The Rock & Roll Rumble, Boston’s legendary and storied annual battle of the bands, is back for the first time since 2019.

 

The Rumble traces its roots all the way back to 1979. In that year and in 1980, it was billed as “The Rumble at the Rat,” as the multiple-night battle of the bands took place at The Rathskeller in Kenmore Square. The Rumble was co-sponsored and supported by the late Boston rock station WBCN. For decades, it was the showcase in Boston for up-and-coming local rock bands. Past winners include big names like ‘Til Tuesday, Gang Green, and The Sheila Divine.

 

I came to BCN in February of 2003, so I was just getting my sea legs under me at the station when I was drafted to judge that year’s Rumble in April. That was a pretty big one, as the winners, cabaret-punk duo The Dresden Dolls, got a deal with Roadrunner Records for their trouble and went on to moderate success nationally. It’s funny, though. The band I remember most from my years at BCN were the bands that didn’t win. Boston hardcore vets Lock & Key and Hel Toro come to mind. And Robby Roadsteamer, of course.

 

Rock & Roll Rumble Returns For 2023

For over a decade, Boston DJ and Boston Emissions host Anngelle Wood has been the producer of the Rock & Roll Rumble. Anngelle is a friend and a colleague and has done an outstanding job over the years of curating the Rumble, striking the perfect balance of honoring the event’s rich history and moving it forward in new and exciting ways. After a few forced years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m excited to have the Rumble back in Boston.

 

It really is a great way to get a taste of what’s happening in Boston’s wide-ranging music scene. Get the schedule and tickets here; get to know this year’s bands below.

  • Kooked Out

    Performing on Thursday, April 6.

    Vis Viva, by Kooked Out

    Vis Viva by Kooked Out, released 14 December 2022 1. Vis Viva 2. The Weekend 3. Classic 4. Crack Up 5. Bugger Off 6. Vintage Ave 7. Fairweather 8. Penetration 9. Turning Stones 10. Soma Daydream 11. Apache 12. Who You Gonna Tell 13. Like We're 21

  • Bird Language

    Performing on Thursday, April 6.

    625 Days, by Bird Language

    625 Days by Bird Language, released 20 May 2022 1. Where I Want You 2. Apoplectic 3. First Date 4. Too Soon 5. Lean Back 6. Clear Head 7. Battenkill 8. Cassie 9. Settle Down

  • The Shallows

    Performing on Thursday, April 6.

    Soft Night, by The Shallows

    Soft Night by The Shallows, released 31 March 2023

  • Graveyard of the Atlantic

    Performing on Thursday, April 6.

    Graveyard of the Atlantic, by Graveyard of the Atlantic

    Graveyard of the Atlantic by Graveyard of the Atlantic, released 05 March 2021 1. Netherland 2. Life Safety Plan 3. This is Not the Antidote 4. New World Vultures 5. Breathless 6. Perfect from Now on

  • Bleach The Sky

    Performing on Friday, April 7.

    I Just Fade, by Bleach the Sky

    I Just Fade by Bleach the Sky, released 24 June 2022 I dreamed it all away, think about it all the time I'll never shake it it's easy to believe, resting on your laurels I just fade into decay...

  • Not Bad Not Well

    Performing on Friday, April 7.

    Sleeper, by Not Bad Not Well

    Sleeper by Not Bad Not Well, released 23 December 2022 Leave them nothing And lead the front of the cavalcade How is it?

  • Gretchen Shae & the Middle Eight

    Performing on Friday, April 7.

    Skeleton Closet, by Gretchen Shae & The Middle Eight

    Skeleton Closet by Gretchen Shae & The Middle Eight, released 27 September 2022 It's show and tell Gather round Take it all out Don't hide yourself You can keep it In a box Punch a hole in For your heart Living with secrets They become your truth All the liars All the thieves Trying to steal Your energy Sad romances It's Blasphemy I pity the fool who Falls in Love with me Singing voices in my head Remind me of the things you said

  • Paper Tigers

    Performing on Friday, April 7.

    I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me This Sooner, by Paper Tigers

    I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me This Sooner by Paper Tigers, released 20 May 2022 1. This Means War 2. Long Live the King 3. A Portrait of a Scene 4. L'appel du Vide 5. Tonight The band's fourth DIY EP

  • Time Wolf

    Performing on Saturday, April 8.

    Observer Bias, by Time Wolf

    Observer Bias by Time Wolf, released 24 March 2023 1. The Traveler 2. Time Compression 3. Fall Of Rome 4. Gravity 5. Constellation 6. Single Impression 7. Electric Sheep 8. Masquerade 9. Spotlight

  • City of Dis

    Performing on Saturday, April 8.

    Alterity, by City of Dis

    Alterity by City of Dis, released 06 May 2022 1. Anhedonia 2. Alterity 3. Left Hand Path 4. Distal 5. Swan Song 6. Stoned 7. Isolate 8. Through Purgatory 9. The Golden Path 10. L'Appel du Vide

  • One Fall

    Performing on Saturday, April 8.

    ONE FALL, by ONE FALL

    ONE FALL by ONE FALL, released 03 November 2022 1. Slingshot 2. Rats Abandon Ship 3. Shoot Straight Debut EP by ONE FALL from Salem, MA

  • D-Tension & the Secrets

    Performing on Saturday, April 8.

    Tales From The Pub, by D-Tension

    Tales From The Pub by D-Tension, released 04 April 2023 1. No Name Song 2. Charlie 3. Alone 4. MAGAHAT 5. Other Side of the Road 6. Ghost Me 7. Woodrose 8. I Love You Anyway 9. (They Were) In Love 10. I Give In 11. The Airport Song

  • Ruin The Nite

    Performing on Thursday, April 13.

    Sound The Alarm, by Ruin The Nite

    Sound The Alarm by Ruin The Nite, released 11 November 2022 1. Voices 2. Watcher 3. Sang To Me 4. Fire Away 5. Someone To Blame 6. Confess Your Sins 7. Wait 8. Back Of Line 9. Answers 10. Sound The Alarm

  • Tysk Tysk Task

    Performing on Thursday, April 13.

    You're Sorry More, by Tysk Tysk Task

    You're Sorry More by Tysk Tysk Task, released 16 September 2022 1. Rosegold 2. Pounding Sand 3. Contagion 4. Forgive the Same 5. Colors 6. Working On It 7. Working It Out 8. Forest Down 9. I Need This 10. Ocean Now 11. Flies 12. On My Own Tysk Tysk Task's sophomore album.

  • The Endorphins

    Performing on Thursday, April 13.

    Nothing Is Real, by The Endorphins

    Nothing Is Real by The Endorphins, released 11 November 2022 1. Anthrophobia 2. Propagate 3. All In Time 4. Introspective Dread 5. Myopic Dystopia 6. Joy & Peace 7. Voyager Of A Daydream 8. Paresthesia 9. New Wave Blackout 10. Time Is Out Of Your Control 11. What Is Real?

  • The Freqs

    Performing on Thursday, April 13.

    Poachers, by The Freqs

    Poachers by The Freqs, released 03 February 2023 1. Poacher Gets the Tusk 2. Power Trippin' 3. Asphalt Rivers 4. Sludge Rats 5. Chase Fire Catch Smoke 6. Witch

  • Parts Per Million

    Performing on Friday, April 14.

    The Cycle, by Parts Per Million

    The Cycle by Parts Per Million, released 14 October 2022 1. Undead 2. Ironside 3. No More Days 4. 2020 Vision 5. Placebo 6. Find The Light

  • Kid Disaster

    Performing on Friday, April 14.

    The Place You Should Be, by Kid Disaster

    The Place You Should Be by Kid Disaster, released 02 December 2022 1. Envy 2. What's Wrong 3. Shudder 4. Sunset 5. The Place You Should Be

  • The Chelsea Curve

    Performing on Friday, April 14.

    All The Things, by The Chelsea Curve

    All The Things by The Chelsea Curve, released 31 March 2022 1. Jamie C'mon 2. Girl Cavedog 3. Drag. 4. Do All the Things 5. Inconceivable 6. Top It Up 7. Nuthin' Goin' On 8. 7000 Hours 9. Don't Look Down 10. Moriarty 11. Eye on You 12. A Better Way 13.

  • Luxury Deathtrap

    Performing on Friday, April 14.

    Unborn Savior, by luxury deathtrap

    Unborn Savior by luxury deathtrap, released 03 March 2023

  • Donaher

    Performing on Saturday, April 15.

    Gravity and the Stars Above, by donaher

    Gravity and the Stars Above by donaher, released 04 February 2022 1. Fixer Upper 2. For Your Love 3. Before Anyone Else 4. Circle Yes or No 5. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow 6. Lights Out 7. Sleepless in New England 8. Worth The Wait 9.

  • Michael Kane & the Morning Afters

    Performing on Saturday, April 15.

    Broke But Not Broken, by Michael Kane & The Morning Afters

    Broke But Not Broken by Michael Kane & The Morning Afters, released 05 May 2022 1. Tear This World Apart 2. Dark Nights 3. Lost My MInd 4. Turn it 'Round 5. Bring it on Home 6. Me & You 7. Carol Kaye 8. Like John Wayne 9. 99 Bottles 10.

  • Devil Love

    Performing on Saturday, April 15.

    Devil Love - Album, by Devil Love

    Devil Love - Album by Devil Love, released 12 January 2023 1. Down By The Seashore 2. Washed Away 3. In A Breath Of Farewell 4. Black Raven 5. Here Come The Battalions 6. Best Friends 7. Straight To You 8. What We Got 9. You Can Stop Yourself From Leaving 10.

  • Wildcat Slim

    Performing on Saturday, April 15.

    Smorgasbord, by Wildcat Slim

    Smorgasbord by Wildcat Slim, released 15 October 2022 1. Coward's Playbook (featuring Julie DiOrio and Lizzie Greenwald of Ever Finer) 2. PTW 3. The Wolf 4. Toeing The Line 5. The Storm 6. Rock Goddess 7. Two Ships

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