The Next Great American Band: Episode 2
This is going to be an interesting show to watch throughout the season. With such diversity and so many bands who excel in their own genre, I'll have to stick around to who wins in the end.
I suppose I should make a bit of a disclaimer before I get into the performances and the bands. Y'see, I'm kind of old school when it comes to my music. Now, I'm not a total Bob Dylan purist, but I started collecting his works on vinyl. I realize that I'm probably not typical of many who will be voting for bands on the show even though I'm planning on watching it each week. I watched last week and was a bit disappointed in the manner in which they presented the auditions. I felt much better about the way they presented the bands tonight.
I do enjoy some of almost every kind of music imaginable, but when I heard that tonight's show would feature Dylan covers and an original from each band, I was a happy person. After hearing a few bands mangle Dylan, maybe not so much. Enough of this ... are you ready to rock?
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra
Okay, we're talking a big band. Are big bands always necessarily swing bands? I don't think it's dictated that the must be swing, especially if they're doing a blues song. They could have had such potential to offer a solid blues cover of Dylan's "Freight Train Blues," but instead turned it into a jitterbug or something. Why, oh, why?They're good in their genre, though. Their original song "One Time Show" fit their talents perfectly. Unlike Dicko, I actually liked the red "clown" suit on the front man. I can see this band doing well in smaller venues in Vegas or something. They have talent enough, but I'm comparing them in my mind to the old style big bands from the 40s and up through a rock era big band like Brian Setzer Orchestra. They're just too vanilla for me. Yes, they dance around a lot, but I'm just not feeling it.
John Rzeznik and Shelia E. both sang praises of the band. Dicko wasn't thrilled. I'll go with Dicko on this one.
I so wanted to like this quasi-local band. Heck, I want their Brooklyn loft to myself. While they didn't totally slaughter Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," they didn't do it any favors either. I've heard worse, yes. But their cover was forgettable. I don't think that's such a good thing.
Their original song was sort of a pop bouncy (you notice I use all the best technical terms, right?) tune called "Stretch Out the Time." I thought it was decent -- perhaps nothing I'd buy for myself, but I think there could be a market for their songs based on that one.
John thought they did well with the cover, but their original needed more of a hook. Sheila E. thought they were clumsy on the cover and should own it. Dicko thinks they confuse jamming with performing because of living together jamming all the time. (I said I'd take that loft.)
MMMBop meets AC/DC, these kids are a hoot. I personally don't think they should win, but knowing the voting records on these shows, they just might. They're very talented for their ages, but I agree with the judges that they should wear shirts. I'm sorry, but twelve years old ain't too sexy for your shirt.
They did a better job with Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" than I thought they would but I still prefer Hendrix. Okay, that's not really fair, I know. Their original song "Eye of the Storm" showed more talent than your average kids, for sure. Nothing I'd buy, but if preteen girls start getting into heavy rock done by preteen boys, they'll sell out stadiums.
John and Sheila were complimentary with Sheila adding "get shirts." Dicko's comment made me laugh out loud -- "A bit spooky, like Children of the Corn with guitars." These kids wouldn't be my choice for the win, but they're good at what they do for the ages they are. I have to give them credit for that.
I think Dicko might have nailed it when he said the band was put together just as a vehicle for the front man. And, I'm not sure if opening for Hall and Oates in 2000-something is much to get all excited about. Two decades ago, it would be a great gig, not so much these days.
As for the front man, I don't like the overuse of the falsetto -- noted also by every judge. I think they might have "owned" Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" only because Bob Dylan would disown it after hearing them sing it. That falsetto becomes a one-trick-pony when it's abused. For me, their original song "Love and Gravity" was distracting due to the constant slipping in the falsetto. Your mileage may very, but they're not my cuppa tea until the lead singer cuts that out. Now and then, okay. Too often is too much.
I'm glad they have a girl band. I'm not all that sure I'm glad that it's this particular girl band. It's sort of like Billy Idol's sneer and Cyndi Lauper had a love child who grew up to be the lead singer of the band. Don't get me wrong -- I like classic punk. Is there such a thing? The Clash, Ramones, Iggy Pop, etc. But these girls are doing Valley Girl Punk.
How can you do an up tempo "Knocking on Heavem's Door"? Blasphemy! What the hell was with that "knock, knock, knock, knock" background? As for their own original song "Mean to You" -- um, well. It might do well in clubs and small venues, but I don't see this group becoming the Next Great American Band.
The judges hit the nail on the head with comments about the lead singer's voice needing more training and the musicians needing more work. Sheila played Paula Abdul with them and loved them. Dicko said they need tightening up. Yes, they do.
Oh, I know these guys probably aren't going to win, but what they do in their genre is fantastic. I don't think the bluegrass market is big enough to push them through for long, but I'm going to enjoy them while they're there. For me, they were the first ones of the night to do justice to a Dylan song -- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." Their original song, "Old Fire," could probably do well on the country charts if it got out there. Watching them reminded me how amazing bluegrass can be when the talent is there. The talent is there with these guys; I just don't think the show's audience will support bluegrass.
John and Sheila seemed to enjoy them as much as I did. Dicko was a bit less enthusiastic.
I think this group has a lot of talent, too. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this time is right for them. They remind me of some of the more talented stand-out bands in the early 70s and I'm not sure if their musical style will hit a note with fans voting on the show.
They sang Dylan's "Meet Me in the Morning." It wasn't Dylan, but an acceptable cover thereof. They're better on the musical side of things than the vocals, but Dylan's vocals were suspect at times, too. Their original song "Slow Curve" was a track I'd probably buy -- the first one tonight that I'd consider buying at all.
The judges all raved -- John called the lead guitarist his new guitar hero. Dicko mentioned the vocals and how he needs to gain confidence. I agree. I like this band.
Give me some Dobro and I'm a happy woman. These brothers are amazing! They're easy on the eyes, too. Once again, I'm not sure if their style or basic genre is going to keep the votes coming in. They're cute, so that may help. But, they've got talent galore. I hope they go far -- I enjoy their performances immensely.
They did Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" and even made it their own. Guess what? I liked how they did it even if they changed it up a lot. Their original song "Billy the Kid" could easily grow on me, too. (Making a note: Muggs and Clark Brothers -- find some downloads.)
John and Sheila were as pleased as I was with them. Dicko wasn't keen on "Maggie's Farm." Hey, music is a subjective thing, right?
They seem like nice little throwback to the 60s British Invasion pop imitations, but I wasn't overly impressed with either of their performances tonight. They sang Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." It wasn't horrid, but I don't think it was good either. It was just sort of there.
I found their original song "Easy to Love Me" sort of sophomoric and akin to a garage band with a national audience. The Next Great American Band? I think not. There could be a market, but the show has folks with much more talent. John was complimentary, Sheila wasn't. Dicko made some comment about cute 60s draft-dodgers.
Okay, back to talent. These guys are professionals. All I can say really is "Wow." They sang Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue" and while Dicko thought they over-arranged it, I found it one of the best covers (if not the best) of the night. The lead singer has a stage presence second to none. I don't care if it sounded like Prince singing the song. Prince is a talented dude.
Their original song, "Incredible," was pretty incredible, too. Someone sign these guys. I went to their MySpace page and listened to a bit there, too.
Sheila thought they should win (definitely worthy of the win). John thought they were unbelievable. Me? I can't believe they're right over in Philly and I've never heard of them before. Whether they win or not, good things are going to happen for this band.
Then there's Dot Dot Dot. As far as entertainment, giving a show, this band is good. They're very entertaining -- kind of like a Boy George and Culture Club gone wild into the next millennium. They sang Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" not quite as I ever would have imagined it could be sung. Their original song "Another Stupid Love Song" wasn't my favorite. I'll be polite, I promise.
I didn't like them except for the watching and comparing to an antsy Boy George.
Dicko said they needed a bit less hyper emo leprechaun. That's it!
Yes, another band I'm enjoying! They sang "Mr. Tambourine Man" with more of the Byrds slant to it rather than Dylan, but a solid cover. Their own song "Good To Be Back" was a solid rocker. I might have to seek them out for downloads, too.
While Dicko called them the "housewives' choice," I like them, but they aren't quite my favorites in the competition. Then again, I'm not a housewife. John thought they were amazing; Sheila thinks they could win.
I'm not sure on the win, but they should last a long time on the show.
Next week two bands will leave the show, not performing for the crowd. Your regular reviewer, JJ, should be back. Me? I'll be at home watching. And if Dot Dot Dot stays and Sixwire goes, I'll be ticked off.
|Denver and the Mile High Orchestra||39 (8.7%)|
|The Hatch||38 (8.5%)|
|Light of Doom||82 (18.3%)|
|The Likes of You||26 (5.8%)|
|The Muggs||19 (4.3%)|
|Cliff Wagner and the Old #7||22 (4.9%)|
|The Clark Brothers||13 (2.9%)|
|Tres Bien||16 (3.6%)|
|Franklin Bridge||15 (3.4%)|
|Dot Dot Dot||90 (20.1%)|