June 26, 2011
Alex's Bar, Long Beach
Mick Collins jumpstarted the budding garage rock scene in Detroit as one third of the raw and primitive Gories in the early '90s. Once people realized out how great that scene was he switched gears with the Dirtbombs. And he keeps switching it up; since forming in '92, the Dirtbombs have gone through a number of lineup changes to get to where they are now. The band's latest incarnation includes Ko Melina (formerly of Ko & The Knockouts) on a fuzz baritone guitar, Ben Blackwell and Pat Pantano (formerly of the Come Ons) on duel drum sets, and newest Dirtbomb, bass player Chris Sutton, a lineup almost as weighty as the Gories.
You may recall Scion announcing earlier this year their new documentary New Garage Explosion!!: In Love With These Times, which featured garage rock worldwide with Jay Reatard, Black Lips, Thee Oh Sees, Smith Westerns, Vivian Girls, and the Dirtbombs, among others. Last night, Scion continued their patronage of independent music with a free Dirtbombs show at Alex's. RSVPs were required, though it didn't seem like anyone was turned away. Free records--limited edition 45s produced by Scion--were given away, along with CDs, Scion-brand earplugs, and even Scion socks at the end of the night.
The Dirtbombs played for over an hour, and in that time they spun through nearly four decades of rock n roll history, pointing at several decades and genres at once. They went for older tracks instead of material off their latest Party Store, their fifth album for In the Red, where they played garage rock versions of early Detroit techno and house music. Early on they hit covers of Sly & the Family Stone and Phil Lynott from their funk/soul covers record Ultraglide in Black but played them wilder and louder and faster than I've ever heard before. "Motor City Baby" brought stomping and "Earthquake Heart" got people shaking and by "Candy Ass" everyone in the crowd was covered in sweat. Halfway into the grand finale "I Can't Stop Thinking About It," drummer Blackwell left the rest of the band on stage while he reassembled his kit in the middle of the pit for an extended cymbol bashing.
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Start the Party
Get It While You Can
Underdog (Sly & the Family Stone)
Ode to a Black Man (Phil Lynott)
Motor City Baby
I Hear the Sirens
Ever Lovin' Man
I Can't Stop Thinking About It