Friday was “Detroit Day” for my Blowout. I started out at the Old Miami, hoping to catch Aztek the Barfly, but the whole showcase over there was running at least an hour behind so instead I walked to Traffic Jam & Snug to see Michelle Held, a wonderfully talented singer-songwriter with a very distinctive voice. A nice, relaxed introduction to the evening.
Went to Jumbo’s next to see The Farleys. There were quite a few people in there too, incluing Choking Susan’s Colleen Caffeine, and Vivian George. The Farleys play Stooges/Dolls-esque trashy punk, and they seemed delighted to be on the bill.
Back to the Old Miami, and DJ Dante LaSalle was getting some beats going before the MCs took to the stage. I stuck around for a minute, bobbed my head. Over at the Magic Stick Lounge, Casual Sweetheart was just coming t the end of a set that I wish I’d seen more of. Alt tunes with plenty of pop hooks, I need to see more of this band.
< b>Golden Torso kicked off the set with an anti-Blowout rant due to the thin crowd, which is their prerogative. It seemed to make them angrier, and they sounded great. Ferocious, sweaty hardcore played by killer musicians who genuinely give a shit. Can’t fault them for that.
I caught a bit of Buffalo Coven Party and they sounded cool in a trippy psych-rock way, but after Golden Torso, I needed something livelier. I crossed the street and went to Union Street, but the bands were running late because Moon Mafia had locked their gear in the van earlier. Saw a bit of The Split - canny power-pop.
Back at the Stick, Lizerrd were wonderful. Anthony Gentile, when simply singing rather than playing guitar too, is a killer frontman; energetic and rowdy, he ended up in the crowd, putting a nervous faces on a few audience members. The band is tight, and the post-hardcore tunes are great.
Beast in the Field were as noisy as you would expect, and Bison Machine downstairs had a solid groove going. Odd Hours seemed to be having the best time – the guitarist was wearing some sort of underwear/body stocking/paint outfit that made him look happily deranged. Big, soaring songs sang with passion by Natasha Beste – wonderful.
Easy Action wandered on stage and looked out, then John Brannon said, “Let’s just do this,” and they did. “Friends of Rock ’n’ Roll,” and the cover of “Hello Kiddies” (Cheap Trick) were highlights of a set that ended the evening (but for a glance at Six & the Sevens). Detroit definitely didn’t pull in the sort of numbers that we had hoped and it’ll need a rethink. More people should have seen these artists.
Spent Saturday in Ferndale, and saw Destroy This Places in the Loving Touch, which was quickly filling up to capacity. I couldn’t get near the bar. The band was on form too, driving through a post-hardcore set in front on an enthusiastic crowd.
Alexis were wonderful at Rust Belt, a lively disco rock set dressed up with some of the best dance moves courtesy of the Joey Ramone-looking dude. The tightest pants of the weekend too.
I listened to a bit of the frankly incredible FAWN at WAB but couldn’t get the stage. Nuts to butts in there. Siamese was probably my favorite band of the whole Blowout. The band played really moody, dark alt-rock with crunchy riffs and a bit of an ’80s Gothic vibe. Great musicians and massive songs.
Electric Six provided a fitting climax. I’m a firm believer that their albums have actually gotten better as they got older, and the set featured songs from the whole career. Dick Valentine looked hammered drunk, but maybe he was just as tired as me.
That’s it for another year. Blowout 17 was a controversial beast and there will be questions to be answered before next year. There were certainly problems that need to ironed out and even re-thought. But at the end of the day, 300 awesome bands and artists played, proving that this is still the music capital of the world.