Battle of the Bands Tournament: Round 1 – General & Alternative Rock Region (Part 2)

Battle of the Bands Tournament, Music
The Match: #5-Dave Matthews Band (5) VS #12-Luscious Jackson (3)
DMB sample song: “Two Step” (Live at Folsom Field)
Luscious Jackson sample song: “Under Your Skin”
The Winner: Dave Matthews Band

Postgame: I don’t think many would say that Luscious Jackson was a great band, and it’s not a prerequisite for a band to be “great” overall to be in this tournament. However, it is required that a band A.) have great songs, and B.) have at least one great album of songs. The ladies in Luscious Jackson had that with their 1996 breakout LP Fever In, Fever Out. Great songs like Naked Eye”, “Mood Swing”, “Under Your Skin”, “Why Do I Lie” and “Faith” are the album’s highlights. They have a handful of other jams as well (“Citysong”, “Here”, “Roses Fade”, “Ladyfingers”, & “Christine”), but the weighty might of the folk-rock-jazz-world fusion jams and epics of Dave Matthews Band, let alone their exceptional musical chops makes this odd match-up a bit unfair. There will be more on the victor of this match in later rounds.

Watching that video above, I sure do miss Luscious Jackson. They are but one of many defunct bands in this tourney.

The Match: #6-Live (4) VS #11-The Cranberries (3)
Live sample song: “Brothers Unaware”
The Cranberries sample song: “Zombie”
The Winner: Live

Postgame: Both bands have socially, politically aware, and passionately global lyrics; a common theme is compassion for the fellow man. This is a good matchup, but an unfortunate one for Ireland’s The Cranberries. Of their 3 album-wins, the first two, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and No Need to Argue are nearly perfect, with great songs like “Pretty”, “Waltzing Back”, “Still Can’t…”, “Disappointment”, “Ridiculous Thoughts”, and the above. The spottiness began with the third album, To the Faithful Departed, but it offered up serious rockers like “Hollywood”, “Salvation” and “I Just Shot John Lennon” as standouts. On the other hand, Live has 4 very strong albums with too many strong songs for the ‘Berries to overcome. More on the victory band later.

The Match: #7-Pearl Jam (4) VS #10 Stone Temple Pilots (3)
Pearl Jam sample song: “Go”
Stone Temple Pilots sample song: “Lounge Fly”
The Winner: Pearl Jam

Postgame: Another ironic duel considering there was a time in the early 90s when people erroneously accused STP of trying to be like Pearl Jam. If one actually listened to the music instead of reading the press or watching videos, they would hear the major differences in both bands sound and essence. Not so much on their debut album, Core, but starting with their perfect second album, Purple, STP started showing their Led Zeppelin influences a little more. I can’t state strongly enough how great their second album is. I’m willing to bet they’re one of the few bands in this tournament that has a superior sophomore album compared to their debut. The third album ain’t bad either (and I liked the little bit I heard of the fourth one). However, 3 albums with jams like “Creep”, “Plush”, “Vasoline”, “Interstate Love Song”, “Big Empty”, “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart” and “Big Bang Baby” is (continuing a common tournament theme) just not enough to upstage Pearl Jam’s 4-album-win, which will discussed in more detail later. But it was oh-so-close for STP. This could have been a nail-biter.

The Matchup: #8-Ben Folds Five (4) VS #9-The Afghan Whigs (3)
Ben Folds Five sample song: “Battle of Who Could Care Less”
The Afghan Whigs sample song: “Somethin’ Hot”
The Winner: Ben Folds Five

Postgame: A fitting match-up of two non-traditional rock bands.  The soul-inflected groove rock of The Afghan Whigs was something that was never destined for mainstream success—the casual music listener just didn’t know what to make of them. Well, the same could have been said about Ben Folds Five’s piano geek-rock. Case in point, both had limited success and both bands are currently defunct.  Still, there was great music from both. The ‘Whigs struggled early on their first three albums, but found their footing on their last three: Gentlemen, Black Love, & the near-perfect 1965, which delivered such great songs as “Debonair”, “Gentlemen”, “Uptown Again”, “66”, “Neglekted”, and “Bulletproof”.  But Ben Folds Five gets the win here with two perfect albums and two that are nearly perfect. Details in their next match.

Again, no upsets in this region. Seeds 4 thru 8 advance to the Second Round (coming next week) along with seeds 1 thru 4.

Next up: Round 1 of the Extreme Metal Region of the Tournament tomorrow.

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