Pop Rocks: Rather than look back, look ahead

For some, the new year is a time for reflection, for settling accounts and considering lessons learned. But I prefer to take a little more proactive approach to the end of one year and the beginning of another.


Instead of considering things that have happened, I prefer to look toward what’s to come. I’m curious as to what the new year might bring.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a short list of local acts, entrepreneurs and artistic endeavors I’ll be paying particular attention to in the coming year. I think each one could be on the brink of a breakout year.


EAT LIGHTNING: This band has been around for several years, but always seemed to be rocking on the periphery of success. I think with a little luck and a lot of effort, they could find some real success. I’m not saying there are arenas in this quirky rock act’s future, but a strong regional following is not out of reach. The songs are tight, performances infectious and the moment, I feel, right.


M.A.D. STUDIOS: Much of this listening room’s original mission statement, which included design and promotional services, seems to have been discarded in favor of becoming a very special sort of venue. Early shows that focus on active engagement between the artist and audience have set M.A.D. apart from its bar brethren and given it a blueprint for success.


VON HOLMES: This always-inventive Augusta musician hasn't played much in recent years, but that seemingly is about to change. He’s involved in the dark duo project Witch Baby, is doing some solo shows and has been experimenting with electronic music. It’s a long way from his famous freak-out guitar work for bands such as Blue Collar/Blue Heart and the Shark DeVilles, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. In fact, given his pedigree, it makes me all the more eager to see what his next step will be.


THE WESTOBOU FESTIVAL: There are no more transitional years for Westobou. The shift from its original bigger-is-better approach to something more streamlined is complete, and, given its more focused approach, every event must succeed on its own terms. Last year was a good start and gave the festival a foundation to build on. Now it’s time to build the event into something that feels strong and essential. It’s a fine line between success and failure, and Westobou’s clock is ticking.


PSYCHOTRONIC: I haven’t managed to walk into this treasure trove of film, music and popular culture ephemera without dropping a dozen dollars or so. Hopefully I’m not alone. This is the sort of establishment that, in a perfect universe, becomes a civic treasure. Head down to 8591/2 Broad St. Check it out. Buy something. This is the sort of endeavor that deserves support.

Pop Rocks: Top 10 list for 2012 rooted in rock