The Answer Of Who Will Be Eliminated This Week Is Blowin’ In The Wind

Oct 29th, 2007 // 11 Comments

ngab.jpgThis week’s episode of The Next Great American Band introduced the show’s American Idol-like phase, where the remaining bands go head-to-head in the hopes of winning the love of a small sliver of America. (Ratings on the show plunged 20% from the week before, coming in behind WWE SmackDown.) This week, the remaining bands had to embark on the near-impossible task of covering one of American music’s biggest icons–think I’m Not There, only the part of Cate Blanchett is played by Michael Keaton’s kid. Badly.

The 12 finalists–yes, the powers that be narrowed down the field pretty quickly, although I’m kind of glad that I didn’t have to sit through three weeks of fortysomething dudes in clown makeup trying to be “seriously” “funny”–were forced to play two songs on this week’s episode: An original song and a Bob Dylan cover. Because that’s what every up-and-coming band does when they want to really overreach, of course! As you might expect, the results were decidedly mixed-bordering-on-bad, although there were a few bands who almost redeemed the concept–or at least they would have if not for the large Dylan pictures that were looming over them on video screens as they tried to knock on heaven’s door.

THE GOOD: The drumless, picking-and-shredding-old-instruments trio the Clark Brothers tore through a pretty decent version of “Maggie’s Farm,” while Franklin Bridge showcased its completely sick drummer on “Tangled Up In Blue” and an original song that it dedicated to the victims of the California wildfires.

THE BAD: The Hatch–a.k.a. “the band with Michael Keaton’s kid”–not only played a wedding-band version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” the lead singer almost took out his bass player while he was careening around the stage. The Likes of You–a Los Angeles band who didn’t even rate a bit in the show’s opening episode (Zombie Bazooka Patrol, you are still missed)–gave “Blowin’ In the Wind” the “Brown Eyed Girl” happy-boogie treatment. And the alt-rock-by-numbers outfit Dot Dot Dot somehow decided to transform “Like A Rolling Stone” into a buzz ballad; the results were slightly better than what Eve 6 might have done with it, but when you’re trotting out that comparison, you know things are pretty dire.

WOMEN IN ROCK WATCH: And so we come to Rocket, the all-female band from Los Angeles who, the front-”sexy lady” (she asked to be called that) claims, is “just as good as any boys out there.” They’re a competent-enough pop-punk band, although said frontwoman is all stage presence–flipping hair, bouncing, fingerless gloves–and no vocals. Their version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” saw lyrical interpretation as an afterthought, although their original track wouldn’t have sounded out of place at the tail end of a Lookout! sampler from 1996. On the bright side, the lead singer’s obvious lack of lung power prompted Johnny Rzeznik to utter the name “Siouxsie Sioux” on an Idol-produced telecast for the first time ever.

WHO WE VOTED FOR: Well, we would have voted for the Clark Brothers and Franklin Bridge had we not had social obligations on Friday night; as it was, we watched the show on DVR delay and missed the two-hour window for voting. (Also, why isn’t there a text-messaging option for voting on this show? Did the biz-dev department, upon seeing Band‘s Friday-night graveyard slot, get the hint that setting up a catchy short code for this show wouldn’t be worth the meetings?)

WHO AMERICA WILL PROBABLY CUT: Given that the ratings for Band have been so low, the first week of phone-in voting will probably come down to demographics/the power of “cute.” Which means that all the roots acts–the Rascal Flatts-in-training Sixeyes, the Clark Brothers, the bluegrassy Cliff Wagner–are probably safe. As is The Hatch, if only because of the lead guy’s looks/fame one-two punch. So who does that leave? The Muggs, who came off like a choogly bar band and weren’t even bad as much as unmemorable (even if one of them suffered a stroke), will be the first to go, and they’ll be followed by Dot Dot Dot, who may be even cheesier than any fake band dreamed up by Law & Order‘s writing team.

Next week: Two bands get the boot, and the 10 remaining bands run through the oeuvre of David Bowie–which sounds terrifying, although a spitfiery Clark Brothers version of “Little Wonder” could actually be kind of terrific. Are you listening, producers?

The Next Great American Band
Earlier: Idolator’s American Bandom archives
[Photo via AV Club]

  1. SmedIndy

    I thought it was Elton John & Bernie Taupin. I do think that the big band will get voted off as well. Sixwire (not Sixeyes) will probably win, and that means America is just as lame on this show as they are on Idol. Oh, and Sixwire already had a recording contract and had a couple of top 40 country singles about five years ago.

  2. Jack Fear

    PUT YOUR SHIRT ON

  3. MTS

    Whoever thought aping Sally Mann was a good idea? I am totally creeped out by those children. Totally.

  4. brasstax

    I really hope Fox follows through and takes this show to its conclusion, despite the ratings (they had to be aware that no one watches television on Friday nights except for moms and dads and thirty-somethings like me with no social obligations). Sixwire is by far the most radio-ready band in the competition, and I’d probably even buy an mp3 of their version of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but I’m really rooting for The Clark Brothers.

    Dot Dot Dot is maybe the most terrible thing ever. When they were done, I actually wanted to punch them all in the face.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m hooked on this show. :/

    I would love to go to Franklin Bridge show, that drummer is so fucking ridiculous.

  6. gorillavsmarykate

    What up to the person who notified y’all to the Michael Keaton kid! (Me.)

  7. Laurrel

    The info keeps saying it’s Bowie but the host said it would be Elton John.

    Perhaps they knew it would be canceled before that had to be sorted out?

  8. Chris Molanphy

    No one on the Bowie show will do him as much justice as I already saw this year in “Bowie’s in Space.”

    Clark Bros. won the week, hands down. I didn’t know you could play “Maggie’s Farm” like that; for a bunch of near-Osmonds, they managed to play it in their idiom without neutering the nastiness of Dylan’s words. Trés impressive.

    I’m with SmedIndy: Sixwire are impressive, but I don’t know what they’re doing on the show. They should’ve been disqualified before the first audition round. On Idol that sort of thing would rise to the level of total scandal.

    I said nice things here last week about Muggs, but I want to recant: they totally wilted on the big stage. Everything I found impressive about them in the audition, in an impressively-competent, journeyman context, was revealed as bar-band-boring in front of an audience. So, sorry about that.

    I was also surprised to be a little less wowed by Franklin Bridge this time around. The musicianship continues to be wondrous, but Dicko was right-on when he told them to rein in their arrangements. Frankly, I think they used the Dylan song as a springboard for a nearly formless jam completely unrelated to the original song; and while their original was quite good, it sounded like a xerox of the Dylan cover. I dunno, there’s a ton of talent there, but I think these guys have limits as composers and arrangers.

  9. revmatty

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by several of the bands. I like Denver, but they need work. I like Rocket, but man she needs some vocal lessons. I particularly like the Clark Brothers and Franklin Bridge. And I agree about Zombie Bazooka Patrol, who would be so much better than Hatch.

    The best part, IMO, is that the judges aren’t shticky. They are honest, critical, and fair. No “Yo dawg, I didn’t feel it”, no drug induced rambling about pink fireflies, and no pointless mean comments. Can these guys be the panel for American Idol next year? Please?

  10. antistar

    I wasn’t impressed by Franklin Bridge doing one of Dylan’s best songs either. They do have the musicianship, but it seems like they are just trying to show off instead of perform the songs with integrity. I like the Clark Brothers and Cliff Wagner, but Sixwire will probably win though.

  11. brasstax

    @revmatty: Denver is terrible. Even at the height of Cherry Poppin Daddies mania, they’d have been big duds. I hope America is at least half as over that shit as I am.

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