Ford Lake Frozen Leap

The Magazine

October 17, 2011

IAMDYNAMITE – Blue October Review [Photos]


Blue October proves therapy should be loud, interactive, and musical

At what point did Blue October become irrelevant? I started asking myself that question about twenty minutes into Blue October’s set Wednesday night at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

After their 2006 single “Hate Me” became the anthem for anyone who had emotional issues that they couldn’t express, their album “Foiled” went on to go platinum and Blue October became the alternative rock band that was cool to like. Cool because they sort of came out of nowhere and because lead singer Justin Furstenfeld expressed himself as someone so deep in his own emotional pit that he was unable to notice the attention the band was getting – even if he wanted to.

A few years ago, “Foiled” was one of the most heavily rotated albums in my collection. And, as I thought about the factors that contributed to the band’s fade-out, I wondered if Furstenfeld even noticed that he was playing before a crowd littered with Blue October shirts, intently watching his every move.

The night kicked off with music from IAmDynamite, the energetic opener for the night. Local musicians Chris Phillips and Chris Martin are the entirety of the band, which is impressive, because, with my eyes closed, I thought four guys were on stage. They have a sugary/rock-ish danceable sound – the kind of dance music you can still call rock – and Martin struck me as a grown-up Dennis the Menace who chose the path of music (go to their next show and you’ll know what I mean).

When it was time for Blue October’s set, Furstenfeld stood on stage like he was encased in a shell, his black hoodie completely covering his eyes and his hands gripping the microphone stand like he was worried about being blown away.

As the show went on, he broke down that shell until he was all over the stage, expressing his pain through singing, screaming, talking, gesturing, laughing – and almost everything in between. You didn’t have to like the band’s music to appreciate their live show. They have an alluring presence, and Furstenfeld’s stage performance is honest and captivating. He would often tangent into monologue-type sessions in the middle of songs, where I felt like I was witnessing his coming-to-terms with an estranged loved one or consoling his daughter. The emotion was so strong that it sucked the crowd right in, and I felt like I was slowly becoming a Blue Meanie, which is what die-hard Blue October fans are called in the band’s hometown of Houston, Texas.

It was then that I was reminded why I used to be a Blue October fan. Justin Furstenfeld is a writer at heart, and he writes about things that people can relate to. Fathers struggling to connect with their kids. Twenty-somethings fighting to overcome addiction. Suicide and divorce and companionship and the joy of family. Years ago, I listened to all that emotion through my iPod. Wednesday night, I finally got to see it. And just like that, Blue October became relevant again.

Photos by Kristin Slater

About the Author

Paul Kitti
Paul Kitti
Paul studies at the University of Michigan by day and explores Ann Arbor for the best music and entertainment by night. You can find him at the Blind Pig promoting his favorite bands or standing in line outside the State Theater on Saturday nights. If you have any insider info on upcoming films/bands, just motion for him to take his headphones off because he wants to hear about it.

Ford Lake Frozen Leap


Adventures in Local Food #13

Winter Harvest As we discussed in November, there are plenty of farmers and backyard gardeners here in Michigan (as in other cold places across the nation) who use techniques to extend the growing season. To match this increasi...
by Stefanie Stauffer

Teenage Weirdo

Duane to bring his performance-art brand of music to the Blind Pig this Thursday

“The typical route to pop innovation is to introduce alien or aggressive sounds that provoke people who otherwise would have paid no attention.”  – Sasha Frere-Jones, the New Yorker ~ All that really mattered...
by Jeff Milo


Fedde Le Grand [Video]

Sitting in the back, downstairs office of Necto with phones ringing, music blaring and a fumbling interviewer, Fedde Le Grand opens up on electronic music in the US, his admiration for those before him and what it’s like ...
by Tim Adkins



Fedde Le Grand at Necto [Photos]

The final set in the Voltage series brought Fedde Le Grand to the Necto and he brought all of Ann Arbor to it’s feet this past Wednesday night. Here are the photos from the show as we bid a due and look forward to what...
by Bruno Postigo

Ford Lake Frozen Leap
Photo by Vanessa Miller

71 POP

A pop of color for Detroit 71 POP is a microcosm of the current visionary wave rippling across the city of Detroit. It’s easy to look at Motown and see vacated businesses and walls of broken windows rotting beneath the city�...
by Paul Kitti



Deadmau5 at the Fillmore [Photos]

Last week Deadmau5 played 2 sold out shows at the Fillmore in Detroit. We were there Friday night and here are the pics to relive one of the best live shows of the year. Were you there? What did you think?
by Tim Adkins


Living the Dream with Noelle of Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums’ story is one that could only come out of Hollywood – which happens to be where the band is from. It all started when Michael Fitzpatrick, better known as “Fitz,” got a call from his ex-girlfriend ...
by Amanda Slater

Bank of Ann Arbor


Lupe Fiasco

Hip hop’s Lupe Fiasco has grown a legion of underground fans that are ready to start an uprising. This uprising continues when the Generation LASER tour hits the EMU Convocation Center on Saturday, November 5. Lupe Fiasco is ...
by iSPY Team

Screen Shot 2011-10-21 at 12.00.19 PM

Read iSPY – November

Read through the entire November issue! Click “Expand” below to get started.
by Tim Adkins