Posted by: detourmag on February 28, 2008 at 8:00 pm
Coffee? Detour and Wesley Snipes always bet on black. The Eastern Conference? We’re going with the Pistons. And as for local music festivals, we’ll always give props to Blowout. The annual event emanates from the hardscrabble environs of Hamtramck — an ethnic, largely working class quarter that’s surrounded by Detroit city proper. Each year, it overtakes the village’s bars and public halls for a heady stumble of old favorites, gonna-be-awesomes, and totally unheard ofs.
Like bar and hall-based music festivals in any city in the world, it’s the discoveries as much as the guarantees that define each year’s Blowout experience. And not just for the music. Most festival-goers are guaranteed to discover just how far they walk in the cold, blowing wind with two open beers stuffed in their back pockets. We rediscover that trick every single year.
There are over 200 bands playing the Blowout this year, and if you’ve attended this or similar events, you know you won’t see or won’t care about half of that number. It’s just the way it is. That’s why we’ve created the Detour Guide to Blowout 2008, a night-by-night checklist to follow for when you just want some solid advice on who to see and where to be when.
The 20+ artists we’ve highlighted are a mixture of faves and feisty newcomers. Their ability to melt faces has been proven, but we’ll also posit that our profiled artists would melt faces worldwide. We’ve also hooked you up with dark horse candidates for each night of the festival. This way, when the line out the door at Chill & Mingle means you’re getting all of the first and none of the second, you’ll have an auxiliary group to gawk at. Jean’s is the new Chill & Mingle, anyway.
See you out there.
The Detour Crew
<< WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5 >>
EONS (10:30 pm, Magic Stick)
We could talk about the bands they used to be in that turned up FAIL. We could talk about their mustaches or the cute little scarves around their necks. We could mention that we’re confused as to how they practice, considering they live all over the goddamn place (Richmond, Va., Detroit, Chicago, etc.). Instead, we’re just going to say this: if the slick, bombastic, Britpop-meets-Fugazi-stye rock of Eons doesn’t blow the fuck up this year, then we’ll turn Detour into a “Two Girls One Cup” tribute site. We believe in them that much.
Listen: “The Hotseat”
THE SILENT YEARS (11:00 pm, Majestic Theatre)
As the song goes, “Root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win, it’s a shame.” This is how we usually feel about the Silent Years, a band who’ve been winning left and right since their gorgeous melodies and ambitious scope kidnapped our mind grapes a few years ago. Let’s see here: A glowing review on Pitchfork? Yep. Successful US and UK tours? Uh-huh. Blowin’ minds at SXSW? Spin’s Underground Artist of the Year in 2007? Shit, who’s silent now?
HUMAN EYE (12:00 am, Magic Stick)
If you ever wondered what it would sound like if the Toxic Avenger started a band with synth-punks Magazine inside the brain of sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, then get ready to add Human Eye to your MySpace top friends. In their warped world, grotesque guitar belches, run-wild keyboard squeals and underwater vocal effects are valued as much as the rest of us appreciate a pretty melody. And it is this exact reason why the band works. They brilliantly turn the norm inside out, and flip the switch in our brains that lusts for savage interaction. Hey Human Eye: our id wants to hump you.
Listen: “Human Eye”
*Wednesday’s Dark Horse Pick*
BLACKREIGN AND OHKANG (11:15 pm, Magic Stick)
The Detroit duo has been under wider radar for a minute, but work a sound and style that draws so much from underground hip-hop, video game culture, their own twisted humor, and Slum Village love (Dilla love, too, RIP), it’s a wonder they haven’t appealed to everyone yet. It’s not like they won’t have anything you like. Still repping their 2007 release Bass and Brass Knuckles, Blackreign and Ohkang also recently formed the FunTouchables crew with fellow Detroit MC BLAKE Eerie.
<< THURSDAY, MARCH 6 >>
CHAMPIONS OF BREAKFAST (11:00 pm, Baker’s Streetcar)
Songs about Nintendo’s ill-fated Power Glove that simultaneously reference “Super Tecmo Bowl” and Michael Jackson? Shit, son. Sign us up. Champions of Breakfast are the quintessential children of the ‘80s; the type of kids that are as fascinated with their new 160 gig iPods as they are with Hall & Oates, Unicorns, and watching clips of metal dweebs Manowar on YouTube. If shit was up to them, all instruments would be made out of cardboard, and we’d only speak in instant messenger abbreviations. OMG. LOLZ. Yr nu fave band.
Listen: “Unicorn Bible (Remix)”
OUTRAGEOUS CHERRY (12:00 am, the Belmont)
Everybody knows that the OC’s Matt Smith is a fucking genius (check out 2005’s Our Love Will Change the World if you don’t trust). Only some, however, may know about his intense affection for chocolate. Wondering? Listen closer. Through his band’s sugar pop and hard-shelled psychedelia, you can imagine a young Smith in his bedroom, headphones glued to his noggin, cranking records by the Archies, Tommy James, Pink Floyd, and the Supremes with his teeth splattered with M&M’s. To this day, he’s probably doing the same thing.
Listen: “Our Love Will Change The World”
*Thursday’s Dark Horse Picks*
LIGHTNING LOVE (10:15 pm, Kelly’s)
CHARLIE SLICK (11:00 pm, Kelly’s)
SILENT VIOLET (10:15 pm, Chill & Mingle)
DUTCH PINK (11:00 pm, Chill & Mingle)
Lightning Love is an Ann Arbor-area outfit with twee-pop songs in the vein of Glo-Worm or other 7″-friendly groups from the early 1990s. A bit of woe, a bit of sweet, some keys and some drinks. With some promo this shit could move millions at Target. Charlie Slick plays after Love. Busted dance psychosis. The last time we saw him play, someone compared it favorably to Revenge of the Nerds. Silent Violet’s waves of keys, loops, and sophisticated pop with nods to Sia and Imogen Heap should suffuse weirdly into the righteous tales of American grit and gutter blues that Dutch Pink whips to ferocity on stage.
<< FRIDAY, MARCH 7 >>
CHILD BITE (10:00 pm, Knights of Columbus Main Hall)
We’d be assholes for taking all the credit, but ever since they melted the stage at Detour’s 3-Day Launch Party last September, good things have been happening for spiky noise-marauders Child Bite. The band have tightened their grip on the throats of indie rockers nationwide, releasing shot-from-the-hip EPs, squiggly remix records, and playing every punk house, DIY art gallery and closet-sized dive bar this side of the Mississippi. And when they drop their amazingly titled second LP Fantastic Gusts of Blood this spring? Just make sure you’re wearing a poncho.
Listen: “Banana Gorgon”
ANCOURAGE (11:00 pm, the Belmont)
We’re gonna be frank: It takes balls to be this band. A proggy three-piece with dream-pop affections that counts Seam, Karate, and Slint amongst their influences… well, they couldn’t be more un-Detroit if they tried. Remember, though, that this is a band with the word “courage” implanted in their name, so they have no problem being unfashionable in their hometown. They’re just going to continue pumping out sharp, emotional rock, and one day, when you’re older, you’re going to totally love it as much as we do.
Listen: “Axl Rose”
PRUSSIA (11:00 pm, Paycheck’s)
There’s a new scene bubbling in Detroit’s underbelly, one where kids in American Apparel hoodies and anti-war scarves are hanging out in lofts, building paper-maché dinosaurs, and starting bands that could give a shit about rock’s elderly rules. And near the forefront of this movement is Prussia, a group of punk-artists that sound like Pavement breaking into Hitsville USA in the middle of the night to record 60s psych and drug music. If you miss the Unicorns, or wish Saturday Looks Good to Me’s Fred Thomas never moved to Brooklyn, Prussia is a worthy replacement.
Listen: “Sometimes Someone Different”
TERRIBLE TWOS (11:00 pm, Small’s)
Another band that simply destroyed in the tight confines of the Majestic’s Garden Bowl during our Launch Party, Terrible Twos are the misbehaving younger brothers of Detroit legends like the Clone Defects and the Piranhas. These delinquents will play anywhere, for anybody, and with an intensity to suggest the whole joint was rigged with explosives and the only way shit wasn’t going to blow was if they ripped through their set at ridiculous speed. They will play loud. They will play fast. They will fall on their faces and get right back up, smashing their hands all over keyboards and guitars like they were piles of mashed potatoes. Then they will throw it all in your face, and you’ll eat it up like the hungry dog you are. Pass the gravy.
Listen: “Older Girls”
FRIENDLY FOES (12:00 pm, the Belmont)
Friendly Foes began as Thunderbirds are Now! mouthpiece Ryan Allen in his basement, goofing around. (Full disclosure: Allen is Detour’s managing editor.) But those one-man tracks became some loud and pretty joyous shit with the addition of bassist-vocalist Lizzie Wittman (Kiddo) and drummer Brad Elliott, and the trio started playing shows. And don’t play Allen as just a spazz. TAN! found melodies hiding underneath their hyperactivity, and for as happily ramshackle as the Foes are — they’re still in the fuck-all living room demo stage — it’s clear to us that they’ve got both the super and the chunk down pat. Reach for the stars, kids.
Listen: “Walk Home in the Dark”
THE HENTCHMEN (12:00 am, Knights of Columbus Main Hall)
Like a champion thoroughbred, we’re putting our money on the Hentchmen every time. We’d consider renaming the veteran group the Seabiscuitmen if it didn’t sound so goddamn ridic. Horse racing references aside, we can always rely on the Hentchmen to give us a healthy dose of the kind of sci-fi throwback rock that fits right in with the Detour aesthetic. Retro without being kitschy, explosive without being obnoxious, the Hentchmen were there before any of it was cool, and they’ll surely survive when it all comes crashing down. If you ever wondered how Jack White got the idea to start a bass-less garage combo, look no further than these dudes.
MICK BASSETT AND THE MARTHAS ( 12:00 am, New Dodge)
Young Mick Bassett’s version of Dylanism is chiseled out of the desire to do something (anything!) different than what he did in the past. His former band, the Dollfaces, were primed as garage rock’s answer to N*Sync, but nobody bit. For Bassett, it was back to the drawing board. He took some time off, went to college, grew out his hair, found some kids to play trombone, and eventually, he and his Marthas went to work crafting tunes that will outlast any flash-in-the-pan fad. There’s new blood on the tracks.
Listen: “The 2nd Avenue Saint Plunge”
BAD PARTY (12:30 am, Knights of Columbus Lounge)
Closing out the evening in the Knights of Columbus’s normally comfy lounge will be Bad Party, the noize-mess duo featuring Nate Savino (White Devil) and Mike Kearns (Tamion 12 Inch). This is screeching that creates a drum beat, and guitar solos built from repeating flickers of sound. There are vocals, but they might as well be part of the machine. Bad Party is angry, clanging shit — it’s thrilling like robbing a liquor store, but equally something you’d never do. Better see this now while you’re still drunk enough to say it was a sick dream.
Listen: “Kill Kill Kill”
THE DETROIT COBRAS (1:00 am, Knights of Columbus Main Hall)
If you’re ever out for a night on the town and run into the Detroit Cobras Rachel Nagy and Mary Ramirez, then you know to stay the fuck out of their way. It’s not that these ladies are mean-spirited, though we wouldn’t suggest talking shit. They’re just intimidating. Very intimidating. Live, Nagy’s voice is commanding like a charismatic dictator, while Ramirez’s guitar strut is teased from Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders and Chuck Berry. Along with a typically revolving cast of band mates, the Cobras spread their sexy gloss on obscure covers and garage-y originals like it was as easy as applying bright red lipstick during an earthquake. You can figure out how they do it from a safe distance in the crowd.
Listen: “(I Wanna Know) What’s Going On”
HIS NAME IS ALIVE (1:00 am, Small’s)
If, sometime in the mid-‘90s, you packed up all your 7”’s and sold your Throwing Muses T-shirts at the Salvation Army, you might often find yourself wondering if His Name is Alive is still, well, alive. So, newsflash, guy: Things didn’t end with Stars on ESP. Thankfully, for the rest of the world anyway, HNIA’s Warn Defever and his revolving cast of audiophiles have been churning out lush pastiches of evolving sound ever since. Time to dust off the turntables, buddy.
Listen: “Come To Me”
WILDCATTING (1:00 am, Paycheck’s)
An instrumental band is a hard sell. The teenage girls at the show will wonder what happened to the sexy lead singer. Your parents don’t understand what all the noise is about, and the intellectuals in the crowd will have no self-important poetry to sing along to. On the plus side, your album art won’t get all mucked up with senseless drivel, and if you’re in a band as wicked as Wildcatting, you’re free to let it rip. Think the jazzy splutters of King Crimson mixing devilishly with the art-tinged indie rock of vintage Blonde Redhead, and you’re getting close to the band’s headspace. As a wise man once said, “Less talk, more rock!” Wildcatting heed that call.
ZOOS OF BERLIN (1:00 am, New Dodge)
Witnessing the rubbery, jazz-tinged indie rock of Zoos of Berlin is like watching the slow-motion replay of an impressive tennis volley: fluid, bouncy, and muscle to move it along. They’re a band any city would be proud to call their own, class act gents and musical scholars who rep pop’s skewed side. The intertwining harmonies of axmen Trevor Naud and Daniel Clark, the propulsive drumming of Collin Dupuis, and the vital contributions from multi-instrumentalist Kevin Bayson and keyboardist Will Yates all connect like the starting five of the ’90-’91 Chicago Bulls. We’ll let them fight about who gets to be Jordan.
Listen: “Below The Old House”
Friday’s Dark Horse Pick:
THE HADITUPTOHERES (1:00am, the Painted Lady)
They’ve STILL had it up to here, they’re STILL kicking life into the fat gut of punk rock, and they’re STILL doing it all with a naive sort of joy that belies the bile in songs like “Posession” and “On a Tryst.” How is this band not touring with No Age?
<< SATURDAY, MARCH 8 >>
SILVERGHOST (10:45 pm, Knights of Columbus Lounge)
When Marcie Bolen left the Von Bondies, we’re sure a gaggle of creepy dudes got reverse boners. The good news is that the VB’s are still going strong with a new lineup, and that our little red-headed vixen is continuing to make a racket with a couple of new bands, Silverghost being one of them. Teaming up with drummer-cum-keyboardist Deleano Acevedo (who also plays with her in the no wave troupe F*Ke Blood), Bolen wastes no time getting her guitar-pop on, reminding us that it was her foundation-laying riffs and coy background vocals that helped drive “C’Mon C’mon” into our skulls in the first place. With Silverghost, we get Bolen front and center, charming us like a young Molly Ringwald with an SG strapped to her back.
Listen: “So Lost Now”
MAS! (12:00 am, the Painted Lady)
While most Detroit rockers can be found digging through crates of ‘60s and ‘70s vinyl for stimulation, the members of Mas! get their fingers dirty searching for hard to find 7”’s by fondly remembered ‘90s indie bands like Butterglory and Archers of Loaf. Maybe it’s not hip to champion a time in between free love and free downloads, but the helium-voiced laments of singer/guitarist Chris Ostafinski (who also fronts underappreciated locals the Recital) takes us right back to our high school days spent studying Magnet Magazine instead of our science books. Confused? Let Mas! educate you in a crash coarse of Indie Rock 101.
Listen: “Stretcher at 5AM”
THE DEAD BODIES (12:00 am, Baker’s Street Car)
Any band with the stones to call their latest EP Cock Cock Cock Cock Xanadu Xanadu is A-OK in our book. What’s better? It’s free. As in it costs no money. (Apparently it’s difficult to sell an album with the word “cock” in the title four times.) After listening to the damn thing, we’re wondering: who slipped the absinthe in these guys’ bottles of High Life? Wasn’t there a certain point in their existence when they were, well, normal? If they were, the band has erased all notions of it with their Bowie-meets-Philly-style psyche-pop (think a cracked out Lilys). The drugs don’t work? The Dead Bodies disagree.
Listen: “Deep Beauty Deep”
EASY ACTION (1:00 am, Small’s)
Michigan has never scrimped on delivering rock-n-roll legends. Examples: Iggy Pop, the Seeg. Still, there is a group of lesser knowns, people like the Dirtbombs’ Mick Collins and His Name is Alive’s Warn Defever, who are important branches on the state’s musical family tree. They might not end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but these guys never wanted a medal, anyway. Add Easy Action’s John Brannon to that elite list. Starting with primal hardcore act Negative Approach, hitting his stride with the melodic sludge of Laughing Hyenas, and bullying ahead with the balls-meet-wall rock of Easy Action, Brannon is a living, breathing, eating and shitting example of what a true punk is. Never mind anything, the bollocks, the trophies, the respect, whatever. This is Easy Action, and they’ll still be doing it when you’ve done gone home.
*Saturday’s Dark Horse Pick*
SEX GHOST! (Chill & Mingle, 11:00pm)
Natasha Beste (Perfect Summer) and Patrick Wenzel (Ghoulie) collabo on some evil robot Ladytron shizz. There’s an Adult. influence looming, too, but Sex Ghost! are more interested in one night stands (or bathroom stall stands) than changing the game. “Wolf Knife” is the jam.