Dec 162011

Rebel Conference Round 2

Four matches will determine the fate of the 8 teams surviving Round 1 of Rebel Conference tournament play. As in the opening round of play, please use this space to argue for your favorite backing band in each contest, using any or all of the following criteria, including criteria not listed here:

  • Ability to support the bandleader’s musical agenda/vision
  • Additional musical contribution to the bandleader’s sound/vision
  • Look and other supporting “rock superhero powers”
  • Catchiness of backing band’s name

Round 2 of Rebel Conference play runs through Monday, December 19 at 11:59 am. You may log your vote on each contestant in the Round 2 games through the polls on the following page.

Round 2, Rebel Conference: The Wailers (1) vs The Magic Band, early (8)

  • The Wailers (68%, 17 Votes)
  • The Magic Band, early (32%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Round 2, Rebel Conference: The Magic Band, late (5) vs The Rumour (4)

  • The Rumour (57%, 16 Votes)
  • The Magic Band, late (43%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Round 2, Rebel Conference: The Maytals (6) vs The Blockheads (3)

  • The Maytals (71%, 17 Votes)
  • The Blockheads (29%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Round 2, Rebel Conference: The Bad Seeds (7) vs The Attractions (2)

  • The Attractions (70%, 26 Votes)
  • The Bad Seeds (30%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 37

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  18 Responses to “Round 2, Rebel Conference: Rock’s Greatest Backing Band Tournament Continues!”

  1. C’mon, I can’t be the only person who prefers the Bad Seeds! Where’s Kilroy?

  2. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the outcome on this one, Oats.

  3. machinery

    No way Attractions don’t make it to the final 4.

  4. Happiness Stan

    This one is really hard! Even as a Beefheart nut I’m not sure I can argue that they were more essential than the Wailers, who were far more influential on almost everything that gets listened to today practically anywhere in the world

    Even though I’ll vote for late Magic Band I couldn’t make a case to get them through the next round.

    I’m similarly torn between the Attractions and the Bad Seeds, both bands whose music I would listen to and enjoy a lot more if Cave and Costello weren’t singing over it.

    I’ll probably cop out and abstain for both of these draws.

  5. Some tough match ups were drawn in this round. I love both of those Magic Bands, but I couldn’t vote for the early version over the truly accomplished, equally innovative, and Rock Super Power possessing Wailers. I split my 2 votes on the late-period Magic Band vs Rumour game. Call the Cop Out car on me if you must!

    The Maytals, on the other hand, drew the easiest match up in this round. I like them a lot, but I think they would have gotten whipped against any of the 6 other backing bands left in this conference.

  6. 2000 Man

    reggae Town Hall is rearing it’s ugly head again! All reggae bands sound the same. I thought they were all the same backing band.

  7. Easy round for me. I don’t really get into any version of Beefheart although I liked the earlier comment that being a member of the Magic Band had to be a cross between playing as a musician and being inducted into a religious cult. And I suggested the reggae bands, but I’ll direct credit at Bostonhistorian, who played Jamaica through in the RTH World Cup (, a contrivance even Tonyola could love.

  8. Yes, Bostonhistorian played that well! Where is the Historian, anyhow?

  9. Rumour Vs Attractions in the Conference Final. Fortunately this is a *backing* band contest and not based on their original output

  10. A little more than an hour to go!

  11. Happiness Stan

    I’m not surprised that the Wailers came through, but am genuinely puzzled about (and interested in the process behind) the Rumour coming out on top over any incarnation of the Magic Band, and in the first round would not have put money on them coming through against any incarnation of the Chipmunks.

    Unless this was the majority of the Hall rising against Beefheart, I can only assume that GP and the Rumour had more of a career in the US than they ever managed over here. They had one or two hits but were fairly easily ignored among a load of other pub rockers with fake American accents and not terribly memorable songs.

    Could someone who gets Graham Parker and the Rumour could please try to enlighten me either here or in the next playoff?

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the Maytals fare against the Attractions in the next round, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an upset.

  12. An upset? Are you kidding me? Before the Mod came up with the name Rock Town Hall, he was going to call this site the Elvis Costello Fawning Fanboy Cyber-Meeting House. Hell, my interest in Elvis starts to wane after This Year’s Model and even I think the Attractions should go at least as far as the Final Four.

    As for the Rumour, they weren’t huge here by any stretch of the imagination but Squeezing Out Sparks definitely got some airplay in Philly at least. I though Pub Rock was just sort of old time rock revival, no? Didn’t GP and the Rumour distinguish themselves by playing pop/rock with bit of punk edge to it? Also, wasn’t their Cod Reggae side more in line with new wave/punk than with pub rock?

  13. I love both of the Magic Bands in the contest, but the Rumour were important to many of the Hall’s founding members, such as my longtime friends, bandmates, and friends in “cousin” bands from our teen years. That partially accounts for their popularity among our demographic.

    Like cdm says, Graham Parker & The Rumour were not close to wildly successful in the US, but they were briefly on the cusp of success, and during that era when young rock nerds like some of ourselves, who loved rock ‘n roll and longed for a return to some more energetic, concise, passionate r ‘n r values, the band was worth championing. They were a band we thought we could turn our straighter, more mainstream friends onto without any baggage. They were like Springsteen minus the bombast and self-mythologizing. They were like J. Geils Band without that stupid harmonica-driven instrumental. They were a little like the Stones without the threatening issues of sex appeal. They were a little like Elvis Costello & the Attractions without the threat of being called a “fag” by some idiot ’70s rock-jock. The Rumour’s backing work for Parker was all that what would become known as Classic Rock had been aiming to deliver, yet they made it all seem attainable and regular. There are some bands, as I see it, who reassure any of us that, yes, we CAN rock despite the fact that we don’t possess any particular Rock Super Powers. Graham Parker & The Rumour were one of the most reassuring of those bands.

    Then, jump forward 30 years, and to top it off Martin Belmont agreed to an interview with us. It’s in the archives if you haven’t seen it. He was as down to earth and passionate as my old friends and I (and I think others I’ve met here since) could have imagined. Maybe their key Rock Super Power is that they simply believed in and upheld the values of rock ‘n roll, as corny as that may seem. I’m not suggesting they’re the only band that upheld those values, but they did so with almost no supporting artifice. I think they’re pretty special in this contest for these reasons.

  14. Happiness Stan

    Thanks cdm and Mr M for that, which makes a lot of sense (it wasn’t my intention to offend any member or friend of the Hall). I’ll definitely check out that interview with Martin Belmont.

    I was an Elvis fan up to and including Armed Forces, but then I met him at a gig and it was such a “you should never meet your heroes” moment that I could never after disengage the music from the man. Maybe he was having a bad day, perhaps I was over-sensitive, it was a very long time ago.

    I’ve nothing against GP and the Rumour, but having only heard a couple of songs by them a long time ago I was genuinely interested to understand where the love was coming from. (I’ve worked my way back through quite a lot of the archive, but still have a long way to go!)

    Ever since punk happened I’ve been fascinated to understand how bands from either side of the pond are received on the other, we had American acts who came over here to make their breakthrough (Hendrix, for instance), there are bands from the UK who have been big in the States that hardly anyone in the UK has ever heard of (i.e. Bush). I went to school with and was in a band which often supported a band who couldn’t get arrested here but had a number one hit in Canada.

    Pub rock was more of a reaction against prog and disco, less of a revival than a return to what was perceived as honest, sweaty rock. I was too young to get into pubs, and it was mainly a London phenomena, but it hung in there as the missing link between glam and punk, and because of all the bands on the scene only Dr Feelgood actually broke through while it was going on it stayed underground and incredibly diverse. A lot of the bands managed to surf the punk wave, like Eddie and the Hot Rods and the Count Bishops, while Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe and Graham Parker sort of became honorary punks. The BBC even tried to have us believe that hoary old pub rockers turned stadium walrii Dire Straits were a punk band, but that was a conceit too far for many purists.

    I think if we had had that sort of diet of Springsteen and the J Geils Band many more of us would have looked to Graham Parker and the Rumour. As it was we’d had a diet of prog, the blandest, sickliest MOR syrup and disco with syndrums for the two years before punk broke, and the crowd I was in with and our peers were more in the mood for something we could get our teeth into and consume raw, preferably with blood dripping out of it.

    While gushing this lot out I was reminded of Denim’s “The Great Pub Rock Revival”, which is very jolly and mentions The Rumour at about 2:45

  15. tonyola

    Rolling Stone pushed the first two Graham Parker albums hard in 1976, well before anyone had ever heard of Elvis Costello. It didn’t work – pub rock in general was pretty much overlooked in the US and Parker got next to no airplay along with minimal record sales. By the time Costello was becoming big, Parker had already begun to slip with albums like Stick to Me and The Parkerilla. EC basically sucked all the air out of Parker’s musical territory.

  16. Did your history book run out before Squeezing Out Sparks?:) To be clear, I was not making any popularity case for them, rather providing my personal reasons for holding them in such high regard – along with actually digging the music, of course.

  17. Happiness Stan

    I think I’m going to look for a copy of Squeezing Out Sparks, with a sense that I might have been underestimating them.

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