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Review by "Shithead" (The Noise, May 2006)
Taxpayer. This is my second time seeing the band and something really clicks tonight—I feel like I suddenly "get it," whatever "it" was that previously had me thinking they were merely "good," when they're actually outstanding. Atmosphere abounds. I've always loved the imagery good guitar work can conjure; the quieter bits cloud-like over the passing landscapes of the rhythm section, the louder bits like a futuristic pirate ship in a stormy ocean. This set's chock full of such flavor. A few technical flubs aside, the music and performance are simply epic. Taxpayer's my "easy pick" to win the night.
Most of the crowd clears out before Mach 5. More leave during their AC/DC/ Crue inspired set. Lead singer Mach Bell was in the first Rumble in 1979, which is both impressive and kinda sad—I mean, one would think he's accumulated so much experience and wisdom to convey, then he throws on sequins and bug-eyed sunglasses to sing about... pussy. It's kind of creepy, definitely sloppy, and frankly puerile. Sweet. Their last tune is a heartfelt tribute to the once-hoppin' Kenmore Square . I'm mostly worried that the guy's gonna fall off that amp and really hurt himself.
I'm a sucker for harmony, and Scamper's Cars/ Weezer-esque tunes deliver the best harmonies I've heard in this town. Another bass has to be borrowed from Taxpayer (bonus points for Taxpayer, says T Max) after "Brendo" performs two songs on his knees with the mic angled down. The crowd takes a ridiculous amount of pictures of their genius/ goofball choreography, which is damn good stuff. Scamper just puts a smile on your face regardless, and that seems to be the point. I'm still convinced Taxpayer's got it nailed, but in my heart I want these dorky, unassuming, wildly entertaining guys to emerge victorious.
I admit, with all that Internet slagging I expected Sublime-esque funk-pop bullshit that I keep around the house in lieu of ipecac, but Plan B's alright. Not my thing, but definite punk/ metal-pop talent. Purists will see too many strings on stage, and the singer's got matching star tattoos, but they're the tightest band tonight and I enjoy it. Great delivery, too, particularly singer Billy Silvestri, who is enthused, spastically mobile, and on point throughout. He mugs his way through "I Fucked Your Girlfriend" like a muppet, which puts the tongue firmly back in cheek, where it belongs on such material. Good job, kids.
Scamper takes it—which makes me almost completely happy—then I learn that Taxpayer fell behind by just a half-point—then I'm completely happy. Best Rumble night ever.
Review by Northeast Performer magazine (May 2006)
Taxpayer opened the second night of the Rumble to a decently swollen crowd for a Monday night. They had a much more varied sound from song to song than any other band of the night. The main thing that hurt Taxpayer was the sound of the vocals. Not the way they were sung but rather the way they were mixed.
Mach 5 seems to get much less respect than they deserve. More than half of the crowd disappeared a song or two into their set. It may have been the overlap of the sets where people realized they were not liquored up enough to watch the rest of the show, but nevertheless Mach 5 brought the most entertaining rock of the night.
As Scamper took the stage, they looked too clean-cut to be following the pure rock grit of Mach 5, but they managed to quickly win over a crowd with their polished act. Out of all the bands of the night, Scamper could easily be inserted into the MTV line up. Halfway through their set the bass player ripped the strap button clear out of his bass. This offered the crowd a moment to soak in Scamper's personality. A bass replacement was graciously offered up by Taxpayer and Scamper's night and rumble hopes were saved.
By the time Plan B took the stage the crowd had severely dwindled, but they brought as much energy as one could imagine. Their songs sounded too much like one another, but the gem of their performance was the extremely visceral playing of the drummer.