Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
The Crofoot Ballroom
Saturday November 22, 2014
Story and photos by: Music Director Anthony Spak
Nascar fans were sorely disappointed when hometown heroes Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. made a triumphant return to Michigan Saturday night.
After playing 22 dates across the country over the last month and a half, the Detroit-based duo had two more shows left on their tour. Both shows were scheduled at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac.
WXOU was in attendance Saturday night for the first of the two homecoming shows.
Local acts Flint Eastwood and Friendship Park opened up the show. Each band brought a different element to the table. Friendship Park was goofy yet melodic, while Flint Eastwood was more of a traditional rock band.
The choice of openers was interesting because Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. combines both of their respective elements along with dance and pop tricks to create a much more varied sound.
“I thought it was great. Three really good bands in a row which is different than most shows I have gone to,” said attendee Ian Ruhala
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. took the stage around ten p.m. They played through a blend of new songs, including their new single, “James Dean.”
“This one turned out to be our most popular song even though we didn’t mean for it to be,” co-founder Daniel Zott told the energetic crowd.
The band also touched on better-known songs like “If You Didn’t See Me On The Dancefloor”, “Run”, and their Michigan anthem, “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Judging from the amount of hands waiving in the air, this song was the fan favorite of the night.
The show ended with multiple encores – one of which included Zott and his former band The Great Fiction taking the stage to play one of their old songs.
After another exit offstage, the band came back onstage wearing different Nascar jackets – a poke at their band name and perhaps the misconceptions that it brings.
During the final encore, there was also a failed stage dive by Zott in which he jumped into the pit area in front of the stage to crowd surf. No one caught the airborne singer and he fell to the wooden ballroom floor…hard. The impact could be heard from ten feet away over the sound of the music onstage.
Zott recovered quickly, jumped back onstage and the group finished their set to a cheering crowd.
La Isla Bonita
By: William Georges
Imagine winning the lottery every year since you were born. Now imagine you won this lottery from the purchase of one ticket, which was flown across seas by a bunch of foreigners to be hand delivered to your front door. This is the perfect storm of one musical group from SoCal, Deerhoof. Pessimism sucks, but it is to be asked, when speaking of Deerhoof: How much growth and innovation can come out of a 20 year old band headed by a Japanese girl limited to broken English? Sky’s the limit.
This album marks the 20th year anniversary of 3 man + 1 woman rock outfit Deerhoof. The members cited the albums direction towards Radiohead, Talking Heads, The Roots, and The Flaming Lips etc. And they do just that, Bonita at its peaks is a dark stormy calamity, transitioned to a sunny sky, tucked behind big bouncy green Nintendo 64 mountains. With its most accessible, fun sounds yet, Bonita manages to come off artsy edgy and funky.
There are times on this album where Deerhoof mix hooks and inaudible slurred vocals to create feeling, evident on the track “Doom”. “Exit Only”, a track smothered in lo-fi crunchy guitar where Satomi grins “Welcome to speech yo’ freedom!”, resulted as a twist on Deerhoof’s own inventive cover of The Ramones song “Pinhead”. Reinventing its own cover, a prime example of Deerhoof literally reinventing itself successfully over and over and over and over (times 20). The song “Oh Bummer”, 4 minutes in length, throws a variety of fun, scary and gloomy at you with its progressions from lighter instrumental to thicker, and heavier sounds backed by a shrilling Matsuzaki.
On an album like Bonita, where every moment feels necessary and innovative, the more songs, the merrier. Unfortunately with only 10 tracks, Deerhoof leaves you wanting more. However, the brief in-and-out fashion of this album is refreshing and intimate while you are in its company.
In 2014, Deerhoof continues to deliver, going as far as stepping down from its wacky stoop to please crowds.
Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels 2 (Fool’s Gold Records)
By: William Georges
DAMN SON! Back together for the second year are MCs El-P and Killer Mike under the critically acclaimed hip/hop duo, Run The Jewels. El-P is a New York boom bap underground rapper, known especially during the early 2000 underground hip/hop scene for his legendary records like Funcrusher Plus and Fantastic Damage. His partner, Killer Mike, introduced to many on Outkast’s seminal 2000 album Stankonia on the track “Snappin and Trappin’”, brings his southern-fried flow and political consciousness to this new album, Run The Jewels 2.
What isn’t there to say about Run The Jewels 2? As soon as you hit the play button you are bombarded with Killer Mike’s dialogue “IM FINNA BANG THIS BITCH THE FUCK OUT!” And the opening beat — so evil, looming as Killer Mike’s lyrics ride the shadows casted by the rhythm. Mike’s confidently slow flow takes the track to utmost levels of confidence. El-P finishes the track in brutal defiance of morality. “Oh My Darling” bangs your ear drums with sludgy bass and its chilling looping chorus, “OH My! DARLING DA-DA-DARLING, DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-D-DARLING”. “Blockbuster Part 1” keeps the intensity running at full speed with its fast paced doom metal backed bass patterns, with lyrics referring to the corruption of the American elite, reflecting continuity in Run The Jewel’s ‘anti-corruption’ idiosyncrasy.
The middle parts of the album keep you trapped in this hellish nightmare, continuing the pattern of gritty, mind-blowing production and lyrical content. “Early ft. Boots” and “All My Life” are songs whose choruses are chilling samples. The vocal tone of the looped chorus sounds admittedly guilty to the atrocities Killer Mike and El-P rap about.
And here you are, almost through this album—tortured, sexually abused, you’re a joke, the Government wants your neck, and Satan is getting really annoyed that you haven’t arrived yet. Then comes “All Due Respect” with its guerilla army, coup-de-tat sounding snare, echoing like it was recorded in an old dirty warehouse filled with an illegal weapons cache. It is El-P’s way or the highway; your mom loathes you and your dad left you. If you thought that was bad, Killer Mike is selling drugs to your sex addict family too!
Run the Jewels continues to raise the bar of disturbing, horror type hip hop with Run The Jewels 2. With some of the most well produced tracks of the year, RTJ 2 is a good’n.
Rating: 4.6/5, y’all.