Years from now, if the walls of Saint Andrews Hall could talk, they'll still be crooning about The Blue Stones and The Velveteers ripe with so much talent; yet playing such an intimate venue.
The Velveteers were first up on Friday night, with their amplifiers covered in hot glued sequins, and mannequin parts strewn all over the stage. The Velveteers are a band who are redefining the concept of a power trio. Though their jaw dropping sound features a baritone guitarist and two drummers, conjuring a boomy but stripped-down attack, with Demi Demitro's lead vocals the sole concession to high end. The end result is a gut punch of of garage rock sound engulfed in chest thumping percussion. They are one of those bands that if you showed up late for their set, the venue would be buzzing with a few jaws still on the floor.
The Velveteers are touring under their first full length album "Nightmare Daydream" which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The doubletrack drums gives their whole performance this very primal sound. Visually, it's incredible intoxicating to watch the duo of Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig smash the skins in tandem. I feel like I am listening to the guitar groove of Queens of the Stone Age on their track "Charmer and the Snake" but with Queens being fronted by Grace Potter. Demi has incredible stage presence climbing on top of the drum kit, ripping through a riff while on her knees, and raking the guitar strings over the lip of the stage to completely finish off the end of their set. It's an impressive 9-song performance that had me transfixed during every song.
The headliner for the evening are the duo from Windsor, Ontario The Blue Stones. Drummer Justin Tressier and guitarist/vocalist Tarek Jafar are no stranger to the Detroit music scene. Rapidly moving their way up from playing smaller venues like El Club and The Shelter, this is their first headlining gig at Saint Andrews Hall. Jaffer commented multiple times during the set that the duo "dreamed of playing this room after watching some of our favorite acts as patrons here for many years." It's certainly a well deserved upgrade as the original show was to be held in the The Shelter below Saint Andrews but sold so many tickets that it needed more space so it was moved to the venue above.
The Blue Stones are touring under a 3rd full-length studio album called "Pretty Monster" released last November. The album is striking departure from their 2021 record "Hidden Gems" which still makes up over half of the songs played this evening. I enjoy both albums equally because they weren't carbon copies of the same style regurgitated and spilling over from one record to another. The duo opens with the track "Healing" from "Pretty Monster" and primes the crowd for tennis match between these two great records. Standout tracks like "Stay With Me" and "Good Ideas" were exciting to hear live for the first time. Tarek revealed that he wrote "Good Ideas" as a recollection when he struggled with writers block and was concerned that he wouldn't create anything good again. In one of the best performances on the night, The Blue Stones launched into the groovy riff on "No Angels" and it had the crowd moving.
The "Hidden Gems" tracks resonated well with audience too. "Grim," "One By One," and of course the closer on the night "Shakin' Off The Rust" proved that these Canadians have graduated to the big time. In an oversaturated genre, The Blue Stones stand out by luring you in with their rocking riffs, but stand out by showing your their incredible versatility.
This is one of the best tours on the road right now, so make sure that you get out and catch these two bands before they're rocking arenas.
See the full image gallery here: Blue Stones Full Gallery
The Blue Stones Setlist
Hear Me Out
Be My Fire
Stay With Me
Rolling With The Punches
Shakin' Off The Rust