Puckish indie-rock workhorse Ryan Allen has played enough Blowout fests to have created at least a few lasting, sorta-sober memories. See, the bespectacled dude likes to rock. With Sean Sommer, John Nelson and Monday Busque, Allen's latest rockest combo is Destroy This Place, a band purporting to do the very thing its name implies. Here Mr. Allen burps up five Blowout moments that rattled his scene.
5. At one point during the months leading up to Blowout, somebody mutters, "Man, I don't care where we play, as long as it's not at Tight Fittin' Jeans." Or Jean's. But the more I think about it, a place like TFJ encapsulates Blowout: We're crammed as fuck into a place that never has shows and the drummer's on a pool table. Some of Blowout's future headliners got their start there, Thunderbirds Are Now! included. It's worth a trip, just to see what kind of fucked-up shit is going down.
4. Back when now-defunct Motor Lounge — once one of Detroit's premier venues for techno — was a part of the festival, an old band of mine, Red Shirt Brigade, played there. It was amazing to watch the place get overtaken by a bunch of nerdy bands, and it was the first year I felt Detroit had an indie rock scene. At one point, we just stopped in the middle of a song and let the 4/4 house beats from the other room filter into where we were jamming and, just for a second, worlds collided.
3. A few years ago, the Blowout bookings shifted from the same old bands and a bunch of new groups arose. It was cold as balls as I ran from the Belmont to Paychecks to catch a band with the raddest name: Wildcatting. I walked in mid-set and they were just shredding. A new Detroit music revolution, for me, anyway, started that night.
2. Last year's Blowout debut from Isosceles Mountain started super slow and moody. The buildup was great; you couldn't wait until they kicked in. But the moment was nigh when drummer Dave Graw hit his snare and, upon first thwack, broke through the drum head! People gasped. A lesser group would've stopped, asked for a drum head. Guess what? No other band playing that night had a drummer! They soldiered on, conjuring up a noise, but we wanted more. Graw took the head off his floor tom, handed it, along with the snare, to an audience member, and in what seemed like 10 hours, the snare-and-floor tom combo was finally given back. In one triumphant moment, Graw had his snare in place, and they crushed the rest of their set. High fives abounded.
1. This memory might be obvious, so I'll be short and sweet: Painted Lady. Smoke. Thunderbirds are Now! Rapping. Together. So. Much. Fun.
Destroy This Place plays Blowout on Saturday, March 5, at Small's with the Cold Wave, Wolfbait and the Satin Peaches. See destroythisplace.com.
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