Thursday, January 22, 2009

High School Rock Off 16 January 2009 House of Blues Cleveland

Before I headed out to the Beachland for last Friday's Leon Russell show, I stopped at the House of Blues to catch some of the bands in this year's 13th High School Rockoff. I am so glad I did. I worry about rock and roll, the music I grew up with back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, sometimes I think its on the verge of extinction. The kids at the Rock Off proofed me otherwise. In this world dominated by American Idol, Clear Channel country, and where almost every genre of commercial popular music sounds the same, it was so good to see talented young people playing real rock and roll, with guitars and drums and songs that they have written themselves.
I caught a half dozen of the bands and they all deserved 'A' for effort. Sink Ohio Sink, Deviathan, and ESD all had a hard edge, showing influences from Gwar to Metalica to Mushroomhead. Pending Approval played a straight ahead rock, with both an edge and a melody. Standing on Friday showed that they had spent sometime listening to their parent's Neil Young and Tom Petty albums. Red Reign featured a pint sized Pat Benatar clone named Desiree Boardwine who got the audience jumping and screaming along to her original songs. All of the bands showed that they had put in hours of practice time, and both Red Reign and ESD made the cut to the finals on January 30.
The Rock Off continues next weekend with bands playing both Friday and Saturday, with the finals the following Friday. Check out the performance schedule at And, as always, there are a lot of great things going on at the House of Blues, check them out at

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