Its ratings are lower than WWE SmackDown! and just barely ahead of the Law & Order: CI reruns that New York’s myNetworkTV affiliate shows on Friday nights, but The Next Great American Band continues to soldier on, boosted no doubt by the writers’ strike turning TV into even more of a wasteland than it normally is. With seven bands to go, the latest episode had the bands tackle the Rolling Stones’ catalog, and the results were–unsurprisingly–mixed.
WHO’S OUT: Cliff Wagner and the Old No. 7. But the producers toyed with my emotions by putting Dot Dot Dot in the final two–so we got to hear their turgid, synthy take on “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” complete with the idiot lead singer wearing a freakin’ fedora and holding hands with the crowd during the song’s breakdown. Just when I think I’ve run out of reasons to completely write off these dopes…
THE FRONT-RUNNERS: The host opened the show by saying that things were “getting serious.” Um, sure? Sixwire, who are pretty much a lock to win this thing unless the lead singer’s face gets melted off in a freaky acid accident, added a lively twang to “The Last Time,” although the guitar solo at the song’s end was a little bit too show-offy. Meanwhile, middle-school metallers Light Of Doom gave a performance of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that was no doubt inspired by old Guns N’ Roses demos; the musicianship was fine, but the lead preteen’s voice was in that weird space between “atonal” and “showy.” It also made crankypants Dicko get into Little Steven mode, telling the kids to learn about the Rolling Stones because they were “fantastic, fantastic role models,” except for the whole Keith-Hoovering-anything-that-stays-in-one-place thing.
THE IDOLATOR FAVES: The Clark Brothers turned “Gimme Shelter” into a pretty incredible malestrom of guitars with a lead vocal that barely resembled the original until the very end; sure, they did the old “make it your own” trick that judges on American Idol and its spinoff shows love, but will the few people still watching be turned off by their reinterpretation of the track? Or will they be OK with the new take on the track because the band admitted to praying beforehand?
Meanwhile, Tres Bien!, perhaps unsurprisingly, picked “Get Off My Cloud,” turning it into a herky-jerky rave-up that recalled the Creation’s “Cool Jerk”… until it nicked the guitar riff from “Satisfaction.” Cheesy! (And Johnny Rzeznik agreed with me, even calling it “a little Broadway.” He’s learned from Simon well, apparently.) But given that Denver and the Mile High Orchestra and Dot Dot Dot are still around, this little bit of misappropriation shouldn’t hurt them too much, especially with the “girls looking for cute floppy-haired boys” demographic.
THE GONERS: I’m already bracing myself: Dot Dot Dot is going to live on another week, mainly because Denver and the Mile High Orchestra–who are now referring to themselves as “D.M.H.O.,” for serious–did a Tom Jonesy take on “I’m Free,” complete with Denver being clad in a blazer-and-jeans ensemble. Johnny wished that they’d performed “Bitch”; I just wished that they’d been voted off already.