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Night Marchers Rise from the Crypt in Detroit

San Diego-based rock veterans offer a punked up alternative for Motown's Cinco de Mayo revelers.

A sparse yet dedicated Detroit crowd shuffled into the Magic Stick late last night (May 5) to catch former Rocket from the Crypt frontman John Reis’ new SoCal group the Night Marchers as they delivered the goods, providing a chosen few with a slightly different, and decidedly raucous Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Having seen bands abandon post, so to speak, due to low turnout (read: inflated ego), as well as audiences evaporate on empty floor evenings, I gave both the band and the crowd credit for sticking together. But the Marchers are well-seasoned vets and kept the force fierce as the veins in John Reis’ neck swelled with overdriven blood. And when sweat began to pour out of the man, it was as if his whole body was sobbing — not out of sorrow, but of urgent fury. But Reis’ get-up told another story; with khaki pants, a linen button-up, and leather loafers, Reis, and his newfound band, came off as a collection of the coolest male teachers in your school district who, at a staff-wide meeting, all randomly met outside for a cigarette, got to talking and realized they’re all musicians.

But it’s clear the Marchers don’t really give a fuck what anyone thinks about their appearance, they let the music do the talking and in that regard they speak volumes — heavily amplified volumes. It’s the punk aesthetic, the same thread that ties all of their material together. We heard it loud and clear with songs like “I Wanna Deadbeat You,” which combined Reis’ punky Tom Petty-esque vocals with obvious nods to the Clash’s take on chording, with a gentle dose of Southern California surf-reverb. If you’ve only heard the Marchers debut record, See You In Magic, know that every song they play live is twice as fast and three times as angry. Simply: It’s awesome.

The Night Marchers / Photo by Travis R. Wright

The Night Marchers / Photo by Travis R. Wright

The Night Marchers / Photo by Travis R. Wright

The Night Marchers / Photo by Travis R. Wright

The Night Marchers / Photo by Travis R. Wright