By: Reed Heaton
Dinosaur Dropkick, Backpacks, Everyone Leaves, The Tiny Ugly Germs and Hot Mulligan at the Flint Local 432 in Flint, MI.
The Flint Local 432 has been an established local venue since long before I started going to any shows. It is a good place for both local and small touring acts to make a stop, and it also played a big part in Chiodos and The Swellers’ local uprisings in the mid 2000’s.
The atmosphere of the venue makes you feel like you are seeing the next big act, portraying a strong DIY aesthetic. It continues to be a place to have fun and lose a little bit of inhibition.
Dinosaur Dropkick helped warm up the crowd with a set full of straightforward pop punk mixed with covers and originals — a good opener.
The next band was the tight pop punk/melodic hardcore act, Backpacks, and you could tell this was a good show by the fact that the well attended crowd began nodding and singing along during the band’s set. Backpacks also played a new song during their set, and I for one am excited to see what they have coming up.
The Columbus, Ohio emo five piece, Everyone Leaves, came on next, followed by their tour mates in Port Huron’s The Tiny Ugly Germs. The Germs definitely had the most energetic onstage performance of the night, as they did a great job of conveying the rage and frustration that lies within the lyrics of their songs. Their blend of indie and melodic punk/hardcore definitely panned through well in their live set.
The band to close the night out was Lansing’s pop punk act Hot Mulligan, effortlessly purveying their energy to the at least half-tired audience. The band was tight, and there are promising pop sensibilities in the songs. Whoever writes the lyrics definitely has an ear for melody, which led to some of the strongest sing-alongs of the night.
My Personal Favorite:
Everyone Leaves did a great job, honestly. They are one of those bands where you can see they know how to play on the road and how to impress an audience. They had the best sound of the night. Their drummer was tight beyond belief and with three guitarists in the lineup they had the most rock ‘n’ roll sound.
Most importantly, they were the only band I saw that night that was able to do three part harmonies. If you are ever on a local stage with your band and are trying to find a new thing to add to your sound, start with harmonies. If you can pull them off live, it does not only tell the audience that you know your material well, but it also makes the vocals two or three times more clear for them.
Also, if you can cause genuine laughter amongst a crowd between songs, that’s a very good bonus.
My Take Away:
This was a well booked pop punk show. Each band had its own niche in the genre, and each brought something different to the stage.
Backpacks are like the more aggressive side of The Story So Far. Everyone Leaves played their elegant brand of emo rock. The Tiny Ugly Germs displayed, by far, the rawest music of the night. Hot Mulligan showed a refined take on modern pop punk.
It’s nice to see four Michigan bands in the modern scene be so well received by the audience, and such consistent energy from each set. It was really a friendly atmosphere created by the venue, the bands and the audience. There definitely should be more shows like this — shows that can focus on specific audiences but still have a bit of variance between bands.
My top song recommendations from this week’s show:
- “Every Night”
- “Seasonal Effective”
- “Better Than This”
The Tiny Ugly Germs:
- “Not Dead, Just Lying Very Still”
- “Deployment Patch”
(Go listen to their full length “Do You Feel Let Down?” though, it’s great.)
- “Jimmy Neutron Had a Dog So Why Can’t I Have a Friend?”
- “Buy a Fire Extinguisher Before You Need a Fire Extinguisher”