The Mad Deadly Brian Chilson

The first round of the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase — in its 27th year — was an exercise in the motley. A southern country-rock outfit made way for a gutsy woman-fronted pop-punk assembly, followed by a venerable soprano sax-led jazz quintet and a brainy instrumental rock band with a collective crush on wild time signatures.

The winner? The Mad Deadly, the aforementioned instrumental rock quartet. Here’s a snapshot of what our panel of judges, along with guest judge Joey Lucas of sleepcvlt tapes said about the evening’s performances, and some photography from our very own Brian Chilson. Also: video performances from The Great Whiskey Rendezvous, Sounds So Good and Amy McBryde & The Active Ingredient. (Sorry, folks, a failed battery means our video of The Mad Deadly is a no-go; come see them at the showcase finals March 1 at The Rev Room!)


The Mad Deadly: beastly instrumental math boogie from the cleanest of machines, with gorgeous guitar tone and loads of texture and variety in the sound.

UPDATE: Check out this post-showcase interview with The Mad Deadly from emcee Sarah Woolf, of Follow the Woolf.

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From our judges:

“Feelgood dance metal!”

“Most interesting of all bands to me this evening. Most professional sounding of the evening and got the benefit of the best house mix.”

“Songs took one on a sonic journey…..kept me engaged.”

“It rocked.”


Amy McBryde & The Active Ingredient: clever, rapidfire roasts of any man who ever did this frontwoman wrong, packaged in spirited verse, a la “You don’t look before you leap but you wanna run before you walk/Well, honey, do you need a microphone with all that big talk?” 

From our judges:

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“Amy and co. are a band that, led by Amy’s unique vocals and fun energy, will not allow categorization into one set genre. The sound, lyrics and energy are new yet comfortable and relatable. New fan!”

“Super funky 90s girl vibe.”

“Amy is at home on stage.”

Sounds So Good: polished quintet of jazz venerables with over 90 years combined experience, couching an ace soprano sax player in virtuosic keys, six-string bass and inventive rhythm.

From the judges:

“Pure energy in this sound. Loved the musicianship. The individual players were exciting, and they meshed together wonderfully. They did play some covers, but they made them their own.”

“As an audience member, one of my favorite things to see on stage is when the musicians have fun and communicate with each other wordlessly. Smiles, nods, certain looks. It shows me they are connected. Sounds So Good is a perfect example.”

The Great Whiskey Rendezvous: from somewhere near the intersection of Skynyrd and Levon Helm’s “Dirt Farmer,” peppered with slide guitar and mandolin.

From our judges:

“Haunting vocals.”

“Strength lies when the band veers unto bluesy territory, adding more flavor to the country vibe.”

“You can tell these guys are fun around a campfire!”

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“Their sound isn’t breaking new ground , but I did enjoy the sincerity and pain that came through in the singing.”


Join us at Stickyz Rock n’ Roll Chicken Shack next week for Round Two, featuring sets from The Going Jessies, White Mansion, Brad Byrd and Won Run.