[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
March 29 - April 4, 2001


Poll position

BMP Kick-off party wrap-up, Nullset's big break

By Brian Goslow

Sometimes you end up singing songs you'd never want to be caught singing in public -- reputation-losing guilty pleasures like Bob Welch's syrupy "Sentimental Lady," which the

Wormtown 2001 All-Stars used to open up last Thursday's Worcester Phoenix Best Music Poll Party at Jillian's. Thankfully, it's not the only memory of the event, which also served as a celebration of the publication of the first ever Worcester Phoenix Band Guide. Despite the messy conditions outside, over 300 area musicians turned out to unapologetically sing along with the songs of their youth. Life is Long, Still indeed!

We've got no idea who devoured the full platter of incredibly hot and spicy Buffalo Wings which had sat alone and broken-hearted with a half-hour left in the festivities. Perhaps it was the Slade/Quiet Riot/Oasis anthem "Cum On Feel the Noize" or the English Beat's "Save It for Later" which brought on the late munchies (or more likely, the appetites of the late-arriving Musclecah) that left the container empty as we headed out the door, but in any case, it was good to see such a wide variety of performers in attendance.

Of course, whenever we publish the nominees for each year's ballot, the announcement is followed by great debate about how they were arrived at, and of course, the immortal words, "How could they leave them off?" For many area acts who've already experienced the joys of Best Music Poll success, the answer is simply that we wanted to share the wealth, and hope to see you follow in the shoes of past winners who've used their placement atop our poll to expand their performing options, and hopefully, break into new regions, and subsequently, win a few polls outside of Worcester as well.

One group who's in the process of moving to the next level is the Framingham-based Nullset, who in their previous incarnation as Gangsta Bitch Barbie, were voted the Best Local Metal/Hard Rock Act in the 1998 Worcester Phoenix Best Music Poll. Three years later, they find themselves nominated for Best Local Loud Act in the Boston Phoenix's Best Music Poll and the Rising Stars category in the Boston Music Awards. More significantly, on April 24, their Smokewood EP will be released on the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label. The title track is already getting major airplay on WAAF, a good sign that Nullset's in a position to follow fellow Bay State rockers Godsmack, Staind, and Reveille onto the national stage.

You can bet the weeks leading up to the release will have Nullset's nerves on edge. "They're pretty well out of their minds," says manager Todd Heft. "They want to be out on the road touring -- that's what they do best -- but I told them this would be the toughest time `til the album hits the streets." Teft has been putting advance copies of Smokewood into the hands of radio programmers sympathetic to their powerful sound with the hope of building anticipation for the disc so that there's a noticeable amount of sales in the weeks following the release (which agents considering booking the group nationwide will be watching with keen interest); along with WAAF, WFNX and stations in Hartford and Albany have added the disc to their playlists. Grand Royal will follow with an national advertising blitz the week prior to the release; just as their name hits the streets, Nullset will perform at the Boston Music Awards at the Orpheum on April 19, then play live on WFNX's New England Products show on April 22 at 10 p.m.

This Saturday, March 31, Nullset gets to thank the town which has hosted them since they formed back in 1997 with an all-ages show at Nevins Hall in the Memorial Building in downtown Framingham. They'll be joined by 7th Rail Crew, Controlled Aggression, T*House of the Almighty, and Void.

Heavy Dates

On Thursday, Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice return to town with a new CD celebrating the music of some of Lester Young, Red Prysock, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Get your copy of Homage at Gilrein's. Babaloo bring "Punk Mambo" to the Tammany Club while the Tide preview their upcoming CD at the Lucky Dog. Shakey Steve and the BlueCats settle in as hosts of the weekly blues jam at Ralph's. On Friday, the Rubric Records showcase features the nutty Barnyard Playboys at Ralph's, it's metal mayhem with Medicine4Tim, We're All Gonna Die, Sypher, and Cops on Crutches at the Alley, the Zen Tricksters get their groove back at the Tammany Club, and Jah Spirit bring good vibes and reggae to Partner's Pub. On Saturday, the pride of Burlington, Vermont, Zola Turn, pull into the Alley for a show with fellow popsters Delta Clutch and Carry the Zero, it's roots rock bliss with the Ray Mason Band and Charlie Chesterman and the Legendary Motorbikes at Ralph's, The Sheila Divine celebrate the release of Where Have My Countrymen Gone with help from the Curtain Society, Longwave, and Reverse at the Lucky Dog, Huck previews their next piece of pop history at the Above Club, and former High Water Moon frontman Mike O'Connell is at Jillian's.

Brian Goslow can be contacted at bgoslow[a]phx.com

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