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The Round of 64 for Sound of the City’s own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—continues, and you get to vote on who makes it to Round Two. We’ll have some first-round results later today, but right now we kick-start the Downtown division with a matchup between its top seed, Bob Dylan, and the hard-driving hardcore act Sick Of It All. Will Bob take this in a walk, or will we see a shocking upset? You can help determine the outcome by casting a vote at Facebook.
Bobby Zimmerman arrived in December 1960 and—from the City—acquired, borrowed, or stole a new name, new personae, places to crash, books to read, music to hear, songs to sing, voices to sing in, people to sing to, people to sing about, a legal guardian, a dozen pasts, two dozen futures, girlfriends, gigs, contracts, and fame. The City was his, and he beautifully reflected it back over and over until he became what Jack Kerouac was for road trips and Hunter S. Thompson was for drugs: a gateway for mediocrity. But songs like “To Ramona” and its “flowers of the city” that “breathlike, get deathlike sometimes,” remain resonant, the quiet streets still sleeping somewhere underfoot. Plus, he’s Bob Dylan.
SICK OF IT ALL
Formed by two streetsmart brothers from Queens, Sick of It All perfected their own style of brief, blunt hardcore, albeit not without its own sense of tunefulness and exuberance. Staples of the CBGB Sunday-afternoon-matinee scene in the late Eighties and advocates of shouted gang vocals, the band’s taut, aggressive material made enough of an impact on the genre to earn the band a 25-year career. That’s a whole hell of a lot of “hey, hey, hey” chants, bandanas and circle pits.