Concert review: The Rentals at the Loving Touch

May 19, 2015 at 2:59 pm

WHO: The Rentals
WHEN: May 18, 2015
WHERE: The Loving Touch, Ferndale

The Rentals prove to have a few new tricks left in the bag

In twenty years of going to shows in Detroit, I rarely see much enthusiasm for bands that ask for audience participation. Maybe it’s the types of shows I frequent, but Detroiters seem to prefer to have fun on their own terms and everybody knows how un-cool liking things is because it makes one vulnerable to people who don’t like those things and who wants that? But every once in a while you see people let go of their pretensions and stop worrying about how they look and embrace the good times; and that’s exactly what happened at The Rentals show last night at the Loving Touch.

It’s been 16 years since the last Rentals album and you certainly got the feeling that Matt Sharp was excited to be playing music again. Performing for almost 2 hours, they ripped through about 25 songs and covered almost everything from Return of the Rentals, as fans sang along gleefully. Lizzi Ellison and Patti King (from opening band Radiation City) were particularly impressive, replicating the Haden sisters' harmonies from the original Rentals record perfectly and their energy and intensity only bolstered the manic jocularity of Sharp’s movements and dancing.

Highlights include: a slightly reserved cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” an (almost) a capella version of “She Said It’s Alright,” played in the middle of the floor and accompanied only by a few flashlights and a synthesized autoharp, and show closer “Friends of P,” which then morphed into the Ghostbusters theme and back – complete with a dancing Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and an induced audience chant of “bustin’ makes me feel good” (which very well could’ve landed any of us on a sex offender registry of some sort). Nobody's going to mistake The Rentals for high art anytime soon, but they sure know how to have a damn good time.