City Slang: Duende! and friends rock the Pike Room

Holy crap, the Eeks are good. Like, pant-wettingly good. There’s something beautifully pure about their sleazy, punky rock ’n’ roll that’s reminiscent of Warrior Soul (the ‘90s acid-punk band that featured Detroit native and former L-Seven drummer Kory Clarke). Warrior Soul suffered because the world wasn’t really ready for them but the Eeks should have no such problems. Great stage presence and amazing songs, like “You Wanna Kill Me”, provide the perfect start to a great night of rock at Pontiac’s Pike Room. They were slightly better at the Blowout earlier in the year, but they still rocked hard on Friday night.

Equally as energetic, though in an entirely different way, are Sharky & the Habit. There’s nothing sleazy or sexy about singer Paul Clos (though his wife and bassist Liz Clos would and should disagree), but he certainly knows how to hold a crowds attention. With the voice and the dance moves of a cracked out hobo, it’s tough to take your eyes off him. That’s ok though, because his band’s a lot of fun and the trippy blues-metal tunes are great

The Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program get better with every passing minute, and on Friday they just about came out on top of this incredibly strong bill. Nobody hammers the hell out of a drum kit with as much style as Jehan Burki, while frontman Anthony Gentile makes a combination of Jerry Garcia and Charles Manson look good. At the Pike Room, they were noisy, spectacular and fuzzy fun. The forthcoming new album should be a sizzler.

All of that left Duende! to close out the show, and of course they did it with style. The band’s blend of Americana, old style blues and country with good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll isn’t always the easiest listen. The songs aren’t instant but when they do hit home, they’re worth the effort. Plus, Jeff Howitt is, as well as being one of the nicest dudes in Metro Detroit, an awesome frontman, and his band is tight as hell.

Four great bands played the Pike Room on Friday. They all rocked, and yet they sounded absolutely nothing like each other. The good news is, they’ll all be playing shows again soon. There really is nowhere like Detroit.

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