The Hell City Annual kicks off this Sat., Nov. 14
at 13Fifteen Broadway, at 6 p.m. It's 13 bands for $13.
Once upon a time, in the Phoenix Plaza parking lot, there was Warped Tour. And if you were a fan of pop punk from 1995 to 2002, it was pretty much the greatest. It was something of a golden age for the subgenre in Michigan, with local bands like Caulfield making the pilgrimage to Sonic Iguana studios in Chicago to record with legendary producer Mass Giorgini. But then emo came, Warped Tour moved to Comerica Park, and all of a sudden the stages were filled with screaming keyboardists.
So the most dedicated of fans regrouped and started Riot Fest in Chicago, which between Screeching Weasel and Alkaline Trio was second only to the Bay Area in pop punk bands per capita. But even that could not last, as Riot Fest would ultimately go on to become the biggest independent music festival in the country.
Maybe it is for aging Warped Tour attendees of years gone by (like myself), that the people at Hell City Records have organized a sort of reenactment in downtown Detroit. The venue at 1315 Broadway features multiple stages, much like a big festival. Except in this case, you can actually see and hear the bands you came out for. Among the thirteen groups playing are Come Out Fighting, who will appeal to fans of Good Riddance, H20, and early Rise Against. Solo artist Nick Ciolini offers a stripped down guitar and kick drum set up for the psychobilly enthusiasts among us. And for something a little (read: way) more intense local grind/hardcore/power-violence act Dead Church will also appearing.
Of all the bands on the bill that evening, however, one in particular has taken me back to Pontiac circa 2001. Ferndale’s S.U.B. (or Some Uncoordinated Bastards) most recently teamed up with the Hangdowns for a split 7” released in April of this year. The title track “Hashima” not only features that classic Sonic Iguana guitar sound and multi-part vocal harmonies – which the band’s members managed to recreate at Mount Doom studios in Warren – but a rare lyrical quality that only bands like the Queers and yes, the Ramones have been able to perfect.
A portion of the event’s profits will be donated to the charity Suck It Suicide