3 16-oz Buds outdoors for our 21-plus folks?) 




For full details on this week's shows, check out 

TOMORROW: we let our favorite music blogs pick their favorite bands. Plus: RSVP now for the shwanky afterparty

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