Zip-Tie Handcuffs accented their punk side in rightly winning the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble at T.T the Bear’s Place on Friday. The power trio narrowly edged out Nemes – an Americana-shaded band delivering its own genre-smashing energy flavored by fiddler Dave Anthony – and the Static Dynamic, its bombastic enthusiasm topped by flame-haired vocalist Jess Collins.
On the surface, Zie-Tie Handcuffs evoked Nirvana with shambolic combustion, navigating tight changes with oddly punctual harmonies just when its loud, bass-heavy songs were about to fall apart. Bassist Ian Grinold (pictured) and guitarist Matt Ford even tossed/swapped their instruments for one equally effective song and later added a cover of “Rain,” a Beatles surprise coincidently played on occasion by Boston avant-punks Mission of Burma (though Burma didn’t throw in that hardcore-tempo shift in the middle).
Grinold accepted a sparkly winners’ crown adorned with antlers and feathers on a champagne-sprayed stage after a guest set by the Gravel Pit. The annual Rumble, coordinated by WZLX “Boston Emissions” host Anngelle Wood, began with 24 of the area’s best bands.