Donovan’s was packed like sardines Saturday night for the Ann Arbor-based trio Rebel Kind
’s “Surprise Record Release Party.” I’m not sure what the surprise was. Helium balloons were awkwardly clumped up near the small spot on the floor where the band set-up place was (not a stage). The band themselves spun tracks by ESG and the Priests before they played, and immediately following the show.
Rebel Kind let loose with their genre-hopping, short, garage-pop songs with an ease and nervousness that happens when one plays to a roomful of friends and admirers. I don’t think there were monitor speakers, and there’s just a rudimentary P.A. in there. So, naturally it sounded great.
The audience was rapt, the band put their heads down and burst out their deceptively simple songs of betrayal and loss and bile and lust. Amber drums, Shelley is on bass, and Autumn sings and plays guitar. But I keep getting Amber and Autumn confused, because those names are so similar; did they both have hippie parents? Folks who’d not gotten their hands on Today
(Urinal Cake), the first physical record with the band in its current state, snapped them up. The best song they played Saturday night was a new one, “Everything You Said Is Just a Lie.” It was introduced with Autumn saying, “Did you ever date somebody who was such a slimeball that after it’s all over you couldn’t believe you ever let them touch you”? Her voice cracked, and then she screamed the words, and that was all anyone needed, sugar-coated catharsis.
This was my first night out and about as a Metro Times
staffer. I also attended an actual surprise party, in a bar lightly clouded with illicit cigarette smoke. After that I dropped by the MUG space
, thankfully catching Old Put’s set where thick chunks of sound alternated between melody and noise. Racing to Donovan’s, I caught about one third of openers Bonny Doon
’s set. Their drawling, laconic cowboy indie-pop was actually a blast.
Headed home, I heard the crazy sped-up sound of a live local jungle show which seemed to be of recent vintage, a DJ yelling at the crowd and calling them “Detroit junglists.” I wanted to be there, at that party, but I could tell by his banter that it had been at an earlier event so I didn’t try to go find that party. I won’t lie; the hyper drum and bass made me drive a bit faster than I might normally. This being Detroit, I was in a middle lane, and got passed on both sides. No matter how fast you drive here, someone is always going faster. I tried to find what the track was, but it doesn’t appear that the Alpha
show posts playlists.
I’m so happy to live in the greater Detroit area, this weird sprawling place where so many people carve out their own niches, out of deep artistic impulses and because what else are they going to do. So many people here, they kind of don’t give a fuck but they’re also really welcoming to outsiders. I’m not pretending that I know too much about local music or culture, don't get me wrong. But I love being in a place that allows so much interesting culture to happen in its many nooks and crannies. Or, if it doesn’t allow them to happen, they happen anyway.