Spick Of It AllTwo Fridays back Detroit Chic landed at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor to experience a little slice of ska and a minor helping of punk.  Through a glorious night which featured the likes of Cheap Like Girls, Spick of It All, The Red Shift, and Mustard Plug (all local), Detroit Chic writers Jason Mick and Anna Kotov were battered bruised, but had a great time.  The bands put on a power packed performance that did not disappoint…

(All pictures by Jason Mick/Detroit Chic, taken on a high quality camera phone!)

Jason Thumbnail I arrived in Ann Arbor a bit early so I stopped for a bubble tea.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) Bubble Island was about a mile away from the Blind Pig, so I ended up having to trek a very long way to get my bubbles.  It was, however, very much worth it and gave the evening a fun start.  Walking through Ann Arbor I talked to some random people and realized what a wonderful place the town is at night.  Its filled with so many interesting stores and shops that you could spend years there.  Its much like the best (and worst) of Royal Oak and Ferndale’s downtowns combined.  I can’t wait to work up the energy and time to drive out to check out such good looking restaurants as the Blue Nile and Seva’s.

Returning to the Blind Pig the show was just starting and although I purchased my ticket in advanced, there was plenty for everyone.  Inside, the Blind Pig offered a pleasant bar/stage atmosphere that is much akin to the Magic Stick.  The amount of space is similar as well, with a modest standing room for the crowd.  At my arrival Cheap Girls had began to play.  Realizing that my SLR was dead, I didn’t take any pictures of the set.  The band sounded a bit for want of improvement, but I could definitely see them shaping up into a solid act.

Next up was Spick of It All.  Spick of It All combines Mexican/Spanish music, punk, and ska into a dynamic mix.  Though relatively new, the band put on a dynamic performance with many original songs.  The crowd really got pumped up when they did a cover of a song by the Descendants.  Their guitarist (pictured in the top caption) was very energetic and really got into the spirit of the show.  Spick of It All gave the crowd a tantalizing taste of the energetic frenzy that was to come.  I got some pretty decent shots on my cell phone before the crowd became too violent.

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Pictured:  Sick Of It All throws down with intensity during there power packed set.  This relatively new band should be making a stir in the Detroit scene soon.

Following soon after was the band The Red Shift.  Not to be confused with the similarly titled English electronic music group or the identically titled pop punk group from Massachusetts, these Detroit based locals eschew modern punk for a more classic 70s punk sound ala the Ramones.  They are well dressed– they wear matching white shirts and red ties.  Having played with such national level acts as The Pink Spiders,  The Queers,  The Koffin Kats, and The God Awfuls, The Red Shift know how to put on a real performance.

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Pictured:  (Top) Marky of the Red Shift rips it up with sweet guitar and solid punk vocals.  (Bottom) The band certainly rocked and featured a slick uniformed look, all dressed in white shirts and red ties.

Guitarist Marky takes most of the vocal responsibilities including singing their big hit, “I Don’t Want To Get Gassed”, sure to vibe with college sports lovers everywhere.  Democratically, he shares the vocal duties on other songs with bassist Scotty, who also has a solid punk style voice.  Their drummer Jerry even gets a bit of backing vocals in along with performing intense drum lines.  In all The Red Shift really got the party started.  Kids were skanking and moshing like they were going to take each others heads off, and everyone was having a grand old time.

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Pictured:  Bassist Scotty of The Red Shift takes a turn on vocals and performs admirably, with a little help from drummer Jerry.

After The Red Shift wrapped up, the main event of the evening was on.  Mustard Plug took the stage in front of a cheering crowd.  Live wire lead singer Dave Kirchgessner fired up the crowd with his energy and quips.  Its always fun to see performers who have a good dialog with the crowd.  The six-member band also sported a healthy brass section, with a trombone and a trumpet, helping give it a fun punk-ska feel.

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Pictured: (Top) Mustard Plug’s lead singer Dave Kirchgessner fires up the crowd.  (Bottom) Mustard Plug features some energized brass, with a trombone and a trumpet.

Once Mustard Plug started ripping into its hits the crowd went crazy.  People were just killing each other.  Detroit Chic’s writing staff sustained some minor injuries in the ensuing ruckus, but we had more than a healthy share of fun.  Everybody was smiling and loving it.  The band did a great job getting the crowd involved. Kirchgessner would get down with the crowd and encourage them to sing with him into the mic on refrains.

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Pictured:  Mustard Plug hardly need help in the energy department.  You can tell they love their music, which is a lot of fun.

Mustard Plug’s enthusiasm was contagious and their long set impressed.  The band may not be the best ska or punk band ever, or have perfect lyrics, but where their greatness really shines is in their energy and obvious love for the musical profession.  They’re like kids on stage and loving every moment of the chaos and fun they’re imparting onto their audience.  They put on a solid encore and by the time their set finally rapped up, it was well into 1 in the morning.

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Pictured:  After a night with the surprisingly humorous and energetic Mustard Plug, the only disappointment was when it was over.

I didn’t know quite what to expect going into the show, knowing that Mustard Plug was a bit Ska, and only having really experienced Ska through Reel Big Fish/Less Than Jake.  I was definitely surprised to see the hardcore punk edge that ska has taken on.  However, unlike a lot of hardcore/punk shows I’ve been to, while everyone was killing each other just as much as usual, everyone was smiling and happy for once.  The mood in the room was of a bunch of people going crazy, but loving it.

This was really refreshing as some hardcore shows seem more like a bunch of depressed people looking knock each other’s blocks off.  I digress, but the point is Mustard Plug, and all the accompanying acts made a good name for music by encoraging and enthusiastic but positive crowd.  I would definitely recommend seeing any and all of these bands for yourself, they will not disappoint.  You might need a day of rest and recovery, afterwards, though.  But that’s what weekends are for!