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Best Music Poll weekend

The area's best musicians are featured in a three-day extravaganza

by Joe Longone

[Forced Fed Shovelhead] It's been another successful Worcester Phoenix Best Music Poll, and I think I speak for everyone down here at the shop when I say a big thanks to all the businesses, bands, and readers who helped get out the vote and make this whole thing possible. Now, it's time to celebrate this year's winners, and I can't think of a better way of doing so than by seeing many of them, along with the other nominees, live at some of the area's better venues.

The party will start on Thursday, May 22, and it won't stop until late Saturday, May 24 with four main events that will hopefully appeal to a broad variety of tastes and age groups. Each show will be chock full of musical chills and thrills and a portion of the proceeds with benefit YOU, Inc. -- a local youth social-services organization.

The shindig commences on Thursday evening at the Tammany Club (known by some as Tammany Hall). This joint's relaxed atmosphere and clear sound system make it one of the best places to see live music. They will also offer free hot dogs and pizza. Headlining the night with their angelic harmonies will be She's Busy. Local natives Lisa and Selena Wilson, accompanied by Ken Wilson and Bret Brumby, make some of the area's most beautiful music. Trekking from Fitchburg will be rising blues artist Charley Dee and his band. Dee, the consummate showman, has a way of drawing an audience into his enthusiasm for this down-home music, which is featured on his new CD, Rollin' and Tumblin' Blues. He and his amazing crew will be one of the bands featured on the Aerosmith tribute compilation Boston Gets a Grip. If you can keep a secret, I can tell you that there will be a special performance by those pop sensations the Curtain Society. Bowling over the Boston music scene after the release of their latest CD, Life Is Long, Still, this is their only scheduled area appearance.

The fun continues on Friday, May 23, at two of Worcester's more popular clubs, the Espresso Bar and Sir Morgan's Cove.

The Cove is a legendary establishment with a sophisticated sound system and home to the hardest-hitting bands around. The Cove will feature a line-up that is both diverse and power packed. Ex-Boneheads Chuck French and Dave Warren have joined together to create one of the most impressive outfits I've seen in some time. Super Creb Star Dynomax are a wonderful mix of metal, funk, punk, and hardcore. Check out "learn to crawl" which is on the Union Station compilation. Guerrero, the duo of drummer Greg Olson and guitarist Stephen Paul Gongiorno, are also featured on the Union Station disc, as well as the highly touted Allston Rock City compilation. These two guys can create a firestorm of sound. The bill is filled out by three relatively new outfits: the punk-crazed SBGB, the hardcore hepped-up Infuse, and the industrial madding MINDfield.

The Espresso Bar is one of the most happening teen joints on the planet. The new generation of Wormtowners is staking its claim there. And you can catch the cream of Worcester's current punk-rock scene all on one bill on May 23. Created from the passion and inspiration of Dave Parrent, Puddle are not only one of the best bands out of Worcester, but also one of the best outfits in the nation. Their recent single, "I Won't Let It Get Me Down," is one of the best recordings of the '90s. I don't know what's in the Grafton water, but our neighboring town has fostered two of the best new punk-rock groups Gas Food Lodging and Twist 160, both of whom will play the Espresso that night. And, not to be outdone, Southbridge's Westies can also kick up a fury (and are likely to do so) with the best of them.

Topping off the three-day extravaganza will be Mass Mayhem. This is the second year in a row for this all-day all-ages show at Oxford's Green Briar Park. The festival's promoter Tom Marino wants to one day make the event even bigger than the annual Localpalooza. Looking at this year's line-up he's well on his way.

Straight from their show at Axis, Chillum headline the long list of talented acts. Their CD, 9'6", has made them one of the area's most popular bands. Four heavy outfits, Rawhead Rex, Shed, Rut, and 3 1/2 Girls, are also featured. Rapcore devotees will be in heaven with the performances of Forced Fed Shovelhead and East Coast Psychos. If that's not enough, the bands Veiled, Eastcide, N.E. Hostility, 7 Dead, Super Creb Star Dynomax, 7th Rail Crew, Split, and Bottled are also scheduled to appear.

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