Barrington natives take Rock Hunt stage

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The 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt semi-finals kick off this weekend and Barrington is heavily represented in the regional contest.

The Rare Occasions, Torn Shorts and The Mighty Good Boys are three of the 11 semi-finalist groups this year, and all have local ties.

Brian McLaughlin plays keyboards and rhythm guitar for The Rare Occasions. He’s also the group’s lead singer and like drummer Luke Imbusch, a Barrington native.

Mr. McLaughlin said his group fits the broad genre of indie rock, inspired by bands of the mid-2000s garage rock revival such as The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand along with more psychedelic groups such as MGMT.

The group self-records, self-engineers and self-produces all of its music. The band has previously opened up for Guster and Lupe Fiasco, and both Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Imbusch played for The Valar, which made the Rock Hunt a couple years ago.

The Mighty Good Boys play old-time Appalachian acoustic rock n’ roll. The group’s instrumentation includes guitars, drums, a mandolin, a harmonica and even a homemade acoustic tub bass. Five of its members — Corey Millard, Nick Carr, Travis Conaway, Jeff Kid and Mike Walker — are from Barrington.

The group is influenced by the Rolling Stones, the Band, the Doors, Van Morrison and the Velvet Underground, among others.

“We are very excited to be taking part in the Rock Hunt,” Mr. Conaway said. “It’s good motivation to practice and focus a little more than usual, plus we’re in serious need of a professional music video...”

Torn Shorts is influenced by Wilco, the Black Keys, Government Mule and’ the Allman Brothers, among other acts, according to the group’s Facebook page. Guitarist Nick Molak is from Barrington.

He said the group is a rock n’ roll band that spends about 30 hours a week together between rehearsals and shows.

“We all love to do it,” Mr. Molak said of the schedule.

The group is set to tour around Rhode Island and New York over the next several weeks and regularly plays outside of Providence.

Here’s when they play

Barrington natives will take the stage in the 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt semi-finals beginning this weekend. Here’s how you can catch the bands with local ties:

- The Rare Occasions: Friday, March 15 — JR’s Bourbon Street Rock House, Cranston. 18-plus. Cover – $5. 9 p.m.

- Torn Shorts: Friday, March 22 — Fete, Providence. All ages. Cover – $5. 9 p.m.

- The Mighty Good Boys: Friday, March 22 — Fete, Providence. All ages. Cover – $5. 9 p.m.

WBRU Rock Hunt

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.