tinyayholev1a I’m just sitting here contemplating.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m actually listening to Stryper now.
tinyayholev1a I’m listening to Kenny Chesney.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m breaking up with you.
tinyayholev1a You need to broaden your musical tastes.
tinyjunkheadv1a Back in high school, I was super ironic, so the idea that Stryper was a Christian metal band was super funny to me, so I bought up all their albums on cassette because they were like a quarter.
tinyayholev1a I remember all the old fogies in Church talking about Stryper. Their music videos would be on TV sometimes. On Turner Broadcast or whatever. I always thought that was weird, because it was over the air.
tinyjunkheadv1a They were never on TV when I watched, but after listening to To Hell With the Devil thirty times in my car, I decided their goodie two-shoes image was way more appealing than inverted crosses and such.
Metal’s all about Satan and stuff, so someone singing about God is WAY more against the status quo than you’d think.
Just like I did back in my giggly 9th grade year, I underestimated Stryper’s power going into the show earlier this week at St. Andrew’s Hall.
tinyayholev1a I had some Christian metal tapes when I was younger, like White Cross. I actually thought Stryper sounded too old fashioned when I was younger. I liked that screamo metal crap.
Now that I’m older I can appreciate how awesome older sounding stuff really is.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s crazy, I didn’t know that.
tinyayholev1a I will say that the 2015 Fallen album is very not old fashioned sounding, but they only played Yahweh at the concert.
tinyjunkheadv1a ’80s metal was my thing, so Stryper wasn’t bad, but they definitely had too many ballads compared to Iron Maiden and stuff.
tinyayholev1a One ballad is enough.
It can get boring real fast.
tinyjunkheadv1a They played only two ballads I believe, and both were from To Hell With The Devil. They played the whole album to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary.
Which sucked for them because that meant they opened with the title track, which was like ultra-premature ejaculation.
tinyayholev1a All these anniversary tours are making me feel old.
I anticipated the whole album, however.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, the album’s older than both of us I think.
tinyayholev1a You keep thinking that, young punk.
“Calling on you” is my junk. I almost cried, but my ears were bleeding the whole time.
I didn’t look at the set list, so when they announced they were playing another set after the whole album, I was excited that they would play songs that were not cover songs.
tinyjunkheadv1a “Calling on You” has that cool Beatlesque pre-chorus. I was surprised that I remembered all the words to every song.
For a long time, To Hell With the Devil was the only thing I listened to on my tape deck, and it all came pouring back out my mouth as I sang to every song.
tinyayholev1a According to Sweet, this tour was the first time that “All of Me” was ever performed. Originally I thought “Honestly” was better, but that’s probably because it’s just more popular. It also has catchy pop psychology in it. But “All of Me” is shoot from the hip emotion.
tinyjunkheadv1a “All of Me” felt really cool. Like, it was honest and ballady?
“The Way” is one of my favorites though. It definitely increased my head-banging tenfold.
tinyayholev1a I danced hard to “More Than A Man.” Most of the crowd was still coming out of their shells, too. Also, I want to be more than a man and that song is pretty rockin.
tinyjunkheadv1a That song rules. The chorus is like five minutes long and everyone was all over it.
They took a break after that and there was this buzzing noise that was super loud.
tinyayholev1a At this point my ears started hurting. I was glad there was a break, but then they blasted Battle Hymn of the Republic and myself, being tall, got the full dose. There was also this dude behind me that was doing one of those father whistles where he sticks two fingers in his mouth, turns at my ear and blows louder than the music.
I could hear it the entire show during the songs. I finally got behind him so he turns to the guy in front of me and just screams in his face. This guy was hyped out of his mind.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah I was okay. They played “Yahweh”, which got me psyched up so hard. I think it bothered everyone else.
My head was practically hitting the ground I was rockin’ so hard, but it felt like everyone else wasn’t really interested.
tinyayholev1a It wasn’t thirty years old, like the rest of the set. I was waiting for them to play “Shout at the Devil,” since the opening act mentioned that they were going to play a Motley Crew song.
tinyjunkheadv1a Did they?
Oh yeah, the opening act was local.
They played two songs I liked that Ay-Hole hated, then they played a bunch of songs I hated that Ay-Hole liked,
tinyayholev1a Really? I thought they were from LA. They had an LA sound and looked like it.
tinyjunkheadv1a I checked their Facebook and they’ve just been hyping this show for two months.
tinyayholev1a The bass player had no presence on stage, unless you count his awfully mixed bass. When he switched to the bedazzled version the music became instantly listenable.
The guitar player’s main talent is noodling when not playing Rage Against the Machine.
tinyjunkheadv1a Singer looked and sounded like Jack Black doing a hair metal parody thing, but he was definitely entertaining.
After the show I bought their album on vinyl for ten bucks, and he seemed very disenchanted with life.
He didn’t have change.
tinyayholev1a He was entertaining. He was screaming as hard as he could the whole show, so he was probably in pain afterwards.
tinyjunkheadv1a No way bro, that guy could scream for ages.
tinyayholev1a That records great, btw. I’m upset I didn’t get one.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I thought you were going to. The first side’s pretty great, especially that grunge sounding song.
“Turbo Slut” rules.
We should review that bad boy next.
tinyayholev1a Since they’re local, I can pick one up later.
Also, the drummer plays with a sawed in half curtain rod that he just drops onto the drums from above his head.
tinyjunkheadv1a Hopefully our ten readers are local. I hope that dude sells more copies.
One thing that was weird is how he kept throwing empty LP sleeves into the crowd.
Anyway, Stryper. They played “Yahweh” and then they played some okay songs like “In God We Trust” and a bunch of covers.
tinyayholev1a “Heaven and Hell” was okay, but only because it’s a good song. I was kinda bored by the covers.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I rocked out to “Heaven and Hell” because Dio’s my boy.
I actually felt kind of sad afterwards because I never got to see Dio live, and when I finished and I realized I was staring at Stryper, it made me feel empty.
Then they played a Motley Crue cover.
tinyayholev1a I liked to hear their originals. I’m not a big cover fan, anyway. I’m not old enough.
tinyjunkheadv1a It was weird when Stryper followed up the three covers with an original and THEN played another cover.
Michael Sweet made a joke that Van Halen was from Detroit and everyone in the crowd looked really confused the entire song.
tinyayholev1a I didn’t get it.
I still don’t.
tinyjunkheadv1a Like any old person joke, it just wasn’t funny.
Although Sweet was killing it on the banter the rest of the show.
tinyayholev1a I’m sure it was SoCal humor. It was just too complex for our dumb rust belt brains.
tinyjunkheadv1a He told like eighty jokes and seventy-nine of them were funny.
tinyayholev1a A favorite of all was when he ridiculed those who waited “30 years” to see them.
tinyjunkheadv1a Funny stuff. They held off on playing the really, really awesome songs from my personal favorite, Soldiers Under Command until the end.
“Soldiers Under Command” followed by “Makes Me Wanna Sing” was a metal cream dream.
tinyayholev1a That was probably the highlight of the night. Out with a total explosion!
Planned encores are dumb, though. I would have just played them back to back.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, it was a long set in all honesty and the encore cheer was awful. The crowd needed a big finish though, and those two songs were it.
tinyayholev1a It was a horrible cheer. Some people were saying “One more song” some were saying “Stryper” and others were speaking in tongues.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s what you get for having a crowd where most are over fifty.
That’s probably what made you feel old.
tinyayholev1a I was really worn out after the show, too. It was very emotional. I kept thinking about how old they are and this could be my last chance to see them.
All of the 16 year olds that were drug along with their parents is what made me feel old.
They were super into it, however.
tinyjunkheadv1a No way. I was next to all of them and all they mustered was a polite head bob.
I wanted everyone climbing the walls and giving Stryper their muthafuckin’ just desserts.
I forgot, you were behind the kid who knew all the songs. There was an eighteen year old headbanger behind me who kept hitting me with his hair
He ruled.
tinyayholev1a You know that the only people who would climb up on stage were our age. This wasn’t the Portland riots, it was an 80’s metal concert. The people in the front probably got lost to get up there. They would probably need an escalator to get up onto the stage.
I wonder what old band brings in the oldest mosh pit.
tinyjunkheadv1a I still don’t believe the Portland riots exist. That’s how uncultured I am.
I’m just a junkhead.
tinyayholev1a I like thinking that a Glenn Miller cover band in Florida attracts a bunch of old dudes with walkers to punch each other in the everglades while old grandmas smoke joints and dye their hair.
tinyjunkheadv1a The Everglades riots.
tinyayholev1a Alligator fight dance
I’d give Stryper a 5/5. They played excellent. My ears are still ringing, however. I thought about giving it a 4/5 because of how much pain I was in.
tinyjunkheadv1a I couldn’t tell you were enjoying it.
tinyayholev1a I’m serious. I’ve been reading about earplugs all day.
tinyjunkheadv1a It wasn’t that loud for me. It probably was the most meaningful live show I’ve ever been to.
Like my life really came full circle from that cassette tape to St. Andrew’s Hall. A.
What about the opener?
Androids Anonymous? What the fuck is their name?
tinyayholev1a Artificial Agent. 3/5 with ear protection. And only again if the bass player uses the bedazzled bass.
tinyjunkheadv1a D+. Because they played five songs and I only liked the first two.
tinyayholev1a Then we went home and smashed several helpings of salsa and listened to their smashing 2015 album.
tinyjunkheadv1a I forgot about the salsa!
Ay-Hole brought over this salsa and I discovered that I had a jar of the exact same salsa in my fridge.
It was crazy.
tinyayholev1a So we ate all of it.
Then Junkhead collapsed on the floor and couldn’t get up to flip the record.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I was pretty tuckered out.
Ay-hole’s rating:
Artificial Agent 3/5
Stryper 5/5

Junkhead’s rating:
Androids Anonymous D+
Stryper A

Satan/Cauldron – Small’s 10/27/16

Satan/Cauldron – Small’s 10/27/16

tinyayholev1a Do you really think we can do it in an hour?
tinyjunkheadv1a A half hour. And yeah.
tinyayholev1a That’s what I typed. But it didn’t come out
tinyjunkheadv1a So are you okay to?
tinyayholev1a Okay.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright. You can start it. Just talk about how you convinced me to go.
tinyayholev1a The day before the concert, Junkhead and I and our significants were sitting somewhere when someone asked if we were going to the concert. I said, “J doesn’t want to go because he’s going to be tired tomorrow.” But after I repeated that it was only $16 bucks and C and M could hang together, Junkhead became suddenly excited.
tinyjunkheadv1a C said she’d pay for my ticket, so the prospect got infinitely more exciting. Honestly, the events leading to the show also turned me off: Ay-hole was really excited to show up early, but we were locked out because the bands were sound-checking.
And it was cold.
tinyayholev1a Every time I am late to a concert, the opening band ends up going on early and being the band I actually wanted to see. This time my luck worked against us and Junkhead was stuck in whine mode for at least an hour.
tinyjunkheadv1a We were the only people near the stage area for about that amount of time, so I whined my ass off. The first band didn’t help brighten the mood either, with Coven 13 blowing all over the place.
tinyayholev1a Coven 13 started at 8:47 with their one song that featured a face melting solo, only the guitarist broke his string at the beginning of it.I was anticipating “Thor’s Twins” being the most exciting song, however, I was disappointed.
tinyjunkheadv1a That opening song sucked. The second one, “Ruler”, was really cool, but Andy hated it. “RULER/RULER/OF THE WASTELAND/RULER/RULER”.
tinyayholev1a I can’t put my finger on it, but it felt lazy. I liked the third song, which is unpronoucable but sounded like a Castlevania song. Then every song sucked. The whole band was lazy.
tinyjunkheadv1a The singer in particular looked like he was bored of the audience, really.
tinyayholev1a I’d give Coven 13 a 2/5, because I would probably avoid them at a show. Maybe they were just mad they weren’t going to be at Covenfest the next day. I’d be pretty sour about that, too.
tinyjunkheadv1a Ay-hole was really into the idea that Coven was playing another show called Covenfest the next day, but they’re wholly unrelated. The next band, Destructor, was crazy. The sound guy had to tell the vocalist/rhythm guitarist three times that he had to turn his amp down.
tinyayholev1a From the second they began to play, I was unable to take any pictures because I could not stop headbanging and air guitaring. The lead guitarist, a guy they we met before we went in, had to jump in the car and speed back to Cleveland so he could be at work at 5:30 the next morning, so he made sure to wake us all up with his through the roof energy.
tinyjunkheadv1a He was really good at shredding. Definitely the best guitarist in the building that night.
tinyayholev1a One could tell simply by the set list that Destructor is a good show. Too bad their album sucks. It might win worst recorded/best writing category for 2016.
tinyjunkheadv1a They played a whirlwind thrash set, three songs in a row with no stops followed by another three songs in a row. The first set was definitely better, with breakneck speeds and nothing else. After a little banter, they played some shitty power metal song that was saved by speed and shreds. I’d give them a B+.
tinyayholev1a What are you going to give Coven 13?
tinyjunkheadv1a D. As an educator by trade, I have a lot of faith in the letter grade system.
tinyayholev1a I’ll give Destructor a 4/5. I’ll have to get into their music more. Maybe next time their in town I’ll have a shirt and be part of the fan club or something.
tinyjunkheadv1a Like you said, their 2016 album sucked. Just a victim of terrible production. Strictly a live thing for me. Cauldron’s studio album, however, was something Ay-hole had to grab on vinyl.
tinyayholev1a Well, the reason we went to this show, anyway, was so we could see Cauldron. I missed them when they were at the Tolken Lounge. First impression, the bass player/singer, Decay, seemed tired and indifferent.
tinyjunkheadv1a For real. The whole performance lacked enthusiasm, like he was sick or tired. Fans were excited for older tracks, but we were excited about newer ones.
tinyayholev1a They did play “Empress” and “Burning at Both Ends,” which were pretty good and we were super hyped about that, but “No Return” sounded toilsome.
tinyjunkheadv1a There was a lot of toil for sure. “Miss You To Death” was the standout for me, although it’s the only thing in their repertoire that sounds like a straight AC/DC song.
tinyayholev1a To be fair, my neck hurt after Destructor and “Burning at Both Ends,” and their was that annoying fat mosher in a Judas Priest shirt that was inches close to loosing vision in his eye due to my elbow, so I could have just been preocupied. But the later thrashy songs really held the attention of the crowd well.
tinyjunkheadv1a The skullet guitar dude was really cool after the show. We took the picture above with them, and then I started talking about his Angel Witch shirt. He was surprised I didn’t like the first album and liked the mid-80s ones, but seemed especially confused when I started talking about how cool Praying Mantis was.
tinyayholev1a I complimented Decay’s Chain Reaction shirt, then Junkhead says to the guitarist, Chains, “You got a cool shirt, too. That album sucks.” And they became besties.
tinyjunkheadv1a Readers will always get stories in reverse when Blah Blah Music comes to town. So we went back to the stage area and started questioning whether we cared about the headliner, Satan.
tinyayholev1a They took forever to set up. It seemed like there was more groupies helping than all the members of the bands history, which is saying something because I believe only the lead singer was remaining from the original line up.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, everyone was old except the lead guitarist, so I dunno. Evidently both guitarists were original members.
tinyayholev1a I am corrected. I thought the lead guitarist was a lady. I’m still not sure. Interestingly enough, Satan was the oldest act on the stage that night, and Cauldron the youngest.
tinyjunkheadv1a Every band started in the ’80s except Cauldron. Coven 13 is the only band that had all of it’s original members. We’re avoiding talking about Satan’s music because they sucked so we left.
tinyayholev1a It was terrible. I was hoping it was going to either get worse or better and it did indeed get worse. One song was some high pitch droning and low ostinato fart bass for minutes on end. It was like a Sun O record skipping.

I think we always make sucky things sound better when we describe how we really feel about them.

tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, that’s an insult to a Sunn O record skipping dude. So Andy dropped his rubiks cube so we had to go back and find a piece of it, then we bought groceries. Then we went back to my house and drank for like an hour and talked about all of the things we said in the review.
tinyayholev1a My two memorable moments: Junkhead complaining for an hour non stop even during the show because he was cold, and Junkhead getting the cold shoulder from a girl with green hair because her boyfriend started poking her for attention.
tinyjunkheadv1a I was bored of whining at Andy so I tried to talk to someone else, but she thought I was a creeper even though I was just talking about my girlfriend’s hair most of the time. My favorite moment was talking about music with the guitarist from Cauldron and whining at Andy for an hour because I was cold.
tinyayholev1a The whole night I give a 5/5, cause I would do it again in a heartbeat.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, A+. Are we ever going to end this thing?
tinyayholev1a That’s it. I guess.



Coven 13: 2/5
Destructor: 4/5
Cauldron: 4/5 (because I still enjoyed their music to feel like I had a good time)
Satan: 1/5


Coven 13: D
Destructor: B+
Cauldron: B-
Satan: F

Assemblage 23 – Small’s 10/6/16


junkheadv1tmbAssemblage 23 – Small’s 10/6/16

Electronic acts are cool because dancing is encouraged, so even the biggest dipshit on the planet will start shaking their ass. Throughout this show, I was amazed at the variety of styles: the couple near the stage dry humped all night, the bald guys with VNV Nation shirts threw their limbs around wildly, and the woman in front of me danced like a soccer mom. In the closing minutes of the show, one woman came up wagging her hips and wiggling her right hand like some sort of wild hundred-years-too-late flapper chick.

The actual acts weren’t always as entertaining, specifically the opener Ghost Synthesis. A DJ who’s beyond all over the place, it’s a grotesque amalgamation of EBM, dubstep, and pop music that made me want to hurl. There’d be a cool gothic/industrial section for a couple minutes, but it would almost always be followed by synth pop with pre-recorded vocals playing. I don’t think anyone danced at all except for this side-shaved chick up front. He tried to actually play synths at different points, but in true DJ style, most of his time was spent checking his Twitter feed on the laptop.

Voicecoil was infinitely better. The front man donned sunglasses and a suit, looking like some sort of synth-pop superstar. This is the only band that actually had a guitarist, but the girl at the laptop was much louder. Still, the music was perfect for the crowd: a sugary take on the futurepop mold, with all the block-rocking aspects of synthpop in the red throughout. Somehow, the band and audience both lost a lot of energy in the last couple of songs, but I was still impressed.

After a short reprieve, Assemblage 23 took the stage. Aside from sole member Tom Shear, the touring act included a middle aged guy at a laptop/synth setup and a younger drummer who smiled the entire show. These two stepped out first, playing an instrumental track to warm up the crowd. Shear took the stage like a bat out of hell, grabbing the microphone and kicking into the second track, “After”. After this, the band played some old favorites, with everyone dancing or Snapchatting their heads off.

From the concert alone, one can view Assemblage 23 as sort of an EBM version of Depeche Mode: like Depeche Mode, the melodies and atmosphere take precedence over all else, and they do a great job balancing slower tracks and faster uptempo boombox breakers. Just when the crowd would get tired from pounding their heads or shaking their butts, the band put on a slower sway type song, giving everyone a minute to take a breath.

This was pretty important considering that the band went on for almost TWO HOURS! They literally played twenty songs, the majority of them being upbeat rockers. Two encores were played, although Shear blurted that he didn’t feel like getting off stage so everyone should just yell really loud so they can just play some more. The first encore got everyone’s blood pumping, but the second was literally putting me to sleep. I swayed and closed my eyes and thought I was going to pass out. A lot of people left at this point.

After all the smoke cleared, I was pretty happy with my experience. I hope when I’m 44 that I can rock out for two hours straight.

Ghost Synthesis: F

Voicecoil: B

Assemblage 23: B+


In Limbo –
It was hot outside. The weather in September is always hot, usually after a cold front in late August to begin the color change. Wearing shorts and t-shirts, M and I were headed into the entrails of Detroit, to St Andrews Hall, a seed of hate and discourse for venue goers.
Assaulted by short and yelling black men waiving orange flags, cars will drive slowly with two tires in each lane and gaping maw. Upon turning into one parking lot with a large “$7 parking” sign after asking the attendant, “Is it seven today?” and the attendant replies, “Yes,” patrons will be disappointed to discover that parking is $10 and that the previous exchange was a “misunderstanding.”
I asked if I could cross the DMZ to get into the box office and the ten+ employees all looked at me. I left and came back on the other side of the riot gates to ask if I could go buy a ticket and one of them seemed to understand I wanted to give them my money. I had previously been informed that I only had one ticket because the venue rep brought an odd number to Stormy Records on record store day, a day I will from now until eternity be sure to take a vacation day for.
The lady at the ticket booth dropped my change on the ground and moved the trash can, computer, and shelving unit until she found all eight dollars. I was very glad I could save twelve-fifty by not buying from…
Dead Nation! lolmirite!!!

I just had to make it through an hour of standing around, wishing I would have spent $8 on a can of beer and that I had brought a fur coat since the A/C was blasting out of control. Who likes being frozen solid while being forced to stand in place for hours at a time? Apparently, St Andrews Hall attendees do and the conversation was typical. “I’ve been waiting 20 years to see these guys,” “I’ve been listening to these guys since before they broke up,” “I missed them last time they came through.” All of these statements were true for a change, though I expect this is becoming a more common experience since so many old bands seem to be getting back together. Perhaps a good retirement plan is releasing some albums under a pseudonym, having a dramatic breakup, then announcing a reunion tour decades later.
Tamaryn was up first. The early stuff is very shoegazy and great, but the performance was sort of cross-over synthwave dance music with super dominant guitar fuzz and an exceedingly loud kick drum and plunky bass. The set up to the drum track was Tamaryn on vox, a guitar guy who must have come from a Pacific Sunwear catalogue shoot, and a bass player. It was still good, but only the 2nd and 3rd songs were my fancy. The rest all had much less energy and were very redundant feeling. The best part of the performance was this black guy in underwear and a windbreaker that was twerking and gyrating all over the stage for several songs.
After Tamaryn, an army of stage crew came out and tore down for many moons. Then more crew came out to set up for Lush. Set up felt like it lasted about 45 minutes and they started playing at about 9:20.

thesetlistHere it was, after decades of waiting, watching insanely overpriced vinyl, listening intently to each note, watching rips of tapes and shows, all of us wanting so badly to be back in early 90’s UK; four musical talents with an average age of 49 were entertaining hundreds of blokes who refused to leave the past in the dust, dragging in tow significant others who do not quite detest whatever genre of music this is.
No songs went into the next. They were each divided by applause, silence, and usually a guitar swap. Sometimes there would be a guitar swap for one song, then a swap back for the next. Sometimes there was two guitars being swapped at the same time. Luckily for everyone involved, the swaps were all smooth and quick. It would have been nice for at least some of the energy of one song to bleed into the next.

All of the songs I wanted to hear were played and they were all glorious. “Light From a Dead Star” was the only song I had to hear or I would wreak the place, but hearing “For Love” and “Thoughtforms” was very pleasant. The new tracks off of the EP were much better than the EP itself. I gave the EP another listen to the next day and was equally disappointed with the recordings as last time. They turned out to be good live songs, though the only tracks played live were just one side of the ep.

After the main set, the main stage hand came out and tuned Anderson’s guitar. The no surprise encore featured three songs. Then the band left again, but there was suspicion of another encore. The suspicion was the stage hand bringing out a guitar and setting it on a stand. Also, King was standing around back stage. After minutes of crowd enthusiasm, Lush came back on for one last song.
Berenyi’s vocals were great. She only seemed to strain on one song. Anderson had no difficulties at all. Welch seemed to drop the beat a couple of times, but not enough for anyone to notice if they weren’t intimate with either live music or the recordings. King on bass was present and invisible.

I sat on this review for a couple of weeks, mostly because I was lazy, but also because I was nervous. I do not want my musical tastes to become dated, because to do so is to admit that music is changing and I am not changing fast enough. This band played music when I was in middle school. I did not know I enjoyed music until much later in life and I did not have a clue about the impressions it left on me until even later when really digging into shoegaze. No one is getting younger. Music continues to flow. Fusion entropies genres into the great homogenous white light. Soon, not only shoegazers, but also normies, junkies, and flunkies will all be listening to the same sin waves. But that’s what we were saying in 96.
Well, I was still eating my boogers.
5/5 duh



ayholev1tmbFriday night, Metro-Detroit’s only remaining punk band played their annual show. The night started off with an alternative drum and vocal feel. The Corpse Killers have really redefined their sound. The entire Fires in Japan act even jumped on stage to dance around the amplifier until the guitar screamed in.

The Corpse Killers seemed to be more about the music for the first half of the show. There was no banter between songs and they stood focused on their performance. About 15 songs in Bone Jackson started to do more dancing about 30 ft away from the mic and the rest of the band started to unleash. Good thing there was another 45 songs left because the second half was when the raillery started to fly and the sweat started to pour.

The Woahs, Ohs, and Babies were brash and numerous. Crowd favorites, such as “Jaws 2,” and band favorites, like “The Making of Jaws 2,” littered the set list. Notably absent were classics “Street Fighter 2010,” and “Kyle Reese.”

After the show, Reggie “The Reckless” Fright had to be helped to the bathroom to wash out the paint in his eyes. There are talks of a CD release party, maybe even before next year. 4/5

The next act made it apparent they were from Las Vegas, Nevada. Bitch’n’Dudes are a metalcore band with a slight touch of punk ska. Almost too much metalcore, almost too little ska, the sounds is very blended and almost comfortable or expected. An avid listener to punk ska might feel it does not qualify, while a listener of metalcore might be drunk at the bar already and unavailable for opinion.

The best song of the set was the song about weed. There was plenty of genre bending madness amidst the skanking and squealing. Although the front women is absolutely crucial to the act, one would have liked to hear more of the classic third wave goblin singing that the male vocalists lead with. 3/5

Fires in Japan played a full set with a new guitarist. This was a momentous occasion because the band is almost on their 100th birthday and they finally rounded out the sound. A listener is assailed with visions of 2005 and picking up a date with emotional pop punk chords played on both the down and the up stroke. Fantastic background bar music. 3/5

The Feigers played excessively loud and I did not hear the set because I did not want to blow my ears out. Next time I’ll remember ear plugs. ?/5

The Rockery venue has really improved their sound with some killer insulation. One could imagine it is from all of the noise complaints from one of my managers who lives around the block. Notable events from the evening were the drummer from Bitch’n’Dudes getting on someone’s shoulders to climb the tree in front of the bar, a d-bag who was observed in the audience after telling the doorman he just wanted to “throw this water bottle out,” without paying, the Abominable Duke Baron Von Joshenghoulie passing out from dehydration and fatigue on the pool table, and Dave W getting hit on by another guy.


Silversun Pickups – The Fillmore 5/8/16


junkheadv1tmbSilversun Pickups – The Fillmore 5/8/16

Alternative radio stations are the last bastion for ’90s rock lovers, but I simply can’t stand them. Detroit’s “Rock Alternative”, 89X, plays everything they did when I was growing up between ’93 and ’03 and nothing else. It’s a parallel universe where people still enjoy Staind, Hoobastank, and Papa Roach. Anyone who lives there are normally infantile Gen-X wannabes, as the actual Gen-Xers have moved on to worrying about their 401K and junk.

So I’m caught in the middle of all this at 89X’s annual birthday bash, a place where socially stagnated weirdos congregated to eat ONION RINGS and watch their favorite lesser superstars. The announcers kept talking about how the evening’s performers have been on the radio, but I don’t believe them. All I ever hear is “Spoonman” and “Freak on a Leash”.

Joywave were the most insufferable trash ever. They had this giant banner that joked how the audience should be sad they weren’t headlining. Too bad they just fucking suck, although I’ve seen them dancing around on the music video station at Planet Fitness. Bland pop/hip-hop is the name of the game, and the lead singer’s a fucking idiot. Fail to see how this is any alternative to mainstream radio. There were plenty of normies who knew all the words. This honestly was my least favorite concert experience of all time.

The second act, Foals, looked like they could deliver the goods, but then they only played Led Zepplin-y riffs with non-melodic screams or dull dance-rock straight out of ’06. Actually, they only did the idiot Zepplin with screams part twice, so most of it sounded like a tuneless version of the Killers. The singer came down and crowd surfed twice, which was a nice Everyman gesture the audience really appreciated. My girlfriend says he’s an Iggy Pop rip-off for it, and I don’t doubt her. Being English, the singer also said “cheers” one time and all the girls around me talked about it for twenty minutes like it was an invitation to suck his dick.

The Silversun Pickups is a really odd duck, mixing radio-ready guitar walls with synth-pop elements. In the studio, they always comes off as super polished bordering phony; live, they’re a rock-‘n’-roll steamroller that you wouldn’t mind being crushed by. The synths pop, the vocals are way more energetic, the drummer’s going friggin’ nuts, and the guitars provide a thick wall of distortion.

My girlfriend’s really into their newest album, Better Nature, and they played almost everything off it. It’s pretty radio-ready, less indie rock and more ’80s retro, although the loud ass live presentation probably wouldn’t bode well with the arena crowd used to hearing Miley Cyrus lip-sync over the studio tracks. Too many signs of life here. Silversun live marks a crucial point in my life where I realize that their songs are at least sort of okay.

I was glad to be away from the annoying crowd. One dude tried to push his way in front of me right before the encore, putting his hand on my chest and leaving it their for twenty seconds like I was supposed to give a shit. Then he took it off and held his hand in front of my chest for another minute and a half. Drunk Gen-X wannabes ruin everything.

Joywave: F

Foals: D

Silversun Pickups: B

Baroness – The Machine Shop 5/6/16


junkheadv1tmbBaroness – The Machine Shop 5/6/16

There’s so much in life that feel’s dishonest and manufactured. After going to your nearest big chain supermarket and stuffing a cart full of processed foods, you’ll stand in line with tons of folks buried in their cellphones who could give two shits about if you live or die. The drive home is blocked by tons of cars, giant metal objects that make you forget there’s a person inside there. The roads are lined with giant billboards, selling you big smiling faces that guarantee absolute joy and love in a bottle of Coca-Cola.

Popular music reflects this culture. It’s filled with plastic people playing generic music constructed by suited executives. Their mentality: whatever sells is what we produce. Turning on any top 40 radio station will often yield the same big hit singles endlessly regurgitated by today’s big name artists.

Phonies and con-bands aren’t solely relegated to the mainstream. Many underground metal, punk, and hip-hop do the exact same thing, boasting how hard, evil, political, or criminal they truly are. No matter how many times you hear these messages, it’s easy to see which ones are total fabrications.

Sometimes though, you’ll hear musicians bare themselves to you. It’s a visceral experience, and while it might not always be pleasant, sometimes there’s nothing more real than a band bleeding through their guitars.

Baroness’s Purple does just that on every level. The music is a concise attack, with barreling riffs and a pounding rhythm section. It’s a much more aggressive stance than their previous few albums, taking as much influence from the noise-punk of Fugazi as it does the band’s sludge forefathers. Lyrical content is now much more human. It often breaks corporeality in strange ways that are simultaneously foreign and instantly relatable, with rib cages, bones, and eyes being manipulated by troubling forces. There’s a general sense that all words contained within are spoken from experience, a thought that many have already discussed at length in light of the band’s nearly fatal bus crash back in 2012. Purple is direct, immediate, and incredibly sincere, traits that are sorely lacking in our culture.

So when I heard the band was touring for the album, I was pretty excited. I love Purple, and while my girlfriend and I at first were questioning whether or not we’d bother going after a busy past few weeks, Ay-hole convinced me to go. Significant others in tow, we drove the hour and a half to see Baroness at the Machine Shop in Flint.

Flint’s supposed to be Michigan’s worst city, but the venue is only a couple blocks into the city. It’s a pretty suburban location, although the Machine Shop tries really hard to identify with the biker and metal crowd. Hogs were hung up on the ceiling and a projector screen played metal music videos from the past two decades non-stop until the concert began.


After a short wait, Youth Code took the stage. If you like Skinny Puppy, you’ll think Youth Code is okay. They’re a pretty conventional industrial band, a surprising choice to open for Baroness. I figure since the band’s now running their own label, Abraxan Hymns, they probably felt like going with something less predictable. If former label Relapse Records booked it, there’d have been a crappy metalcore, which is decidedly worse than a Skinny Puppy clone.

The performance would have been cooler, but the singer/screamer lady kept spitting all over the place. Eventually, the sequencer/screamer dude joined in, and everyone was pretty grossed out. Also, the front woman kept telling people to shut the fuck up if they yelled for Baroness during her rambling between-song banter. Michigan people are too chill for that crap. Their set was pretty short, and only about twenty minutes later Baroness took the stage.

When the opening notes of “Kerosene” started spewing out of John Baizley’s guitar, the entire audience went nuts. Half the crowd were screaming the words along, including myself. The pit was going, and the head-banging began. I was not expecting the audience to go so nuts, especially for a track off Baroness’s newest album. People normally like to hear their old favorites, but in this bar, every song was a favorite. The energy did not let up through “March to the Sea” or “Morningstar”. We were all part of a big community, united by our appreciation for a single band.


Things slowed down for “Board Up the House” and “Green Theme”, but the crowd quickly bounced back for “The Iron Bell” and “If I Have to Wake Up”. The latter in particular is absolutely phenomenal live, turning Purple’s slowest song into a massive burning power ballad with blaring bass and pounding drums.

“Fugue” and the danceable “Little Things” were great, but “Chlorine & Wine” was definitely the show’s climax. The band couldn’t help but smile when the entire audience joined in for the line “I’ve never felt so uncomfortably numb”. The crowd was deafening, overpowering the amps for a few short moments. It’s amazing that an audience could believe in a single referential lyric so much.


My head-banging was in full blast after that. “Try to Disappear”, “Desperation Burns”, “The Gnashing”, and “Shock Me” was a series of direct hits, their tight hard rock riffs seething into the crowd. Most of the audience was getting pretty tired, but I kept it up. At some point, a guy threw corn on the stage. Aside from cow dung, that’s about the only gift Michigan has to give. The encore was pretty sleepy at first. “Isak” received a warm but repressed reception from the crowd, but the closing “Take My Bones Away” sparked the final insanity for the night.

Afterwards, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I probably concussed myself with my head-bang game, and the crowd quickly scattered to the merch table and outside to meet the band. Baizley was outside signing stuff. I gave him a hug, although I probably should have given everyone in attendance some love as well. This concert experience can not be replicated, with a band playing the entirety of their latest and greatest album and an audience who absolutely knows it. Music doesn’t get more sincere than that.

Youth Code: C+
Baroness: A

Amon Amarth and Entombed A.D. – Saint Andrew’s Hall 5/2/16


junkheadv1tmbAmon Amarth and Entombed A.D. – Saint Andrew’s Hall 5/2/16

These last few weeks have been brutal for me. Aside from my normal day job, I’ve also been helping my girlfriend with her work over the weekends. I’d love to sit at home and relax, but it’s not happening until this upcoming Friday.

5/2 was pretty bad. My body was aching, my head was throbbing, and morale was dismally low. A weekend of long work days and longer party-filled nights caught up to me and I still had to make it to work at 7 AM. Somehow, I blinked my eye and it was over. I was parking my car in front of my house, and I felt like doing nothing. The missus and I crashed on the couch when I got home from work, basking in the much-needed relief provided by a simple cushion. We discussed the prospect of going to Amon Amarth. Last week we knew that we would be too tired, but for some reason, it popped into my head that going wasn’t a bad idea.

Within half an hour, I was at Saint Andrew’s Hall, surrounded by fat sweaty metalheads and skinny nerdy metalheads. As I walked in, Entombed A.D. was taking the stage, holding their guitars aloft while an annoying intro boomed over the speakers. People were already packed on the main floor like sardines, so we trudged up to the balcony.

Entombed A.D. is one of those bands that aren’t nearly as good as they sound on paper, but only a little bit. Essentially the band Entombed without their original guitarist, their current two albums are both okay, but neither matched Entombed classics like Morning Star or Left Hand Path. Eventually, they’re going to drop a totally dynamite album. Third time’s a charm, right?

That said, the set was pretty awesome. Amon Amarth’s elevated drums took up a ton of the stage, so Entombed’s drummer had to set up on the stage floor, leaving very little leg room for singer Lars-Goran Petrov and friends at the front. If they head banged any harder, they would have accidentally hit the audience.

The new songs comprised most of the set, all containing a much more pronounced death metal influence than the average Entombed song. The band was tight, Petrov was great, and the crowd could have cared less. No one reacted to anything, regardless of how awesome the solos or choruses were. It was a big communal case of the motherfuckin’ mondays.

I’m surprised the band pretended to leave for the encore, because nobody said a damn thing and half the band members didn’t leave at all. They finally cruised through “Wolverine Blues” and “Left Hand Path”, both of which had a little less energy than their newer material. The crowd responded with a few woos and metal horns before they left.

My girlfriend and I snuck up pretty close to the stage. Only twenty-five minutes passed before Amon Amarth, with obligatory spoken word audio about vikings booming as they stepped on. Kicking off with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, the band stormed through a variety of their newer tracks first, Johan Hegg providing witty commentary between each song.

I’ve never seen the band, and I was instantly impressed. While Johan Soderberg is a little stiff and he has this “I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth” thing going on, everything always comes together when the band starts their in unison head-banging routine. I wonder how much practice they had to get in before they all rolled their heads the same way. Not only that, but imagine how crucial maintaining a similar hair length becomes.

Other theatrics included a duo of viking warriors with weapons. They came out with swords a couple times and bows for “One Thousand Burning Arrows”, although the armor-clad men never did anything. I would have loved to see the band members fight their foes.

The crowd was pretty cold towards their new stuff until they started playing older tracks, which . I was glad “Thousand Years of Oppression” made it into the set, but “Death In Fire” made everyone go nuts. Crowdsurfing, screaming, moshing, it was the first time all evening anyone seemed to realize they were at a concert.

“Runes to My Memory” cooled it back down until “Raise Your Horns”, the one new track everyone liked. They all pulled out giant horn goblets and drank a bunch of beer from them. The audience went nuts, and everyone pretended to know the words. “Guardians of Asgaard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God” followed with even more excitement. The whole crew around me only seemed to awaken when the latter’s opening riff came on, which is unfortunate considering it closed the night.

Honestly, the band was on fire the entire night. Not a single note was missed, and the band tried really hard to wake us assholes up.

Afterwards, we went home and drank beers because Amon Amarth made it look sooo cool. I spent the whole evening screaming and head-banging, which left me with a sore throat and neck the next day. My boss came in for a crucial performance evaluation that day, but I think I did okay. I should have been too tired and miserable to do anything, but I mean, in the end, if you’re happy, doesn’t everything else follow suit?

And both bands made me very happy. While Entombed A.D. was obviously thrown off by the crowd’s indifference near the end of their set, Amon Amarth played the same as they would in front of the small Detroit crowd as they would at Wacken Open Air. Except y’know, they didn’t row out a viking ship or anything because they barely had enough room to scratch their armpit.

Entombed A.D. performance: B

Amon Amarth performance: A-