March is upon us (already?) — let the 'BRU bracketology commence! 'Tis the season for the annual Rock Hunt throwdown, featuring 12 acts competing for cash, prizes, live gigs (including a slot on the Summer Concert Series), and airplay at any and all hours of the day — not just the graveyard shift. While this year's crop of contestants may not bowl you over in terms of groundbreaking, genre-busting sounds, I think we'll have one of the more hotly-contested Rock Hunt battles of recent times. Sibling rawk duo VulGarrity ran away with the title last year. Tracy and Shawn Garrity are pros when it comes to working the room (oddly enough, they nailed a C&C Music Factory cover) and wowed the judges — myself included.
A few weeks back, program director Wendell Clough and fellow staffers carved out nine hours for the 90 (!) entries (20 more were deemed geographically ineligible) before narrowing it down to the dozen semifinalists. Clough also noted the influx of suburban homebase locations this year, with bands hailing from Wakefield to Weymouth to Worcester. And, yes, the Rock Hunt is open to bands from across the southern New England area, not just Rhode Island.
Here's the deal — three bands will perform a 25-minute set each night, and the four winners will be in the finals at the Met later this month. The battle for sonic supremacy begins Friday at the Spot Underground (15 Elbow St, Providence, 401.383.7133) with Kid Mountain (North Attleboro, MA), the Rice Cakes (PVD), and Grand Evolution (Uxbridge, MA). On Saturday, head to the Ocean Mist (895 Matunuck Beach Rd, Matunuck, 401.782.3740) and catch Satellites Fall (Coventry), Kingston 530 (Weymouth, MA) and Look North (Wakefield) looking for some hometown love. All shows are $5 at the door and start at 9 pm sharp.
GRAND EVOLUTION (grandevolution.com): Grand Evolution started out in 2006 behind their debut If You Only Knew and have cranked out records every two years since (all streaming and available for purchase on their website). Combine the opening riff of new single "Sweetheart" (from the new Collide EP) with Sarah Kenyon's vocals and I'm having a major Velocity Girl flashback (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that). Grand Evolution hit harder than the sweetened alt-pop I was expecting, and crunchier numbers such as "The Way I Kill" and "Happy Hour" (from their 2010 full-length The Recovery) should perk up some ears at the Spot. Kenyon provides vox and rhythm guitar, with Scott Kenyon on drums, Everett Foundry on lead guitar, and bassist Dave Trombley rounding out the quartet.