Democracy in action is a beautiful thing.
For the past month, Random Acts has been holding an online battle of the bands, a contest with no prize save for bragging rights.
Of course, we couldn’t have been expected to judge something this important all by ourselves. So we called upon you, the reader, to tell us who the best local musicians really are.
And tell us you did. You (hopefully) listened to the suggested mp3s, and you (definitely) sent in a deluge of votes. In e-mail after e-mail, you told us which local musicians rock your world.
Now, after four weeks of voting, it’s finally time to end the suspense and announce the winners of this terribly unscientific competition.
• Round 1 — Best Alt-Retro Rock: Fantastic Life. In the most astounding ass-kicking of the contest, Fantastic Life’s legion of obsessed fans took the gloves off and pugilized Senatobia‘s handful of quiet followers right into the mat, leaving only a bloody pulp where the latter late-’90s-inspired college-rock band once stood. Fantastic Life received more than 15 times the votes of their competitor.
• Round 2 — Best Odd Rockers: Reductio Ad Absurdum. All hail Asheville’s premier sonic experimenters! Of course, we all should have known that in a battle of the bizarre, the winner is always the band with the theremin. Using their uniquely explosive concoction of screaming sax, psyche-rending drums and mothership-calling samples, Reductio edged out a win against the almost equally eccentric drum-‘n’-bass-driven chaos of Dig Shovel Dig, who will now have to be content in their role as the second-weirdest rockers in town.
• Round 3 — Best Roots Rockers: Wayne Robbins & The Hellsayers. Talk about a close match! Throughout the frenzied month of voting, no clear leader emerged between dark-Western balladeers The Hellsayers and their rival alt-country masters Black Eyed Dog (led by former Hellsayers drummer Brian Landrum). The ultimate outcome of the Clash of Twangy Titans was decided by a mere two votes, ensuring that the debate over which band really out-rocks the other will rage on indefinitely.
• Round 4 — Best Schlock-Rock Shtick: Monsters of Japan. If there’s one lesson to be taken away from Asian junk-cinema, it’s that you can’t stand in the way of a Japanese monster hell-bent on destruction. Taking their cues from brother beasts like Godzilla and Rodan, Monsters of Japan crushed would-be rivals The Crank County Daredevils, thus earning the right to call themselves the true Behemoths of Gimmick Rock.
• Round 5 — Best New Age Name-Taker: Benjammin’. Sure, his coffeehouse-friendly vibe may seem unbearably upbeat to those who take their notes dissonant and their musicians tormented, but Benjammin’s New Age antics and unrelentingly positive attitude carried the day in the war of enlightenment against like-minded troubadour Michael Farr. So until some even more contemplative songster comes along, the shiny-happy singer is Asheville’s unchallenged acoustic-folk champion.
• The Main Event — Scrappy Hamilton. Ironically, our main event was “attended” by the fewest fans — only 13 ballots total were cast for both bands, and winners Scrappy Hamilton only emerged by a single vote against rag-powered progenitors The Blue Rags. Still, Scrappy won the fight fair and square, earning the right to call themselves The Throwback “Rag ‘n’ Roll” Heroes of Asheville. Or should that be The “Stompragboogie” Superstars? Vote amongst yourselves.