"We are spoiled here in Chicago. Rarely is it a question of IF there's a
show to go to, but rather WHAT show will be vying for your ears, eyeballs,
and beer dollars. So it was odd for me to make a special whirlwind trip to Detroit this last weekend just to see a show.
But this was not any ol' show. No siree, this was the Oblivians and the
Gories, two of my all-time favorite now-defunct bands getting back together
to play just three shows in the States- two in Memphis and one in Detroit
(giving neither band an unfair homefield advantage...)
Memphis' Oblivians started tearing audiences a new one back in the mid
1990's, producing some of the sleaziest, sweatiest, now-classic long-players
before branching off into multiple equally-as-ass-kicking bands: The
Compulsive Gamblers, The Tennessee Tearjerkers, and the Reigning Sound.
The Gories legacy is equally as steeped in garage-basement lore, having
birthed both the pseudo-eroticism of the Demolition Doll Rods and Mick
Collins' mighty Dirtbombs since calling it quits back in 1993. Gories shows
are things of legend, and their feedback-squall-set-to-jungle-drums sound
set the stage for the Motor City garage rock renaissance of the late 1990's
and early 2000's (It's said that back in the day, the Gories were as much an
influence on a fledgeling Jack White as was the Flat Duo Jets' Dex Romweber,
with whom he recently cut a damn fine 45.)
It was a sold out show at the historic Majestic Theater in Detroit- people
clustering excitedly around the merch table for the first new Gories and
Oblivians merch in 10-15 years and grabbing as many beers as are physically
carryable before wading out into quickly-building crowd.
The Oblivians set things up and knocked 'em the hell out with a smoking set
that ran evenly through their entire catalog. I've wanted to see the
Oblivians since first laying my hands on a copy of "Popular Favorites" back
in my tender, impressionable high school days. Needless to say, this set did
not disappoint- Hearing them tear into "She's a Hole" 100 feet from my face
was worth the wait.
The crowd was whipped into a regular frenzy by the time the Gories strode on
the stage, sunglasses squarely on faces. They called up one big, mean,
primeval sound, jumping around like it was still 1990. The only difference
now is that they actually KNOW how to play their instruments- and good god
damn did they play 'em! After a killer John Lee Hooker medley, Mick Collins
took to his writhing sonic feedback freakouts that called to mind that
certain scene in Back to the Future.
The crowd was crazy and lovin' every minute of it (spotted among them
Bloodshot's own Mary Ramirez of Detroit Cobras and Amy Gore of the Gore Gore
Girls.) One encore was just not enough. Honestly, if they'd played every
song they ever laid to wax, it wouldn't have been enough.
Personally, I'm hopin' it's not gonna be another lengthy wait before these
bands hit the road again... In the mean time, I'll see you at Jack
Oblivian's show with the Tennessee Tearjerkers at the Hideout later this