Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blowout Advice Column - Local Bands Travel Guide - Who They'd Like To See/Hear

Metro Times Blowout - March 3 - 6
(featuring The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre)

It is now the 13th year for what is the largest gathering of local musical talents in the country (hell, maybe even the world), and it's right in our backyards; nestled betwixt the narrow streets of charming Hamtramck.

There's a schedule for the bands (up to 200) and all the venues (15 bars/halls) listed here. Over at MT's site, you can beef up on the history of this hurried, harried, mad, musical, celebratory event, here.

Last year, I wanted to give a handful of some of the performing bands a chance to make their own personal picks - of where they'd like to be, the spots they want to hit, the bands they want to see... (Read about last year, on DC, here)

Well...why not try that again? With a cast of fresh faces (and fresh musical genres) - with a handful of new bands making new picks...

(the full schedule's printed at the bottom)

This week - it's the notorious Jesus Chainsaw Massacre - the main pair (though they're a full band), includes Bryan Metro (vocals/mischief) and J.R. (vocals/guitar) - the pair are perhaps as known for their internet-set screeds via their band blog as they are for their noisy and destructive if not passionate and shows.

JCM performs at The Whiskey In The Jar at 10:40 pm, Thursday, Mar 4th

Ed. I feel like I should run a disclaimer, similar to major networks before they air infomercials - about "the views expressed are those of..." "and not of..." etc etc..., journalistic integrity and all that..., here we go... - JCM doens't wear kid gloves or walk on egg shells, they're a very much call-it-as-they-see-it type... (empahsis, if you will, on 'they') - as is evidence (pre-forewarned) on their blog

Bryan Metro:

"I like the chaotic element of Blowout. I always go on and on about how the current scene, if you will, is quite dull and predictable, but Blowout at least gives you options. "Uh oh, I'm at Smalls and they're breaking out brass instruments; time to go to New Dodge. Hurm, the acts at the New Dodge consist exclusively of bands with animals in their names; time to go to Kelly's. Ha ha just kidding. Let's go to Paychecks." Its best quality is the variety, both in venue and acts. Where else can you see all of these bands playing over the span of one weekend? That was rhetorical.

Okay, enough small talk; here are my picks:

Wed 3-3
- I am obligated to be here at the pre-party to represent the Lavender Blog and I can't say that I'm thrilled. Is Mirror Twin Deastro's new band? I want to catch some of the Displays because, according to the local media, they have been in high school since 2004. I also want to catch Computer Perfection because, like us, their blog is better known than their music.

Thurs 3-4
- I wish I had the Metro Times Blowout preview issue right now because I hardly recognize any of these bands, though that is more my fault than their's, I think, maybe. We just did a show with Carradine, so they're cool, obviously. Other than that, the Paychecks lineup looks okay. Carjack is fun. Zoos of Berlin is talked about on blogs and I can see Fawn claiming the title of "Local Band That Opens for Big Local Bands and Mid-Level National Acts" previously held by Child Bite, Millions of Brazilians, and Silverghost. Of course, we'll be performing at Whiskey in the Jar at 10:40 and I'm probably the most entertaining person for 15 minute intervals in town.

Fri. 3-5
-I am going to try my best to catch Elle and the Fonts, Woodman, Marco Polio because, God knows, I haven't seen them before, refill my geritol at G of C Hall, and ending the night anonymous commenting at the Satin Peaches, followed by closing out the Belmont with Friendly Foes. I'm hoping Ryan Albert will have me on stage for a battle rap since Smoke is on a different showcase. I'm pulling for (Lady Gaga's) "Bad Romance" because that would pretty much win Blowout and everyone damn well knows it.

Sat. 3-6
- By this time, my doctor is on call. On my list, I have highlighted The Swamp Sisters (never seen before), followed by Duende! (my new fav. band), then Rue Moor Counts, over to G of C to catch Sisters of Your Sunshine, Cold Wave, and Child Bite (all at once), then shoot over to Jean's for Prussia, not to see the band, but to grab a young, naive girl to take back to ground zero at G of C and then I will destroy my future by attempting to catch Silverghost, Hard Lessons, Brazilians, Lightning "Yeah Buddy" Love, Los Minstrels, and Sh! the Octopus. By this time, I will have ditched the girl with the tab and head back home to play Counting Crows on the acoustic or masturbate to broadband internet porn.

and - if you're still reading -

J.R. will now offer his picks...and, as is characteristic with this pair, the long-knives laden opinions


I will not be going to the Pre-Party. There is nothing here that interests me. The only thing I missed last year was an almost fight between Dr Detroit from MCR and Kirk from MCB. This is Metro's job. I suppose he will be my proxy for Wed night. I just hope he interviews Pac/Cal/Computer/Perfection. Maybe Mr. Burgundy will sketch a caricature of us for a logo.


I will be arriving at the Whiskey In The Jar at roughly 9:45. The interim between when I get there and when we play will be spent constructing the set and coreographing the dancers. Afterwards, I will leave Metro behind for teardown and head to G of C Lounge to catch Darling Imperial or to The Painted Lady to catch Black Irish. Black Irish is the new consternation from Elliot who was the frontman/lead guitarist for The Universal Temple of Divine Power and the lead guitarist for The Kingsnakes. I have not had a chance to see them yet but if it is anything similar to his previous projects, it will be some great southern-esque rock. Darling Imperial is a band I have played with and seen several times. They are a solid blues based rock band with catchy songs.

Bands I will be sure to miss (on Thursday):

--The Grande Nationals-The frontman is obsessed with taking his shirt off (after talking about it for 3/4 of the set) and fixated upon showing off his new pumas...

--Selfsays-They recently opened for us at The Majestic Cafe. They are probably the worst rap outfit I have ever seen. They were unable to keep their rhymes on beat with the dj. It is all schtick with no follow through.

Band I would catch (Thurs 3-4) if I weren't performing:

--Carradine-90s era pop rock. They are very reminiscent of Jesus Jones to me. I'm sure they don't feel that way. Anyways, they've put on a sold show the few times I've seen them.

--Carjack-1 man electro clash dance rave. Where else can you see Milo going nuts, running in place? Where else will you almost get hit with a flying robot?

--Decibilt-The heaviest metal you will find at Blowout. I caught these guys at the Magic Stick's Haiti Benefit. At first they were very off-putting due to the different genre they were emphasizing. After awhile they provided me a venue to display my Wild At Heart Nick Cage dance.


I will be performing at the Belmont as a Font with Elle & The Fonts at 9:20pm. Adam from the JCM will be playing drums as well. After our set I plan on staying put at The Belmont to catch Rogue Satellites. Rogue Satellites are a comprised of a guitarist/singer and a drummer. They are an electronic based semi-pop group. Then, I will be headed to The Painted Lady to catch The Spaceheaters. I've seen the name many times and listened to a song here and there. Basically, they are the garbage that is the Detroit Rock N Roll sound a la the late 70s. To cap off the night, I will wind up at Kelly's Bar to see High Speed Dubbing. I saw them for 1 song at The Loving Touch during DIY Fest. From what I can hazily recall, they were good. I want to get my hands on the new cassette they just put out via Loco Gnosis.

Bands I will be sure to miss (Friday):

--The Juliets-Remanufactured pop drawl. Their set was 1 long roll of the eyes for me at The Haiti Benefit. Each song was followed by myself or Metro yelling, "Play Something Fun!" Go see this band if you feel like getting really depressed

--Beekeepers-Lame pop wannabee Belle & Sebastian with a Moby lookalike. They cleared the alley stage at Dally this year. Boring and unoriginal. Plus they have an awful name.

--Friendly Foes-There are 3 reasons you should miss this band: 1. Ryan Allen 2. Metro will be rapping on stage with Ryan Allen 3. It's the same pop garbage that is killing the music scene in Detroit.

Bands I would catch (Friday - 3-5):

Blase Splee-You couldn't miss this band (or 1 of their CDs) at last year's Blowout. Since last year I have seen them several times. For they type of music they're doing (country/rock/pop/dance) they are really good at it. Each song is exclamated by an emotional swing from soft to fast or low to high. Really a good, talented band with great songwriting capabilities.

Trash Camera-This band was completely off my radar until about 1 1/2 months ago. Blues driven rock at its best. They know how to work a crowd, and the frontman, Sean can really work a guitar.

Marco Polio & The New Vaccines-Over the past 4 months, Marco has added a new drummer. He plays over the electronic beats. Its really great. The sound is disco electronic no wave. I caught them about a month ago at The Berkley Front and they played a set comprised mostly of new songs. This band is probably the most entertaining band to see live right now in to The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre of course.

Woodman-A famliy band playing a cross between 60s rock and jam band music. They have always put on a great show everytime I have seen them. They just put out a great new 7'' that you should pickup. One has a golden ticket in it where you can win a vintage 45 player.


I will arrive at The Atlas Bar to catch The Mahonies. They put out a great 45 about 2-3 years ago through X-Records. Spaz rock with a singing drummer and guitarist. After their set, Ill be at Paycheck's to catch Duende!. Mostly because they are my new favorite Detroit band that have been around for quite awhile that I just became acclamated to. After Duende! Ill try and see Silverghost at G of C. For as much as they have been playing out (every day) I have not had a chance to catch one of their sets yet. I will cap off blowout with The Beggars at Paycheks. It's been a couple of years since I've last seen this band. The few times I did catch them, the live show was incredible and a ton of fun.

Bands to avoid:

--The Sights-The 2nd coming has not yet lived up to the 1st incarnation

--The Hard Lessons-You alread know why

--The Cold Wave-3 reasons: 1. Allen James 2. Ryan Allen 3. The bass player looks like he is going to defecate on stage whenever he plays

Bands to catch (Saturday):

--Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor-Right now they are the spearhead of the Detroit Psych Scene. They put out an awesome record last year and have accompanied it by some really great shows.

--Spitting Nickels-I constantly joke that they are my dad's band; but they are pretty good. Straight ahead rock and roll done very well. Plus they're the only band with a member taller than me.

--Los Minstrels Del Diablo-This act is fucking crazy. A set of 2 VJs dressed as Skeletors in suits. They pulsate video to align with their array of synths, theremins, and drum pads. This is a truly unqiue experience and something noone else in Detroit is even close to touching yet. Truly original.

--Rue Moor Counts-Used to be The Bird Dogs. Blues rock n roll awesomely done. Rob Buxton is probably one of the best guitarists in the scene right now. They have a split single out right now on No Gold Records that had a redone tune off their 1st album called "On The Run". The redux is 10 times better than the original and this band has really progressed over time in terms of performance and songwriting.

More picks on the way - none as bellicose as those above...
In forthcoming band picks - the ones with a bit more brevity - I'll list the full schedule - but, then again, you can always read it here, day-by-day


Hubert said...

Full disclosure - I am friends with the people that are considered to have been the rap act - SelfSays*.

I really wish folks would preface a random "worst insert musical genre act ever" with a "best insert same musical genre act ever." At least give an example of someone they actually believes does a decent job. To call SelfSays 'the worst' is laughable by a generous stretch, considering the rest of the world seems to think he's pretty talented.

J.R.'s part is what is wrong with blogging. There is no filter and foolhardy comments are made that can potentially be harmful for the victims of misdirected angst.

What is good about blogging is there is an unchecked level of transparency, at least we are well-aware of who spews such hate and know to avoid said person.

*SelfSays is one person. His real name is Charles Vann. Google him - see what the rest of the world thinks of his music. You can also ask around what people think of his live shows as well. He's pretty transparent too.

The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre said...

hubert, i saw the act at the majestic cafe. i do have some basis. the entire set was in shambles with rhymes off beat and devoid of keeping up with the beat. if you want an example of a good local rap outfit, check out united states of mind, leaf erikson, or smoke. they definitely have their shit together and put on a good show. perhaps selfsays, is a talented individual, but from what i have witnessed, it remains to be seen. the performance was forced and much so, it drove the clientele out of the cafe and the audience that remained kept asking, "when is this over?" hope this helps, pal.


Hubert said...

J.R., I understand you were at the show and you are entitled to your opinion. I am not taking that away from you. I just wish you would not use some harsh language without qualifying your statements, especially in such a public way.
The reason I ask you qualify your position with your taste is that the whole "offbeat" thing you heard in SelfSays' rhymes is actually a Detroit hip hop staple. J Dilla/Slum Village basically made the off-kilter flow cool. The rap acts you make mention of tend of stick to conventional styles, which is good too.

Now I was not there and I can imagine Self having a bad show. The music from his '09 release isn't necessarily conducive for live shows as the clodding beats and slow tempos are not par for the normal course of hip hop, but I am sure he performed them the way he recorded them. It may not be your thing. That does not make his music "the worst" though.

I appreciate your response. Thanks.

The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre said...

i havent heard the recorded material, but the live presentation was so off-putting that i have no desire to seek it out. if i wasnt playing that night i would have walked out like everyone else.

what is interesting to me is, "the whole "offbeat" thing you heard in SelfSays' rhymes is actually a Detroit hip hop staple." there could be an interesting comparison here between detroit hip hop and detroit garage rock. ive always felt detroit garage rock has a unique regional sound where it is indeed sloppy. mistakes in recording are overlooked and left in. hmmmm....

in my opinion, selfsays was the worst rap outfit i have seen to date. perhaps selfsays (the individual) was overshadowed by the idiot crass obnoxious white kid that was up there with him.

hubert, you have intrigued me and i now want to see/listen to selfsays in solo form


Ben Ness said...

True enough Charles and I were sloppy that night. We've only begun performing together and it is clearly a work in progress.

I'm not sure I understand the reward in devoting a blog paragraph to trashing us, but I've never begrudged anyone their aesthetic agenda. People who hang verbiage like "worst ever" on experimental art are not asking anyone to take them particularly seriously as critics or intellectuals.

Fortunately folks like Leaf Erikson, USM, Smoke, etc, who have supported me and collaborated on projects with me for years have been able to overlook my idiocy, crassness, and obnoxiousness to see the value in my work. Check me out at, if you're not too busy hating on local artists in public forums.

Jeremy said...

Dear the guy from the Jesus and Mary Chainsaw Massacre,

Thank you so much for this informative and poignant article. It’s about time a Detroit artist spent two-thirds of a blog post regarding an upcoming local music festival describing how every participating band but his own and the other one in which he has a guest spot is terrible. This city really needs to be taken down a peg or two, and with fingers like claw-hammers on the keyboard, your trenchant blows will surely raze the scene in a manner which I can only hope will plow the way for fresher acts in which you are also a member. We can all learn something from your musical prowess and borderline social functionality. I look forward with baited breath to sharing the stage with you at future events. You are a paragon of originality, a class act, and a true patriot.

With Love,
Jeremy, Beekeepers (the one that looks sort of like Brendan Fraser.)

PS - If you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic!

PPS - I just realized that last line could in itself be interpreted as sarcasm. It is in fact sincere.

PPPS - Pot luck is at Terry’s tonight. It’s your turn to bring the Barq’s!