- Illustration by Mark Dancey.
After months of buildup and a certain amount of hoo-hah, Blowout 17 is finally here. The format is different — this year the festivities will be spread over three cities inside of one long weekend. We’ve incorporated the city of Detroit into the main portion of the festival while remaining firmly in Hamtramck and Ferndale. There’s enough kick-ass music to go around, and the contrast in environments is going to be exciting.
You may have heard us harping on about the fact that this will be the “biggest and best” Blowout yet — that’s been the company line. It’s true though, and the proof is in the pudding. Just look at that list of headliners! Punk veterans are rubbing shoulders with iconic garage bands, and there are even a couple of big-name national acts. For your pleasure, we have hip-hop and electronica, hard rock and heavy metal, punk and indie, folk and country, pop and blues, rock ’n’ roll and R&B. Shit, if you can’t find something you like, you probably don’t like music at all.
Frankly, we’re proud to bring this enormous event to you, metro Detroit. Without your legions of adventurous fans wanting to feast on our local talent, Blowout wouldn’t be able to grow the way it has. Bigger and better? You betcha. Music has the power to straddle even our deepest local divides and bring us all together — all over town. —MT staff (with help from Pulp Detroit’s Adam O’Connor)
(Set times subject to change, be sure to check the Blowout website for the latest schedule.)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30
12:15 A.M.> SNAKEWING
Heavy, fast and in-your-face, Snakewing is intense (to say the least). Growling vocals sit comfortably with aggressive guitars and crashing drums. Are you ready for this?
11:15 P.M.> SIZE QUEEN
Riotous punk rock featuring Drew Podgorski, formerly of Running With Panthers and Just Ask — so expect catchy-as-fuck tunes and hyper-fast guitar.
10:15 P.M.> TALKING DOLLS
“We’re the sexiest shit ever,” says Talking Dolls singer and guitarist Anastasia Gold, who played last year’s Blowout as a solo artist. Who are we to argue?
9:15 P.M.> ELECTRIC CORPSE
Moody, Joy Division-inspired Gothic(ish) rock.
Magic Stick presented by SVEDKA
12:15 A.M.> DJ GODFATHER
Voted 15th Best DJ in America by the readers of DJ Times and Pioneer Pro DJ for 2011 and 2012, DJ Godfather has displayed a surprising versatility throughout his career. One of the founding fathers of “ghetto tech,” Godfather has earned his name.
11:30 P.M.> LOCAL H
You remember the alt-rock duo from Illinois, right? How about “Bound for the Floor”? That was the jam. It’s a song that stands the test of time. Actually, all of their music has held up. Check it out.
10:30 P.M.> DUTCH PINK
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s physical being might not be with us anymore, but his spirit is safely tucked away in the form of blues-rockers Dutch Pink. These guys got really smart, though, and added a killer set of soul pipes to the vocal lineup. Now they’re incredible.
9:30 P.M.> RO SPIT
An exceptional talent in the realm of hip-hop (a giant among talents, really), Ro Spit has worked with the likes of Bun B, Big Sean, Monica Blaire, Black Milk, and Guilty Simpson.
8:30 P.M.> RYAN DILLAHA & THE MIRACLE MEN
It is physically impossible to not get “Watchin’ ’em Fall” stuck in your head. Catchy beyond belief, Dillaha knows how to craft hooky country tunes. A hit machine in a porkpie hat — do not miss.
MAGIC STICK LOUNGE
11 P.M.> PONYSHOW
Does it need to be said? The Von Bozndies, the Hounds Below … the Jason Stollsteimer Midas touch strikes again.
10 P.M.> GEORGE MORRIS & THE GYPSY CHORUS|
George Morris is a compelling frontman and an incredibly talented songwriter and performer. After bubbling under with the Satin Peaches and then going away, Morris is causing a stir once again. Definitely one to watch.
9 P.M.> RONNY TIBBS & THE 305’s
Dusty, twangy and melodic, Ronny Tibbs & the 305’s adds an alt edge to punk ’n’ roll.
8 P.M.> OSCILLATING FAN CLUB
Gooey pop music delivered in a crunchy rock ’n’ roll shell, Oscillating Fan Club has been laying it down for nearly a decade. And they’ve yet to disappoint.
THURSDAY, MAY 1
11:30 P.M.> SROS LORDS
Churning guitars, melodic vocals and high-voltage garage punk rock. Enjoy it all. Drink it up, it’s not often you get your face rocked off these days.
10:15 P.M.> ST. THOMAS BOYS ACADEMY
High-energy punk that’s entirely listenable and devilishly raw. While their recorded antics are enjoyable, the live show is where it’s at.
9 P.M.> THE HANGDOWNS
Four guys from Warren playing hyper-fast punk rock. Think the Descendents and Bad Religion, trying to get through the set early so that they can go drink on the bus.
NORTHERN LIGHTS LOUNGE
11:30 P.M.> POOL
The electro-noise is exciting enough, but buried under there is a ton of sugary melody. It’s catchy, and you can’t figure out why. Think of it as subliminal-pop.
10:15 P.M.> CRAPPY FUTURE
Nothing like a bit of positivity, huh? Weird thing is, Crappy Future is actually quite upbeat and fun. (Must be irony.) Experimental synth rock from Ferndale — these guys won’t sound like anybody else you’ll hear all weekend.
9 P.M.> DIZZY DEAREST
Lansing band Dizzy Dearest’s debut album, Ars Antiqua, turned a lot of people onto their melodically fascinating and extremely “now” brand of electronic alt-pop. If you aren’t hip to these guys yet (to be fair, Lansing is quite a distance when discovering new bands), then Blowout is the perfect opportunity to correct that.
11:30 P.M.> PEWTER CUB
Indie music with fantastic components — pop, rock, alternative — Pewter Cub utilizes inventive combinations of instrumental and vocal work to deliver polished and unique should-be hits.
10:15 P.M.> TRAITS
Detroit’s indie music offerings got a little richer, courtesy of Traits. Five good-looking kids took it upon themselves to write some terrific lyrics, supply some catchy vocals and keep the party going.
9 P.M.> LITTLE ANIMAL
This electro duo lays it on thick. Ethereal vocals over synthesized dance beats make for one hell of a party.
TRAFFIC JAM & SNUG
11:30 P.M.> LE VOYAGE
Easy on the ears, Le Voyage borrows elements of rock, pop and electronica to craft a soaring and floating sound.
10:15 P.M.> LIGHTS & CAVES
The Lansing four-piece that goes by the moniker Lights & Caves has a full, cohesive sound stemming from a strong group dynamic.
9 P.M.> ADULT FILM
Shoegaze music that makes all other shoegaze music sound like ’80s Euro-disco.
11:30 P.M.> HAWK & SON
Mellow, lo-fi indie pop from Flint, Hawk & Son are not afraid of chirpy melody and catchy choruses. The name might make them sound like a haulage company, but these guys are the real deal.
10:15 P.M.> LISBOA
Pop music is not dead. Fantastic, super-catchy lyrics and vocals plus compelling guitar work, courtesy of four musically compatible dudes.
9 P.M.> TEAM CABIN
“A three-piece that likes things loud, poppy, and sometimes pretty fucking fast.” We couldn’t improve on that description if we tried. If you like fucking fast pop, you’d better check them out.
11:30 P.M.> FLASHCLASH
You want a dance party? You want flashing lights, relentlessly driving beats, glitter-splashed theatricality and dizzying, tweaked techno-pop? Movement, melody and analog-synth-driven merrymaking.
10:15 P.M.> PANN REZMOR
Members of Lola Valley blend pop and rock, and have nothing at all to do with Trent Reznor.
9 P.M.> BELTERRA
Belterra, aka Kelsey Nuernberg, plays Detroit electro of the synth-pop variety. The man will pull out a guitar from time to time, adding a bit of live energy to the cool atmospherics.
11:30 P.M.> JAWS THAT BITE
Multi-genre instrumentation at its finest, Jaws That Bite is a one-man show — utilizing electronic manipulation of all sorts.
10:15 P.M.> PASTEL ARSENAL
More ethereal than chill wave, and slightly abstract in terms of instrumental hip-hop or trip-hop, Pastel Arsenal brings the creativity that puts the bounce in your step.
9 P.M.> NORTRONIKS
Electronic beatmaking aimed at sampling, quality production and absolutely zero face-melting is what Nortroniks is trying to bring to the table.
Loving Touch presented by FAYGO
11:30 P.M.> DETROIT THE ALBUM
A beautifully produced album of assorted pieces and players from various Detroit bands, this is one of the most important and exciting collaborative records to come out of the Motor City in recent years. This will be one of the buzz “bands” of the festival. Expect the unexpected.
10:15 P.M.> JOHNNY HEADBAND
Headband live shows are a blur of motion; the brothers throw their whole bodies into their playing, lunging or running in place or doing interpretive dances. The music is just as ebullient as its performers, an arresting blend of danceable sensibilities: French discothèque, British trip-hop, rhythm-revved German krautrock, and funk-tinged techno-pop.
9 P.M.> LORD SCRUMMAGE
Awkward sound effects, samples, instrumentation and a smattering of every type of vocal work imaginable, Lord Scrummage somehow manages to patch it all together better than a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich.
NEW WAY BAR
11:30 P.M.> LEOPOLD & HIS FICTION
A band originally from Detroit but now based in San Francisco. Frontman David James (Leopold, we presume) looks like Freddie Mercury with suspenders, maybe with a dab of Ron Mael of Sparks. He has the Mercury moves down too, as well as the big choruses and dynamic verses.
10:15 P.M.> J.WALKER & THE CROSSGUARDS
The four-piece, with the guitar-shredding J. Walker firmly as the centerpiece, melds funk, blues, punk and good ol’ Detroit rock ‘n’ roll into a hard-riffin’ package.
9 P.M.> HIGH NOON GENTS
The trio of Detroit gunslingers known as High Noon Gents weaves a dusty and easy going brand of rock that sounds like it came from the great Southwest, but fits in just as nicely in the Motor City.
RUST BELT MARKET
11:30 P.M.> RAGBIRDS
This five-piece hails from Ann Arbor, and they tour extensively throughout the United States (usually tending toward the summer festival circuit). They play a dramatic blend of world music that most closely resembles folk rock. If you don’t like it, there’s something wrong with you.
10:15 P.M.> IAN LINK
Bluesy and folksy, Ian Link has been compared to Bob Dylan in the past, perhaps with less jarring vocals. Extremely enjoyable guitar-work and a very pleasant live show.
9:30 P.M.> DOLFISH
Superbly reminiscent of Daniel Johnston in his offbeat folk mentality, it pulls you in like a super-magnet.
9 P.M.> THE DECAMP SISTERS
The name tells it like it is — Libby and Riley DeCamp are sisters from Romeo who, together, create some gorgeous, flowing folk music. The voices are soft and stunning, the songs lush yet simple. If you like acoustic music, this set is a must.
WAB Outdoors presented by RIP IT
11:30 P.M.> SILENT LIONS
Having already played alongside and worked with industry vets and legends alike, Silent Lions have sculpted their weirdo soul sound beautifully — balancing bass, drums, vocals, and discomfort equally. A fun and dynamic sound, if you haven’t jumped aboard yet, stop wasting time.
10:15 P.M.> NICK PIUNTI & R.A.D.
Energetic and poppy, Nick Piunti has a few notable friends contributing to this “solo” experience. It’s all superb, positive and enjoyable. Dive right in.
9 P.M.> THE GRATEFUL DADS
Cover bands are often overrated. Grateful Dads? They don’t play unlistenable kids hits. A wide selection of music executed in a fun, party atmosphere. Everyone loves it. Everyone gets into it. And isn’t that really the point?
11:30 P.M.> THE PAPER SOUND
“Moody indie rock” describes the Paper Sound nicely. Powerful songwriting, vocals, and instrumentation in a neat little package.
10:15 P.M.> DOUBLE WEIRDO
Odd vocals that balance beautifully with strong musicianship, Double Weirdo is easy to listen to, and entertaining.
9 P.M.> MARVELS
Psychedelic garage alt-indie from Flint. Think the Zombies and the Turtles — but in Flint.
11:30 P.M.> AFTER THE TIDE
This band might have only been in existence for a couple of years, but it’s made the most of that time, opening for Saving Abel, the Art of Dying, Fuel, and Here Come the Mummies, and writing a bunch of extremely catchy hard-rock anthems. The Foo Fighters and Paramore are the obvious references, thanks to some restless energy and hooks that kill.
10:15 P.M.> TOUCH THE CLOUDS
Serving up a highly polished, angsty and riff-heavy sound that’s bigger than you’d expect, Touch the Clouds will be serving up a steaming plate of “Are you ready?” Be prepared.
9 P.M.> SICK
Modern rock with sweet melodies, hooks and four dudes, each shouldering the weight of creating outstanding pop-rock for the masses.
11:30 P.M.> THE ERERS
The Erers is a rock trio from Troy with a youthful, out-there sound birthed in a garage. The riffs you’ve heard a thousand times before. There’s nothing original here. But this is Detroit garage rock, throwing a heavy nod to the influences, yeah, but with gusto to spare.
10:15 P.M.> THE MUD SUNS
Sludgy and inspired by a vintage feel, the Mud Suns lay down a heavy blues and hard rock vibe.
9 P.M.> RED STONE SOULS
The key word in the band name being “soul,” it’s impossible to ignore the hard soul edge emanating from this four-piece. Blues, bending guitars and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll all add up to Red Stone Souls.
11:30 P.M.> SICK SMILE
Groovy, rock-heavy and bass-driven, you’ll be able to tell each and every distinct influence that is incorporated into Sick Smile’s style. (And good luck keeping your feet from shuffling along.)
10:15 P.M.> THE ROSE CULT
Jangly rock ’n’ roll is at an all-time low. What a bummer! Thankfully, the Rose Cult brings its share of bluesy psychedelia to the good people of Detroit to save the day.
9 P.M.> KING EDDIE
The Hamtown five-piece has managed to inject an old-school soul mentality into modern indie rock.
NEW DODGE LOUNGE
11:30 P.M.> NICE HOOVES
In-your-face loud, Nice Hooves waste no time proving to everyone just how noisy a band can get. Organized chaos, these five dudes know exactly what they’re up to.
10:15 P.M.> THE OCTOPUS
Serious Detroit rock ’n’ roll. Heavy rock — not heavy metal, don’t get the two mixed up — that’s gonna bring you to your knees. A combo of four gnarly dudes — and one charismatic frontwoman — who know how to create crunchy music.
9 P.M.> WARHORSES
Warhorses offer a throwback psychedelic trip without the aftereffects. Exploring several genres at once, they’ll impress the shit out of you.
11:30 P.M.> MY PAL VAL
A wonderful balance of three sets of vocals, brilliant musicianship and basic-yet-impressive songwriting. Easy to listen to, yet deep enough to inspire profound thought.
10:15 P.M.> THE HIT SOCIETY
Four guys from Detroit influenced by Nirvana, Buzzcocks, and the Replacements — so expect fuzzy, power-pop punk ditties.
9 P.M.> MOON WALKS
Moon Walks is chilled-out and untwangy mellow rock with folk overtones. Sound enjoyable and easy to listen to? That’s because it is.
11:30 P.M.> DOOP & THE INSIDE OUTLAWS
Doop has evolved his sound to the point where it’s tough to find a more talented lyricist and songwriter (in the purist sense) here, in the city. Let’s not call him “outlaw” anymore — his music defies genres (though “country” sits just fine).
10:15 P.M.> AMY GORE & HER VALENTINES
Gore is a titan — a musical being capable of doing just about anything now. She’s an awesome guitarist, she’s put an amazing band together (again), and the power-pop tunes that her Valentines produce are perfect. Do. Not. Miss.
9 P.M.> THE WHISKEY CHARMERS
Fronted by local country chanteuse Carrie Shepard, the Whiskey Charmers perform dusty Americana without any pretension. They’re spinners of tales ages old — incorporating layers of folk, blues, twang-less country — providing the listener an experience they never knew they could have.
11:30 P.M.> CALCASKA
This Flint trio has a sound rooted in the ’80s, very reminiscent of Simple Minds and early U2. Nothing wrong with that at all. The guys (Jeff Gingrich, Jullian Kingsley, and Ian Kingsley) define their sound as simply “rock ’n’ roll,” and we can’t argue.
10:15 P.M.> CETAN CLAWSON
Check in here for some face-melting guitar solos. This blues-rock wunderkind has been regularly putting on clinics at shows with heavy-chugging fret freakouts, aspiring toward Hendrixian heights. Come get experienced.
9 P.M.> NATHAN ROBERTS & THE NEW BIRDS
Call it singer-songwriter, indie folk rock or simply music that sounds like it came directly from the American heartland — what was started as a solo project evolved into a full-fleshed project known as Nathan Roberts & the New Birds.
11:30 P.M.> DETROIT COBRAS
A massively talented group revolving around duo Rachel Nagy and Mary Ramirez, this is as “Detroit rock ’n’ roll” as it gets. It’s just as simple — and as complex — as that. Sometimes less is more! Rock from the Motor City is sexy, and there’s no debating the sexiness of the Detroit Cobras.
10:15 P.M.> BLAIRE ALISE & THE BOMBSHELLS
1950s and ’60-inspired rock ’n’ roll with a garage edge, and an ever-so-slightly punk delivery. The classic girl groups collide with Wanda Jackson in Detroit. Sweeet!
9 P.M.> ANGRY HORNETS
Led by Johnny Bourbon, these Clarkston rockers have a rockabilly punk sound reminiscent of the Cramps and the Clash, with feet planted in Detroit garage rock. They make us want to guzzle liquor, wear a lot of black leather and ride a custom motorbike, all at the same time.
WHISKEY IN THE JAR
11:30 P.M.> NARCO DEBUT
Catchy and technically on-point to the bitter end, this four-piece weaves strong songwriting and modern rock fundamentals into melodic gems that will linger in your subconscious for days.
10:15 P.M.> TRUMAN
Relaxed indie rock with the fundamentals of folk and the mellowest of tendencies, Truman has an ethereal feel and celestial aptitude that will carry you into contentment at a moment’s notice.
9 P.M.> TBD
FRIDAY, MAY 2
12:45 A.M.> THE RUINERS
If the Ruiners don’t scream “Detroit Rock City,” then we don’t know where to find real rock around these parts. Their live show is contained chaos and one of the most maniacal times you’re likely to have.
11:30 P.M.> BLUE SNAGGLETOOTH
Psychedelic stoner rock from a band whose name really should be a Dr. Seuss character. Plus, Chris Taylor is one of the biggest badasses in Ann Arbor. Fans of Monster Magnet will lap this up.
10:15 P.M.> THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL
An aptly named five-piece, the Most Dangerous Animal brings in-your-face punk to the stage at each and every show. Blowout will be no exception, we’re sure.
9 P.M.> THE FARLEYS
Much-missed Stooges drummer Scott Asheton was once a member of these local punks, so it’s unsurprising that there’s a strong Stooges influence going on. Raw, ragged, and gnarly rock ’n’ roll overflowing with trash and gusto from a band led by a man called Jimmy Danger — don’t expect prog rock.
Magic Stick presented by SVEDKA
12:45 A.M.> EASY ACTION
In Detroit, John Brannon is as well-known for Easy Action as he is for his work with Negative Approach and the Laughing Hyenas. That stands as testament to the power, ferocity — and the groove — of this unbelievable band.
11:15 P.M.> BEAST IN THE FIELD
Sludgy metal group Beast in the Field is probably the loudest band on the bill. Maybe the hairiest too. “The problem is that we go beyond what most PAs put out, just our own stage volume,” says drummer Jamie Jahr. Fair enough.
10 P.M.> GOLDEN TORSO
There are only so many words for this ferocious kinda music, and Golden Torso’s the kind of sound that hammers the thesaurus out of our hands before hammering us right in the face; amped-up, chugging hardcore-punk revivalist jams nuanced with some grimy, alt-rock riffs.
9 P.M.> BLACKER MAGICK
The guys in spacey stoner rock band Blacker Magick claim that the idea for this group has been brewing since 2006, though they didn’t play their first show until 2011. That’s five years of careful thought and preparation. It was worth it — these guys are monstrous.
MAGIC STICK LOUNGE
MIDNIGHT> ODD HOURS
Extremely versatile, Odd Hours have a sound very reminiscent of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but not as reliant on vocals.
10:30 P.M.> LIZERRD
Howling and screeching punk rock, Lizerrd has — at its core — the most pure and ridiculously loud punk spirit (and the best band name spelling we’ve ever seen).
9:30 P.M.> CASUAL SWEETHEART
The ladies of Casual Sweetheart hadn’t even met before their first practice. Now, nothing could break them up. A blend of psychedelic punk and avant-garde garage-rock seeking a sound and a style that pushes boundaries.
8:30 P.M.> COSMIC LIGHT SHAPES
With a lysergic-laced bubblegum boogie, this trio’s brand of psychedelic pop can be as darkly fogged as Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, then get as playfully jangly as Big Star, only to link right back to the darkness of a Jesus & Mary Chain trip.
NORTHERN LIGHTS LOUNGE
12:45 A.M.> THE VONNEGUTS
Hoping for a raucous house party feel this year at Metro Times Blowout? Well, the Vonneguts will be doing their best to make sure that’s exactly how it goes.
11:30 P.M.> LOST BOYS
Essentially, Quennton Thornbury (guitar, vocals), Caroline Myrick (bass, vocals), and Sadie Slam (drums) play garage-y punk rock. That’s the gist of it, and you could be forgiven for thinking, “Oh, not another fucking one.” However, these guys play with such energy and an irresistible sense of fun that the music doesn’t sound tired at all.
10:15 P.M.> BARBEQUE
He looks like he was literally just pulled off the campsite at Coachella and placed behind a set of desks, but Barbeque is actually making some of the most interesting, enjoyable and unique electronic noises in Detroit right now. Obviously fascinated by classic video game music, he claims to want to bring about visions of the future.
9 P.M.> SPOOKY BASEMENTS
You know what punk is supposed to sound like, right? Good, then you won’t be surprised. Give Spooky Basements the proper recognition for keeping it real.
12 A.M.> CRACKKILLZ DA G.O.D.
Local rapper influenced by the likes of Bone Thugs N Harmony and Notorious B.I.G.
11 P.M.> ALMIGHTY DREADNAUGHTZ
They’ve collaborated with Dilla and written some of the sharpest, hardest rap in recent years. Now they’re going to wow a Blowout crowd.
10 P.M.> COLD MEN YOUNG
Quite possibly the smartest hip-hop band in Detroit right now, these guys are tight, sharp, witty, and thought-provoking … a heady brew.
9 P.M. >AZTEK THE BARFLY
Religious imagery runs wild through Aztek’s lyrics. “I expose them like Virgin Mary’s stained linen,” he says on “The 16 Chapel.” Wow.
TRAFFIC JAM & SNUG
11:30 P.M.> AUDRA KUBAT
Audra Kubat is a mass of contradictions. Her height gives the impression that she might be ungainly, but rather she is delicacy personified. She has a tendency to glare, yet the lyrics to her mostly acoustic tunes are pretty, poetic and subtle.
10:15 P.M.> SLEEPLESS INN
Collaborations are the sum of their parts — such as the exquisite trip-hoppiness of Laura Finlay and Eddie Logix of Sleepless Inn.
9:30 P.M.> MIKE GALBRAITH
“As a songwriter, Detroit’s Mike Galbraith owes as much to the Replacements as he does Bob Dylan, to Nirvana as much as Neil Young, to Calvin and Hobbes as Ernest Hemingway,” he says on Facebook. That’ll do.
9 P.M.> MICHELLE HELD
Give her an acoustic guitar and a mic, put her on a stage, and just let the girl run through a killer alt-folk set.
12:45 A.M.> THE STATIC DIAL
This quartet from Detroit says that they “take an indie approach to textures, with a love for Mediterranean and African styles, among a wide creative palette, and a Motor City attitude.” And they’re right.
11:30 P.M.> THE PHILTER
Surf rock has never felt so dark, brooding and layered. A two-piece in the vein of the Raveonettes, the Philter is the shot in the arm that indie-pop needed.
10:15 P.M.> THE SPLIT
Power-pop is an overused descriptive term in today’s musical climate. Some bands, however, have somehow managed to lasso the sound. The Split is one such entity.
9 P.M.> MOON MAFIA
Not your typical rock music. Moon Mafia features atypical vocal work and a great balance of instrumentation. Synth and guitar work assist in developing a unique and catchy sound.
1 A.M. > EDDIE LOGIX
A producer and audio engineer who has made himself one of the in-demand names on the scene right now, Logix has worked with just about everybody on this night’s bill.
12:30 A.M.> DOC WAFFLES
Bookish in every sense of the word, this smoothly sly, yet unkempt rapper spends his days reading iconic Edwardian-era literary aesthetes to bolster his erudite vocabulary. Sweet samples and booming beats solidify the symposium; keep your dictionaries handy in case some of it goes over your head.
12 A.M.> MIC PHELPS
Chilled out hip-hop with a strong pot theme. “I’m not smoking blunt ’cause I hate rolling joints,” he says on “Second Hand Smoke.” He’s lazy too, then.
11 P.M.> DOC ILLINGSWORTH
A group featuring some of the most diverse, eclectic hip-hop heads in town, all together in one rap melting pot.
10 P.M.> CLYDE MOOP
Clyde Moop will sample anything. The guy will dip back into music’s deep history and pull out long-forgotten sounds, and make them sound current and exciting.
9 P.M.> CHRISTOPHER JARVIS
Synth-heavy sounds from a man who will provide noises for some of the rappers on the bill to rhyme all over.
12 A.M.> MOTHER WHALE
Take a Kyuss tune-up session and add extra fuzz. Then slow it down. Then more fuzz.
11 P.M.> RENO
The ethereal vocals of Rachel Skotarczyk and the electronic stylings of Erno the Inferno — a match made in heaven. This is the music you’ll hear at the pearly gates; we’re convinced of it.
10 P.M.> PONY DRAGS
Emotive Americana country with acoustic guitars and female vocals.
9:30 P.M. >ERNO THE INFERNO FT. LISA STOCKING
Erno the Inferno has been DJing and producing for the past decade, showcasing his impressive musical acumen and unleashing a mixture of techno, house and disco upon the good people of Motown — letting the funk rain down heavily. And he doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
9 P.M. >MOON LAKE
Former members of the Kodaks, the Hounds Below, and Citizen Smile create ambient indie-shoegaze-beach jazz. It’s going to be pretty chill then.
FERNDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY
11:30 P.M.> CORKTOWN POPES
Folk-influenced rock that should be just about perfect for a festival, the Corktown Popes have a strong Waterboys influence and maybe a bit of early U2. It all results in clean, anthemic, drink-friendly tunes.
10:15 P.M.> MOD ORANGE
Melodic power pop, heavy on skilled musicianship, Mod Orange is just three guys, but it sure as hell sounds like a room full o’ dudes.
9 P.M.> REMNOSE
Close your eyes and imagine a dusty country road and front yards littered with rusted-out Chevys. That’s exactly the spirit that Remnose evokes. Talented, twangy yet soothing, they’ll bring just the right amount of oddity and folk to this year’s Blowout.
Loving Touch presented by FAYGO
12:45 A.M.> WOLF EYES
Remember when your dad used to hear your music and say, “That’s just noise”? If you were playing Wolf Eyes records, he might have had a point. Still, they’re our noisy bastards, and we love them.
11:30 P.M.> THE ARMED
Seems like every song by the Armed opens with a little bit of guitar feedback, and then shit hits the fan. Intensely heavy hardcore punk performed by intense people.
10:15 P.M.> ISOSCELES MOUNTAIN
These guys play psychedelic, proggy space jams. But then, after seeing that name, you already knew that. Some people call this stuff math rock because of the musical precision, but that’s like calling the Stooges biology rock because Iggy takes his shirt off. These guys play progressive stoner very well.
9 P.M.> COTTON MUSEUM
Cotton Museum, aka Chris Pottinger, makes crazy noises and melts minds. If you want overt melody and sing-along choruses, stay the fuck away. If you want to be challenged, enter the museum.
NEW WAY BAR
12:45 A.M.> VOYAG3R
Pronounced “Voyager 3,” this trio of gentlemen is adept at producing movie-less scores inspired by sci-fi, horror, and action films. Is it dynamic? Hell, yes. Will it melt your brain? Most likely.
11:30 P.M.> ALMOST FREE
A high-energy crew, combining sophisticated songwriting with chemically enhanced, dance-rock backdrops.
10:15 P.M.> CARJACK
Welcome, y’all, to the wild and wacky world of Carjack. Leave your shoes at the door but don’t expect to find them there when (and if) you leave. Chew glass and play Hungry Hungry Hippos by yourself. Fly a jumbo jet and then bury all your clothes. Paint your left knee green and extract your wisdom teeth. Shit’s about to get freaky.
9 P.M.> JESSE SHEPHERD-BATES
No one every really knows what to expect from Jesse Shepherd-Bates. The man is in multiple bands, all of which are worth a listen. His solo project sees him perform typically melodic, listenable alt-rock ditties.
RUST BELT MARKET
12:45 A.M.> FLINT EASTWOOD
These guys take the dusty, orchestral beauty of Ennio Morricone scores to movies like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and mix it with old game music and quirky pop, resulting in tunes so infectious and undeniably catchy that it’s practically impossible to hate.
11:30 P.M.> TUNDE OLANIRAN
Tunde Olaniran has style, talent (this is a voice you can listen to for days, we promise) and a dynamic presence. And lest we fail to mention, he also has two backup dancers that you won’t be able to take your eyes off.
10:15 P.M.> THE HANDGRENADES
Tellingly, this quartet of pop upstarts cut its teeth winning Beatles cover band contests. This is polished pop, with sunshine almost glinting off their shiny riffs and sweet voices; but their drummer came from the pits of punk, so he won’t sit still for any sock-hopping pop slow dance; he pulls the group’s pin and chucks things forward.
9 P.M.> YUM|
YUM has turned heads with a blend of garage-rock roughness, emotive bluesy solos and punk gusto, making for front-row-clogging magnetism. But they’ve endeared themselves to the Detroit scene due to how sincerely down-to-earth they are once the feedback fades and the amps are unplugged.
WAB Outdoors presented by RIP IT
11:30 P.M.> THE THORNBILLS
Beautiful, haunting and easy on the soul all at once, this folk duo will leave you feeling surprisingly full and satisfied.
10:30 P.M.> DUENDE!
As much of a rough ’n’ tumble psyche-blues trip as they are an uptown art-punk-ish paisley boogie, this band always puts on a good show. Stately and skuzzy altogether, this quartet prides itself on chameleonic rock capabilities.
9:30 P.M.> AMERICAN MARS
Possibly the pinnacle for exquisite, western-wrung alt-country rock, this talented quartet’s so stately and masterful with composition, harmony and sense for tone that you’ll likely be compelled to straighten your bolo ties as you drink in the tasteful twangs.
8:45 P.M.> THE BLUEFLOWERS
Gothic-ish, poetic alt-rock from David Lynch-influenced musos, featuring Kate Hinote’s gorgeous voice. These guys have a penchant for both the ridiculous and the macabre.
8 P.M.> CAPTAIN IVORY
Loud, guitar-wailing psyche-rock goes into piano-fringed AM pop; reggae-riffs and catchy melodies go into strutting, stomping country-tinged boogies. This band sails across myriad genres, never seeming to dock, and at home in any port.
12:45 A.M.> THE PRIME MINISTERS
Flawless execution allows the Prime Ministers to pull off a sound reminiscent of early Collective Soul (but not in the corny way that’s making you smirk right now).
11:30 P.M.> THE DIVES
Straight-up, no-frills punk rock from dudes decked out in dapper suits, with a Dead Boys bent.
10:15 P.M.> THE WALKING BEAT
Serious pop aficionados, listen up. We want harmonies from distinctly toned male-female vocals, and we want rhythms we can clap our hands to. We want choruses that get stuck in our heads, and we want a riffy guitar, warmed by a syrupy organ. We want old-timey pop-rock done right! Check here.
9 P.M.> GO TIGER, GO!
Four dudes filling the world with alt-indie music and having a great time doing it. The Beatles are a strong institute, but then so are the Strokes. Expect dark, cool melodies.
12:45 A.M.> SIX AND THE SEVENS
Bluesy, catchy and hook-heavy, Six and the Sevens will have you toe-tapping and swingin’ those hips. Enjoyable? Yes. Poppy? Yes. Altogether addictive? Duh.
11:30 P.M.> BISON MACHINE
Mean, murky grooves and thunderous drums singed with sinewy guitars and melodious howls, seamlessly spread out and soar into bluesy-fringed atmospheric pieces. All of it loud and ominous, and invigoratingly brutal.
10:15 P.M.> BUFFALO COVEN PARTY
Directly before the Bison comes the Buffalo, in this case a psychedelic indie band from Ann Arbor. Allow yourself to get carried away in the psych-swirl.
9 P.M.> UNLIMITED HEAD
This four-piece re-establishes the bar for glorious guitar work, percussion and amazing vocal work that feels eerily familiar.
12:45 A.M.> AFTER DARK AMUSEMENT PARK
A glorious soup of glam and indie. Think the Flaming Lips and T-Rex covering each other’s tunes. Never boring, main man Greg Beyer (also of the Bears Are Out) is evolving into a handy frontman, and the material is hooky and strong. Leann Banks (Ponyshow, Amy Gore’s Valentines) is also becoming one of the most highly sought-after bassists in town.
11:30 P.M.> AMATEUR ANTHROPOLOGIST
The members of this three-piece garage punk band from the suburbs say they like to party and ride bicycles. We’re more likely to see the former than the latter at Blowout, but you never know.
10:15 P.M.> THE PLATINUM SELECTION
The funny thing about “space pop” is that most folks aren’t quite ready for it yet. But you’ll be ready for this. Honestly.
9 P.M.> THE SUNBURNS
If there’s not already a burgeoning punk-billy scene, there will be soon. And the Sunburns will be leading the charge. Good luck not getting “Welcome to Jonestown” stuck in your head for the next week.
12:45 A.M.> JACK & THE BEAR
Upbeat and twangy folk, Jack & the Bear feature coarse vocals in the vein of Tom Waits or Bob Dylan, plus the musicianship and melodic sensibilities of a full folk-rock orchestra.
11:30 P.M.> CHRIS DEGNORE & THE BLACK DROPS
Award-winning songwriter meets a bunch of like-minded souls and forms a kick-ass bluesy power-pop band. And why not?
10:15 P.M.> AT WILLOUGHBY
These dudes describe their sound as, “poppy, acoustic, folky, country, melodic, and usually clean,” and it’s the “usually clean” that has us fascinated. Usually? What are they the rest of the time?
9 P.M.> JULIAN PAAIGE
Detroit’s very own punk rock poet laureate, Paaige looks both damaged and in control when he’s on stage, and he has the raw charisma to enthrall.
NEW DODGE LOUNGE
12:45 A.M.> JAMAICAN QUEENS
Jamaican Queens pile on heavy rap beats, low-woozy-bass bursts, trundling 808 Rolands and cascades of spacey-synth samples. Describing the JQ sound with his bandmate Adam Pressley (JQ-co-founder, guitarist, beat experimenter and producer), Ryan Spencer tellingly repeats the phrase: “Fuck with it.”
11:30 P.M.> ILLY MACK
Illy Mack is a minimalist soul-pop duo (singer-keyboardist-guitarist Jennifer David and bassist-drummer Steve Kendzorski) whose charm is born of raw emotion and the ability to translate it into a song and a stage show. The pair doesn’t shy from candid and crude onstage banter. But as it is with most collaborations in the arts, evoking emotion is key.
10:15 P.M.> MEXICAN KNIVES
“Surf goth” has officially infiltrated Detroit, and it’s taking over slowly but surely. Aggressive, groovy and way more than just listenable, Mexican Knives goes far beyond just “indie.”
9 P.M.> STATUTES OF LIBERTY
This 10-piece will not leave you wanting for more thanks to a very full rock ’n’ roll sound.
12:45 A.M.> AXE RIPPER
Detroit’s Axe Ripper has been dragged straight out of the goony days of gonzo metal, the era that inspired the Beavis & Butt-Head generation. These guys rock like early Anthrax, later Suicidal Tendencies, and the Stormtroopers of Death. Not for the fainthearted.
11:30 P.M.> RAWDOGS
“We’re the hard-rocking master race, sent from Earth to outer space to make you watch us masturbate, thrash this place n’ smash your fuckin’ face,” says the Rawdogs. Perfect.
10:30 P.M.> COME OUT FIGHTING
It wouldn’t be Blowout with some gnarly, pissed hardcore punk music. Come Out Fighting tick off all of those boxes. Super-fast tunes and agro vocals — expect shirts to come off and a pit to start whirling.
9:45 P.M.> REVEREND
Hard psychedelic rock, a genre often overlooked, has been made impossible to ignore by Detroit’s Reverend. Percussion-heavy, swirling guitars and soaring vocals — it’s easier to listen to than you’d think.
12:45 A.M.> THE HENTCHMEN
The Hentchmen still play stripped-down rock ’n’ roll in one minute, 58 seconds, the only way they know how. To be fair, what the fuck else would you want from these local garage mainstays?
11:30 P.M.> THE ILL ITCHES
No relation to the well-known owners of the Tigers and Red Wings, their music’s more like how their name reads — agitated, speedy, spazzy punk-pop coming fresh out of the oven from these young, long-haired, fresh-faced shredders.
10:15 P.M.> AWESOME JARVIS & THE WHALES
Awesome Jarvis is actually Benjamin Kay, a fun-loving dude who has assembled a multi-talented group of Whales to play his acid-garage-funk. The band has a song called “Shake Your Ass for the People,” which makes you want to do exactly that.
9 P.M.> NIGEL & THE DROPOUT
Loops aplenty from this Detroit-based duo, though there’s a real Brit-pop feel in there too. Remember how the Happy Mondays captured the rave vibe without actually being a rave act?
12:45 A.M.> INSITE THE RIOT
In the game for nearly a decade now, Insite the Riot has been proving to fans and critics that her lyrical delivery and abilities are a force to be reckoned with.
11:30 P.M.> LEAF ERIKSON
A brilliant lyricist, Leaf Erikson has an easy flow, is grossly underappreciated and is vaguely reminiscent of Blackalicious. Pretty high praise, wouldn’t you say? Experience it for yourself.
10:15 P.M.> AUDIOLOGICAL
Detroit rapper AudioLogical, aka Danny Brett, appears to have a deep adoration for old-school funk and soul. That’s the vibe of the beats and loops going on around him, while he rhymes about everything from bitches to hustling.
9 P.M.> NLR (NIQUE LOVERHODES)
Female hip-hop is undervalued — particularly talented women emcees — but Nique LoveRhodes doesn’t pay any mind to that. All that matters is her flow and effortless delivery.
12:45 A.M.> KALEIDO
Kaleido successfully taps the power-pop and hard rock veins and, while the sound isn’t unique by any stretch of the imagination, it is quirky and catchy enough to stand out from the crowd. Singer Christina Chriss is the band’s not-at-all secret weapon. She’s the difference, the X-factor, that helps them make the leap from “decent but ordinary local rock band” to “Holy shit, you have to check these guys out!”
11:30 P.M.> PASSALACQUA
Is it indie hip-hop or just old-school? Does it matter? This dynamic duo (Blaksmith and Mister) are both hyper-talented emcees that never fail to entertain or impress.
10:15 P.M.> ELECTRIC GRAFFITI
Fresh-faced female pop-rockers with youth and talent on their side. Catchy tunes blessed with sunshine melodies and some genuine, heartfelt emotion.
9 P.M.> THE ANONYMOUS
Quirkier than your average hip-hop outfit and not just because they slip in allegorical references to Mario Bros. or irreverent commentaries arising from being denied an Egg McMuffin. Cerebral, spacey samples, busting beats and charming wit — get to know the yet-unknowns.
WHISKEY IN THE JAR
12:45 A.M.> JEREMY PORTER & THE TUCOS
Imagine Gram Parsons fronting Hüsker Dü, or Waylon Jennings fronting X. I know, it’s a tough image to conjure, but Porter and his boys do it musically.
11:30 P.M.> 500 CLUB
Ben Keeler has moved from Detroit to Chicago and to San Francisco, but he’s still very much one of ours. His heartfelt rock ’n’ soul is all Motor City.
10:15 P.M.> THE BRISCOE COUNTY VULTURES
As the name suggests, these cow-punks are originally from Briscoe County, Texas, though they now live in Detroit. Thanks for moving here, guys. Now get to work and entertain us.
9 P.M.> DESOLATION ANGELS
If you’re going to name yourself after a Kerouac book, you’d better be dark, pensive and hip. Oh, you’re a rockabilly and Americana band? Good enough.
SATURDAY, MAY 3
12:45 A.M.> CHOKING SUSAN
Led by the inimitable Colleen Caffeine, this punk says, “Just like a 60-year-old hooker, Choking Susan has had plenty of members, in-and-out, and kept ourselves raw and inspired.” An elderly hooker might be raw, but inspired? Hmmm. Thankfully, these guys are punk as fuck.
11:30 P.M.> THE BOMB POPS
The Bomb Pops say: “The Bomb Pops is a four-piece band from Detroit Rock City. If you took the early ’70s British glam bands (Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Sweet) and mixed them with ’77 Punk (Sex Pistols, Clash, Gen X) while growing up and surviving life in Detroit, you would have the fun and authentic pop-punk sound that is the Bomb Pops.” Fair enough.
10:15 P.M.> DISINFORMANTS
Frontman Anthony Gentile, formerly of the Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program, describes the Disinformants live experience as “chaotic, intense yet still balanced with control and nuance. But we’re ready to slap you if you’re not paying attention.” We don’t doubt it.
9 P.M.> S.U.B.
Some Uncoordinated Bastards. Let’s not be judgmental. Uncoordinated is entirely unfair. This trio makes up a pretty raw and entertaining punk outfit.
Magic Stick presented by SVEDKA
Death is true relief — relief from a usual, mundane life of unimportant and uninteresting nonsense. Death is the current incarnation of Detroit rock that was born in the ’70s right here in the Motor City. Death is coming back to its hometown to show the city how it’s done.
10:30 P.M.> LEE MARVIN COMPUTER ARM
Loud, wild and one of those classic bands you just can’t take your eyes off of, LMCA have been at it for over a decade, perfecting their spazz orchestral versatile garage punk. Classic Detroit.
9:30 P.M.> INFLATABLE BEST FRIEND
With track names like “I Wanna Ride a Sabertooth” and “Blood Surf”, it’s not a stretch to say that these dudes are going to melt your face. The Kalamazoo trio balances “noisy” and “talented” with ease.
8:30 P.M.> ELECTRIC LION SOUNDWAVE EXPERIMENT
Mixing light and dark, heavy and light, noise and, ummm, quieter noise, these experimental Lions seem to be influenced by dance music as well as shoegaze rock.
MAGIC STICK LOUNGE
11:15 P.M.> THE WITCHES
Legendary in Detroit for his involvement in countless musical projects, Troy Gregory is once again embarking on a musical odyssey with the Witches. Songs that are equally groovy and trance-like, it’s nearly impossible to not feel part of the music itself — even as it harks back nearly five decades.
10 P.M.> BLAKDOG
Psychedelic, ’70s-soaked Nuggets-ish garage rock from a sweaty and swaggerin’ four-piece. Think Lions-era Black Crowes.
9 P.M.> THE CHEETAHS
Brothers Blake and Drew Hill, plus Kirk Scarbrough, collectively known as the Cheetahs, have a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound that is as influenced by Brits like Bowie and the Jam as it is by Detroit’s MC5 and Stooges. Big tunes and tons of ’tude.
NORTHERN LIGHTS LOUNGE
1:20 A.M.> VERBAL VOMIT ENTERPRISE
Jimmy Stoner is a mad music scientist, and VVE is his hip-hop and funk outlet, alongside Chavis Chandler and Nolan the Ninja. Sounds like a damn superhero team
12:20 A.M.> RON.D
Old school rap from a guy with a wit as sharp as his tongue.
11:20 P.M.> JP FROM THE HP
Otherwise known as John Panich from Hazel Park, JP From the HP rhymes about politics, music, money, peace, and war, sometimes all at the same time.
10:20 P.M.> LAPEACE
Effortless delivery, aggressive flow — without stooping to an in-your-face model — and the right beats to back it all up, LaPeace is always on his game.
IN BETWEEN> DJ CRATE DEEZY|
He doesn’t take requests.
12:45 A.M.> THE HIGH STRUNG
You might have heard the High Strung singing the main theme to the TV show Shameless, but be aware that the boys have a ton more great songs on top of that one. Both sweet and slightly harsh, Josh Malerman has indie-pop tunes coming out of his ass.
11:30 P.M.> AUTUMN WOLF
Alex Kaye’s electronica project that also incorporates elements of hip-hop and R&B. Autumn Wolf managed to be both warm and sparse. Weird.
10:15 P.M.> PALACES
Psych-rock, shoegaze, and raw talent. Palaces doesn’t waste any time diving right into their signature sound and sheer listenability.
9 P.M.> JUNK FOOD JUNKIES
This all-girl band is quite deliberately rudimentary in a Shaggs sort of way. However, the cutesy, food-obsessed tunes are so sweet and naïve, again like the Shaggs, that any shortcomings quickly become positives. Plus, the melodies are deceptively infectious.
TRAFFIC JAM & SNUG
12:45 A.M.> JAVELINS
Few bands around town create as much atmosphere and generate as much emotion with their indie rock stylings as Javelins. Less a gig, more an experience, if you haven’t seen Javelins yet, where the hell ya been?
11:30 P.M.> KICKSTAND BAND
This trio’s got some gosh-darn goodies to twist and shout along to, as twitterpated with enticing melodies, happy-pop harmonies and shuffling throwback rock rhythms as any heavy-hearted teenager with tears on their pillow after Daddy took their T-birds away.
10:15 P.M.> EL DEE
El Dee (the band name comes from Singer Lauren Deming’s initials) plays a sort of poppy jazz. The songs are sultry, like nightclub jazz from another era, but they’re also incredibly good fun, catchy and very hummable. This is a band scratching out its own place, a unique identity, in the local scene.
9 P.M.> TIMOTHY MONGER STATE PARK
Catchy folk tunes? Timothy Monger is no stranger to catchy jams. His time with Great Lakes Myth Society isn’t quite a thing of the past, but his newest installment of musical genius — Timothy Monger State Park — contains a very new and full sound that can and will be enjoyed by many audiences.
12:45 A.M.> JAMES LINCK
In 2012, House Phone was one of the hot bands at Blowout. The following year, that band was on hiatus and singer James Linck was a solo hit at the festival thanks to his ability to summon the spirit of Arthur Lee & Love and mix it with a large spoonful of Detroit rock ’n’ soul. This year, he’s going to kill it again.
11:30 P.M.> JEECY & THE JUNGLE
The Ultimate freakout fondue boiling together boogie-woogie blues, amped-up punk shreds, and weird proggy space rock. Cross their bridge from Bo Diddley to King Crimson to Bad Brains, and back again.
10:15 P.M.> MARX MARSTON
Super chill pop music performed by Lily and Rave. Are you in love yet? Give it a listen, and you will be.
9 P.M.> TRANCERS
Broadcasting from a nearby universe in the distant year of 2084, Trancers is chock full of galactic grooves and dancey algorithms. Allow them access to your brain, and you won’t be sorry.
FERNDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY
11:30 P.M.> ZOMBIE JESUS AND THE CHOCOLATE SUNSHINE BAND
Fun, twangy and serious-but-maybe-not-so-much all at once, Zombie Jesus and the Chocolate Sunshine Band will shock you with their musicianship and enjoyability. You’ll be fighting yourself not to smile at Blowout this time around.
10:15 P.M.> ZANDER MICHIGAN
A throwback sound that you will swear is Bob Dylan, Zander Michigan is a songwriter in every sense of the word. His musical prowess and lyrical abilities are timeless.
9 P.M.> JESSICA WILDMAN
Singer-songwriter Jessica Wildman will unfurl her soft vocals and unassuming guitar work upon her audiences, lulling even the most unlikeliest of fans into becoming just that.
Loving Touch presented by FAYGO
MIDNIGHT.> MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK
These Minneapolis gents — all five of ’em — managed to find the intersection of power pop and punk. Super-radio-friendly since the early ’00s, they just keep on churning. And we sure hope you like the synth — because these guys can sure play the hell out of it.
11 P.M.> SIAMESE
A supergroup and “Island of Misfit Toys” all at the same time, Siamese has definitely found the perfect crossroads of electro, pop, industrial rock.
10 P.M.> THE HARD LESSONS
Is there anything left to be said about the Hard Lessons? The perennial Blowout faves will whip up a storm with their alt-rock-pop anthems, and the place will be packed. These guys keep getting better.
9 P.M.> DESTROY THIS PLACE
Destroy This Place obviously digs Fugazi, and says as much, but the overt melodies combined with the attitude and aggression actually bring to mind Irish rockers Therapy. The band says that the agro-pop-rock that they produce is simply the sound that they make when they’re all in a room together, au natural.
NEW WAY BAR
12:45 A.M.> HONKY TONK SATURDAY NIGHT
The monthly night of twang at the New Way, featuring the likes of Jason Portier, J.D. Mack, and Drew Howard, will round off a night of dusty alt-country revelry.
11:30 P.M.> JENNIFER WESTWOOD
Jennifer Westwood melds styles, resulting in a radio-friendly sound that’s equal parts country, blues, rock and pop. She adores the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Eva Cassidy, Etta James and, especially, Tina Turner, and so much tattered rock ’n’ roll blue-eyed soul.
10:15 P.M.> THE BRUNSWICK BRAWLERS
While these guys don’t actually brawl, they do kick up a storm with their rabble-rousing roots Americana. Vocals are generally split between kick-ass guitarist Gino Fanelli and Liz Mackinder. Niko Pittman, Rudy Varner, Jarrod Champion and Greg Koltyk complete the band, a big melting pot of awesomeness.
9 P.M.> CROOKED LITTLE REASONS
“Have you ever heard the call of a blue jay,” say Crooked Little Reasons. “That’s the sound of our band.” And yet this alt-county-rock band doesn’t whistle at all.
MIDNIGHT> ELECTRIC SIX
Disco rock at its finest, Electric Six wastes no time letting you know its agenda. Dick Valentine might be the most ludicrous frontman in the history of music. But don’t be fooled into thinking E6 is any kind of joke band. They rock as hard as anyone.
11 P.M.> THE BEGGARS
If Led Zeppelin were a pop-punk band, well, they’d sound a lot different that’s for sure. The combo of big riffs, big vocals and scuzzy ditties would appeal to the Beggars though.
10 P.M.> ALEXIS
In the past year, Alexis has played in and around here so often, it basically feels like a local band. The Grand Rapids band, which plays a hook-heavy combo of pop and electronica, impressed at Blowout last year, and the boys will be performing at the festival again this time around.
9 P.M.> MEGA WEEDGE
A Ween tribute band, from Detroit Rock City? Sign us up. What we don’t have enough of around these parts is a ton of bands who know what their identity is supposed to be, then go out there and do it.
WAB Outdoors presented by RIP IT
11:30 P.M.> HAUNTED HOUSE
Haunted House is a band intent on painting with music, creating lush aural landscapes dotted with Detroit grime. The combination of electric and electronic instrumentation might not be anything new, but with these guys it’s not the tools but the way they implement them. The soundscapes of great classical music are emulated by these four men — the emotional impact and the lingering feeling of understated epic-ness.
10:30 P.M.> FAWN
In a just world, Fawn would be enormous, outselling the Arcade Fire and filling arenas all over the world. These guys are epic, and they’re ours. Let’s just be grateful that, for now, we can hear their anthemic alt-pop in our local venues.
9:30 P.M.> LIGHTNING BUGS
Vulnerable indie rock lives — and not the corny kind either. With a polished sound and an earnest uniqueness, Lightning Bugs have only been going at it for roughly four years, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to them.
8:30 P.M.> OLD EMPIRE
Old Empire puts on a great display of heartfelt indie rock without being corny. The five-piece edges toward pop, utilizing their melodic abilities to their advantage. Happy music lives!
12:45 A.M.> PORCHSLEEPER
Anthemic and fun, loud and boisterous — hell, you’ll probably even dance a little (in the hippest way possible, of course) — and as lackadaisical as you may think this band name sounds, the live show couldn’t be any more opposite.
11:30 P.M.> THE JET RODRIGUEZ
These guys describe their genre as “psychedelicate” on Facebook, which is surprisingly accurate. Psychedelia-tinged Americana works too.
10:15 P.M.> ELEANORA
A lush, female-fronted quintet that draws on folk, R&B and rock influences to create heartfelt yet raw orchestrations.
9 P.M.> THE STRANGERS
Slightly twangy-ish, alternative and altogether listenable. If you’re looking for vulnerable lyrics that are decidedly not corny, you’d do well to look into the Strangers.
MIDNIGHT> MISTER SUIT
“Mister Suit is a band.” So says Mister Suit’s online profile. Never a truer word spoken. Chicagoan Mister Suit (spoiler: not his real name) is a one-man show, utilizing a drum machine, synth, guitar, and his own unique vocals.
11 P.M.> PRGRM
This band, composed of a few gentlemen that take music very seriously, don’t skip a beat (pun intended). And that beat is as dance-y as any you’ve heard.
10 P.M.> HUMONS
An appealing patchwork of electronic and acoustic sensibilities, Humons is comprised of soothing vocals and grooved-out beats capable of putting the dance in your pants.
9 P.M.> SNESEI
This band is what happens at the intersection of Gameboy bleeps and bloops, creative genius, musicianship and the willingness to dance. If you haven’t experienced it yet, let his performance open
12:45 A.M.> CITIZEN SMILE
Citizen Smile — vocalist James Brown (yes, that’s his birth name), guitarist Kory Kopchick, Will Shattuck on drums, and bassist Ricky Ruggero — formed in 2005 through a mutual love of the Who, Wilco and Nada Surf, though Brown and Kopchick had been playing together for some time before that. The guys describe their sound as indie pop rock, and they believe it’s time people quit viewing “pop” as a dirty word.
11:30 P.M.> 3FT
Distortion, psychedelia and indie rock. 3FT makes for a nice melting pot of these subgenres, effortlessly mixing sounds into an ominous rock background that is both dark and inviting at the same time.
10:15 P.M.> CHARACTERISTICS
It’s almost as if Characteristics creates scores for a movie about Detroiters going about their everyday lives, no fuss or nonsense. Come to think of it, that might not make for a good movie. The electronic new-wavey music is great though.
9 P.M.> THE LANDMARKS
Detroit’s answer to the Strokes, heavy on soaring and riff-heavy guitar work and easy-flowing vocals and lyrical content, this Ann Arbor five-piece is highly polished with an emphasis on execution.
12:45 A.M.> ALL THE WILD CHILDREN
Take former members of bands like Sharky & the Habit and the Bobby Electric, and the result is the bluesy punk noise extravaganza that is All the Wild Children. We won’t call it a supergroup, but this band has a rich enough local indie underground pedigree to fuel its “cool” fires for a lifetime.
11:30 P.M.> DEL BRUTTO
Punchy rhythms, snarling guitar licks, and heavy bass. This quirky Ann Arbor rock outfit plays relatively conventional rock ’n’ roll songs in a slightly unconventional way. It’s understated, yet in your face. Just go see ’em.
10:15 P.M.> EDSEL VERY
Royal Oak band that looks into the past and pulls elements of ’60s, ’70s and ’90s rock into the modern age. Edsel Very is big on hooks and simple guitar work — each song could be a live singalong if given the chance.
9 P.M.> YOUNG PUNK
Electronica, shoegaze and trip-hop combines to great effect thanks to this local-area trio.
NEW DODGE LOUNGE
12:45 A.M.> HOWLING DIABLOS
Tino Gross is Detroit’s perennial Mr. Nice Guy. It’s hard to believe that the man has ever said a bad word about anyone. He’s also a killer frontman with these groove-rap vets.
11:30 P.M.> THE ROYAL BLACKBIRDS
Genuine, heartfelt, and earnest, this Detroit trio immediately brings to mind the nostalgic soul and blues rock bands that came four decades before any of these youngsters were born.
10:15 P.M.> HORSE CAVE TRIO
There are a number of bands today that evoke the days of hot-rod-infused power, sex in a hip-shake, hard guitar and simple tunes; bands that are keeping the spirit of rockabilly alive. Some go the purist route while others, like the Horse Cave Trio, do things their own way.
9 P.M.> WOVEN TANGLES
This two-piece creates music that is as balanced and pretty as a good old American novel. It not only plays like literary legend, it’s as smooth, sweet and effortless as a Sunday afternoon in summer.
12:45 A.M.> THE A-GANG
This punk rock gang claims to exist to make us angry so, y’know, GRRRR. Influences include the MC5, Minor Threat, Black Flag and the Clash, so you can be sure that they, at least, are angry.
11:30 P.M.> TOUCH OF NORTH AMERICA
Grimy, punk-ish and angry. Touch of North America is a three-piece monstrosity here to entertain themselves, then you. In that order.
10:15 P.M.> NINE YEARS AWAY
Local indie-punk quartet Nine Years Away has been going strong for nearly a decade, focusing on strong songwriting, hard work and a growing fan base — the ingredients of champions.
9 P.M.> THE TENS
Intense, punky and clinically insane, the Tens will be all up in your grille and ready to rock at the drop of a hat. And keep away from their social media — these guys are nuts.
1 A.M.> TYVEK
Noise rock? Punk? Sure, that sounds good. And so does, somehow, the way Tyvek unravels their brand of raucous rock. Listenable, energetic, fast and totally enjoyable and catchy.
12 A.M.> TERRIBLE TWOS
Looking for casual foot-tapping or head bobbing, and you’ll either ruinously kink your neck or have your shins slewfooted from under you by the festive moshers who’d rather you get the F outta the way. Spice-up your punk with gnarly grooves with penchants for droning space rock.
11 P.M.> FRUSTRATIONS
Noisy and obnoxious hard-punk band the Frustrations probably listen to groups like Wire and the Fall — all three of them share a love for hidden melody and chicken-wire musicianship. They’ll challenge you to turn off, but by then the earworm has already made itself at home.
10 P.M.> JOHNNY ILL BAND
“Organ-fueled slacker pop” is one of the most unique ways to describe the fun, disjointed and often-times laughable lyricism and musicianship that makes up Johnny Ill Band.
9 P.M.> BEEKEEPERS
Musicianship prevails as the Beekeepers clearly know their shit when it comes to informed free jazz styles and harmonic psyche-pop. If the lysergic bliss of ’67 Brit-pop got locked in the funhouse of a haunted circus to incubate for a year, then you’d wind up with these guys.
12:45 A.M.> THE RICKY RAT PACK
This band is made up of rock legends — most notably the punk antics of the titular Ricky Rat. The live show is something everyone should experience (if you haven’t already), as Mr. Rat is a frontman you won’t be able take your eyes off …
11:30 P.M.> BROADZILLA
On Broadzilla’s Facebook page, the girls describe themselves as “three wayward rock queens spawned from the city of Detroit,” and that’s just about perfect. These girls will party with you, sure. They’ll very likely drink you under the table. But they’ll also kick your ass without flinching.
10:15 P.M.> WHITE SHAG
White Shag is the kind of muscle, attitude and Detroit grit that has long embodied Blowout. This year is no exception, with White Shag’s psych-garage-glam on display for all to see.
9 P.M.> TOOO WEIRD
Bang, blare, blast, boom, buzz, clamor, clang, clatter, crash, jangle, racket, roar, shouting, squawk, thud, yelling.
12:45 A.M.> BILL GROGAN’S GOAT
Bill Grogan’s Goat deftly merges progressive hard rock with Irish, Scottish and English folk and emerges with something that is both stomp-heavy and intricate. The band of fortysomethings is made up of regular-looking peeps, though there’s a sparkle behind all of their eyes that suggests that, given the right circumstances, their hard-drinking days aren’t quite behind them yet.
11:30 P.M.> ESCAPING PAVEMENT
A country and Americana band from Ferndale, Escaping Pavement creates the sort of music that you’d expect to hear on old road movies and TV shows like Cannonball Run and BJ & the Bear. These are stories, given some twang and allowed to breathe. There’s a sweetness that sits surprisingly comfortably alongside the dust and life-lessons.
10:15 P.M.> EMILY ROSE
A longtime musician, Emily Rose has obviously listened to her share of Violent Femmes and Ani DiFranco. All songwriters are storytellers — but some do it more genuinely than others. You can count Rose in the latter category.
9 P.M.> THE BRUISED REED
A husband and wife team-up that works because Kirsten Wheeler has a stunning voice, while Josh Wheeler can write a killer tune and thwack his ax. The results are hard-rocking yet gorgeous and soaring. A marriage made in heaven, then.
WHISKEY IN THE JAR
12:45 A.M.> ROGUE SATELLITES
While synthy-rock-pop may have boomed in popularity in recent years, few are doing it with such ease and talent as Rogue Satellites. Highly listenable and devilishly catchy.
11:30 P.M.> THE SOUND LOGIC
Detroit absolutely cannot get enough garage and bluesy rock, and the Sound Logic is exactly why. Distortion, blazing guitars and crashing drums — it’s a dream combination.
10:15 P.M.> VSTRS
Offering brilliant and beautifully crafted aural pleasures, VSTRS unravel their psychedelic assault in such a graceful and effortless way, you’ll be shocked there are only four members and not a militia.
9 P.M.> THE BLUE SQUARES
The Blue Squares look deep into the past but always keep one foot in the present. There are Motown influences in there, plus the ‘50s sounds of Buddy Holly and the like. But there’s a contemporary edge that gives the doo-wop melodies and jangly guitar some necessary grit.