Apparently I don’t understand the point of “The Next Great American Band.”
I thought the show was looking for a band that could produce a hit record. But apparently it’s looking for a band that can put on a good show—whether the singing is good or not.
That was made pretty clear several times Friday night during the judges’ comments. And Dicko confirmed it when he told the lead singer of The Muggs that this wasn’t “Idol” and that he didn’t have to be a great singer for his band to do well.
Of course, Dicko also told The Hatch that they needed to jam a little less if they were going to be a pop band.
Maybe they don’t understand the point either…
For me, though, a great band is one that can put on a good show AND can sing. Maybe that’s why I just can’t get into this show…
However, as promised, I rated the bands’ performances for you. This week, they performed a song written by Bob Dylan and an original they wrote themselves.
Here’s the rundown…
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra: “Freight Train Blues” and “One Time Show”
The band has a great sound, but Denver, the lead singer has no charisma—even when he played an instrument. John and Sheila liked it, but Dicko said they needed a more modern presentation. I give them a B.
The Hatch: “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Stretch Out the Time”
Sean, with his good looks, is a good frontman with lots of stage presence, but “Stretch” did nothing to showcase his voice and sounded a lot more like noise. John didn’t like the lack of hook on the original while Sheila loved it and didn’t like the cover. Dicko said they needed to practice more. I was pretty disappointed. C.
Light of Doom: “All Along the Watchtower” and “Eye of the Storm”
I really wanted this band to do well, but they went hard core metal and it just didn’t work for me. However, the audience adored them. John loved it, Sheila cautioned them about execution and Dicko said he was spooked by what he called “Children of the corn with guitars.” Both Sheila and Dicko told them to put their shirts on since they’re only 13. I give them a C, but only because I think they’re a great story.
The Likes of You: “Blowin’ In the Wind” and “Love and Gravity”
I was sold on this group after they told me their lead singer, Geoff Byrd, once toured with Hall and Oates. But their cover was outstanding with a Five for Fighting feel. The original was solid too with a Fine Young Cannibals sound. John cautioned Geoff to cut back on the falsetto, Sheila criticized him for slightly missing the final big note, and Dicko said he needed convinced that they were a band and not just a way for Geoff to further his solo career. Geoff admitted that was his original plan, but said that now they are a true band. I really liked them. A
Rocket: “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Mean To You”
Punk rock is not really my thing, but I can handle it if it sounds decent. This didn’t, since Lauren, the lead singer, just doesn’t have the voice. John and Dicko both agreed with me that Lauren needs some work, but Sheila loved both songs and said their original should be on the radio now. I have no idea what radio station she listens to. C-.
Cliff Wagner and the Old No. 7: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and “Old Fire”
If bluegrass is your thing, then you’d really like these guys, as they are good. John and Sheila liked them, but Dicko didn’t like the cover. I’m not a big bluegrass fan, but these guys are talented. B.
The Muggs: “Meet Me in the Morning” and “Slow Curve”
This was the band most suited to play Bob Dylan, but Dan, the lead singer, didn’t really hit all the notes and the original showcased his guitar playing more than his singing. All three judges loved them with Dicko telling Dan to embrace the fact that he’s not a great singer. They’re such good musicians, with such a great story, it’s hard not to like them. B.
The Clark Brothers: “Maggie’s Farm” and “Billy the Kid”
They’re good-looking, extremely talented musicians with tight harmonies and good songwriting skills. What’s not to love? John and Sheila agreed with me, but Dicko didn’t like the cover. Whatever…A+.
Tres Bien!: “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Easy to Love Me”
John and Dicko were both concerned that they were too 60s, but I like the retro sound. Sheila told them they needed to work on their musicianship. B.
Franklin Bridge: “Tangled Up In Blue” and “Incredible”
This is the band Dicko said set the bar at the auditions and they do have great musicianship. My problem is that they’re wasting a beautiful R&B voice by adding a bunch of guitar solos. John loved them, as did Dicko—although he thought the Dylan song was over-arranged (I liked it, I just wish they would’ve stuck with it.). But Sheila gave them a standing ovation and predicted them as the winner. When Dicko asked if the other bands should just go home, she said yes. B-.
Don’t worry. She changed her mind later…
Dot Dot Dot: “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Another Stupid Love Song”
They probably have the best frontman in Adam, who I would describe as Pete Wentz meets Adam Levine, but I thought he concentrated too much on jumping around and not enough on his vocals, and Dicko agreed. John said they mangled the cover and he criticized the original for a bad chorus. Sheila didn’t like the cover either. It was the original I had problems with. C-.
Sixwire: “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Good to be Back”
They stuck pretty close to the original for the cover, adding only a country feel. And they performed the best original of the night with their audition song. I think “Good” could play on country radio right now and John agreed it was a hit. Dicko called them “fabulous” and the “housewives’ choice” and Sheila said she might have to change her mind about the winner. Maybe there’s some Paula in her after all. I like these guys a lot. A.
Continuing its breakneck pace, the show will eliminate two bands based on this week’s audience votes, leaving only 10 next week to perform the songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, his longtime songwriting partner.
Just for fun, I actually voted once each for The Likes of You, The Clark Brothers and Sixwire. I was a little disappointed that the recorded phone message only told me what number band I was voting for and not the name (like “Idol”). And no, I had no problems getting through…
So did any of you watch? Do you agree or disagree with my grades?
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