The first round of voting was a huge success. There were nail biting upsets and even a few high scoring shootouts.
I thank everyone for taking an interest in the inaugural NJ Musical March Madness presented by SIMGE and hope you’ll take part in the Sweet 16 voting.
Second Round…Sweet 16 (March 18-20)
Bruce Springsteen 190 d. Southside Johnny 150
From the churches to the jails, all was silent in the world, as Southside and the Jukes made their stand, and put up one hell of a fight, giving The Boss and his E Street Band quite a scare down in Jungleland.
Southside and his crew even managed to build up quite a lead on Springsteen, but, stolen lyrics aside, it was when Bruce had Roy Bittan actually cue up the opening piano riff to “Jungleland” that the sold out Stone Pony crowd swayed in final favor of The Boss.
This is, after all, a fun and friendly competition, and as friends do, Southside, in an act of conceding, joined Springsteen at the microphone at evening’s end to send the Pony patrons home to the tune of “Havin’ A Party.”
Streetlight Manifesto 129 d. The Bouncing Souls 78
Tomas Kalnoky and the rest of Streetlight Manifesto overcame the onslaught put forth by The Bouncing Souls matching their predecessors song for song until the victory was earned.
Streetlight was staggered by “These Are The Quotes From Our favorite ’80s Movies,” but answered with “Here’s To Life.”
When The Souls delivered the gut busting rager that is “Here We Go,” Tomas K cued up “If And When We Rise Again.”
Finally, Greg Attonito, in a last gasp effort to rekindle the flames in favor of The Bouncing Souls, called for “True Believers.” Streetlight Manifesto countered with the title-track off the Ska-Punk collective’s 2007 sophomore release, Somewhere In The Between, and it was all The Souls could take.
Beyond NJ Bracket:
River City Extension 212 d. The Gaslight Anthem 141
River City Extension is victorious again after a set of highly touted shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas, which garnered much love from news outlets like PASTE Magazine. The band defeated The Gay Blades in the first round when the two squared off at the festival earlier in the week and managed to take down the mighty Gaslight Anthem, who just came off a tour.
April Smith & Co. 93 d. My Chemical Romance 73
This was probably the strangest set of bedfellows that could have shared a stage in this tournament. A musical collective straight out the basements, not of New Brunswick, but of illegal gin huts and speakeasies of the 1920s (April Smith & The Great Picture Show), next to futuristic, laser gun toting gang members (My Chemical Romance).
Those in attendance found it more fun to drink than fight and delivered the victory to April Smith and company.
Almost There 1,334 d. Tara Elliott & Co. 812
This was the most interesting matchup of the second round. Although Almost There never trailed, Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets never let up, pushing, scratching, and clawing until the polls closed.
The Brighton Bar played host to this show and received intense performances from both acts. What allowed Elliottt and The Velvets to keep the score close was simple, the band gave the crowd a thrill by performing new tracks off its upcoming debut release, like “You’re Not My Best Friend,” “Beautiful Lies,” and “The Best Way To Get Over Someone (Is To Get Under Somebody Else).”
However, the harmonious Pop-Punk dealt out by Almost There eventually proved too much to overcome.
Outside The Box 653 d. No Wine For Kittens 164
Outside The Box took down another of Asbury’s Best with ease. The Blues-Rock four-piece rolled passed No Wine For Kittens by utilizing that infusing that beloved Shore sound into its music that drives all Jersey Girls wild.
Hub City Bracket:
Green Paper 197 d. The Dead & Gone 186
Green Paper made a statement with this victory, and have put themselves in prime position to head to the final four and beyond. The Psychedelic-Rock outfit staggered The Pie Hole’s audience with trippy jams like “Good Morning” and hazy Pop-Rock tunes like “Silver Linings.”
The Sixty Six 157 d. The Obvious 78
The Obvious’ efforts could not overcome those put forth by the Sixty Six and the contest was rarely in doubt. Scott Liss and company answered the call with Hard-Rock ragers like “Shotgun” and “Lloyd Braun” to open the set but brought the tempo down to a crawling acoustic fire light sing along with the chain rattling tune, “Miles.”