Blowout X 

What struck me most at this year's Metro Times Blowout was the number of participating artists who have arrived in our show-going lives fully-formed. Hi Fi Handgrenades were ready for their packed and sweaty Friday night set at Small's; with melodies like classic Superchunk and the mechanized recoil of Naked Raygun, they sounded incredible for such a new band. But those guys are such pros, they even had a line of T-shirts ready to go at the merch table. It was a cross-section of other, perhaps lesser-known acts on the Blowout X bill that impressed me most. On Thursday night at Knights of Columbus, Eons gave their own odd-melodied tenor to the tones of 1990s indie rock, and on Friday, emcees Blackreign & Ohkang transformed the tiny environs of Jean's on Joseph Campau into a hip-hop party. The crowd was small, and some seemed a little surprised at the emcees' appearance. But within a few minutes there was plenty of love in the room. Hands were thrown up. Singer-songwriter Misty Lyn and her band the Big Beautiful made something similar happen Friday, just a few blocks away from Jean's at Planet Ant. Lyn's songs, full of wanting and the shadow of a turned-away glance, seemed to crystallize in the short stretch of air between her and her polite audience.

There was more discovery on Saturday. Detroit trio Dutch Pink drew on Tom Waits, Old 97s and maybe even the HBO series Carnivale for a set of rock 'n' roll with a bullwhip's sting, while Zoos of Berlin were stylish and danceable, sounding as if they'd been playing together for 10 years. The K of C could have been the State Theatre. It's moments like these that make the Blowout worth it each year, moments when we witness the local music scene evolving right before our eyes. (And ears.) We have our veterans, and we have our rookies. But it's that great in-between that excites me most. And the Blowout is our chance to shine a light in its corners.

Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to jloftus@metrotimes.com

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