Rockstar Band Battle Continues

There was a slight change of pace and crowd from the previous week’s rock/metal night to a more country/Americana sound on the third installment of the weekly Rockstar Band Battle at Bluesboro.

On Sunday, May 28, the competing groups were Keith Walker, The Karg Boys and Wooden Wire. It was a very close battle once again.

Remember, objects (or in this case bands) on the Square may be closer than they appear. These bands are all friends and partners in the local scene. They’ve played shows together numerous times and in different combinations.

This night saw some controversy after someone in the crowd cheered for another Dwight Yoakam tune and the Karg Boys whipped it up for them on the spot with pleasure. It was a highlight of the evening but unfortunately one that cost them in more ways then one. It violated the battle’s rule requiring 2-3 cover songs (it was their fourth) and not only that, it put them over their 45-minute time limit.

They may never play Yoakam again, or who knows maybe they will play more.

The Karg Boys’ set was catchy and energetic. Their pepped-up cover of Chris Issak’s “Feel Like Cryin” was one of the coolest covers the judges have seen yet.

Wooden Wire closed the night with a nice, different set. When WW opened with their fast-paced song “Haulin Ass’ to Mobile” they were definitely Haulin Ass. WW slowed down gradually through the evening and picked up the pace with “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash.

Their mixture of country, rock and Americana kept the people drinking and dancing till it was all over.

However, the winner was Keith Walker. Walker and his band took to the stage like there was no tomorrow and set things straight with their fast country jams and moving ballads. A spontaneous “Friends in Low Places,” pulled out by Walker during some technical difficulties with the fiddle, sealed the deal. If you like “country with balls” featuring good guitar playing with some fiddle and a southern drawl like no other, you should come check out Keith Walker at the semifinals.

After the show, the band told The Pulse about a time when a guy asked them to play “Turn the Page” for a hundred bucks.

Look for a full-length record soon called PBR.

The next week, June 4, only two bands made it to battle it out. Nashville’s Duncan May was the underdog to Murfreesboro-based Penguin, there with the homefield advantage and crowd to back it.

The stage presence of the four-piece Duncan May was great and lively. The opening song “Can’t Go Back” was a funky piece with a good groove. The style is very reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen mixed with Pearl Jam. The solo work on the guitars was exceptional. Great songwriting and a good vibe together with tight musicianship from the Duncan May Band made for an exciting night at the BB.

As soon as the second band started jamming, though, the police arrived to capture the Penguin for stealing the show (joke?no cops). The vibe was upbeat and super funky. Catchy vocal melodies from the Metz brothers had the crowd singing along and dancing all night. The band’s energy and bouncing movement enhanced the smooth sounds.

Their instrumental “Tangible Groove” put the party in high gear only to keep accelerating.

The march of the Penguin continued with the second instrumental of the night, “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winters Group. It was a rare song to cover, but they pulled it off with ease, attacking the crowd with possibly the coolest riff ever played on a stringed instrument.

Penguin’s style is self-explained as natural, folky and vintage. Their influences are deeply rooted in the 60’s and 70’s and include Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

One of the strangest things they have done recently was arrange a funeral service for a guitar that met it’s end one night after a show. 50 people attended.


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