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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On Tour: Plastic Boyz mini-tour, April 2010

On Tour: Plastic Boyz mini-tour, April 2010

Before embarking on a three-day tour with the Plastic Boyz from Chesterfield, Michigan, I indulged in a campaign involving a late night bus ride to Detroit, wandering the streets of my hometown, and sleeping in front of someone’s house in an affluent subdivision. After this eventful, extended night, I loaded some of the Plastic Boyz’ equipment into my trunk, the rest in the drummer’s car, and the Plastic Boyz and crew took off on our three day journey, beginning with a trip to Cleveland.

Beginning our voyage, we took a relatively simple route to Cleveland (from where we were, I-94 to I-75 to I-90 to Cleveland), and three uneventful hours later, we arrived in the city, band ready to play, mostly. There was one piece missing. The third car, the one containing the bassist, had gotten lost, unable to find the correct interstate to Cleveland. After a nerve-wracking two hours of wondering if the band would be able to play, the dubious duo found the right way and were on their path to the bar we were at, …Now That’s Class, a small but superior venue in the heart of the downtown area. First, local heroes Kill the Hippies went on, a garage punk band with some history and experience (they had a double CD called Erectospective, very good for anyone interested). After pumping out their grimy garage goodness, the Canadian garage punks Teen Anger stepped onstage, snottily smashing their angry teenage garage anthem. The set dragged on a bit, as the bassist and his driver still had yet to arrive. Finally the band finished/ran out of songs and still, no bassist. Would the Plastic Boyz be able to go on? After about a half hour of setting up, getting ready and waiting, the car screeched into the parking lot, and Muskrat (the bassist) sprinted on stage. Literally a minute later, the band went and raged all 2012 Calories and more, taking the Cleveland audience by storm as bizarre German porn/some weird German film played in the background on a projector. After the set, we loaded the gear, packed it in, and picked out a hotel to sleep in. It took me aback a bit that we were going to be staying in a hotel, as hardly any of us have much money, not to mention the possibilities of sleeping in a local house or sleeping in the car in the city somewhere. And so it goes for expensive good luck, I guess; we were able to fit eight people into one hotel room without anyone noticing. The night ended a lot more quietly than I expected.

The next day, after consuming much continental breakfast food, we got in the proverbial van and set off for our next destination, Milwaukee, around noon. After a half hour of unsafely tired driving, I switched off drivers, letting the singer’s girlfriend drive for a few hours. In this time, one of the other cars was pulled over for speeding and a lack of a seat belt by a passenger in Indiana. We continued down I-80 for a while, and eventually the car caught back up. We pressed on, eventually hitting Illinois and turning north onto I-94 towards Chicago and eventually Milwaukee. After another switch-off, we arrived on the Dan Ryan Expressway in downtown Chicago around 4:00-5:00 local time, right at rush hour. The traffic was so slow that two of our crew got out, smoked a cigarette or two and walked down the shoulder of the interstate through traffic for about twenty minutes, never even having to speed up to keep pace. After finally forcing our way through Chicago traffic, we made it up to Milwaukee after the first band, Holy Shit! finished their last song. We loaded in and the band and crew (minus me and the drummer) achieved drunkenness through a few beers and a half of a fifth of Canadian whiskey I’m not familiar with. The second band, the Loose Dudes, set up in the dark, damp venue, a house with a very spacious basement. Blasting out short, low-fi garage punk jams (notice a pattern here?), the Loose Dudes were a strange, interesting band that I found myself digging. They were enjoyable, unique, and reminiscent of Detroit garage, despite their Chicago location. Teen Anger played once again, laying out another set of grimy jams, this time with more force and greater efficiency. The Plastic Boyz rounded out the show, cranking out their set to a relatively packed, moshing basement of fifty people or so, both Milwaukee locals and touring band crews. This particular set was good and the audience dug it. After the last song, the band socialized for a bit, we loaded up again, a few trees and concrete blocks were tagged, and we drove onward to some city in northwestern Indiana, since we had the time to travel (the show was over and done by like 10, sheesh). We again shacked up in a hotel far nicer than most of us could afford, except this time I didn’t have to pay for it. Two dicks drawn on the wall and an hour of partying later, the night ended.

Once again, we raided the continental breakfast stand, eating up and hopped in the caravan on our way to Ann Arbor. Our third car, the same one who had given us trouble before in Ohio, broke down somewhere just north of the Michigan border on I-94, a bit south of Benton Harbor. Eventually the cause was found out that the third car had had no oil in it. We decided that we had to leave without them, as they promised they would find a way across the state to our destination. We arrived in the area very early, so we connected with a local friend at a University of Michigan frat house, once again partying until our show. In a miraculous binge of luck, Muskrat and his driver Robin were able to find a way out to the area, about four hours later. Around eleven at night, the band and crew arrived at the venue, which was an art co-op that had hosted an all day show. Despite this all-day show, few patrons stuck around for the Plastic Boyz, with only about ten to fifteen people total watching, despite a strong set by the band. After the band finished, the drummer loaded up his equipment and drove on home with his crew, being obligated to work in the morning. My car stuck around for another band before we decided to leave for home. After arriving back in Chesterfield an hour or two later, I emptied my car of equipment and band members at their corresponding locations, and tiredly made the drive home.

Next time, I think I’ll plan this half-baked, half-financed, all-exuberant, fly by the seat of your pants type of road trip a little better. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed myself on this three day adventure; touring is a blast and I can’t wait to go back.

-Aunty Social

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