City Slang: Charm Farm bring in the clowns at DIY

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The Ferndale DIY Festival, in contrast to something like Arts, Beats & Eats, is a very relaxed, chilled out affair. The focus is 100% on local music and any national bands that play here, like the Electric 6 for example, are home grown. There are vendors – Detroit-centric clothes companies and awesome local artists. Of course, for City Slang it’s all about the music. And there was plenty of great stuff to check out on Friday night.

The closing two bands on the main stage produced a fascinating contrast. Lettercamp are one of the most exciting contemporary bands in the D right now. Charm Farm were playing their first show, and a one-off at that, in 15 years. Still, the fact that both incorporate elements of pop and, perhaps more significantly, dance music in their sound just meant that any generational issues were smacked away.

Lettercamp were, as always, phenomenal. Liz Wittman danced and cooed over the super-heavy and dense noise generated by her three boys. As the Fall weather began to descend on Michigan, dance-friendly songs like “Operator”, “I Know”, “First Kiss”, and a great new song with a name that escaped me, were more than welcome.

As good as Lettercamp are though, this evening was all about the return of Charm Farm and boy, did they produce. All of the guys looked as if they were having the time of their lives as they rolled back the years and ploughed into songs that defined the early part of their musical lives. Dennis White might be heavily involved in electronic music nowadays, but he seemed to relish fronting a band again. They simply sounded superb, and the rendition of their biggest hit, “Superstar” got a huge reaction from the crown. They reaction got even bigger when Inner City singer Ann Saunderson came out for a run through her own international monster hit, “Good Life”.

And then the clowns arrived. There had been rumors floating around the place, and a few gathered juggalos really gave the game away. Still, when the Insane Clown Posse climbed on stage for a killer version of Sly Fox’s “Let’s Go All The Way”, the feeling that this night is a genuine event went stellar.

Charm Farm may never play live again. Who knows? If they don’t, it’s kind of a shame because they still sound incredible. But then again, if they don’t, the people here tonight saw something that will go down in the Detroit music history books.

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