by Jeff Milo
Bars of Gold -- Photo by: Kelly Bennett
Part of that was due to the fact that there was no where to stand. Another part of it was that the music was so affecting (so loud, really,) that I was compelled to cling to the structure, the pulpit splashed in cerulean fluorescent, as a means to feel the shock, the blasts, the feedback, to feel it more fully.
Bars of Gold played in the middle of the night, band # 12 (or lucky #13, maybe?) out of 25, circulating three stages inside the Majestic complex, coalesced in a good-spirited collective KICK - kicking off the 16th Metro Times Blowout.
Cold Men Young had just finished their ferocious set, the three Emcees barely able to keep themselves from embracing the crowd with this energy, not aggressive, just intensely galvanized. And not inciting us, so much as just encouraging us to be as Up and voluminous as they each were... But the blasting bass from their amps gave them a slight advantage. Passalacqua (which features Blaksmith of CMY) sneaked onto the stage for a song, "Power," -a space-rock frayed rumbler with a wicked guitar sample clawing fervently under throaty, resolute raps - And there's Blaksmith's profile caught perfect in the lights, "...Power in my larynx" he kept breathlessly refraining, mists of saliva spraying out into the faintly-blue lit ether and yes...that was Blowout. Is Blowout.
Loretta Lucas -- Photo by: Kelly Bennett
I regained my cool at some point after Bars of Gold transitioned us from the haunting, whirl-pooling grooves and ...was that a ukulele...?... of the darkly psych-pop-tinged anti-folk felicity of Loretta Lucas' band. I leaned back and looked around for that Bars of Gold set... And everyone's eyes were wide, the whole crowd there, so many faces, lots of eyes and mouths agape, for those, that is, whose faces I could actually fix on for long enough to check said-eyeballs, discounting the ones whose heads were more on a swivel, undulating to the tremulous thrum of bass, noodly lightning whip guitars and that vocalist - a valiant snarl splicing Springsteen's anthem-rousers to Ian MacKaye's curdled catharsis -
And then the drums kit started to collapse from the force, cymbals timbering, mics knocked over and it was all a hellish hoot. It was Blowout. Is Blowout.
George Morris -- Photo by: Kelly Bennett
And then The Sights started their round of being "back up band" to various local players, first off covering a Carjack song with heroic gusto chopping live drums with sequenced beats. Suddenly one style's weird hip-hop-tinged techno-punk trip got even more intriguing when the seminal neo-soul rockers re-interpreted it... Then Tim Monger covered The Pretty Things, it was splendid! It was Blowout.
I haven't even mentioned the Walking Beat banging out straight-up 60's-retro rustling pop-rock swarmed with crowds at the stoop of Sgt Pepperoni's or George Morris belting out that high quavery voice of his over blippy synths and booming beats...or The Craycrays or the Hounds Below ...or... Holy Bolero-Hats, Batman!--Flint Eastwood.
But this is Blowout. You can only take-in so much.
The HandGrenades - Photo by: Kelly Bennett
A moment of clarity finally set in when I shuffled onto the patio, under the nighttime sky, passing by streams of faces I don't normally see out at shows, (un-initiated scenesters, fresh to this contemporary freak-out / summit of local bands).
It's like everything's in season, each band. Many of these, featured, have been gestating for three years or more, now, so it's The scene is flush with fresh produce, the garden's spilling out over the fence.
We can debate, those who religiously return to shows each weekend or frequent the myriad "mini-fests" that pop up around here every other month, whether or not Blowout needs to be bigger - but it's undeniable that it CAN be this big... All these bands... All of them, hundreds, power each other, like a solar car... Bars of Gold, Flint Eastwood, Lord Scrummage, Fur, all of these bands are experimenting with unique takes on a span of genres. A lot of flavors. Sure there's some bad apples and flaky kale and not everyone likes punk-rock-broccoli... But still...
You look around at all those faces in the crowd and the unspoken vibe seems to be: Who needs Austin, who needs Chicago, who needs Baltimore or New York - Detroit somewhere along the line, these last eight-ish years, became a genre onto itself...