Rescue – Detroit – The Shelter, MI – 2003-06-12

Where: Detroit – The Shelter, MI.

When: 2003-06-12

On the day of this show, I’d been anxiously awaiting seeing the Blood Brothers for weeks. Unfortunately, it had been a busy few weeks of anxiousness, as I didn’t even really have time to research the band’s road partners for this tour, Dance Disaster Movement and These Arms Are Snakes.

I was pretty excited to see that local act Rescue was added as the opening band, though. It was my first time seeing them, and I thought they were quite good. Rescue’s set was full of interplay between the band’s two guitars (and there was a lot of it, especially with all of the rhythm/pace changes). The band’s material is strong in that it’s math-oriented, but where overtly mathy rhythms generally change up drastically, Rescue’s signature changes were a bit more subtle, making their rhythmic progressions seem more strong and cutting than weird and off-setting. The vocalist was just plain intense, letting loose with wails and hollaring that seemed to twist around the changing signatures. Yeah, Rescue pretty much rocked.

Now, the next set seemed like it was going to be really odd at first. Dance Disaster Movement played next, and I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for when I realized the band only consisted of two guys. Of course, I was worried about the curse of the two-man blues band striking again, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that DDM played an entire set of honest-to-goodness garage-rock dance music, and it was damned good. The singer marched around in his white pants and white t-shirt, wailing away with his vocals while alternately playing guitar, fiddling with a sample box/keyboard set-up and hopping down into the crowd to dance about and cause mayhem (which included snagging a hit off a few folks’ cigarettes). The drummer just bashed away at his set, never really flailing on the kit or anything – just setting up grooves and beating the crap out of them in the most primitive way possible. Unexpected? Oh yeah, especially on a bill with The Blood Brothers. Still, though, DDM was good, good stuff, and I look forward to the band’s next appearance in the Detroit area.

These Arms Are Snakes were a bit inconsistent, unfortunately. The band played a driving form of rock and roll, with the singer occasionally messing around with a sound box and a second microphone to give his voice two different ‘phases’ at the same time. However, it seemed like the material here was hit-and-miss. The band was loud and tight, indeed, and when the material worked, the guitar sounds were deep and brutal, yet a bit mystifying and winding, as the songs never really ‘did’ what I would have expected them to. Unfortunately, a few of the songs just really dragged, though all in all, the stuff that worked made These Arms Are Snakes set worthwhile enough.

Now, I think I may have used this word to describe live shows before, but I’ll throw it out again as it refers to The Blood Brothers – WOW. They came out to a rousing reception and simply kicked ass for about 45 minutes straight. From beginning to end, the set’s intensity never died – even during the few new songs the band pulled out, the kids up front were still thrashing around and bouncing off of each other like it was armageddon or something. Amazingly enough, even with all of the screaming going on between both Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney, the songs, for the most part, retained the subtle tunefulness that makes Burn, Piano Island, Burn and March on Electric Children such solid listens. The one exception, however, was the band’s completely unexpected performance of “The Salesman, Denver Max,” which took the mostly delicate declaration of reverse-puppy-love-gone-twisted and bashed the living crap out of it with a brick, screaming bloody murder the whole way. It was at about that point of the set that it became obvious just exactly how awesome the band’s rhythm section is, as well, as the drum licks were lightning fast and powerful while the bass was deep and resounding, basically carrying every song. The kids were right to freak out over every note The Blood Brothers spilled out – hell, by the time the band pulled out “Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon” to close out the night, I found myself screaming and thrashing along, half teary eyed just out of the adrenaline rush that The Blood Brothers had managed to swell up within almost everyone in the damn place.

In closing, go see The Blood Brothers and/or Dance Disaster Movement as soon as humanly possible. Matter of fact, don’t wait as soon as humanly possible – go now. Get in your car and hunt them down pronto. I’m serious. Get moving. I’ll be waiting for you to e-mail me and tell me about your experience when you get back.