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October 10, 2015

The Next Great American Band: Episode 3

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Nov 3rd 2007 12:52AM
he Next Great American Band(S01E03) The field of bands narrowed by two tonight on The Next Great American Band. So, we're down to ten bands who specialize in various genres. I'm not sure how much I enjoyed the way they did the reveal of the two bands going home. It seemed a bit needlessly cruel, kind of like cruel and unusual punishment.

Each band sang prepared and rehearsed one of their original songs and then a song from the vast array of Elton John and Bernie Taupin numbers. The bands were called out one by one to perform. If they performed, they had made the cut for the week. The two bands who didn't make it had to go through all the rehearsals and sit foolishly and uncomfortably waiting, the camera panning them throughout the show, until the very end. When it was down to three bands, poof.

Unlike the show, if you somehow missed it and are checking in, I'll stop the suspense. The bands going home were The Hatch and The Likes of You. I wasn't all that surprised by the exit of The Hatch. But I was a bit taken aback about The Likes of You heading home. From the fan reaction I saw, although they weren't my favorite, it seemed they were a shoo-in to make it through the round due to the lead singer. I guess you just never know, huh?

I'll give you the songs skinny and some of my observations on the remaining bands in the order they appeared on the show ... which was in no particular order. It didn't reflect the votes at all, so we're told.

SixWireEach band explained how their names came about -- I had assumed the name had something to do with six strings on the guitar. I was right. What do I win?

Their original song was "Gotta Get Away." I enjoyed it. Although I'm not the housewife Dicko thinks is their fan, I find this group put forth a professional effort and it's as good as, if not better, than many songs getting airplay.

Their cover song was "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me." Again, I thought they did well. All three judges -- John Rzeznik, Sheila E, and Dicko were favorable. I think this band has a great chance of making it towards the end of the show. I doubt they're in any danger of going home.

Très Bien
Tres BienWell, they got their name because someone blurted it out in French class. And, yes, I know it means very good. Not much of a story there and I personally think they need a new name.

They're cute kids and I have to admit their retro-60s garage band pseudo British invasion persona is catchy. That said, I wasn't all that sure they'd make the cut this week. Their original song "How I Feel" came across much better for me than their cover of "Love Lies Bleeding."

The judges all mentioned that the front man does better without a guitar and I think that may be why I felt the way I did, too. But then he couldn't jam with his buddies in 60s rock band poses!

Dicko mentioned something about them stealing from The Yardbirds. I was thinking more from The Dave Clark Five, but what do I know? Not my favorite band on the show, but I think they might make the cut through to next week.

Franklin Bridge
Franklin BridgeThis band's name came from exactly where I thought it did. I've been stuck in traffic on that bridge -- the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from Philly into Jersey.

I think they're one of the most talented and accomplished bands on a musician basis, but I got a bit irked at their smug attitude tonight -- or, to be more precise, the attitude of the lead singer. Hey, guy, don't act like you're LL Cool J and be so sure you're all that when you depend on votes to stay in.

Their original song "Love's Fool" was solid and very well-performed. They predictably sang "Philadelphia Freedom" for their cover. They did okay, but I don't think Elton John's song was quite their kind of music.

John, who seemed to love everything so far, loved them. Sheila reminded them that sometimes less is more and they should think simplicity. Dicko again mentioned that they over-arrange their songs. I think he nailed it with respect to the cover. I don't think they'll go next week, but if they do I say it's attitude!

The Clark Brothers
The Clark BrothersThey couldn't come up with a better name. Hey, it fits better than Shotgun Wedding, right?

You can tell these guys have played music all their lives. Their original song "Country Time" could surely sell on the country charts. Then, in keeping with a theme, they did a cover of "Country Comfort." I enjoyed both songs and found it amazing to watch and listen to these guys.

John loved them, as he should. Sheila E was glad they showed their versatility and calmed down. Dicko was also glad they calmed down. I don't know. While I enjoyed the music tonight, I really love the more active and hectic pace of their songs last week.

The judges think The Clark Brothers will go far, and so do I. The only stumbling block for them might be their genre. But that didn't stop Carrie Underwood from winning American Idol, did it? Mind you, I like their music -- I'm just not sure who all is voting out there.

Light of Doom
Light of DoomThey have no clue how they got their name. Hmm ... Mom or Dad, maybe? They have no clue what it means.

Judging from the fan reaction in the audience, these kids aren't going anywhere but back to rehearsals for next week. Their original song "Light of Doom" was hard rock, then their cover was "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting." Although named for their band which comes across as a bit juvenile, their original um ... rocked. I was surprised I enjoyed their cover as much as I did. Definitely nothing I'd run out to buy, but these kids just could have a music-buying fanbase.

And, more importantly, they all wore shirts.

John and Shela E gushed so much that Paula Abdul must have had ringing in her ears. Dicko is still creeped out by them, this week wondering if they're a plant for a shampoo and conditioner ad campaign. He thinks they're gimmicky, but good gimmicky. Now, that has always sold records. Gimmicks may not be long-lasting, but they sell.

Dot Dot Dot
Dot Dot DotThey took the name from a band which dissolved. I'm not sure why.

I was a bit surprised they made the cut. To me, this band is a bit 80s retro -- dang, look at the hair! While the lead singer is a good showman, he's all over the place.

Their original song "Stay" didn't really do anything for me, but it was suited to their band, so I can't say much. I was pleasantly pleased with their cover of "Your Song."

The judges weren't sure they'd make the cut to perform this week and noted they stepped up their performance. They think the lead singer should calm down a bit because he ends up out of breath while singing, not a good thing for sure.

I think Dot Dot Dot is still on thin ice.

Cliff Wagner and the Old #7
Cliff Wagner and the Old #7What a surprise for me that they made it through! Yay! I had forgotten how much I like bluegrass music when it's performed live. Cliff claims he got the band's name from Grisly Adams' donkey, old #7. After all, it can't be Jack Daniels.

I was dazzled by their original song "Little White Chapel" -- true original bluegrass and the judges nailed it right -- they're storytellers indeed. And, the John/Taupin cover was an excellent choice -- "Honky Cat."

The judges picked up on how much fun this band has and I think that's a part of bluegrass that those who pooh-pooh the genre don't see. It is fun.

I don't know how long a bluegrass band, even a great one like this one, will last in the competition, but I'm cheering these guys on. I love to watch them!

The Muggs
The MuggsThe name came about because one of them kept referring to others as "you mugs." They put the second "g" in because they didn't want to be coffee mugs.

I felt a bit let down by these guys this week after I listed them amongst my favorites last week. I enjoyed their original song "Should've Learned My Lesson" a lot. Heavy rock, fantastic musically. Their cover song "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" seemed to be an incongruous choice for their talents.

But when the judges once again mentioned the lead singer's voice really isn't doing the job for the band and they should be four piece with a new lead singer, the guy really indignant. I do think his voice worked fine on the original song, but he fell apart on the cover.

Dicko likened him to "Bart Simpson on helium." It pains me because I think they're very talented, but the cover did come across like that. They may be on thin ice for next week, too.

RocketI thought they might be gone, but then I thought the fact that they're the only female band may keep them in. Their name story was some odd thing in a parking lot. I wouldn't have thought the name would be available to a band, but I guess it was.

The lead singer went from looking like if Billy Idol's sneer and Cyndi Lauper had a love child to looking like Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, this week. Alas, her voice remained the same.

Their original song "Future Ex-Boyfriend" was certainly their style, but not my cuppa. Then, what a shock ... they sang "Rocketman" for the cover. "I'm not the man you know at home." I'd say not! I didn't like their cover, not at all.

Nor did the judges. John was kind in saying they won the audience over. But Sheila E said she needs more vocal training. When Glenda ... er, Lauren, got upset saying "I am who I am" and refused to even acknowledge that she needs to improve, Sheila E told her it was horrific and awful. Another attitude problem and a band I think is going to be gone next week.

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra
Denver and the Mile High OrchestraHis name is Denver, they're not from Denver. But they just came up with it to go along with his name.

I was sure The Likes of You had this last slot and didn't expect to see the big band. Their own song "All Night" was perfect for the band and, fitting the situation, they performed "I'm Still Standing" as the cover. They aren't a band whose music I'd run out and buy, but they do what they do well.

And, although I had no quibble with it, the lead singer didn't wear a red suit this week. Hey, they listened to Dicko!

Both John and Sheila E sang praises to them while Dicko commented on the dark suit, but didn't care for the tie. I don't think he cares for the band, but just isn't saying much.

So, there you go. I think the bands in trouble are The Muggs, Rocket, and Dot Dot Dot. Let me know what you think in the poll below!

What band should go home next week?
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra14 (3.3%)
Light of Doom65 (15.2%)
Rocket156 (36.4%)
Dot Dot Dot57 (13.3%)
Franklin Bridge16 (3.7%)
Clark Brothers8 (1.9%)
SixWire9 (2.1%)
The Muggs74 (17.3%)
Cliff Wagner and Old #712 (2.8%)
Tres Bien17 (4.0%)

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Actually, so far each band has gotton to pick their own covers off of a list of approved tunes. I heard that this will change this week and the producer wil assign songs.

November 05 2007 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really want to root for Rocket because some of the girls in the band are very talented, but the lead singer just needs so much work. They should move the lead guitarist from backing vocals to lead vocals and just dump the lead singer, it couldn't make it any worse I'd think. I still can't find the appeal of Franklin Bridge, I feel like half the band is playing one song and the other half playing another. I'm definitely with Dicko on that one. I do however adore the Clark Bros. I agree with Jackie, I kinda liked the frenetic pace of last week better, but musically they were still on point this week. One of the strongest bands. I was pleased to see The Likes of You didn't move on, there was way too much falsetto, and it wasn't even good falsetto at that. I'm still digging SixWire too, they've got a very easy listening commercial sound and I think they'll go far. And I was more impressed with Denver & The Mile High Orchestra this week than in any of the previous weeks, glad they cinched that last spot.

November 05 2007 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laura Fraker Cannon

Unfortunately the bands do not get to choose their own covers, the producers tell them what they'll play each week!

November 05 2007 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I concur with Michael above relating to the impartial position of this report. I also must speak about Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. My family and I have seen them in concert about (6) times over as many years. It thrills me to see them progress in this competition and must say.. this was a brilliant move for Denver to get his band in this competition. D&MHO is a well established and very well known christian band who lifts up the name of Christ with big band music and swing. Bringing their musical message to FOX is awsome!!! Will they win this thing?? I dont know.... They are clearly gaining momentum and turning heads. GO D&MHO!!

November 04 2007 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great comments and a nice review. I am glad to read someone who isn't just critical of everything. My comments are about Denver and the MHO. I really enjoyed this band. The difficulty of arranging, rehearsing and performing with this many instruments is really difficult. When I compared them musically against the others I was impressed. Tres Bien, Rocket, LOD, and dot,dot,dot do not have the musical chops to be on the show. Whether you like horn bands or not, you gotta give them props for how good they are in their genre.

November 04 2007 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another great review Jackie. I would have to agree with you on every band this week. I think the judges are being as fair as they can with the bands instead of heaping false praise on them and then some listen and some don't. Last week The Muggs were open and listened to their shortcomings and this week I think their reaction to it will kill them. I was thinking the same thing though, that they could really use a good front man so the guitar player can just play. Tres Bien is another band that should be focusing on their musicianship and it doesn't look like they are to me. They could also be at risk very easily.

I'm with you on some of the surprises though. I'd buy a single of Honky Cat in a heartbeat! That was the cover gem of the night IMHO. Denver is another one that surprised me and Sheila E's comment was spot on when she said the EWF & Chicago horns would be proud of their arrangements. I don't think people realize how difficult it is to arrange that many instruments on each and every song. Nicely done guys! I think that Franklin Bridge could learn a thing or two from them when it comes to the "less is more" thing. There's a lot to their arrangements but its tight and succinct instead of all over the place.

Keep up the good work Jackie. This has turned into a much different show than I'd expected.

November 04 2007 at 6:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only bands that are worthwhile are Sixwire, Franklin Bridge and The Clark Brothers. The rest are novelty acts at best (Denver, Light of Doom, Old #7) or don't have the vocal chops (Rocket, Muggs). I like Dot Dot Dot and Tres Bien, but they aren't even in the same league as the top three.

One thing that sets SW and Cbros and FBridge off from the rest is that their songs sound like radio hits right now. I like bluegrass, but their can be only one Allison Krauss even if Old #7's songs are nicely story driven.

It seems to me Dicko doesn't like overproduced records, but I don't see him as much of an R&B/Soul kinda guy. I love that FB can bring the rock and the soul and I think they have the most unique sound of the bands performing.

My guess is that I'll hear a SW or Clark Bros song on the radio, but I'll download the Franklin Bridge album.

November 03 2007 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is even worse than Phenomenon. It's like they managed to find the worst bands in the world to compete against each other. One thing they are good at is making you completely uninterested in a show.

It's about time for some American Idol. At least it is well-produced.

November 03 2007 at 8:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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