Thursday, May 23, 2024

Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls, winners of the 2017 Rock & Roll Rumble, perform at the 2019 Rumble. (Photo: Coleman Rogers via the Rock & Roll Rumble on Facebook)

The Rock & Roll Rumble returns for nine nights in April for the first band showdown since 2019, organizer Anngelle Wood said in an email Thursday, the day competitor submissions opened.

It will also be back in Central Square after three years at the now-shuttered Once Somerville nightclub. The competition will be on Middle East stages for two rounds of preliminaries between April 6-15 before moving to the Middle East’s Sonia stage for semifinal events April 21-22 and the finals May 6, Wood said.

The Rumble began in 1979 under the auspices of the WBCN radio station. With the end of the radio station in 2009, the competition was carried on by Wood, remaining a rite of passage for bands in the region and “an anchor in showcasing live music and fostering community in the music scene,” she said. Past winners have included The Dresden Dolls, The Sheila Divine, ‘Til Tuesday, The Amazing Royal Crowns, Gang Green and John Powhida International Airport, and bands that competed without winning range from Mission of Burma, The Rat and The Del Fuegos to O Positive, Gigolo Aunts, Letters to Cleo, Freezepop and Morphine.

Non-competing guest bands have included Joan Jett, Peter Wolf and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

“The Rock & Roll Rumble has seen its share of stops and starts, the most obvious being the 2020 Rumble year, which was planned and canceled twice,” Wood said Thursday. In the pandemic years, with “bands that were not able to meet, rehearse and perform … the reality is that the Rock & Roll Rumble couldn’t happen.”

Talks with Aaron Gray, booking manager at The Middle East led to a restart. “I felt at ease working with him, as he knows and understands the legacy,” Wood said.

In a rebuilding year, the Rumble is looking for organizations to partner with, sponsorships and prize donations, she said. “The Rumble is a beast. It’s months of planning and nothing at all like regular shows in any way. Not everyone gets it,” Wood said. “That saying ‘It takes a village’ is real in the context of the Rumble and has never been more meaningful.”

Information is here.