The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
There’s some shows where you look at the line-up and say to yourself “Self, you miss this one and you’re gonna regret it.”. That’s exactly what happened when I first heard about this show at the Blind Pig. The Questions, Siddhartha, Freer & The Go are four bands that are defining what’s great about Detroit rock & roll in the mid-aughts, and this night they decided to hook up their wagons and make the westward trek to Ann Arbor. I arrived a bit late (a trend for this weekend) and was held up by the line at the door, so I missed the first song and a half or so of The Question’s set. My apologies for that (and the weird audio phasing at the beginning of their recording where I was moving through the crowd to get to my favourite spot.).
The Questions started things out with a frenetic set of experimental psychabilly rock – think of early Meat Puppets or Butthole Surfers with even more blues and less punk influences. They capped off their set by inviting Robbie Buxton of The BirdDogs and Dan Dannamo on stage to join in a Dead Kennedys-esque jam, at the end of which Drew Bardo dove off the stage while everyone else smashed up the drum kit. What a way to start the night!
It would take a strong band to follow up what The Questions just gave the crowd. Luckily, Siddhartha is just the band to handle the task. Lately they’ve been splitting their time between Detroit and the Left Coast, which is only fitting for a band that dresses MC5 rock fury in (Arthur Lee’s) Love psych flourishes. They’ve quickly been getting a lot of notice, receiving radio play not just on Mick Collins’ now-defunct Nighttrain broadcast but also on that of America’s answer to John Peel, Rodney Bingenheimer on KROQ in Los Angeles.
Following up Siddhartha were Freer, another band quickly making a name for themselves with their electrifying (and frequent) live shows. Starting out with poppy keyboard tunes, the band drops few hints of the rock monster gnashing it’s teeth within. As the set goes on, the songs swing back and forth between warm ballads and socially-aware rockers. Halfway through the smoky Flamingos-inspired tune Anti-Social critical mass is reached and the band launches into a full on assault on the song (and their instruments), leaving the crowd shouting for an encore even though there’s still 10 minutes left in their set. By the time they wrapped up with their LP’s burning title track, Secret Chorus, even the drunk who started out the set heckling them was cheering for more.
Rounding out the night were The Go, who wear their 60’s rock adoration like a badge of honour. With a mix of swagger and soul not heard since the early recordings of The Rolling Stones, The Go were a bright star in the 1999 wave of Detroit garage bands but quickly fell due to poor handling by their record label, Sub Pop. After flirting with dissolution they have returned with their first full-length in four years, Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride. Playing 11 of the 12 tracks on the new album this night, the band showed that they are still one of the best of the garage acts to come out of the Motor City.
The Questions – MySpace Page
Next performance: June 23, 2007 – FIBERGLASS FREAKOUT @ The Bohemian National Home, Detroit, MI – 8:00 PM.
Siddhartha – MySpace Page
Next performance: June 12, 2007 – The Belmont, Hamtramck, MI – 9:00 PM
The Go – Official Site, MySpace Page
Next performance: Hitting the road with Freer at the end of June. Next local date is July 07, 2007 @ Detroit CityFest (New Center Park Stage) – 9:00 PM – FREE!!
Apparently there was some mixed communications and the band has since asked that I remove the recording. Sorry about that.