I attempted to start my night out at Paycheck's to see Phantasmagoria, but after watching them fiddle around with their equipment and asking the sound guy about switching direct boxes in front of a pretty sizable crowd, I got antsy and left. I know shit happens, but I have a hard time when the first band of the night isn't ready to go on time. I am still intrigued enough by the music I listened to on their site that I've added Phantasmagoria to my mental list of bands to check out soon. Hope their set lived up to expectations.
Next I headed to Skipper's. Not to see any specific band - in fact I had no idea who would be on stage - but because Skipper's is one of the only bars in Hamtramck that serves gluten-free beer. And I just happen to find the place extremely charming. I later learned the band that was playing was the Meltdowns. Super catchy, Kinks-y surf rock n' roll. Plus they were all in suits, and from where I was standing near the door, I could squint my eyes and pretend the guitar player was Geoffrey Fieger.
Next it was time to cross the street to the G of C Hall to see Matt Jones & the Reconstruction. I've had Matt Jones on my list to see now for going on two years. Totally worth the wait. Fans of the Decemberists, Devendra Banhart and M Ward should take note - because we have something better right here in our own backyard. As an added bonus the sound in the Hall was really good - and they had fries! Yes!
Then I was off to Kelly's to see the Ultrasounds who were already playing their hearts out to a solidly packed room. I would be remiss if I didn't say that oh my god did this solidly packed room reek of armpit. What is this, a Phish concert?! Nonetheless, the Ultrasounds have something going for them - song-wise they reminded me a little of Stars. Drummer Sara Kay's voice was solid and sweet and didn't seem in any way encumbered by her furious drumming - more toms forever!
Next up the New Dodge to see the Afternoon Round. They had initially piqued my interest via the prominent banjo I heard on a couple of the songs on their site, but alas no banjo in the live set. They did have that Ryan Adams/Replacements rock sound totally down and adorable t-shirts (I admit I have a soft spot for bands that feature the Mitten State on their merch). The New Dodge was another venue that had really great sound - every time I see a band play there during Blowout I think, 'more bands I like should play here!' Somebody make that happen.
The Glossies at the Painted Lady were next on my list. This was one of my favorite sets of the night. The band features Scott Masson and Kip Donlon of Office as well as Fabian Halabou (Sea Of Japan/Silent Years) so my hopes were pretty high for some super poppy goodness. Totally not let down - equal parts Frank Black, Pulp, Elvis Costello and a dash of Pet Shop Boys. Each song was catchier than the one before it. More of this please - and put some songs up online so the internet can know and love you!
I wrapped up my night back at the New Dodge for Ryan Racine & Gas for Less, mostly because I was hoping they were doing some sort of promotion with the gas station next door to the bar and giving away gas gift cards. No such luck, but I was treated to a dose of unpretentious country goodness - the kind of heartfelt honky tonk I rarely if ever have the chance to see live. It kind of made me feel like I was in the movie Country Strong. Like at any moment a drunk Gwyneth Paltrow were gonna jump onto the stage from the New Dodge balcony to sing, "Friends In Low Places" to prove she wasn't no 'Country Barbie.' That would have been awesome.
Tonight, tonight, tonight... Don't know that I'll make it to Blowout - but you should check out Big Mess and Destroy This Place. What can I say? I have a date with an adorably nerdy indie pop songsmith from Seattle. I'll let you know how that goes.