We?ll never get to hear the banjo?d-out version of ?No Expectations? or ?Honky Tonk Women? or whatever Stones song Cliff Wagner & the Old #7 were plotting before they got deep-sixed last Friday night. Americans with money and phones have voted, and bluegrass ain?t part of Next Great American Band?s agenda.
That?s okay, it?s a pop and rock world we live in, especially when you?re selling blocks of commercial time in a talent contest, so we?re now down to six outfits that are going to take us through the start of ’08. I?ve still got my fingers crossed for Tres Bien, who did the shimmy-shimmy-shake on ?Get Off My Cloud? (with a ?Satisfaction? guitar riff thrown in for you dudes who miss mash-ups) and conjured a vibe out of That Thing You Do.
All in all, it was a surprisingly fun romp through the Jagger-Richards songbook, with no one ? except for the big-band nimrods ? embarrassing themselves. The metal rugrats should have told Dicko to sticko and come out sans shirts for their ?Jumping Jack Flash? romp. Something very odd about seeing an 11-year-old from the San Diego suburbs singing that he was ?born in a cross-fire hurricane,? but the Light of Doom kid swings his hair around really well; I believed him for a sec or two. And the praying pickers in the Clark Brothers summoned the dangers of the devil quite convincingly with their judge-pleasing ?Gimme Shelter.?
Whatever you do, don?t mock the judges on this show ? America will boot your ass to the street. Last week the TNGAB?s three pundits told The Muggs? Danny and Rocket?s Lauren hone their vocals, and each either made a puss or directly snarled at the comments. Friday night both bands were dumped. Rock ?n? roll is supposed to be about attitude to some degree, but pop-rock, especially when it comes to this Fox fodder, needs to wag its tail and woof politely if it wants to hang tight.
In most venues, the “green room” is where an artist waits to take the stage. But in The Next Great American Band, it also holds the trap door that drops the losers into oblivion. On Friday night, voters pulled the lever on The Hatch and The Light of Day. Did you hear their screams for help as they plummeted? Did you see their tears? Well, no big loss. Both outfits were mawkish and generic, and ultimately we knew they’d head home with their Strats between their legs. .
Friday’s show was about three things: band names, Elton John, and bad singing. Here’s the list.
Sixwire: The ersatz Eagles outfit adored by all three judges once called themselves The Remnants. Their version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” sounded like Kenny Loggins fronting REO.
Tres Bien: a fan once asked if their moniker meant “Three Beans.” Viewers know that it actually means “Garage Band version of the Turtles,” though Dicko rightly busted ‘em for pilfering a Yardbirds vibe.
Franklin Bridge: Evidently they’ve always been named FB, explaining that it’s a crucial connector that unites Jersey with Philly. Yawn. Their spin on 24-7 Spyz has some prog to it; nice to hear the funkateers getting their Yes on. Yours is no disgrace.
The Clarke Brothers: Early on, the twang sibs wanted to call themselves both Sasafras and Shotgun Wedding, but they stuck with the tedious surname approach. Their spin through “Country Comfort” gave Johnny Rzeznik “goosebumps.”
Light of Doom: The metal Hanson have always been Light of Doom. They even played a song called “Light of Doom.” And, god love ‘em, they haven’t a clue as to what the name might represent. They also haven’t a clue as to the real name of Elton’s lyricist. “Here’s a version of a song by Elton John and Bernie Poppin‘,” said the lead longhair before tearing into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”