Battle of the Bands Tournament: Round 2 – General & Alternative Rock Region

Pregame: Running a little behind. Since this lil’ tourney is for pure geek fun, sometimes it gets pushed to the back burner in favor of other priorities. But the goal this weekend is to knock out Round 2 for all three remaining regions, and then start the Sweet 16 early next week. So here we go.

The Match: #1-The Cure (11) VS #8-Ben Folds Five (4)
The Cure sample song: “Want”
Ben Folds Five sample song: “Selfless, Cold and Composed”
The Winner: The Cure

Postgame: Talk about a great band being cut short, Ben Folds Five had a mere 3 albums and 1 compilation in a five year span and then…poof! A year or so later Ben Folds resurfaces solo, but it was never the same. So during that five year span they gave us the the wonderful and spectacular Whatever and Ever, Amen, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and their self-titled debut, sporting great songs like “Smoke”, “Underground”, “Mess”, “Song for the Dumped”, “The Last Polka”, and “Magic”. Then on the compilation, Naked Baby Photos, they offered rarities like “Emaline” and the humorous blues/metal/blues of “Satan Is My Master”. Perhaps their worst move (aside from breaking up too early) was signing to a major label. It’s just not likely that a piano/geek rock band to stay above the underground. Not in this country. Funny how they reference their opponent in their song “Battle of Who Could Care Less”. The Cure, still going strong after three decades, takes the easy victory.

The Match: #2-Radiohead (7) VS #7-Pear Jam (4)
Radiohead sample song: “There There” (live)
Pear Jam sample song: “Even Flow”
The Winner: Radiohead

Postgame: That Pearl Jam video certainly brings back memories of being 17/18 years old, heading into that time period that I call ‘The End of Youth and Innocence’. Memory Lane aside, Pearl Jam started out as a completely different band than what they would eventually become. Evolving is good, but there was no way they could ever recapture the zeitgeist of the early 90s, or that hunger and fire they displayed on their first three albums (of course this could be said of most bands). Still, on Ten, Vs, and Vitalogy, they gave us great rockers and ballads like “Jeremy”, “Black”, “Rearview Mirror”, “Daughter”, “Corduroy” and “Better Man”. Radiohead is a bit of a stealthy opponent, resorting to snipe tactics to take what is clearly theirs anyway.

The Match: #3-Red Hot Chili Peppers (6) VS #6-Live (4)
Red Hot Chili Peppers sample song: “Hey”
Live sample song: “I Alone”
The Winner: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Postgame: York, Pennsylvania’s Live were like the bastard child resulting from an illicity affair between R.E.M and U2. They kind of fit into the category of earnest, spiritual, carthartic rock, if you will. A little heavy-handed at times, but with good intentions. 2 perfect albums : Mental JewelryThrowing the Copper, plus 2 pretty good albums: Secret Samadhi & The Distance to Here gave up great songs like “Pain Lies by the Riverside”, “The Beauty of Gray”, “Ghost”, “The Dolphin’s Cry”, “Selling the Drama”, “T.B.D.” and “Operation Spirit”.  Red Hot Chili Peppers just rock harder and better.

The Match: #4-The Smashing Pumpkins (6) VS #5-Dave Matthews Band (5)
The Smashing Pumpkins sample song: “The End is the Beginning is The End”
Dave Matthews Band sample song: “#41” (live)
The Winner: The Smashing Pumpkins

Postgame: First off, Rest in Peace to saxophonist/flautist LeRoi Moore (1961-2008). This match comes down to the wire, a double-overtime barn-burner that leaves both bands bloodied and beaten. But after the scrapes and bruises, The Smashing Pumpkins emerge as the victor, although severly weakened from the battle. Dave Matthews Band provided a true alternative to the ‘alternative rock’ that was dominating the airwaves when they broke through in 1994. DMB have 2 perfect albums, Under the Table and Dreaming & Before These Crowded Streets, and a few really good albums plus a slew of live albums. Numerous standouts include: “When the World Ends”, “Rhyme & Reason”, “Typical Situation”, “Halloween”, “The Stone”, “The Dreaming Tree”, “Seek Up” and “Warehouse”.

No upsets again. All four top seeds move on to the Sweet 16.

Next up: Hard Rock & Metal Region – Round 2


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