[rumble night 6 recap + video] Motherboar's metal mayhem trumps competition


Rumble night #6 preliminary round winners: Motherboar

Al Polk sprinkled all kinds of warm sentiments of community and togetherness throughout the pageant of ridiculousness that bookended the 2012 ROCK 'N' ROLL RUMBLE preliminaries. “Fuck egos!” “We’re all winners!” Those sorts of sentiments. Maybe the STREIGHT ANGULAR ringleader wanted to be classy loser, having already gleaned that metal-marauders MOTHERBOAR had locked up an express ticket to the semis. Perhaps the occasion merited genuine neighborly feelings for all. Probably, both of those things were true. 

Previous primary round advancers Cask Mouse, Bow Thayer and the Perfect Trainwreck, and the Rationales don't necessarilly sound anything alike, but they're all playing with toys found in the same traditionalist and/or throwback-rock sandboxes. By its sixth night, the Rumble had slid into peril of predictability. As legendary imaginary bassist William Murderface would’ve said, the Rumble needed to ride “the Zazz-train to Zazzville.”

It needed...Hm...Maybe something like some fucking demon fucking summoning fucking METAL. UP IT'S ASS. After that, perhaps a prefab dance party where a gorilla, a lucha wrestler, and a glitter-bombing wolf showed up.

It's sort of like a cartoon Christmas special, where the characters all learn the true spirit of Christmas isn't materialism. I no longer have any reason to complain about who wins this thing, because it doesn't matter. Someday, somebody will say to me, “Hey, remember that time Sherman Burns, Motherboar, and Streight Angular played back-to-back and afterwards there was beer and squashed candy all over the place?” and I will say, “Yes, I do. That ruled.” Nicely done, Rock 'n Roll Rumble....Nicely done.

THE GRINDS - Last week, I called the Grinds a "punk" operation. Turns out, by attempting to familiarize myself with 20-or-so bands via listening to the first song on each of their bandcamps, I set myself up to oversimplify. (Hence my partially-true but mostly clueless tagging of Garvy J as "electro.") But if many of this year's Rumble all-stars are a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll, the Grinds are more like if Donny and Marie were kidnapped and brainwashed by Darby Crash. The Charlestownian combo is, indeed, "punk" but there's more to the story. In addition to definitely punky nail-spitters such as "I Don't Need You," they threw down a song you could swing dance to, and another that reminded me of AC/DC. A former Rumble judge explained to me that, due to the perpetuating results of feeding judges alcohol, opening the bill of any Rumble lineup always makes for a disadvantage. Unless your band is called something along the lines of "Mask Couse" and it happens to be Thursday, there's certainly some wisdom behind that statement.

SHERMAN BURNS - And then, shit got real. The erstwhile judge also told me he expected Sherman Burns to get docked for vocal delivery. I didn't understand WTF he was talking about, until it dawned on me that I was feeling what Josh MacGregor and Andrew Mildenberg drawled and screamed, but I didn't generally hear it. Perhaps the guitars were too loud, perhaps Sherman Burns had some difficulty reigning in their tidal waves of distortion, intricately weaved post-punky excursions and monstrously-killer drum smashing. They're still my new favorite out of all the Rumble bands I've experienced thus far. They're like if Protest the Hero dropped out of Berklee two months into freshman year and moved into a meth den in Allston. MacGregor bouncing onto the kick drum and then onto the floor was the craziest thing I had seen at the Rumble this year, and would remain so for about another 10 minutes.

MOTHERBOAR - I wrote "Theyre(sic) going to win" and underlined it in my notes between some scribbling about devil horns and the observation "needs more blast beats." I like being right, but I don't feel especially self-congratulatory about noticing the almost-obvious. Strictly in terms of crowd-enveloping calamity, The Grinds and Sherman Burns were in way over their heads. A brief list of what Motherboar brought to the game: Shades of '80s Metallica and '90s Pantera, blood-curdling exasperated bellows, a proverbial tornado of flying beer cups, multiple instances of crowd surfing, a woman riding around on somebody's shoulders punching nothing, and a mosh pit preemptively and single-handedly broken up by Anngelle Wood. During Sherman Burns's set, it occurred on me they'd make a semis bill alongside the likes of the Rationales or Cask Mouse feel lopsided. Motherboar shall present a similar problem...or advantage? It might make it easier for Motherboar to own this tournament and walk away with all the free studio time and photo shoots 'n stuff if all they have to do to stand way out from the pack is go on the same rampage they usually go on.

STREIGHT ANGULAR - Let it be noted that, while everyone went fucking bonkers for Motherboar, they went equally fucking bonkers for Streight Angular - albeit a gentler version of bonkers. I'm inclined to wonder if Al Polk and friends' penchant for theatricality might've been to their determent, as far as the competition goes. It's definitely harder to focus on playing psycheldelic pop when, in addition to a roomful of people yelling your lyrics back at you, a bunch of your friends are covered in neon war paint and dancing next to you and throwing candy around, plus there's a gorilla and a lucha wrestler who doesn't seem to know where to go or what to do running around on your stage. Then, as if you were Rick Santorum, which you're fairly certain you aren't, a werewolf glitterbombs you. If all the antics didn't garner Streight Angular extra favor with the judges, the audience was certainly a different story.  

I was kind of hoping Steight Angular would get a wild card nod, partly because I figured Sherman Burns was too crazy (sonically) to have a shot. Oh, me of little faith. Thick Shakes are fun, too, and they're also going to the next round. Now I am tired, so here's another Steight Angular video.  

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