The Von Bondies at the Magic Stick
Detroit, March 9, 2004
On Tuesday afternoon, thousands of marker-scarred scream queens clogged a suburban Detroit mall to see their girl Avril Lavigne put forth a set of acoustic Matrix claptrap. These weeping tweeners were the everGirl younger sisters of the sketchy Jake Busey chachis found cramming the Von Bondies gig at the Magic Stick later that evening. With the white Sassoons and the looks to kill, both groups flock to the hive that’s selling. It’s no secret, but their in-droves presence at both events proves it. Canadian strumpets and sleazily cool baroque modern rock – Americans’ll buy anything if a talking dog with a wad of cash in his mouth tells them to do it. Well, c’mon c’mon then, ’cause the Von Bondies show is about to start.
A blacked-out Z28 lurked before the Magic Stick. Garage-kept and glimmering, its chunky fender lines and rhombus light wells shone like Reagan-era bling. The car was so awkward, and yet so haughtily cool – just like Carrie Smith. Later on, when she stepped to the mic to sing “Not That Social” midway through the Von Bondies’ blistering set, the slender bassist threw off a light grin at the raucous response. “Oh, this old thing?” she seemed to wink, before making the monitors thump and the clueless converted. They’d come there, the chest wax’d and Mudd jeans’d, because rock and roll radio had told them to. “C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon,” the girl harmonies had seesaw hummed as the husky man’s voice bent in an addictive crying swoon, and even their younger sisters had looked up from their Teen People to take notice of the riff. Here they were, already sated with “Going Down”‘s gritty-ass throb, already realizing this sweaty show wasn’t the pathetic plastic bullshit of a Trapt or Seether. Here they were, getting a collective hard-on for the awkward and wary sex appeal of a girl and a bass and a smoke-tinted come on. “I’m not that social,” she breathed. “I’m just a good drinker.”
The sold-out crowd ate that shit up, as they did the entirety of the Von Bondies’ brief but stingingly effective set Tuesday night. The band had made its share of enemies in town, and had even played a couple of halfhearted gigs to a lot of folded arms on the very same stage just a few months before. But here they were in a good mood and looking slick, jamming a preamble to their inevitable summer tour for a largely happy-for-them hometown crowd made even larger by the influx of suburban blank slates who’d heard their single on the FM radio. Goddamn if it wasn’t some folksy corporate synergy for the cadre of corporate mooks sticking out in the Stick’s downstairs bar. Those all-access lanyard geeks knew about Warner’s clever relaunch of its Sire Records imprint, the one where the label mines the glories of its punk and new wave past, now that all those cool New York bands they signed back then have become talking points once again for clued-in revisionists and fashionistas. Those dudes probably couldn’t be happier to see the crowd’s rough makeup to be half dunce, half hip. The enthusiasm showed the wisdom of Sire’s positioning of the Von Bondies as the new Talking Heads, with all of the underground cache and triangle peg accessibility that branding strategy (’cause that’s what is) entails. Their eyes said all of this from under Jetta haircuts; we didn’t consult them personally, but my pal Klein did buy them shots.
On stage, the Von Bondies were launching mirthfully between a lack of communication and a pawn shoppe heart. They made the girls want to be with the girls; the boys just looked at Marcie and said “Thank you for sending me an angel.” Don Blum crashed away on his economical drum kit, perpetually underrated, preposterously manic. In the center was the gawky, recovered Jason Stollsteimer. He sliced at his electric guitar and fully unleashed that husky wail, the one that comes from a place where he used to be shy. C’mon c’mon, he’s saying. Come on, and I’ll make all of you believe.
You can buy Pawn Shoppe Heart, Lack of Communication and Raw & Rare from Amazon. Neumu is currently hosting an mp3 of “C’mon C’mon.”
19 thoughts on “Marcie Loves Chachi”
I think it was at least three years ago that I said the Von Bondies were the best band in Detroit, even better than the then-up-and-coming-hypesters with the red-and-white color scheme.
Wow you are too cool. And so original to compare the White Stripes and the Von Bondies.
I smell a fight!!! Poseur.
It’s true. Back in Dec 2001, Sab said, “After the show, I was pretty sure they’re the best band in town right now. I was even thinking that maybe, just maybe, they could be The Next Big Thing.”
Updated list of bands that can’t be safely mocked on GloNo without snotty, incomprehensible “anonymous” replies: Ryan Adams, The White Stripes, the Von Bondies, Wilco (although the reply will only come from Dreamin’), Rick Springfield, Grey Does Matter. Did I miss anyone?
Duley noted, dieblucasdie. We should play it safe and just stick to Sting-bashing.
Wow you are too cool. And so original to compare the Sting and the Von Bondies.
I smell a fight!!! Poseur.
The von bondies are good but not great, the live show is ok, and the music is catchy. Marcie and Jason aren’t the most talented gutarists and they’re not the BEST band in Detroit! or the U.S. for that matter. There are definately better bands than the von bondies. It’s just the press and the whole bar fight that has gotten them the attention.
And did anyone watch them on Carson Daly’s show last week, that was absolutely terrible, it was like they were auditioning for a talent show or something. Jason’s voice was weak and it sounded off key.
True dat. Give me Saturday Looks Good to Me or The Sights any day.
To bring up even more old Glono shit, a couple of years ago someone said fuck the Dirtbombs, check out the Sights.
I saw them last month, holy shit, they’re damn good. There’s not enough organ in rock anymore!
Best band in the Dirty D-town? Count me in for the Shanks and the Detroit Cobras. And the Nice Device.
I’ll have to check out The Sights and The Shanks. You can’t put down Mick and the Dirtbombs though! Saw them in Chicago the other night. Does anyone know what happened to the crazy, afro-ed (white man’s afro) guitarist and their chubby bassplayer that used to sing ‘I’m through with white girls”? Those two added so much fun to their stage show. I’ve seen them about 4 times and this is the first time those two haven’t been around. Silly Mick. Silly Mick.
Hey. I was at that show too, it was really great. LOVED Ko (from Ko and the Knockouts) filling in on bass duties. She’s so damn foxy.
I don’t think Jim Diamond (chubby bass player you’re referring to) has left the band, but I’ve heard he’s too busy with his recording studio (the near-legendary Ghetto Recorders) to tour with them as much. It’s probalby safe to say that he’ll have to leave the band sooner or later. Hopefully, they can get Ko as a permanent replacement.
Tom Potter (the bespectacled guy with an afro) left the band about a year ago to start another band of his own–Tom Potter’s City Council. I haven’t heard anything about them, though.
Um, just to clarify my previous post, I’m referring to the Dirtbombs show last Thursday in Chicago.
Muchas gracias. You have shed much light and answered my questions. I was beginning to wonder if Mick just couldn’t get along with bandmates…
the whole jack white-von bondies reeks of a publicity stunt, but at least someone is going to sell some records.
Come on man! If that was a publicity stunt, it was about as well executed as the Matthew Lillard-Skeet Ulrich scene at the end of “Scream”.
yeah!!! rock & roll!!! wuuujuu.. crazy!!!!! bye.. miau!
stop this now. call me at 6185589803 or stop by the east detroit ramada, might be staying in 219. two keys for a reason, want to dance. need a nice o u girl to spend the night with and show her my new tattoo. wont take no for an answer.