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.
"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!"
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.
"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."
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.
"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."
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.