Many local musicians are breathing a sigh of relief. The 2011 Rock ’N’ Roll Rumble saw the return of this longstanding annual battle of the bands in its new home, T.T. the Bears. This Boston music scene tradition took a break in 2010 after WBCN, the radio station that started the knockout competition in 1979, switched up its programming and its local music show, Boston Emissions, jumped stations to WZLX. Anngelle Wood hosts the program, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m., and she organizes the Rumble, too.
“I was never not going to do the Rumble,” she says in an are-you-kidding tone. “There were a few factors involved in rebooting it and sometimes something has to go away to be missed.”
And Wood’s expectations have definitely been met.
“The shows have been awesome — full, hot and sweaty — exactly what I was hoping for,” she says. “The city has been very receptive to its return.”
One competitor, Mike Epstein, whose former band The Motion Sick played the 2009 Rumble and his current duo, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, made it through to the semi-finals this year, is relieved the Rumble returned. Despite not making it to the finals, Epstein says it’s allowed him to meet people he might not ordinarily meet and hear bands he might otherwise miss out on.
“It was sorely missed last year,” he says, “and without Anngelle’s work, we may have lost it for good.”
Show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
If there’s one thing about the Rumble that tops other band battles, it’s respect for competitors. It’s not just the winner that comes out with cash.
“Get this,” says Epstein. “They even decided to pay the bands more than what was planned for the semi-final nights, after the attendance at all the shows exceeded cautious expectations!”