Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Pic By: Trever Long

Rock City Recap: Day 1

The opening night of Rock City went down with a gigantic bang, and if you weren’t there, then we’re going to assume that you somehow locked yourself in the bathroom getting ready for the big event. Lucky for you, we were there (well, we kinda had to be, right?), and despite a night spent having our brains zapped by some of the best local and national bands out there, we managed to drag our haggard asses out of bed to recap Rock City, Day 1. Check back through the weekend for more updates!


Deastro: Deastro’s one-man act has ballooned to a four-piece, and the extra hands fills out his dream-pop Factory jams with the quickness. Dude’s going to be a contender, and not just for his skill at singing while throwing his fist aloft. And that fist seems to reach all the way to God’s pant leg.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

The Hard Lessons: The Hard Lessons are tumbling through their first record in its entirety when Big Matt leans over and says “Dude, you know that the Anvil is playing this shit one-footed, right?” Turns out he’s right. Augie, from the stage after the Lessons close out their set: “A big hand for the Anvil, who learned how to play all of these songs in two days with his left foot.” Paul Pierce’s knee injury, Kerri Strug sticking the landing on one ankle, and now one drummer telling his broken leg to fuck off.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Juiceboxxx: Juiceboxxx has arrived in a car after driving for 8, 10, or 20 hours, depending on who you talk to; he’s already on stage ramping into a replay of his Launch Party antics and cajoling the interested but tentative crowd to “knock over these photographers and get closer to the stage. I see a lot of shots being taken, but not enough dancing and smiling.” The crowd gets closer. Someone gives him a piggy-back ride. He climbs the monitor. The set ends with a bizarre “Beat It” moment, JB’s DJ splitting the tingling air with a flurry of notes on an electric guitar that’s so red it looks like it might be inflatable. So you think you can dance? You haven’t met the Boxxx.

Thunderbirds are Now!: It’s during “Make History” that Thunderbirds are Now! have a Girl Talk moment. Shirtless dudes begin to spill from the stage right, interspersed with women banging on tambourines. They surround the band. They are having fun. This is a moment, since the band’s bratty spazz indie suddenly is a uniter. It was never a divider to begin with, but TAN! and their half-topless entourage are showing us one of those big intangibles at a live music event: Have. Fucking. Fun.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Champions of Breakfast: Champions of Breakfast put the instrument props away for their last song, choosing instead to group together on one side of the stage and lead the raucous little throng in front of the stage in the chorus to another D&D anthem. Remember the “Have. Fucking. Fun.” mantra? The point is made again, right here in the Hanoi heat of the Magic Stick. Stop whining, start laughing. With, not at.

Pic By: Trever Long

Matt and Kim: Matt is singing R. Kelly a capella instead of just yelling for more vocals in the monitor. Kim is — shocker — laughing hysterically behind her drum kit. Her haircut has changed a bit since Austin; she looks cool. Their gear is pushed together in the center of the stage, and the room has come forward en masse to meet them, to be with them on the playground, to get hit in the face with the beads of their optimistic sweat equity.


Deastro: After hearing raves about this dude and his put-together band, finally getting to see his show was pretty thrilling. For starters, the dude must have been conceived, birthed and nursed to Duran Duran’s first two records, only to form pretty crafty synth-pop from his repressed memories many years later. Gary Wright meets M83 might be accurate. Homeboy waxed poetic about feminist writers only to get met by one show goer demanding him to “SHUT UP AND PLAY A SONG!” So he did, and it ruled.

Prussia: Meth’s answer to a 1950s-style prom band, blended with heavy twang and plenty of 1960s Californian psychedelia. The volume was mesmerizing; the mix was inexcusable; and the drummer standing up beating his cowbell in the same fashion as some drunk on a Whack-A-Mole machine was downright puzzling.

Pic By: Amanda Zee

The Hard Lessons: The Lessons laid down a strikingly solid set. Why these guys aren’t on jukeboxes everywhere, we’re not sure. At times they command energy from the stage that one might expect from Kid Rock’s band, but there’s definitely a reason the Hard Lessons are embraced by punk, rock and blues aficionados alike, and they demonstrated just that tonight. The screen behind them with the psychedelic naked chick on it wasn’t bad either.

Champions of Breakfast
: Songs about Dungeons and Dragons; fake instruments; mustaches; Hammer Pants. This may have been the most overdone, gratuitous set we’ve seen aside from Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, but for two pasty dudes singing their own songs karaoke style, and with the genuine charisma of a couple Elvis impersonators, we’ll be damned if it wasn’t entertaining.

Thunderbirds are Now!: A projector screen behind the band with tigers and unicorns on it, a couple bare-chested cowabunga dudes shooting party poppers at the audience, an impromptu onstage dance party, and a wardrobe change for Scott Allen made for one of the most entertaining and fun TAN! sets in quite some time — despite the fact that bassist Julian Wettlin and drummer Matt Rickle already played a set with Javelins earlier in the night.

Matt and Kim: Wow, Matt and Kim really like what they do. Never before have we seen two people so genuinely giddy about their drum-n-synth music, but now we have. They played the Internet hits that turned them into an overnight sensation to the wild lurching and general approvl of the audience, and even sang some R. Kelly in between songs. Could it get any better? Probably not.

Pic By: Bianca Garza


Javelins: You can always tell when a band has been on tour for two weeks straight; their homecoming shows always tend to be this odd mixture of robotic precision, fuck-it-it’s-just-another-show attitude, and confident awesomeness. Javelins’ Rock City-opening set was just like that: strong, exact, and a hell of a way to kick this party off. And yeah, we’re friends with them, so perhaps we’re biased. Got a fucking problem with that?

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Deastro: Deastro backed by an emo band? Okay, we’ll bite. The bass, guitar, and drum addition to his otherwise elegantly produced Kraut-pop cuts have further proven that Deastro is three steps away from “TRL”-level popularity — My Chemical Deastro-style. Nice t-shirts on the band too.

Prussia: Prussia went balls crazy, smacking the fuck out of every drum they could find, and looking like the coolest indie-hippie weirdos in town. The bass player was especially fascinating, as he seemed genuinely pissed off at his bass, bitch-slapping it like a little hipster pimp. Also, reverb in the Garden Bowl sounds amazing bouncing off the lanes. Good thing this band is into reverb. Like, a lot.

The Hard Lessons: The Anvil breaks his foot, the Anvil breaks hearts. After the Hard Lessons’ “blast from the past set” (complete with those cute little ties, and a guest appearance from the Sights’ Eddie Baranek), we saw the injured-Anvil walking around on crutches, and well, we realized how incredible his feat (and his feet) really was.

Wildcatting: Drummer on the ground, riffs to the sky. Wildcatting are one of the most underrated bands Detroit has to offer, and their set in the Garden Bowl proved that you don’t need some whiny, Axl Rose wannabe singing bullshit up front to be nothing short of captivating. We wanted to jump on things during the set, but somehow we restrained ourselves.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Matt and Kim: One-off shows on borrowed equipment, in massive theatres, playing to a crowd of strangers is not the easiest thing to pull off. But powered by sheer enthusiasm alone, Matt and Kim somehow managed it. Honestly, we’d rather have seen ‘em in a basement, or on the rooftop of a parking garage (oh wait, we did), but their positive vibes can transcend pretty much any party, and everybody’s faces hurt from so much smiling.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

SSM: We caught the last song by SSM, a gobbledygook of drum machine squiggle and fuzzed out tones, and it perfectly represented the sounds bouncing around in our brains from Rock City Day 1 sensory-overload. It sounded like the future, it sounded like the past, it sounded so right now, we hope it always lasts.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

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No Responses to “Rock City Recap: Day 1”

  1. fivethreedialtone » Girls On Film on June 13th, 2008 5:14 pm

    [...] Here is a real life recap of Detour Day 1. Look at those photos. If you were there and say you didn&… [...]

  2. james on June 13th, 2008 9:18 pm

    this site rocks

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