I shuffled out of the cold and into the Loving Touch for the Suburban Delinquents‘ EP release show on February 3rd completely out of my comfort zone. I was doing this coverage solo, drove 30 miles in 45 minutes, and waiting in a slow moving line while the first band had already started their set. So as the door guy looked through my bag, I took some sadistic pleasure in passing on my discomfort by letting him know that the items he couldn’t identify were, in fact, panty liners. Nothing gets you through faster, ladies. Trust me.
I fumbled my way to the front, hoping Cheapshow wasn’t too far into their set as I scrambled to get my camera settings straight. Luck was on my side and I was in with enough time to catch “Okay Things,” my personal favorite from the band’s most recent EP, The Things You’ll Find When You Need Them The Most. Their chuggy, anthemic jams were just what I needed to shake my grouchy post-drive attitude. The band also seemed to grow an additional guitarist, sounding bigger, fuller, and more energetic than the last time I caught them as an add-on to Fat Guy Fest 4. Hopefully this new add-on is a permanent change, though it makes for a crowded stage it gave their set and overall more robust sound.
Flamingo Nosebleed, the second band of the night, was the only band on the bill I actually hadn’t seen before despite the fact that the Fort Wayne, Indiana trio actually plays Detroit quite a bit. Their professionalism, a word usually not associated with pop-punks, was apparent out of the gate. These guys play shows and play them a ton. Not only did they have a decent following of folks singing along – quite a feat for an out-of-town band on an all-local bill – but they obviously knew how to put on an engaging and energetic show. By the end the now packed bar had gravitated toward the stage, going wild for “I Know” and “No Feelings” in particular. We also were treated to two new tracks, one I couldn’t catch the name of and one I think was called “Hangover Girl.”
The raucous Detroit party known as St. Thomas Boys Academy was up next and it almost seemed like the crowd was there for them. The band continues in the ska-accented punk tradition laid down by the Suicide Machines. With themes centralizing around having a few and working class struggles, it’s no surprise that the band is pretty well-loved around these parts. The first real pit broke out as they opened with “Falling Off The Wagon” and the crowd didn’t let up until the set as over. Proving that Detroit loves local rooted bands above anything else, vocalist Mr H. received some of the loudest cheers for saying, “If you’re not from here, don’t come here” before ripping into “Downriver.” Ending with “Let Me Go,” the band’s ode to drinking in Detroit, the crowd went wild and by this point were properly liquored up.
Break Anchor spent 2017 working on recordings and new music, but it seems like the four-piece is ready to come out of hibernation. Opening with my personal favorite, “I’ll Follow,” the band played like they hadn’t taken any rest at all, despite claiming to never practice. Easily the most sung along to set of the night, the band ripped through a ton of tracks off their last release, In A Van Down By The River including “Gone” and “DFWM.” We also got a teaser of what they spent last year working on with a moody, dirty sounding new track which I didn’t catch the name of. By the end of Break Anchor’s set, however, the crowd was starting to look a little worse for wear. The last bit of proper energy the crowd had was spent during the band’s cover of Jawbreaker’s “Boxcar.”
Suburban Delinquents capped the night off, debuting their new EP Dead & Gone. While the band has been around since 1994, the album is their first bit of new music since 1998. I’ve caught them over the last few years slowly starting to play more shows including a couple of Black Christmas sets, but this was the first headlining set I’d seen from them. The four-piece slashed through their set, highlighting much of their new release including “Motown,” “Chicago” and “100 Proof Heart” while throwing in a few throwback tracks like “Misanthrope” and the second Jawbreaker cover of the night, “Kiss The Bottle.” Though basically out of commission for the last two decades, it’s apparent that the band is ready to shake off any cobwebs and start hitting the stage again.
By the end of it all, though, the crowd was definitely too liquored up and probably needed a glass of water and a good sleep. I slunk out the door and made my way home only to realize I didn’t talk to anyone besides that door guy.
My only real gripe about the show was the lack of diversity onstage. I made a commitment to start shining a light on this more in every show review I write until it starts to change, so if you read along you’re going to get sick of hearing this. Around Detroit, we do a decent job of making sure everyone who wants to be at a show feels comfortable there, but we have a responsibility to extend that to the stage. There’s no shortage of non-cis white men playing music, let’s make sure we’re inviting them to the table, too.
*photos from Krista Gjestland below