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The Tapples rock Boston

by Audrey Anderson

Hometown Weekly Reporter

Needham’s own talented high-school age band, The Tapples, was chosen as one of seven Massachusetts bands to compete in a preliminary round of the Last Band Standing talent showcase and competition organized by the New England Music Awards. They appeared at the Rockwood Music Hall in Boston on March 15. The small hall was filled to capacity with enthusiastic music fans, including about 50 excited fans of The Tapples.

Preliminary rounds of the Last Band Standing competition will take place at several venues during March and April, with the finals taking place in May. In each round of the competition, bands chosen by the New England Music Awards nominating committee will play in front of a panel of industry professionals who will provide feedback to the musicians and score them on various aspects of their performances. The winner of the finals will receive a prize package valued at over $5,000 and will play at the 2024 New England Music Awards show.

The current members of The Tapples are Riley Zakarian on guitar, Avery Zakarian on bass, Liam King on drums, and Ashton Kim on keyboards. They are all students at Needham High School. The band has been together in some form for the past 10 years, beginning in elementary school. By the time that Riley was in third grade, the band started writing original songs and have since written 21 songs.

The Tapples are interested in various styles of music including blues, country, funk, and jazz. For influences, they credit R.E.M., Counting Crows, The Foo Fighters, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Duke Ellington. The boys planned their Last Band Standing performance to include each of these styles, playing three outstanding originals—“Back to Me,” “Ghosted,” and “14 Days.” They also played the required cover tune, choosing “Neon” by John Mayer, in which they included impressive solos by each member of the band.

After their performance, the judging panel lauded the band’s music chops and rapport with the audience, as the audience broke into wild applause and the band members smiled broadly. The performance at the Rockwood Music Hall was recorded, and videos are available on the band’s YouTube channel, @thetapples.

In the end, the Rockwood Music Hall preliminary competition was won by The Far Out, a pop-funk band from the North Shore. The Tapples still have a chance to continue, as wildcard bands will be announced in May.

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