Biddy Biddy Biddy – Detroit – The Shelter, MI – 2001-07-27

Biddy Biddy Biddy
Where: Detroit – The Shelter, MI.

When: 2001-07-27

I love the Shelter. Thursday night’s show was just another in an on-going series of $6 extravaganzas, with four pretty distinct rock sounds represented on the bill. Again, my dad accompanied me to the show for two reasons: 1) he’s down with the local rock scene, which is cool as all hell, and 2) he’s big and mean looking, so I always feel safer in downtown Detroit with him around. Well, OK, three reasons, the third being that I didn’t have any available form of transportation for the evening.

Biddy Biddy Biddy started off the evening with a 25-minute set of what could best be described as “conspiracy rock” (well, lyrically, anyhow). The band was actually really tight, tossing out four- and five-minute upbeat dirges laced with various samples and effects courtesy of the lead vocalist’s little black box (similar to the one Gibby Haynes used a few years ago for the Butthole Surfer’s “Pepper”). Biddy Biddy Biddy put on a decent enough live show, but they really seemed to lack the edge that the other bands on the bill carried. Set highlight: The lead singer copping a sample from the original Nintendo version of “Castlevania.”

Inside Five Minutes occupied the next half-hour of show time with thick guitar grooves and wildman Stretch Armstrong antics by frontman Aron Lozo. As always, the interplay between the band’s guitarists was top-notch, while the set list seemed to reflect more of I5M’s blues roots than previous shows I’ve seen. The band ripped out a few new tracks, the best of which was the bluesy romp “Street Rats,” though the highlight of I5M’s set was a blistering version of the groove-laden “Junkies and Ex-Girlfriends.” I don’t think this band is physically capable of putting on a live show that doesn’t completely rock.

End It was, well, an interesting experience. If this show were a Sesame Street record, this band would have been the “One of these things is not like the other” song. End It was ‘straight-up, in your face, even harder than Pantera before they pussed-out’ metal. Hard. Fast. Loud. The singer screamed while the guitarist (who strangely resembled Snowball from “Clerks”) chugged out power chord after power chord, slowing up only to toss in a few guitar solos that provided brief respites from the band’s grinding pace. I am known to throw myself around to metal every so often, and I kinda dug these guys. I’m not sure that I’d always be in the mood to hear stuff like End It, but these guys were really good for what they do.

Eventually, Small Brown Bike took the stage and completely owned the crowd. I actually saw SBB play a few years back, and while I liked the show, the band came off kinda sloppy. Man, how the times change. Everything was spot-on for SBB, from the heavy-but-melodic guitars and solid rhythm section to the “scream-by-committee” vocal approach taken by both guitarists and the bass player. Most of the set came from the band’s most recent release, Dead Reckoning, although SBB did throw in a few tracks from Our Own Wars, as well as the very pretty and intense “My Unanswered Whys,” which is featured on a new split 7″ with Cursive. I find it amazing that three guys can scream their lungs out while their drummer pounds the living hell out of his set, and everything ends up sounding pretty and poetic. I have yet to hear any other band with the amazing dynamic that Small Brown Bike has. Speaking of the drummer, he’s new – his name is Jeff, and this was one of his first shows with the band. It was almost impossible to tell he hadn’t been with the band for years … Well, with the exception of his missing the intro beat to one song, but I’ll forgive him for that. Impassioned vocals + two shredding guitars + great low end bass and balls-out drumming = Great live set. Set highlight: The band prompting a show of hands to decide the set closer, ultimately leading to a searing live performance of “Holiday.”

Man, these $6 shows are gonna be the death of me. They leave way too much beer money in my pocket. Still, I’ll happily let the alcoholic consumption drive me to an early grave if it means I get to hear more shows like this.