Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Ghoul Gang X-Mas show review- 12/18/12 at the Magic Stick
Ghoul Gang X-Mas show review- December 18th, 2012 at the Magic Stick
Freedom, Retribution, Weed Nap, Heat Lightning, From Hell, Build & Destroy, Face Reality, Ghoul Gang, and Rzl Dzl
As a stacked local line-up, I just knew I had to be at this. As such, I took the day off work and caught a ride down there. As I arrived, sound check for Freedom was just starting. Thankfully, I was right on time.
Freedom went on a couple of minutes later, the first to do so. They blasted through a quick set of youth crew-influenced powerviolence, or vice versa, whatever is suited to the subjective definition of the band’s sound (in other words, whichever YOU like more). Fast and very short, the songs hardly eclipse a minute, if that. Some of the band’s newer song stretched on for a bit longer than that, but make no mistake- this is definitely hardcore that everyone has time for. Singer Denny has a strong voice that manages to mix both the mile-a-minute powerviolence sound with the rough, tough, slower youth crew sound. It’ll take one longer to fap than to listen to a set by these guys, so no doubt, do the latter before the former, if at all separately.
Next was Retribution, who have been playing out more as of late, following a mild hibernation that has clearly led to the band becoming far more energized. The set they did this time around, though not as stellar as the ones they’ve done recently (opening for Expire, Trial, and Twitching Tongues, respectively), was still pretty solid. The material on their “Consumed” 7” is always energetic live, and some of their newer stuff, particularly the one about gay marriage and the moral clusterfuck churches seem to be preoccupied with at the moment, are even harder-hitting. After a few years of sporadic activity and only a demo released, it seems that Kenny Smith and Retribution are at long last moving forward and accumulating much-deserved fans of their 90s-style straight-edge hardcore.
Weed Nap followed after this, jamming out their brand of funky, janky party punk. This was some weird music, yet it was some very interesting stuff. Still in its early development stages, I anticipate a decent EP to come out soon. Think garage, janky, funky, punky. Close enough.
After them came Heat Lightning, a band play jam music in the punkiest way possible. This is definitely not music to have to read the lyrics to or soak in all the vibes, art, and meaning of the band to, but it is absolutely high quality, fun music to listen to. I was not disappointed with it, I’ll put it that way. Some music is to be taken in with absolute seriousness and the vibe/aesthetic to be fully absorbed, and other music is meant to be taken lightly, to be enjoyed, and be played loudly at parties. This is the latter, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Jam these jams.
After Heat Lightning was From Hell, who radiated dark energy with their slower, demonic style of hardcore. Their brand of punk rock, though different from the more positive and fun styles of their friends, was strangely fitting. The rearing of a dark, ugly sound has been a staple for Detroit for quite some time, and the current harbinger of this sound is From Hell, who have been around since roughly 2010, sludging it up with a demo and currently working on a 7”.
Build and Destroy came on next, and seemed as though they had improved since I last took notice of them around two years ago (at the Refuge benefit show in November ’10). Sporting a party-style 90s hardcore with a subtle hip-hop influence, the band was very crowd-friendly, two-steps and gang vocals all around- the locals definitely seemed to know the words to the songs. This is fascinating, as the band (to my knowledge, at least) has only a demo a good circulation of fans who spread the word, from Detroiters to, uh… Philadelphians, I guess, would be the word. These guys do live up to the hype, so long as you understand that the music isn’t excessively serious or unique- it’s just fun hardcore.
Next came Face Reality, who is one of the best bands to come out of Michigan punk-wise in a long time. The band came out full-force, and save for a couple moments where singer James’ voice went out, the band was totally on point, largely opting to play the newer material, which is much heavier and “harder”, so to speak. Crowd participation was pretty strong, and people were singing moving for the majority of the duration of the set (yours truly included)- the only time the band stopped was to thank a few folks for their contributions to the scene, and it was, all in all, a pretty energetic and united vibe in the room. Truly a sign of good things to come, and some already here.
Ghoul Gang and Rzl Dzl closed out the show, but due to my ride situation, I was unable to catch these two sets (much thanks to Ryan Coleman of Heat Lightning for that ride!). However, the Ghoul Gang is not that unlike in its punky jam band vibe, and Rzl Dzl is the more hardcore side of party punk music- fun and light-hearted, and including Haroun Khan as a member.
Ultimately, the show drew a lot of different faces (I am more of a “punker” than a hardcore kid, I suppose) and truly drew them all together under one roof, for one purpose. All in all, a great example of a Detroit show done right- I haven’t experienced an all-local show this awesome in quite some time. This is how it’s done.