On the 11th of November I made the trip to the state’s capital, Lansing.
I had pre-ordered tickets to see one of my favorite hardcore punk bands, Trash Talk from Sacramento, California.
The show was being held at Mac’s Bar on Michigan Ave., and if you have ever been there you would probably have a good idea of how this hardcore punk show was going to go down. Mac’s bar is a pretty small place, especially when you cram about 100 people around the ages of 16 to 25 inside. Having grown up in the Lansing area, I have attended many-a-show at this venue, and it always has that same smell of old stale beer and sweaty teen angst when you walk through the door, and you would think there was a funeral going on as everyone in the place is dressed in black. There is not a single window looking into the outside world, and all of the walls are painted black. It is the type of place where you could spend half of your day just admiring the artwork and graffiti on the bathroom walls. Do not let these attributes turn you away from Mac’s, because they do bring in good shows and good times for a low price, and for being such a small venue they do pretty well with their sound quality.
The lineup started with Dead Hour Noise, another punk band. The front-man for the band definitely showed enthusiasm and passion in his music, and got the small early crowd fairly riled up. After their set, most people were still hanging in the back of the bar, and Pure Hiss was up. The front-woman in this band definitely got the (still small) crowd involved, and the pit was opened up. The die-hard punk heads were swinging, kicking, jumping, and even rolling, and the intensity of the show definitely got turned up. Pure Hiss had a good sound and gathered a good crowd, and as the headliner was coming closer the venue filled more and more. Spitback was up before the headliner, and the room was close to full. You may have heard of Spitback through their lead man, “Lil Lurka”, who is also very involved in the rap scene. With an aggressive sound, they definitely got the crowd ready for a brutal night.
When they came off the stage, the headliner Trash Talk was up next. Trash Talk has done a lot of work with the group Odd Future and for being more of an underground band, they are pretty well known. The anticipation in the room swelled as adrenaline fueled fans watched one of their favorite bands set up on the quite small stage. Young people began to crowd the front of the knee-high stage (including myself) to make sure that they were guaranteed a spot in the action.
When the performance started, the whole place was packed almost shoulder to shoulder and the opening song “Dogman” set the tone for the rest of the show with it’s heavy sound and aggressive vocals. The band’s front man, Lee Spielman, has a very distinct and fiery attitude while on stage, which fits his long-haired and heavily tattooed appearance. He expressed to the crowd how excited the band was to play such a small venue for a die-hard crowd (not exactly in those words). When the band opened up again with more heavy riffs and brutal vocals, the pit opened up and there were people flying every which way, only pausing to pick some poor soul up off the ground.
Myself and a few other crowd members managed to get on stage only to immediately jump back into the mass of punks, who sometimes managed to half-catch the flying bodies before they fall to the floor, and are picked right back up to be pushed back into the swirling pit of swinging arms and heavy-hitting shoulders.
Lee is all about crowd involvement, and at one point during a song was walking on the fan’s shoulders and holding the mic downward to encourage crowd members to scream the lyrics themselves. He is a great performer, and brings the whole crowd together while getting completely immersed in the current moment. Between songs, he joked with fans, even giving a shout out to a young man who was wearing a patient bracelet and claimed he came from the hospital. The band really put out the vibe that they were thankful for everyone there, and really captured the idea of how close-knit and supportive the punk community is. The band played a long set, and by the end of the show, everyone was exhausted and definitely got their $15 worth.
Overall, the show itself was a very memorable one, and was a wonderful display of the hardcore punk genre. All of the opening acts were solid bands, and Trash Talk definitely made the show worth coming out to. They just finished up their U.S. tour and are back in Los Angeles. I encourage you to give them a listen.