Reader’s Reviews: Grand Band Slam Winners

Image courtesy of the Valley Advocate

We all have our opinions. While some of us can’t get through the day without a good dose of the Dead Kennedys, others lock the bedroom door and crank up Lady Gaga until the landlord calls the police (full disclosure: I currently reside quite happily in one of these camps). However, somewhere in the middle of these two extremes lies the opportunity for discourse.

So, as part of this week’s countdown to the Valley Advocate’s Grand Band Slam concert for 2010, we at the Underground asked you the reader to give us your take on some of this year’s winners. The following is a sampling of the opinions and comments we received. Enjoy!

Brian Chicoine and the Truck Stop Troubadors (Winner: Best Country Band)

“Holy shit, Johnny Cash is alive!!! Where’s my square dancing shoes?! Let’s have a hoedown throwdown!”

– Cass Roberts (Endicott, N.Y.)

Jamie Kent and the Options (Winner: Best Jazz Band)

“Gives me a country or folk style feel. Does have a range of styles though. I would listen to him again and more in depth.”

– Beau Bensch (Belchertown, Mass.)

Cass Roberts

“This is good, neutral music. Everyone can enjoy this group.”

– Cass Roberts (Endicott, N.Y.)

Triple X (Winner: Best Rock Band)

“Interesting vocal sounds, pounding rock beats. Heavy rock influences and the guitar almost outshines the lead singer.”

– Beau Bensch (Belchertown, Mass.)

“It’s always refreshing to see a woman belting out songs that men usually do. I could see myself going to see them.”

– Cass Roberts (Endicott, N.Y.)

Accidental Groove (Winner: Best Groove/ Jam Band)

“Like an eighties female vocalist (Cyndi Lauper, Pat benatar, maybe even Cher?) all combined together over a chugging guitar/bass riff, which lacked originality and showed little to no room for improvement. Clearly, I was not impressed.”

– Andre Dufresne (Belchertown, Mass.)

Andre Dufresne

“I have to turn off this group. Eww.” – Cass Robert (Endicott, N.Y.)

“I would definitely go see a show and I am going to give a second listen to their stuff. They are really led by the vocalist. She brings most of the energy and a lot of power with the vocals.”

– Beau Bensch (Belchertown, Mass.)

Jeff Bujak (Winner: Best Electronica)

“OooooHHHHHhhh!!! FUN music!!! It’s energetic and lively.”

– Cass Robert (Endicott, N.Y.)

Beau Bensch

“Very syncopated electronica. The tones are so short they boarder on having a hard edge to them. Very cool sounds he uses as a melody, well layered. The piano is a nice addition to the electronic tones. His music overall has a “spacey” and alien feel to it. Very cool music, worth giving a second listen and would be a cool show to see in person.”

– Beau Bensch (Belchertown, Mass.)


Don’t miss Grand Band Slam 2010, October 9, Maximum Capacity, 116 School St., Chicopee, Mass., (413) 592-6406,

  1. #1 by Sharon on December 4, 2010 - 10:18 pm

    No matter how great Erland and the Carnival are on the tracks they laid down on their releases, they are Fantastic live! nothing neutral about it although I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating what they do but I’ve been surprised many-a-time with other bands and musicians. I am rather selective and rarely commit to saying I like a band hands-down but, E&TC Knocked my socks off in NYC in November. They have a fuller, bigger sound live & Erland is rather the charismatic frontman with a voice that effortlessly conveys the depths of beauty, sorrow and the human condition.

    They are an INTERESTING band. Erland Cooper evidently visited and revisited a folk museum and researched traditional source material to help create this band’s concept. And boy did he choose the best out there.

    Taking scraps of (or in whole) poetry — i.e. Leonard Cohen, William Blake–folklore tales, traditional folk, even newspaper articles, they fuse it to together in a melting pot of their own original ideas-they have a musical spin that is dreamy, quasi-psyche, engaging and unique modern twist on a traditional narrative.

    aka freaky desert punk garage psyche carnival romance

    I HIGHLY recommend watching a recording of their 40min live show from the paradiso in amsterdam from April Here is the link.

    On Youtube look for the live 3voor12 “Behind closed doors” session, unplugged, from the same schedule of event(s), London Calling in april 2010.

    Starting in June, E&TC recorded & mixed new material for there 2nd album in a studio on an old naval warship. Seems apropos somehow with the funky underwater sound possibilities within the confines of the ship.

    Check out Youtube for acoustic and other versions of the tunes on their debut album and EP. Can’t recommend the version of Love is a Killing Thing from a 2008 Butterfly recording session enough, as well as the Spinning Wheel. The as yet unreleased Leondard Cohen cover “Nightingale” shifts among my favorites as well.

    They are Paul Weller’s newest favorite band. Mine too. See them if you can. they are playing SxSW in Austin in March.


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