First of all, some perspective. When I wrote my Blowout preview blog on Tuesday, I said that, on Sunday, I’ll be “crying into my mini-wheats at the prospect of 12 Blowout-less months”. However, as I sit here writing at 2.30am on Sunday morning, having just returned from the New Dodge, rather than feeling any sadness at all, I’m full of joy.
I saw 30 bands over the four nights. And 17 of those I was seeing for the first time. The amazing thing is, I didn’t see one bad set. Not one! Some were better than others, of course. Some were good while others were spectacular -- but nobody sucked. The Blowout, as in previous years, proved that the local talent we have in the Metro Detroit area is incredible.
The joy I feel now is simply because I remembered that these bands don’t, for the most part, hibernate for a year and drag themselves out for the next Blowout. No, we get to enjoy them as they play the local venues time and again. I’ve found that, on any night of the week, somewhere in Detroit there’s a great show going down. That’s the thought that’s making me grin. Not only that, but I don’t have mini-wheats in the pantry to cry into anyway. But I digress
As good as the other three nights were, there was a real party vibe in the air on Saturday -- a Mardi Gras-esque feeling of festival frivolities. Perhaps I just chose my sets well. The Party Stompers at the Painted Lady, featuring MT scribe Mike Hurtt on guitar and vocals, provided the perfect early evening shot of adrenaline. Their ‘50s-style rock ’n’ roll/rockabilly proved impossible to not dance to, though my attention was diverted by the fact that the Stompers’ drummer is the spitting image of Robbie, the giant brother in Everybody Loves Raymond.
Over at the New Dodge, I could breathe a sigh of relief because Let’s Talk About Girls were great. The reason for the mop of the brow? The keyboard player in the band is Bill Holdship, the music editor here at MT. In other words, the guy who gives me work. Thank Christ, their pop-rock tunes are as catchy as hell and they’re equally as danceable as the Party Stompers. And an awkward situation is averted. Phew.
I’ve loved Duende! on record for a while and, after interviewing front man Jeff Howitt for an MT feature a few weeks back, I found the singer and guitarist to be a genuinely beautiful soul. Onstage, they don’t disappoint. There’s an Americana sound in there, but it’s as if traditional music is being played in an asylum. I’m gonna call it schitzo-cana. Whatever, Paychecks was packed for their set (although, to be fair, everywhere I went had a great attendance this evening) and the only people having more fun than the crowd was the band.
Over at the Gates of Columbus, Child Bite were their frenetic, loopy selves. I could sit and watch this band play for hours, trying to figure out what they’re trying to do and having fun with the puzzle. Child Bite are the David Lynch of Detroit rock; it’s not about the destination but the journey.
The Cold Wave were not, as I wrote in the MT guide, “odd, electronic, indie noise” but rather quality alt-rock with melodies galore. I didn’t expect much from their set (despite Ryan Allen of Thunderbirds Are Now! and Friendly Foes being in the band) -- but their songs were well crafted and beautifully executed and I’ll certainly be checking them out again. I blame their Myspace page for the faux pas, and I’ll stick with that excuse.
I could only catch a couple of Silverghost songs because of the fact that Lightning Love were overlapping (somebody must have run later somewhere), but Marcie and Deleano seemed to be having a blast with their synth-led pop. The thing is, as far as I’m concerned, Lightning Love are the best pop band in Detroit right now, if not the country. Leah Diehl seems to be able to sneeze a hook-ridden tune in her sleep and anybody that hasn’t seen this future-classic band yet should get onto their website pronto to see where they’re playing next.
Back at the New Dodge, the Wrong Numbers both rounded off the festival and continued to pour fuel on the party atmosphere with their R&B-driven rock. Yes, singer Jason Clark looks a little odd in his white pants, pink frilly shirt and inhuman amount of chest hair that may haunt me for a while, but the man has a set of pipes that would impress Paul Rodgers, Steve Marriott and even Rod Stewart. On that note, local Rod Stewart tribute act Danny D was in the room to see the Wrong Numbers tonight and, rather oddly, he was surrounded by young women. One has to wonder if D was passing himself off as Rod himself.
My evening ended with Carmen Paradise of the Marvins asking me if my description of her band as “twee indie pop” in the MT blurbs was meant as an insult or a compliment. If Lightning Love proved anything tonight, it’s that twee indie pop is always a good thing. Maybe
See y’all next year.