Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Harmonicas and Firesnakes | Rock Candy

Friday, February 10, 2017

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Harmonicas and Firesnakes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge Rah Howard - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Rah Howard

click to enlarge Rah Howard - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Rah Howard

The Winner: If you were planning on going to church this Sunday, and you were at Stickyz last night for Rah Howard's performance, I think you can just go fishing instead! You're good. Your soul's probably in pretty fine shape. Despite an ill-timed tech malfunction, Howard sealed the deal with a fiery political set loaded with harmonica and 100 percent charm, and he'll be competing against DeFrance, Dazz & Brie and our Round 4 winner, yet to be determined, in the finals at Rev Room on March 10.

Some comments from our judges:

"A harmonica hasn't given me that many feels since 'Roseanne'!"

"You work hard and it shows."

"Charisma for days."

"This is what the blues sounds like now!"


click to enlarge Keith Miller - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Keith Miller
click to enlarge Dave Morris - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Dave Morris

The Runner-Up: The Inner Party may have excellent stage manners, but do not be fooled; they are still a punk rock band. They made everyone in the room resent the idea of going back to work for The Man this morning like the good capitalist soldiers we are, and they did it with solid riffs and three-chord songs about the minimum wage and office work.

Some comments from our judges:

"I like a band that looks like they HAVE to be in a rock band or else."

"I don't wanna go back to work either!"

"Dang, I feel this first song about literally dying at the office SO HARD. Office punk, baby."

"Rhythm section is killing it. I want the bassist to be my real father."

"Snotty punk vocals; I'm a sucker for them."

click to enlarge John MacAteer and Brian Bush - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • John MacAteer and Brian Bush

John MacAteer and the Gentlemen Firesnakes: Something happened, and John MacAteer and the Gentlemen Firesnakes showed up two firesnakes short. Instead of complaining, pandering or throwing themselves an amplified pity party, they played the showcase anyway, with an acoustic guitar and a Moog-y Vox Jaguar keyboard combo that, ultimately, made us all miss the rhythm section, but also made us all miss how much fun bands like The Rentals and Mates of State were in the halcyon days of Y2K mania. Here's their album, for a sense of what the full band sounds like.

Some comments from our judges:

"Loved that you continued without your band. Wish that I had been able to hear the full sound intended for each song."

"Shades of Westerberg without the snarl."

"Honestly, I'm kind of digging the low key acoustic vibe. Takes me back to coffee shop days!"

"Always love a person who will get up and do the damn thing no matter where the drummer is."

click to enlarge Age of Man's Matt Benson - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Age of Man's Matt Benson

Age of Man: From the power of their sound, you'd probably guess that these three men were bounding around the stage hyperactively, but you'd be wrong. Still, Age of Man played a formidable blues rock set with wailing slide guitar and killer drums, complete with a seemingly sincere sense of awe that people outside of El Dorado stay up late on Thursday nights.

Some comments from our judges:

"Musicianship is inarguable, drummer is great, band is super tight. Very stiff on stage."

"Dudes singing about what they think a woman needs. Typical!"

"Great intros."

"El Dorado needs some fun, so I guess this is it?"

Next week, for the final round: November Juliet, 8 p.m., CosmOcean, 9 p.m., The Martyrs, 10 p.m. and Brae Leni and the Evergreen Groove Machine, 11 p.m.

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