Winning combo: Hot Lunch satisfies the crowd

Rock Star Showdown
at Starr Hill
August 23

I like the anonymity of being a writer– almost no one knows your name and almost no one is glad you came. That's why it was certainly out of character for me to agree to be one of the triumvirate of judges for last Saturday's Rock Star Showdown at Starr Hill.

But as all proceeds were going to the Music Resource Center– that great idea that allows kids to get their hands on all the tools necessary to play and record music– I couldn't refuse the invitation. And the prospect of free drinks for the evening didn't hurt my decision either.

The first act of the night, George W. and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, took the stage in tan fatigues, with one member donning a George W. mask, and proceeded to impress everyone right out of the gate. Considering their mixture of blues and rock tunes, including an amazing rendition of Eminem's "Lose Yourself," the bar was set exceptionally high from the get-go.

The Band #2 was next, and with a James Brown cover, sung in a decidedly hard-to-hear fashion, and a rendition of Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" they did not overly entertain the judges– or the audience, as far as I could tell. And then the group busted out the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," with an amazing Michael Jackson-sounding lead, and everyone lit up like flash bulbs.

Mos Isley 4 was next, and after a seemingly drum and vocals rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," the group got more into a groove on Cake's "Short Skirt, Long Jacket." The highlight of the group is sax player Dain North, who plays frequently around town with singer/guitarist Joshua Mayo.

From there, the evening flew by– American Roulette was fairly straight-forward in their rock renditions of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" and the Steve Miller hit, "Take the Money and Run."

Monkey Love had us questioning if their singer was tone deaf, though the rest of the band was pretty good. Speedstick Race, featuring Power of Nature, opened their set with an original jam-rock tune, and their grin-inducing rendition of Van Halen's "Running With the Devil" made at least one audience member (me) groan.

One Night Stand opened with a long mystical-sounding lead in, followed by a damn good rendition of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar"– with great guitar work and strong drumming. Last up, Hot Lunch took the stage, decked out in cocktail lounge wear, and proceeded to set the audience cheering with Zepplin's "Good Times, Bad Times," which their female singer pulled off amazingly well, and later a cover of "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones, sung by their 19-year-old keyboardist in a fashion that would have done the master proud.

Hot Lunch was the winner of the night, but as the purpose of the evening was to have a good time and support the Music Resource Center, everyone at the show was a winner. Except the bands who lost.

[The benefiting charity's name was misspelled in the original print version of this story.]