Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Pic By: Trever Long

Rock City Recap: Day 2

Yo. Day 2 came; Day 2 ruled. Missed it? We didn’t. Let’s get into it…


Beard of Bees: Sure, B. White is our boy. But what’s wrong with supporting your pal, especially when his new band is this much of a thrill? Was that guitar flipped over and re-strung? Was that the dude from Blood on the Wall playing bass? Did we go back in time to a point when the twisted barbed wire of Jesus Lizard regularly encircled bashed-in pop melodies? Book it: Beard of Bees are keeping it hot, and “DB Cooper” is the new honey.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Child Bite: Here’s a band that does the tighten up better than most. Someone used the word “potion” in an attempt to delineate what Child Bite does, and that works, as long as it’s acknowledged that the cauldron where they fashion their yelp and shimmy just keeps getting smaller. Less room to move means the inevitable explosion comes from concentrate, and there’s no escape from the heat. Banana Gorgon!

Apes: “‘Sup Detroit, we’re the Apes from DC.” Probably one of the cooler things to get to say as stage banter. Maybe that’s our bias toward DC hardcore and indie, but whatever. Apes brought the pain, and Majestic Ape, their keyboardist, even wore the outfit from the “Dr. Watcher” video. She lost the ski mask after like one song, of course. More gristly organ and deceptively silky electric guitar, please, because that shit goes together like Millhouse Nixon and the Watergate Hotel.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Prime Ministers: Atonal guitars, screaming, and drums that steadfastly refuse to follow a four-four time signature is all very nice. But sometimes, when you’re walking through the back corridor of the Garden Bowl, and suddenly you hear the chiming chords of power-pop glancing off the walls, it just sounds like a sweet reward. Prime Ministers played as some other people bowled, and it was like something out an Ed Burns ensemble film.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Von Bondies: There was some waiting around, but it probably just increased the drama. At least one past member of the band stood in the crowd. And when they got on the stage, it was the twinkle of Christmas lights. But Von Bondies didn’t disappoint. It had been awhile since they’d played in the D, and that was palpable from the stage and in the crowd. But Jason Stollsteimer hasn’t traded his passion for glory, and the old songs still rattled with grit and kinetic sugar. Have to admit we missed Carrie Smith’s icy cool indifference during “Not That Social.” But the set raged, and “Pale Bride” (the sole new one they played?) is a hit. It’s sliced open, a message from a survivor.


Beard of Bees: Beard of Bees? More like Beard of Bees Nuts! (Sorry, that means nothing. We just wanted to say it.) Anyway, BOB (wow, we’re full of ‘em today!) sounded like a collection of obscure 70s psyche and garage, spewed out in a sticky, stinky mess of first “real” show glory. Bass player ruled that McCartney bass, keyboard player stood in the corner, and B. White played standing up for the first time in five years.

Blase Splee: Blase Splee picked the wrong name. Their set in the Garden Bowl was anything but blase, as they delivered an almost uncatagorizical (not a real word) performance that seemed like a history lesson in the last 25 years of pop music. Baritone voices are the new non-baritone voices.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Child Bite: Sorry, we’re not allowed to talk about Child Bite on this site anymore. We’ll just say their set last year at our Launch Party signaled an arrival; after this year’s, Detroit’s new kings of weird rawk finally put on their crown. Then they took it off and shoved it up our asses. Also, beach balls = spring break!

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Apes: Apes stayed at our house and didn’t thrash it — which was surprising, since they thrashed the stage as if they drove nine hours just to come play this one show. Oh wait, they actually did that. Deep organ grooves, a twirling vocalist, and the uncanny ability to mix 60s hippie flavors with their DC-punk heritage made them a pure highlight from a night full of pure highlights.

Bad Veins: Everybody was running around saying “Dude, did you see Bad Veins? They’re fucking awesome!” Watched them for 5 minutes, and agreed. We could have spent more time with them, though. Dug the phone singing thing, and we would love to know where they got the material they covered their amps with; would look good in our living room.

Pas/Cal: Pas/Cal has perhaps made our favorite record of the year so far, so seeing these pop gems come to life live was pretty thrilling. The band may have been somewhat tossed together, but they pushed through the set, presumably cheered on by the fact that they were lucky to be playing such amazing songs. Also, Johnny Headband guy can really drum. And he wore a headband.

THXT: Saw THTX for two seconds and marveled at the fact that somebody who is capable of writing a song like this can also turn around and write a song like this. Insane!

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Terrible Twos: This set was a blur. Too many drinks consumed; so many bands, so little time. We remember broken strings, tank tops galore, one mustache, and the kind of pummeling punk scuzz that has earned these gnarly bros every bit of praise they’ve been given over the last year.

Von Bondies: Rumors of a body guard, a crazed tour manager, and an afternoon Starburst run? All true. The Von Bondies re-emerging as Detroit’s most raw, raucous, and unabashedly powerful survivors of the fizzled garage boom of yesteryear? Even truerererer. Also, Von Blondie did a good job on guitar.

Lee Marvin Computer Arm: Another whirlwind of crazy times. LMCA have been mysteriously M.I.A. the last few months, but their return to Detroit — armed with their full lineup, including crazy trumpet guy, Vincent Gallo-esque bassist guy, Beavis-lookalike drummer guy, loud-shirted screamer guy, guitar-guy-who-used-to-be-the-drummer guy, and big-guy-with-the-big-riffs guy — quite simply owned. Welcome back, dudes.

Pic By: Bianca Garza

Zoos of Berlin: Okay, we admit it: Putting Zoos of Berlin in the Garden Bowl, instead of upstairs at the Stick — or fuck, right smack dab in the middle of the Majestic’s lineup — was a huge mistake. These guys have been on a roll lately, and if the massive crowd jammed into the Garden Bowl was any indication, Zoos are Detroit’s next “it” band. Smooth jams that reference Stereolab, Sea and Cake, Eno, Bowie, and tons of other weird shit that we haven’t heard. Also, bassist Dan Clark’s parents were politely sitting right up front for their set, and we can’t get over how cute that shit is.

Pic By: Bianca Garza


Bad Veins: Bad Veins may have been the dark horse of this festival. Playing after the empty spot for no-shows Tiger City, the crowd began trickling in for their stellar set of bass-heavy downer pop. The catch? No bassist. Go figure. And no, it’s not a gimmick; it just appears that the guitar/drum duo prefer a reel-to-reel 2-track over a human when it comes to covering the low end of their blissful music. What a great set from a little known band.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Apes: It wouldn’t be a festival without some DC representation, and Apes did just that, blasting though a set of their loud, angst-filled psychedelic post-punk with reckless abandon. The crowd was into it too, or trying to get into it, as some pot smoke wafted through the air, surely giving more than a few attendees a contact buzz. We were too busy getting high off Apes, though, to care.

Prime Ministers: 90s radio-rock madness or country twang meets college rock? One song was the exact chord progression of Magnolia Electric Company’s “Don’t It Look Like The Dark,” but these guys managed to keep a hefty crowd head-bobbing along.

Terrible Twos: Terrible Twos brought the thrash on in true D.R.I. fashion. Hands down, the Terrible Twos hashed out the most offensively loud set of Rock City thus far. Pleading for a guitar from the stage, these guys must have thrashed a little too hard. Maybe this was what KISS was getting at about when they sang about Detroit “Rock City” eh?

Pic By: Trever Long

THTX: Apparently the dude from Outrageous Cherry got into the world of epic space-rock psychedelia, and the Garden Bowl was the place for such a stellar blast-off to take place. Lots of synthesizer and oscillations blended with a penchant for 60s-styled psychedelic grooves made for a nice homegrown version of the same type cosmic contacting that Acid Mother’s Temple has spent years mastering. Where’s the purple hash when you need it?

Lee Marvin Computer Arm/The Von Bondies: With Lee Marvin Computer Arm and the Von Bondies’ set times so close together, it was a virtual battle of the titans — the Bondies played the first hometown show with their new lineup, and LMCA made their return to Detroit stages as well. Main-Bondie Jason Stollsteimer proclaimed “It’s been too long Detroit” — to the largest audience of the festival thus far. Over at the Stick, screams of “FUCK THE VON BONDIES!” could be heard from the eager rowdy fans for LMCA’s brand of garage/trumpet spaz. Hm, is that dissent we smell? While the Von Bondies ripped into a set of mostly older cuts, LMCA did the opposite, playing 3 newer jams within their first five songs, amping up the crowd with their timeless primal energy. Over at the Majestic, when the VB’s finally played their acclaimed “C’mon, C’mon,” it was evident that it was what most people wanted to hear. LMCA, however, were busy crashing out one of the most energetic sets of the weekend, playing “hits” of their own, like the always electrifying “No Way.” Whether you caught a bit of both, or were set on watching one or the other, there’s “no waaaaaaayah” you could say “Where’s the ‘rock’ at Rock City?” Both bands destroyed.


Apes: Loud, angry dudes will always have a definitive place in rock n’ roll. According to Apes, strange, spastic chicks who pound out backing keyboard tracks deserve equal recognition, too. As do red ski-mask wearing weirdos.

Pas/Cal: Pas/Cal have a name that sounds like it should belong to a synth-pop collective, and a bassist who looks as though he strayed too far from a Madness tribute group. (If ska had a national flag, it would display a skinny dude wearing a vest and fedora). However, this is a collective filled with surprises, many of which include ear-catching melodies and disarming, crunch-rock jams in the key of awesome.

Pic By: Sam Doyle

The Terrible Twos: With all the recent hoopla surrounding the Terrible Twos — they don’t just hand out covers to local rags like certificates of participation — you’d expect this gang to not have to scream so loudly to be heard. But holler they do, and with startling ferocity. Check these guys off the list of people you’d want to encounter on Cass Avenue at 3 in the morning.

The Von Bondies: Screw the purist sneers of selling out and corporate camaraderie: The Von Bondies are about as damn close to Detroit rock perfection as one can expect to receive these days, especially now that frontman Jason Stollsteimer’s former sparing partner Jack White has fled to the loving arms of the Deep South. Its breakthrough single, “C’mon, C’mon,” may be your grandmother’s text-alert ringtone, but that doesn’t make it any less of a powerhouse pop hit than something like “Danger! High Voltage!”

Pic By: Sam Doyle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


No Responses to “Rock City Recap: Day 2”

  1. Bob Seger on June 15th, 2008 4:51 pm

    More photos!!!! Mega fucking photo post!

Leave a Reply


  • Recent Posts

  • Tags

  • Archives