Five bands proved that real rock n’ roll is alive and well in Detroit Rock City.
Bison Machine threw a party for the official release of their Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 compilation on January 23, 2016, at the Corktown Tavern in Detroit, Michigan.
The night started out with Wild Savages. Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the band consists of Joe Kupiec (vocals, bass), Casey Oâ€™Ryan (guitars) and Stefan Krstovic (drums). The band likes to refer to themselves as rusty, sweaty, leather-clad rock nâ€™ roll, although this night they were wearing more denim than they were leather.
Watching Kupiec sing is like watching a man possessed by the music itself. He is animated with lots of eccentric facial expressions; his mannerisms are reminiscent of a younger version of Jim “Dandy” Mangrum (Black Oak Arkansas). These guys play raw, loose sounding 70s influenced rock nâ€™ roll similar to that of Motorhead with a little Molly Hatchet mixed in.
Grand Mammoth, from Dayton, Ohio, followed next with their ass-kicking hard rock mixed with a little proto-metal. The band consists of Tate Matthews (guitar), Noah Worthington (bass), Bret Newland (Drums), Landon McKibben (vocals), and Brock McKibben (guitar). Landon is a fascinating front man. His mannerisms are reminiscent of a young Ozzy Osbourne. You can hear the Sabbath influence in their heavier, sludgier 70s influenced classic sounding metal.
SLO was the third band to hit the stage. Based out of Detroit, the bandÂ lineup includes Dustin Jones (vocals, guitar), Brian Blair (bass, vocals), and Charlie McCutcheon (drums). Their style is a more psychedelic influenced 70s rock with a little Detroit grit mixed in.
BoneHawk followed next with their Thin Lizzy-esque harmonies, Led Zeppelin grooves, and Judas Priest influenced twin guitar sound. Based out of the Kalamazoo, Michigan area, the band consists of Matt Helt (vocals, guitar), Chad Houts (guitar), Taylor Wallace (bass), and Jay Rylander (drums). These guys played a modern-day behemoth mix of loud rock nâ€™ roll, 90s stoner, and 70s groove.
Rounding out this excellent night was the headliner, Bison Machine, from Hamtramck, Michigan. Their lineup is Tom Stec (vocals), Anthony Franchina (bass), Casey Oâ€™Ryan (guitar) and Breck Crandall (drums). These guys rock with all the majesty of Sabbath and the fury of Kyuss. Stec is a unique vocalist to watch as he hunches over his microphone singing pure 70s psychedelic groove.
Oâ€™Ryan is an incredible and talented guitarist to watch, and busy too. Not only is he the guitarist for Wild Savages and Bison Machine, but he is also the guitarist for Blue Snaggletooth. Watching his mannerisms while he played his guitar is like stepping back in time to 1976, watching Ted Nugent jam at Cobo Hall.
Although released only on cassette, Bison Machine is giving fans the chance to download the Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 compilation for free on their BandcampÂ page. The release contains two songs each from Bison Machine, SLO, and Wild Savages.
Our photographer, Thom Seling, was on-hand to capture the night through his camera lens. Here are his images.
Bison Machine and Wild Savages both have a mid-west tour in the works for this March.