Would Kanye West have the final say against TV On The Radio? Could Karen O lead her squad to the Final Four? Did Franz Ferdinand dethrone rock royalty? Did the clock strike midnight for The Thermals?
1 Kanye West vs. 3 TV On The Radio
When you boil it down, Kanye West is just one man. Yes, he has an amazing light show, a sexy string section, and a talented person behind the vocoder, but when it comes to a live show–especially one that had Final Four implications–would Kanye be able to reign supreme over a band that is not only playing better than ever, but one that also received more critical acclaim than him last year? The answer is no. Kanye’s set was littered with lyrical tirades towards music critics: Yo, you really thought Dear Science was better than 808s and Heartbreak? C’mon, you don’t think all their albums sound the same? If Kanye stuck to the music, he might’ve won, but once again his mouth got him in trouble.
12 The Bouncing Souls vs. 3 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Simply put, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs underestimated The Bouncing Souls. After advancing to the Elite 8, without even competing against Depeche Mode, Karen O and crew were too busy planning for their Final Four set against TV On The Radio instead of getting ready for The Bouncing Souls. A simple viewing of the movie Hoosiers would have clued them in on one of Coach Norman Dale’s memorable lessons, “There’s a condition in tournament play to never talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you.” Without a bass player, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ set sounded anemic compared to The Bouncing Souls’ robust, punk-rock attack.
(above: Bryan “Papillon” Kienlen’s bass proved to be the deciding factor in the Bouncing Souls’ victory over the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.)
4 Franz Ferdinand vs. 2 The Cure
On paper, The Cure advance to the Final Four with ease, but in the live setting, it’s a whole different story. As they say: That’s why they play the shows. Franz Ferdinand worked the crowd into a tizzy and picked a perfect set-list for the night. When The Cure was good, they were golden, but too many times during the night they opted to do extended jam-outs, and decided to pass on some of the biggest hits in their catalog. When Robert Smith ended his band’s set with three consecutive songs from The Cure’s most recent album, 4:13 Dream, it cinched victory for Franz Ferdinand.
1 U2 vs. 10 The Thermals
Considering The Thermals made it into the Elite 8 without even having a complete tour to perfect the songs on their new album–which doesn’t even come out until next month–is a feat in itself. To do so when competing against U2 would take a complete miracle. The Thermals got lucky in the first couple rounds, by avoiding Animal Collective and Coldplay (who were both upset in their round matches), but weren’t so fortunate this time around. U2 is the lone #1 seed to advance to the Final Four in Indie Ear Madness ’09.