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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.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dire Wolf Final Show review at the Metal Frat

Dire Wolf’s final show at the Metal Frat, show review, January 29, 2011

When the Meat Mansion’s residents were booted, a DIY venue died in Ann Arbor. Having been the home of multiple awesome punk parties, I wondered where else would a killer punk party be held. DIY venues are a handful in number in Michigan, let alone metro Detroit. Where was I to go? Luckily, a fraternity house has residents who are open to booking punk shows just down the road from the former Meat Mansion, the Metal Frat. The place has been booking shows on and off for approximately three years, and a few notable acts have been through there. I had been to one show in the past, failing to take any notice of any decent acts at that show. However, I saw a very dynamic bill of bands on a bill for this Metal Frat show. Maybe the place wasn’t all bad. I ventured off to the Metal Frat to see if this was indeed the case…

The debut band The Great Reversals set up and started their set. They play a style of strange hardcore I’m unfamiliar with, a sort of distorted-sounding heavy hardcore with intelligent, free-from lyrics and a general lack of rhythm. The sound still captivated my interest, just not in the grab-you-by-the-balls way some bands do. Think Jawbreaker meets Frank White meets a linguistics professor with an associate’s in English composition; the singer is very emotional, very serious in his tone, and in between songs, he talked about some of the things that meant something to him, a heartfelt socio-cultural speech of sorts. The sound was very tight, but I think I’d more enjoy the company of this band talking about socio-political-cultural over coffee and incense (I doubt the band smokes anything at all) rather than in a frat house basement. To me, emotionality is more purposeful in literature than in punk music, seeing as how punk is moreso an expression about/ of anger than it is linguistics or philosophy; still, I can’t count out proactivity and a packed-out basement of fans. 90s and emotional hardcore didn’t interest me when I first heard it and it still doesn’t interest me now; oh well, they have their fans, and I’m just not one of them.

After the Great Reversals finished what seemed like five songs, Muskegon home boys Retribution set up and slammed out some songs. Straight-edge with non-serrated (non-judgmental) teeth, but still cutting edge instead of breaking it, Retribution particularly impressed me for a new band; energy just fucking radiated from this west coast crew. I really felt the anger seeping through this singer’s skull, spewing from his mouth. Such great potential lies ahead for this group if they keep on the path they’re on. I know this anti-straight-edge asshole (myself) will be blasting this band’s future demo while cruising Mound or I-75.

Fresh from a signing to stalwart record label Youngblood Records, Face Reality was locked, cocked and ready to rock the block. Even though straight-edge bands really seem to have a giant hard-on for slowed-down 90s hardcore with what seems like a montage of perpetual/ never-ending breakdowns, Face Reality is a face-melting furious fighting force that I cannot get enough of. I’m more pissed off listening to Face Reality than I am SSD or Cold as Life. This band is the band to play a show with right now, without a doubt. I don’t go off for a lot of bands because I’m usually pissed off anyway, but this band just makes me go apeshit. Although no one else did, I tried to just go off and mosh the shit out of the place. Sadly, breakdowns were the population’s pastime. I still fucking love this band regardless of what anyone’s mosh pit desires are. It doesn’t make any difference what kind of punk you like, listen to this fucking band and you will never be the same again, and it’s for the better.

Next was Grand Rapids hardcore one-tour vets Damages. Although notable in their hometown, the previously mentioned, often unacknowledged wall of division between Grand Rapids and Detroit is still very high; I haven’t seen too much local recognition for this band (local being local to me, metro Detroit) and they do deserve some; even though they play 90s-ish hardcore and I’m not particularly partial to their lyrics, they still seemed to be doing something right. I had no feelings, really, about the set; intense 90s hardcore with lyrics and context not necessarily appealing or repellant to me. One thing I can say, though, is that they’re proactive and seem to be interested in doing something, which I’m always down with; we’ll see what I (or others, you lazy non-reviewer fucks) think of the 7” when I get to it.

Closing the show with their last-ever set was Dire Wolf. I don’t have any idea what they were like previous to their break-up plans, but what I saw was intense dedication (Hellmouth-like levels here, people) and the most fucked mosh pit since Leftover Crack and Negative Approach (July 1st, 2009 and July 31st, 2010, respectively). Some guy had a t-shirt burkha and was mount-moshing, someone had their nose broken (I have a couple pictures of this), and at the end of their mixed 80s-90s hardcore set, their dedicated fanbase yelled out the lyrics of their last two songs, ironically enough the first two ever written by the band. Damn near half the room just erupted in unifying chants, all together, at the same time, screaming the same song that wasn’t “Thriller”, “Filler”, or “Rise Above”. Real music dedication, real fan bases who genuinely support local bands actually do exist; I have some restored hope for humanity. Perhaps I should be worried that optimism has begun to infect me.

All in all, this show wasn’t just another shit in the stall. Out of five bands, I really got down with three, and the other two were still good, just not for my personal tastes; for a local-only show, 60% great bands is an unusually strong ratio, and I’m glad I ventured out. Although I will still draw circles on my hands to show my non straight-edge values, I think that scene, and the others who surround it, just may have something well worth mine and others’ attention.

-Aunty Social

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