The Rants – Detroit – The Detroit Contemporary, MI – 2002-04-12

The Rants
Where: Detroit – The Detroit Contemporary, MI.

When: 2002-04-12

So, in all honesty, I didn’t have the slightest clue about ANY details pertaining to this show until I got to the venue. Drinking Buddy (not Dad this time) and I hopped in my little Kia Rio and headed out to the Detroit Contemporary (actually an art house), only to find the place and leave because we thought it was an abandoned building. Seriously. Stop laughing – it’s true. A quick phone call to another acquaintance already at the venue confirmed that the dilapidated building we’d passed up was, indeed, the DC, so we turned around and headed back through a very seedy neighborhood to the show.

We literally walked in the door having NO IDEA who was playing that night, though we were pleasantly surprised to see that the building’s innards looked light years better than the outside. I was actually supposed to be heading to the show to meet and greet with Sheila of The Terranauts, but due to circumstances beyond her control, the ‘Nauts had to drop off the bill for the night. It was a bummer, but as things stand a few days later, the night was still more than worthwhile as far as rockin’ out goes.

Drinking Buddy and I apparently had missed the first song or two of The Rants’ set while we were denying the location of the show because we’re big fat wussies, but what we caught was pretty impressive. I love seeing The Rants live, because they’re always so damned excitable. Even though the ‘stage area’ at the DC was tinytinyTINY, the singer/guitarist still found ways to thrash about incessantly. The Rants served up a healthy helping of the now-renowned Detroit garage rock sound, though they did it with a sort of math rock goodness to their guitar licks. For the first few songs, the band went with a guitar-bass-drums-keyboard blueprint, though eventually the keyboardist picked up a guitar and the band’s set picked up accordingly from there. Seeing The Rants live is worth the experience just to hear the moments when the rhythm guitar grinds underneath the angular, math-ish leads brought on by the second guitarist. This stuff is hard to describe, but easy to enjoy.

After a few Stroh’s, Charlevoix took the stage and promptly wowed me with a nice little set of almost-but-not-quite-emo with balls. Strangely enough, I make the ‘with balls’ designation even though 66.7% of the band is female. Gender be damned, though – this three-piece showcased a pretty rocking set. Former Small Brown Bike drummer Dan Jaquint beat the living hell out of his drumset for the entire set, drawing raised eyebrows within my little group of friends. Bass player Nikkie Margosian supplied a more than ample throb to the set with her bass work (as well as drawing the affections of Drinking Buddy), and guitarist Katy Carolan wailed away over top of her crunching rhythm guitar. Carolan seemed to have some issues with her instrument throughout the set, but all in all, Charlevoix’s set came off pretty solid, sounding a bit like a more urgent and distressed Sarge at points.

Biddy Biddy Biddy was the closing act for the night, and while the band’s ‘conspiracy rock’ didn’t strike me very well when I saw them a while ago, I have to admit that this performance was much better. It seemed as if frontman Tyler Blackslee relied much less on his little black ‘sampler’ than he did during my previous encounter with this band, and that definitely helped the set. The guitars were pretty kicking, alternating between rowdy shredding, slow burning and angular math stuff. Drinking Buddy made the observation that the sampler bits that did pop through in the mix made Biddy Biddy Biddy sound like “video game music,” a statement confirmed by the band’s use of an old Castlevania sound byte as a song intro once again. Blackslee was a much more energetic front man this time around as well, singing like Rollins while gyrating around like a combination between Scott Weiland and Michael Jackson on crack.

After getting a chance to brush up with a three-song Terranauts demo, I have to say that I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get to revel in their rock-and-roll goodness. Still, the three bands I caught here made this trek through the ghetto more than worthwhile. All joking aside, though, the Detroit Contemporary is a nice little venue to see a show at. For DOA readers in the Detroit-ish neck of the woods, get more info about the DC and shows at www.detroitcontemporary.com.