Words and photos by Mike Shaler
On Friday the 13th of July, 2018 craziness ensued inside the walls of The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan. There is a tradition and belief that Friday the 13th is a day of wickedness or strange things happening. 711 Entertainment based in Flint, Michigan made sure to make Friday the 13th a special event to remember by putting on a concert that was headlined by the wild party band that is known as Green Jelly.
Showcasing a few local bands before Green Jelly took over, Lords Of October got the ball rolling with their hard heavy metal and punk infused sounds complete with Halloween face makeup to make them fit right into any graveyard setting. These guys are on a mission to make Halloween a year-round event. And with songs like “Graveyard Stomp”, they’ll have no issue getting folks into the mood of celebrating and rocking Halloween all year long.
Up next was a change up from the rock and roll bands as Bro-Bot hit the stage spitting out lyrics in a style that are reminiscent to the Beastie Boys. Three dudes sharing the spotlight as each takes their turn busting out rhymes as the deejay and sampler do their spinning and fine tuning in the backdrop. Bro-Bot puts the nerdcore on full display for all the world to get hip.
Plethora brought back the rock and roll and added some visual insanity to the mix with guitarist/lead singer Matt LaRocque dressed up to the nines as Captain ‘Merica The Freedomator. Anthony Seitz on bass guitar donned an American flag shirt and matching socks. Drummer Carl Harahuc got rid of his shirt quickly as the heavy and fast beats pummeled out while Plethora’s energetic rock got the crowd pumped. Providing even more tones for the band was saxophonist, Justin Ralph. The songs cover a range of topics done with hilarity. From singing about pirates to crooning about gravy, Plethora and their band of costumed role players throughout the set brought animation and fun visuals to capture the essence of the songs.
Before Green Jelly got started, 711 Entertainment held a costume contest as this was a Halloween in July event. Crowd favorite to win the top prize was Summer time Santa. Old man winter was dressed in his skivvies and trim and fit for the beach. Now just before Green Jelly was about to start, it smelled like someone pooped their pants. It was a sickening noxious stench that lingered throughout the night. The putrid odor was later learned to have been from a stink bomb. As I tried to maintain my composure to shoot photos and not puke, I looked behind me to see folks in the crowd with their shirt pulled up over their face to help breathe better. If the night hadn’t been strange enough, let’s add some disgusting in the mix. Thankfully staff and 711 Entertainment proprietor, Dustin James, was going around throughout the night with aerosol air freshener to give some relief but unfortunately, nothing was a match to defeat the stink bomb that night.
Despite the in-the-mouth vomiting sensation caused by the stink bomb, Green Jelly soldered on and lead singer Bill Manspeaker led the self-proclaimed “punk rock puppet show” as he quickly got 15 volunteers from the crowd to join him and the band on stage as each volunteer wore mask that ranged from pigs to Rambo. Not wasting much time, early into the set, Green Jelly’s biggest hit, “Three Little Pigs” was played as all of the costumed volunteers and crowd were up and bopping around. Manspeaker put his puppet master skills on display as he got the volunteers out into the middle of the floor to commence various activities like the Cow God getting circled around and around or Manspeaker himself getting circled and ending up turning into a mosh pit.
With plenty of fun songs like “Electric Harley House of Love” to “Obey the Cow God”, the fans had a lot to feed off of that was delivered by the band, which was partly made up of all of Plethora’s members as Green Jelly has quite a unique take as they have over 500 members across America so wherever Manspeaker is performing, those local musicians in that area become part of the band for that show.
From rock to hip hop to what smelled like someone shitting their pants, this Friday the 13th was surely a memorable one. Green Jelly delivered tons of energy and Manspeaker truly is a master puppeteer that any rock fan should witness and will become part of the experience that is a Green Jelly show. Now let’s all chant, Green Jelly suxx, Green Jelly suxx, Green Jelly suxx!