Christmas, that special time of year to gather with blah blah blah joy, cheer, whatever. Christmas in South East Michigan or perhaps all of Michigan has become the time of year where we get to celebrate Black Christmas. The annual feast of music and flying bodies spread across the 3 venues of the Majestic complex located under one roof, like a buffet of thundering bass, vocals and screaming guitars. This year like all the previous years Black Christmas was especially delicious. A security snafu left a large portion of people waiting out in the cold for the arrival of the “non-drinking” wristbands which cut into the first bands sets I got in just in time to catch the majority of the local band S A F E W O R D S. I was surprised to learn that they were playing their first live show, had I been informed of that fact I would have assumed they had been playing live for a while. One crushing song after another, high energy and no shortage of talent when the set was over I was a fan. I bolted after that set to another stage where another local band Madhouse was playing. This was my second time seeing Madhouse and both times the trio put on a good show. Its a flurry of whipping dreadlocks and music that transitions from classic punk to ska, during the show they announced the release of their new Party EP the follow up to the Keep On Fighting album, which in the busyness of the evening, I regrettably forgot to grab.
Following the Madhouse set I decided to check out the all star team of Rebel Spies. Rebel Spies is an assemblage of talent recruited by bassist Jeff Uberti coming from backgrounds like Suicide Machines, Hellmouth, Fordirelifesake, Hifi Hand Grenades and Telegraph. You get treated to some old school punk by this band, no gimmicks just in your face punk. I picked up a handful of “Fuck Nazi Trump” patches from their merch table, figuring it would be a delightful way to adorn my camera bag for the next 4 years.
I managed to stop by real quick to see a couple of the Dirtwolf songs on the way to another stage. Dirt wolf sounds like pure rock and roll unfortunately with 3 venues operating I didn’t get to take in their full set as I would have liked. I moved to to the stage featuring locals The Idiot Kids which is a band that sounds like a rocker dad and a punk mom conceived and birthed a punk child in the garage. The lead singers guitar work was something to behold as was the energy, hardly a word was spoken between songs, The Idiot Kids weren’t there for small talk they were there to play.
I looked across the schedule for who was playing when and on what stage, hard decisions had to be made and time had to be spent wisely if I was going to see all I wanted to see perform and photograph.
The rest of the evening went something like this: Fucked Up – Koffin Kats – Fucked up- back to Koffin Kats- narrowly avoid the bro dude wearing an Affliction shirt fighting on the ground with three bouncers- Mustard Plug– Municipal Waste-Mustard Plug- slam 2 Red Bulls- Suicide Machines. There was not a bad set to be seen this year…or any year for that matter. Municipal Waste wrecked the place, Koffin Kats treated everyone to their signature high energy, mohawk laden, standup bass twirling show. Fucked Up, our Canadian neighbors, were issuing a verbal and musical face punch via the gravel voiced Damian Abraham.
I feel like I don’t need to say a word about the Suicide Machines, that a few decades worth of performing speak for them, but I am going to anyway. I have been preaching the gospel of Suicide Machines since I was handed a copy of a cassette on top of a half pipe about a billion years ago. Hooked from the “I can’t wait to tell you all about her” lyrics. If you don’t know them, you owe it to yourself to get familiar.
Closing out the evening actually happened in the wee hours with the final band J. Navarro & The Traitors which I have seen live a few times and are high on my list of must see, don’t miss, and must own every album they have done or ever will do. I would even drive to (gasp) Ohio to see them.
Black Christmas is a must attend, See you late December ’17.
* images below and featured image by Gene Butcher
* all images below by Chris “Sherburt” Smith
onTheWeb: Black Christmas Facebook