You've probably already seen and read enough about the Rock City Fest to feel like you were there (if you, in fact, weren't). Instead of totally rehashing info you can find elsewhere, though, I thought it would be fun to recap via a conversation with my twin sister, D’Anne (who I’ve been told I don’t need to introduce as my “twin” sister – but I find this helps differentiate her from my two other sisters, so shut up
). She accompanied me all three days, which was super fun. I insisted she go, seeing as she has to listen to me go on and on about how great the scene is here in Detroit. So what better way to give her a crash course than Detour online magazine’s first music festival?
Laura: We walked in right as Marco Polio was finishing.
D’Anne: I don’t remember anything about it except umbrellas and loud sounds.
Laura: Me, too.
D: Although on Saturday, I saw Mr. Polio himself at the Eat Sugar show with a really cool purse/belt-type thing made of gold lamé baby dolls.
L: Yes, I loved that. I think he wins the Rock City ’08 Spirit Award for best ability to accessorize.
L: So did Deastro live up to your expectations after hearing me talk about him for so long?
D: Yes. I thought he was awesome. I have had “The Shaded Forest” stuck in my head ever since. Though this morning, I woke up with a Champions of Breakfast song in my head, the one about doing it on the floor.
L: Deastro has big things in store for him and he totally deserves it because he’s an exceptionally talented boy.
D: He reminds me of the Postal Service. I was bummed that they never put out another record, but now I’m all, “Move over, bacon; there’s something leaner...”
L: Had you heard the Hard Lessons before we went to see them?
D: I’d heard a couple songs.
L: I’d heard plenty of good things about them but never actually heard their music. I now see what all the fuss is about. Excellent energy, and some of the strongest vocals anywhere.
D: Yeah, they put on a good show. And the singer lady was really nice.
L: They’re all so nice. That really makes a big difference when the window between fan and artist is so small today. You just have to be approachable and accessible. It just makes a huge difference.
L: You sat out for Juiceboxxx. Do you want to explain yourself?
D: I just needed a breather. I actually sat out in the lounge and read the Metro Times.
L: You don’t have to say that. There is no need to pander to them.
D: No, really. It’s true.
L: Well, I went up and caught the last 15 minutes. Juiceboxxx is apparently from Wisconsin. I was unaware that such unhinged intensity resided in any 21-year-old from the Badger State. When I walked into the Stick, I was immediately puzzled to hear awesome, loud beats, but couldn’t see anything onstage. As I got closer, I saw what appeared to be a teenage boy ripping off his shirt and writhing around, as a bearded guy stood behind an iMac. The shirtless one, who turned out to be Juiceboxxx, jumped into the crowd and began rapping. He demanded the audience clap and dance more, and from the crazed look in his eyes, I didn’t want to disobey. It was kind of like seeing Marky Mark minus the Funky Bunch perform if Marky Mark had just been released from prison after serving three to five for gouging the eyes out of a fan who dared to cross her arms and nod. Fun at your own risk!
D: I’m not sure whether to be sad or relieved that I missed it.
L: You missed out on an experience, for sure.
L: I first saw Thunderbirds Are Now! at the Blowout where they absolutely stole the show and made me go, “Yup – Detroit is awesome. It’s good to be back home.” So I was excited to see them again.
D: They were cool. The lead singer is really cute. I am totally voting for him for America’s Next Chubby Model.
L: I would watch just about anything he’s involved in. Anything I’ve seen him be a part of is just tremendous.
D: And from the looks of things he’s in everything.
L: He has really great charisma. And he’s fucking great. He plays really well.
D: Are there any other guys in the band?
L: After the Champions of Breakfast CD release party at the Crofoot, I’ve been telling everyone I know that they have to go catch them live.
D: They were super-fun. I was glad to see Moses Jackson or Val Hundreds – I don’t know which is which – still had the purple lamé pants on, because I don’t think those could be topped.
L: That’s what he was wearing the last time I saw them. I think they were both wearing the same thing.
D: Oh, I thought you were saying they never change their clothes. Like maybe they were really hard up, like how Jewel lived in that van...
L: No. But did you think they put on a good show? Did you like it?
D: I said they were fun. I couldn’t believe how many hot chicks were muscling in to get to the front of the stage.
L: The ladies love D&D.
D: Obviously. Chicks also obviously dig cardboard instruments.
L: I’m really glad we decided to go see Matt & Kim even though I said that we had to leave after Champions of Breakfast because I had to go to work the next morning.
D: You’re totally lame for having a job!
L: Shut up. You had heard a couple songs of theirs before, right?
D: Yeah. The “Yea Yeah” song, actually.
L: I thought they were super fun and so cute. I have a crush on Kim. I mean how could you not?
D: I don’t. No offense to Kim. I like Matt. I want him to be my baby daddy.
L: If you ever need to cheer up a depressed friend, just get them the Matt & Kim record. Better yet, get them to a Matt & Kim show. The enthusiasm radiating off those two as they play could probably be harnessed to power all three stages for the rest of Rock City.
D: Seriously. My face hurt on behalf of Kim she was smiling so much. She’s a hardcore smiler and plays the shit out of those drums.
L: And then we went home.
D: Because you have a job. And are lame.
D: I wasn’t really into Blasé Spree, but I think a large part was a sound issue.
L: First let me say, I saw Blasé Spree for the first time back at Blowout at the Painted Lady and they were fantastic. And I think the issue here is the sound. I think every band on Friday night that we saw at the Garden Bowl got the shaft because the sound in there was shitty.
L: They’re really good, tight, and super nice guys. I appreciate indie boys who can sing in harmony.
L: I don’t think we can talk about Child Bite without talking about Katie B.
D: Yeah, that neighbor girl who bit Christine [one of our little sisters] on the face!
L: Hard on the face! It left a horrifying mark, which thankfully healed without scarring.
D: That was the summer we were in sixth grade.
L: And nothing says “Summertime nostalgia!” to me like beach balls flying around the Magic Stick as the saxophone infused frenzy known as Child Bite does their thing. I tried to block out traumatic thoughts of our child-bitten sister, and thankfully, their sonic assault was such that thinking isn’t really an option.
L: I think that Mas! got the double shaft in the Garden Bowl, because not only was the sound shitty, but they didn’t even turn off the overhead music!
D: Yeah, [the B-52’s] “Love Shack” was playing in between songs. That was a little distracting.
L: Thank God they had a good sense of humor about it because I thought it was really frustrating. I think it was Chris O. who said, “Can we have a little more B-52s in the monitor?”
D: No offense to Mas!, but I wanted to go see Bad Veins.
L: Which you kept calling Acid Reflux.
D: I didn’t have the schedule in front of me. I knew their name was something medical.
L: They were definitely my favorite of the night. My never-heard-before-but-now-I-love-them find at the fest. Also proof that you should steal the office phone from your crappy day job and start incorporating it into your band’s vocal effects.
D: I second that emotion. I downloaded their Demos EP as soon as I got home. Legally, I might add. Which means I paid actual dollars to do so. Worth every Pay Pal cent.
L: They thanked Jason Stollsteimer for bringing them out, so I think we owe Jason a “thanks” for introducing them to us.
D: Yes. A smashingly successful blind date.
L: I really, really like Prime Ministers – and not just because Todd [PM’s front man] is willing to have detailed conversations with me about Morrissey.
D: Yeah, that was boring. The part where he was talking to you about Morrissey.
L: It’s not my fault you don’t like Morrissey. But, anyway, they’re just the right blend of super crunchy power pop and vulnerability.
D: It’s not my fault you do like Morrissey. I wish we could have heard [Todd’s] vocals. It was like he was a mime.
L: I don’t want to harp on the sound in that room, but it sucked. I played you their EP afterwards.
D: And it was good. The guy can actually sing.
L: People who heard them for the first time at Rock City should really head on over to their MySpace page and hear for themselves. “Highlight, Delete” is my favorite song.
L: So... Pas/Cal. I had the first couple EPs that came out several years ago and I thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread.
D: Sliced bread has been around a long time. I don’t think it maintains its greatness factor these days.
L: Well, I still appreciate the convenience of purchasing pre-sliced baked goods.
D: “Show of hands, for those showing hands.”
L: I’m still really excited for I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura next month. Pas/Cal are known musical perfectionists, which explains why it’s taken so long for them to release a full-length. But I thought their live performance was a little underwhelming.
D: He was wearing an ascot.
L: I thought it was a scarf.
D: Maybe you’re right. I don’t care. If I want to see a guy in tight pants dancing around with a silk scarf on, I’ll go to a gay bar.
L: Oh, snap! No she didn’t!
D: The Terrible Twos were not my thing.
L: I think transitioning from Pas/Cal to Terrible Twos was a little too abrupt for me.
D: Yes, it was a culture shock.
L: But I definitely see that they put on a really good show. I was glad to see that the beach balls from the Child Bite show were still going.
D: I liked the part where the guy said, “You can throw shit, just don’t hurt our beers!”
L: Those are words to live by.
D: No, words to live by are “I’m allergic to penicillin,” or anything else etched into a medical alert bracelet.
L: I hated to go home knowing the Von Bondies, Lee Marvin and Zoos of Berlin were yet to play.
D: But you have a job.
L: That I had to get up early for.
D: I was really excited to finally see Great Lakes Myth Society. I’ve really loved them for a long time.
L: I was excited to see them, too, because I’ve only seen them once and they played a really short set.
D: Well, this was a short set, too.
L: It sure was. I was interested to see how things were going to go down at the CAID since this was their fist big event since the whole “CAID raid.” I figured, it’s in the middle of the day, so no after hours concerns. It’s part of this big, three-day music festival, under the umbrella of Rock City.
D: Not to be confused with the umbrellas of Marco Polio.
L: Right. What could possibly go wrong? I thought we were probably pretty safe.
D: We were. Until the cops came.
L: I think Great Lakes Myth Society handled it well. They were a little self-effacing about it.
D: Yeah, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the noise complaint was actually called in earlier.
L: Because of the DPD’s legendary response time. I know people who’ve had their houses broken into and had waited hours for the police, so if Great Lakes Myth Society was enough to get them there pronto, then I’m a little disappointed in their priorities.
D: Sex Ghost was fun. A little dirty.
L: Remember how the girl from Sex Ghost tried to beat you up after their concert?
D: I made that up. She was actually super nice. She gave me a pin.
L: Why do you lie to me?
D: I’m trying to start an Internet rumor. You know, free publicity for them.
L: That’s very thoughtful of you. My favorite song was the one about the Wolf Knife.
D: Me, too. It made me want to cut someone’s face.
L: You’re still in anger management, right?
L: We went to see the Solitary States next.
D: That’s a blur to me. All I remember is that the singer was wearing a red shirt.
L: The lead singer’s guitar was also red and pretty. And one of the guys had a grey v-neck shirt on. And they sounded kinda like Wilco.
L: Charlie Slick, I do remember, though.
D: Yes. How could anyone forget?
L: And his “partner in crime” Shelly. She was my favorite part.
D: Yeah. She was really intense. How old do you think she is?
L: Knowing nothing about her backstory, I like to imagine that she is maybe his little sister and she’s say, 14 or 15 years old. Like, one day, he was like, “Hey Shelly, I need you to help me out with something for a second” and next thing she knows she’s in this band...
D: ... in charge of beats and confetti.
L: Exactly. He wins the Rock City ’08 Award for Best Keyboard Humping.
D: He was pretty wild. He had a piece of red confetti stuck to his neck because he was so sweaty and I thought at first that it was blood. It was very GG Allin for a second there.
L: Nice Device was the best band we saw in the Garden Bowl. They were super tight.
D: Yeah. The singer’s vocals were a little lost in the shuffle, though.
L: Which seemed to be par for the course in the Garden Bowl.