Well, I’m sure glad that’s over. I’m listening to Cream as I write this, because I’m living in the past where it is safe. Before I get started on the bands, I’d like to say a few words about the show in general. Let’s pretend the Show is one of the bands, and I’m some person associated with the music industry who had nothing better to do and needed and/or wanted some easy cash and became a judge. You don’t need to pretend that I’m wearing a powdered wig, because I am. And it’s not on my head. Look, Show, I want to like you. It would make my job a lot easier. I wish I could be John Rzeznik and tell you that you were great and amazing, yeah, well done, wow, yeah, and then vote how I think my fellow judges want me to vote, but I can’t. Like many of the bands that were sent home, you are not tight. FOX has given you a terrific opportunity to succeed, airing you at the perfect pre-party time slot, when the youngsters have not yet dropped the ecstasy and are still waiting for their beer to be bought, and all of the moms and dads have not yet dozed off from a hard week of putting up with life. You would think you would have made an effort to get your shit together, just like Beth Hart told you. Whose idea was it to conduct this episode outside on an open stage, in the wind, where sound evaporates like spilled acetone on a high school lab table? Was the desert setting supposed to be a metaphor for something? If it was, I didn’t catch it, unless it was to represent the desolation of the music industry.
It wasn’t all bad. Some of the pieces worked well. I like Dicko “Slappy” Dickson. He provided practical and relevant repartee, without the Simonish conceit, almost to the point where I thought he may have had employed writers, like Paul Lynde on Hollywood squares. Sheila E. surprised me, only because of my own preconceptions of not being greatly familiar with her, and for some reason she always gave me the impression of Aunt Bea from The Andy Griffith Show. Please excuse me while I use this platform to apologize to her. Sorry about that, Sheila E. Her feedback to the bands ranged seamlessly from soothing and supportive to instructional to unrelenting, bordering on nasty. Nice. Dominic Bowden, the host, didn’t host as much as he side-line reported. But he was competent and non-annoying, which was more than I expected. The show’s editing didn’t do him any favors. The editing was the biggest problem with the production. It made the show plod like the bass player from Northmont (according to Dicko). I’m purposely writing this in a plodding manner to emulate the plodding in which the show was portrayed just so the world can be reminded how annoying it is.
Oh, and if you couldn’t tell by what I talked about in the first paragraph, John Rzeznik was pretty much a dish rag. Is it that hard to find a musician with a brain and a personality? I guess they couldn’t convince Danny Elfman to abandon his dignity. You know, it’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more? I assume Rzeznik is there more for his looks than anything else. Not that I think he’s cute or anything. Don’t tell him I said anything. Don’t! Just shut up! Don’t tell him! You’re a jerk! SHUT UP! I can’t believe how much of an asshole you are. Gahhhhhhhd!
In between the real contestants, the Idol-like show forced us to witness crap. Many of these bands were displayed in montage, because montage is French. So, I will do the same because I want to be French, too. I present to you, the filler, comic-relief bands: Rubber chicken, toe bassing, theremin vibrating, ballroom dancing, glass shattering Celtic women, cardboard horsehead, polka, goth rock silliness with no guitar, middle aged Martians, Latin lack of musicianship and a pathetic dissented band for their daughters. That’s all anybody needs to know about them, but I will talk about the band for daughters later.
Of the bands that made the cut, two bands stand out, as far as I can tell, considering what I think the show is looking for. One of them is Tres Bien, a band of son’s of hippies, who grew up on 60's rock. Evidently, none of them were allowed to listen to the radio during their childhood, so all they could listen to was what their parents used to brainwash them. I did a similar thing with my son, which is why he’s the only kid in his high school with a Foghat t-shirt. Tres Bien have a White Stripes meets Jet feel that may be sceneable, but could grow old. The bass player could stand to lay off the Ding Dongs for a few months.
The other band that I think has potential to win is a band called Franklin Bridge, because Rzeznik said, “amazing, wow, yeah” about them. Their sound was a mix of R&B and rock, with a little bit of boy-band thrown in. It sounded fresh to me, but that could be due to the fact that I haven’t showered in a few weeks. Although, they should hire some back up singers, because the guys in the band doing the back up singing all sound like Patrick from Spongebob.
As for the rest of the bands, here is what I can remember.
Light of Doom is a heavy metal band of 12 and 13 year olds. Light of Doom? These kids today are so negative. They rocked pretty good (grammar note: “rocked pretty good” is the proper term. Only snooty people say, “rocked pretty well”. You don’t rock well. When you rock well, you steal songs from Huey Lewis.). If they weren’t so young, they would have never made the cut. Just like Bad Religion said, this is just another human interest story. However, they get extra credit for citing their influences as ninjas, boobs and explosions. The world would be a much happier place if we were all inspired by those things.
The Hatch made it, but only because Sheila E. wants to do the lead singer. Their song almost stopped, non-poetically, at one point. Their style was that of a bland Matchbox 20. It will be interesting to tune in each week to see how far Sheila gets with the singer.
The Clark Brothers are a religious version of Hanson. Jesus doesn’t mmmmBop, so they’ll have to take it into a different direction if they want to succeed on the mainstage. But, they do jam, as far as their lord will allow them to. If you’re looking for a shredding mandolin, this is your band.
Zombie Bazooka Patrol used to be just an ordinary county pop band going nowhere until they decided they wanted to be on this show. So, they painted their faces like zombies to astound the judges. And astound they did. And in doing so, they established a new genre – Hoot’n-anny Death Pop. They don’t need the zombie shtick to be a good band, but I think the discordance between that and their music threw the judges off just enough to keep them on the show. I like these guys.
I’m actually on Dot Dot Dot’s emailing list. The two rockin’ chicks in the band used to be in a band called Catfight that prowled the Chicago area, who’s email list I was on. One of their singers, Gina, was on last year’s American Idol. When Catfight disbanded (although they won’t admit it) each subsequent band the girls joined appropriated Catfight’s address list. I’ve never been to one of Dot Dot Dot’s shows, but I can vouch for their guitarist and bass player. My brother, Dr Jellyfinger, and I fell in love with Rose, the guitarist, the last time we saw Catfight. Having said that, I thought Dot Dot Dot’s performance on the show was disjointed, and Adam, the lead singer was trying too hard. They have an 80's pop sound that could prove favorable to the judges if "retro" ever makes it out of the 70's.
The Muggs brought some drama along with them. Their bass player had a stroke back in 2001. Because of that, he learned to play bass on the keyboard. They play a version of 70’s rock that you would think is applicable for today, because of all this retro smog we’ve been breathing. But, they don’t fit the Johnnie Bravo suit, so they probably won’t win this competition. They would be the first band out of all of these contestants I’d go see.
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra is a big band band with a flare for rock. Their’s was my favorite performance of the evening. Slappy Dicko criticized Denver, the lead singer, for not having the chick-magnet look and for having too much Ned Flanders in him. They must not get the Simpsons in Australia, because we all know Ned Flanders has a giant mustache and would never wear such a gaudy suit.
Six Wire is a band out of Nashville. They described their style as “edgy country”. Works for me, but they won’t win. Well, maybe they can. Depends on how many country fans watch the show and can climb the telephone pole to vote.
Speaking of voting on telephone poles, Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 is a blue grass band that just doesn’t give a shit. And that’s how they remained on the show. Slappy Dicko, although he loved their music, condemned their blue grassness and asked if they were able to blue-grass up an ABBA song, to show they could at least tickle the pop world. They played a blue grass version of Like a Virgin, as far as Cliff could remember the words, anyway. I couldn’t believe they made the cut, but they did. If I ever throw a hayride, I’ll hire them for the entertainment.
The Likes of You. They didn’t show much of this band. The lead singer looks like a bald David Justice and I don’t think he has testicles. They breezed over two other bands at this point, one of which was Red Halo. I guess I’ll need to tune in next week to find out. It’s quite a cliffhanger they left for me.
Rocket is an all girl punk band. They played The Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop. I didn’t feel the punk. Maybe I would have if they played an original. It’s hard to match The Ramones for punkness. In their interview they brought up the issue of being a girl band and the inherent struggles related in competing against boy bands. I think if they would quit considering themselves a girl band it would maybe help them in that struggle. Just rock out, BITCHES! Ok, that was out of line. And we wonder why girl bands have a harder road.
I think that was all of the bands who were accepted to move on. I’m not sure. They raced through the contestants at the end. Who do they think I am, Evelyn Wood?
I’d like to end this review on a positive note.
The worst part of the show dealt with this horrible band called Northmont. The show used Northmont as an element of drama to keep the soap opera watchers interested throughout the show. Now that I think about it, the show did have a flow similar to a soap opera. Northmont was allowed to perform twice, because, as far as I can figure, two of the band members have daughters who really want them to win and this is the band’s last chance to make something of themselves because, basically, they are quitters. Their first performance was, as Rzeznik’s only worthwhile comment stated, desperate. Sheila E. roasted the bass player (alright, Sheila, yeah!) and Slappy Dicko told them to go back and think about what they’ve done. So, instead of firing the bass player and hiring Sid, they yelled at each other and gave it another go. This was all being presented to us in little snippets of dissention throughout the show. Add to that the singer and guitar player’s bemoanments of letting their daughters down by not making it as rock stars, and the result is a massive pathetic goo. I disappoint my daughter all the time. It’s no big deal. Children are resilient. They get used to it. I’m not one to “blah blah blah” through details but blah, blah, blah, the bass player still sucked (plodded as Dicko said) and the band was not cohesive. The judges admired the lead singer for his aplomb, but I thought he was disappointing, and I’m not even his daughter. Northmont is off the show now. I’m glad that’s over.
I can’t wait until next week!