D.R.I. / Woe of Tyrants Blondie's, Detroit MI October 3

D.R.I. / Woe of Tyrants Blondie's, Detroit MI October 3
There's something about the humility and professionalism of a longhorn punk band that's infinitely endearing, a case-in-point exercise highlighted by formative hardcore/thrash crossover act Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) on this particular evening.

Stepping into Detroit extreme music haven Blondie's is like hopping aboard Professor Peabody's Wayback Machine. From walls adorned with heavy metal albums measured in decades of vintage to floors so beer-soaked they make duct tape seem slick, this joint redefines old. And it is the perfect venue to experience the years of punk rock wisdom, tongue-in-cheek attitude and tomfoolery of a band that predates many of those aforementioned record sleeves.

Representing the new state of heavy music influenced by the headliner's boundary pushing, Ohio hardcore-infused death metal quintet Woe of Tyrants put on one hell of an energized gig. Standing four-strong across the stage front and eyeing down every soul in the room, their beefy bass, pounding drums and shredding guitars were the perfect backdrop for a vocalist reminiscent of The Exorcist's Regan MacNeil.

While duly praised, D.R.I. were still to prove why they've been kings of the crossover kingdom for so long. Stepping onto the stage with the casualness of someone buying a slab of street meat, D.R.I. quickly dealt with a few technical issues before belting into a set list that was literally four pages long and spanned their career. From early pleasers including "Couch Slouch" and "How to Act" through tracks that gave crossover its name ("A Coffin," "Redline") and overt metal-influenced hits such as "Beneath the Wheel," "Dry Heaves" and more, not one period of the band's evolvement was left untouched.

Soaking up the thrill, a wild audience gladly urged the band on for their almost two hours of dirty, rotten guitar and relatively new (in the context of current member durations) bassist Harald Oimoen's attention-stealing faces, one-liners and running about the club. In fact, only when guitarist Spike Cassidy — who could have expressed his enthusiasm more often than the odd smirk between sneers — broke his final guitar string during closer "Five Year Plan," did everything fall to pieces, immediately ending a set that was equal parts fun, thrilling and nostalgic.