The suspense is over—or is just starting, depending on your point of view. After reviewing dozens of MP3s and MySpace pages, and convening an epic, knock-down, drag-out selection meeting, Xconomy’s editors and guest judges have picked five bands—Anomopoly, The Dirty Truckers, EneROCK, The Main Drag, and Seymore Willie—to compete for audience approbation and big prizes in our second annual Battle of the Tech Bands.
The event, which gets underway at 7:00 pm on January 22 at the Middle East Restaurant and Night Club in Cambridge, MA, promises to be even more rollicking than 2008’s inaugural battle—in no small part because it will include a special guest appearance by the fabulous Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives, with Xconomy’s own Greg Huang on bass. Tickets are $20, and half of all ticket proceeds will be donated to Science Club for Girls and Community Music Center of Boston. You can buy tickets in advance here—they’ll be $25 at the door, so stock up now.
Here’s the rundown on our Final Five bands and the local tech companies from which they hail:
Based in Brighton, MA, Anomopoly is a two-year-old indie/rock quartet featuring vocalist Toni Ferreira (TekScan), guitar player Brian Joyce (Nano-C), bass player Tom Lada (Nano-C), and drummer Bill Anderson (Berklee School of Music IT Department) on drums. Their first album is due in spring 2009.
A country-rock-soul band based in Jamaica Plain, MA, The Dirty Truckers includes Tom Baker (American Well) and John Brookhouse on guitar and vocals, Jamie Griffith on bass, and Brian McElroy on drums and vocals. The group counts Cheap Trick, Steve Earle, and the Replacements among its influences. They make frequent appearances at local venues like TT the Bears, the Middle East, and the Abbey Lounge, and they just released their third CD.
A power rock quartet with classic rock influences, EneROCK is one of the house bands at Boston-based EnerNOC, where all of its members are employed. That includes vocalist Sarah Greene, drummer Mat Tuttelman, guitar player John Grau, and bass player Mike Mann. The Boston Herald featured EneROCK in an article about workplace bands in October.
The Main Drag is an indie/electronic/experimental band whose members all work for Cambridge, MA-based Harmonix Music, including Adam Arrigo on vocals, guitar, keyboard, and glockenspiel; Matt Boch on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, and trumpet; John Drake on drums; Jon Carter on guitar and bass; Matt Levitt on violin; and Dan Cardinal on bass. The band has recorded two albums, and its tracks are featured in the video game Rock Band 2 and in a Target commercial for the game. It claims its “brother band” The Blanks, a Cambridge-based post-punk trio, among its influences.
Seymore Willie is a six-piece R&B ensemble promising “energetic, sophisticated raunchy style” delivery of contemporary greats and classic favorites. With sets that include songs by Lucky, Coco, and Papa (that’s Peterson, Montoya, and Chubby), expect to be entertained. Members are David Knauss (AMAG Pharmaceuticals) on drums, Ed Cavallo on guitar, Victor Helenic (LSI) on bass, Mauro DePasquale on keys, Paul Gatewood (ARCON) on sax, and Marty Orio singing lead.
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Each of the five bands will play a 15-minute set, with the Audience Favorite prize going to the bands that garner the most votes via text message and the prize for Most Innovative Band chosen by a secret cabal of Xconomy staffers and guests. Up for grabs are band promotional services from Framingham, MA-based Nimbit and recording studio time from Boston-based Bristol Recording Studios. May the best bands win!