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October 4, 2015

The Next Great American Band: Episode 2

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Oct 27th 2007 10:01AM
The Next Great American Band(S01E02) So there I was last night ... stuck in the crowds heading to see Bon Jovi in Newark and I said to myself, "No! I cannot succumb! I promised JJ Hawkins I'd sit in this week to review The Next Great American Band while he's on vacation!" No Bon Jovi live for me -- give me the Light of Doom! Unfortunately, a lot of the Bon Jovi fans heading to the concert looked like the Light of Doom boys albeit with shirts on. Odd.

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.

The Hatch

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.)

The Light of Doom

Light of Doom on The Next Great American BandMMMBop 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.

The Likes of You

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.


Rocket on The next Great American BandI'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.

Cliff Wagner and the Old #7

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.

The Muggs

The Muggs on The Next Great American BandI 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.

The Clark Brothers

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?

Très Bien

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.

Franklin Bridge

Franklin Bridge on The Next Great American BandOkay, 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.

Dot Dot Dot

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!


Sixwire on The Next Great American BandYes, 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.

Which band do you want gone next week?
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra39 (8.7%)
The Hatch38 (8.5%)
Light of Doom82 (18.3%)
The Likes of You26 (5.8%)
Rocket73 (16.3%)
The Muggs19 (4.3%)
Cliff Wagner and the Old #722 (4.9%)
The Clark Brothers13 (2.9%)
Tres Bien16 (3.6%)
Franklin Bridge15 (3.4%)
Dot Dot Dot90 (20.1%)
Sixwire14 (3.1%)

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Hall & Oates are the best in the business. Anyone would be honored to open for them. (Stones are OK, right?)

November 01 2007 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think DOt dot dot is good and really don't see the big deal with the franklin bridge band.And since when do they sound like prince.Go DOT DOT DOT

October 30 2007 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love The Likes of You!! I think Geoff Byrd did go into his falsetto a little too much, but he has an amazing voice, hopefully he'll get another chance and show what he and the band are capable of.

October 29 2007 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Music really is subjective I guess. Neither myself or my roommate get the appeal of Franklin Bridge at all. I can't seem to hear any musicality to what they do, to me it all sounds like they're playing different songs. But most others seem to enjoy them, very interesting. I definitely think The Clark Bros have something special, and it's not just how adorable they are. Also loving Six Wire and I'm most certainly not a housewife, they just gel well together and have an easy listening sound, I could listen to a whole CD of them. I liked The Hatch more in the auditions than after Dylan night. And they teeny boppers have to go. I see a future full of alcohol, drugs and rehab for those little boys if they get too famous at age 12.

October 29 2007 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No offense to the reviewer, but there are literally hundreds if not thousands of more talented musicians of the same age as Light of Doom on YouTube. Heck, go search out the Paul Green School of Rock performances, puts most of these contestant bands to shame.

Isn't this show going to get cancelled anyway as it's ratings are less than 2 ratings pts and are trending down.

October 28 2007 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dot Dot Dot is the only one worth following, but I cannot force myself to watch a show with a man named "Dicko" judging the participants. Yet another "American Flop". They should really just stick with Idol here. It's not working.

October 27 2007 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

well I feel everyone is entitled to their thoughts but All though I feel dot dot dot might be a little high strung I feel they did a really good job, not to say that I dont see any of you all sitting up on stage and doing this and trying out . It is funny how we can be so judgemental , and yet I dont see anyone of you all up there

October 27 2007 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really hate it when incompetant people write reviews. Denver's version of "Freight Train Blues" was NOT "swing". Please know something about the genres you are discussion if you are going to write a review. Much appreciated.

October 27 2007 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Could Dot Dot Dot be any bigger posers? I had to leave the room halfway thru their song - horrible.

I was thinking the same thing about the no shirts on Light of Doom as Sheila E was - there's something wrong with shirtless pubescents. But, musically, they're amazing for their ages.

Love Sixwire, Franklin Bridge, Cliff Wire. Was pleasantly surprised how much I liked The Likes of You.

Clark Bros. to win it all.

October 27 2007 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

these are the 12 best undiscovered bands in America? The Muggs & The Clark Brothers & the Bluegrass band are good; Franklin Bridge is ok for me; the rest seem incredibly hacky.

October 27 2007 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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