One of life’s great joys is seeing an opening band you know nothing about and being completely blown away. There’s something especially enjoyable about not knowing what to expect and then realizing it was a such good idea to catch the entire show.

This weekend I got to catch Cheerleader’s (awesome pissed-off feminist punk that sounds like having dark spells cast over you) release show in Detroit for their new full-length album, Bitchcraft. Little Animal was up first, a one-woman electronic artist who played a passionate set of grooving pop tunes. It was a very cool, unexpected way to kick off a punk show. The night was already off to a great start when YUM took the stage and blew everyone’s collective mind.

I had never heard of this two-piece garage rock band from Bay City, Michigan, but after seeing YUM live I want to tell everyone I know to stop what they’re doing and listen to them right now. Comprised of Elise Poirier on vocals/guitar and Cody Marecek on drums, it’s easy to compare them to another Michigan-based rock n’ roll duo (The White Stripes, for those who weren’t sure) but YUM are much more than that. Their songs are well-crafted, catchy, driving-with-the-windows-down jams, but they’re also willing to be unpredictable in their structures. “Another You, Another Me”, the first track on their EP Ugly and Buzzed, slams on the brakes halfway through its pop sensibilities to pummel the audience with big, fuzzy riffs and slow, thundering drums. One second I’m swaying back and forth, tapping my foot, the next I’m headbanging to what could be an awesome soundtrack to a bar fight. And just about every song kept me guessing. Just when I was lulled into a soft, groovy melody they’d flip the script, and Poirier would melt faces with a bluesy solo while Maracek beat the absolute hell out of the drums. There were a handful of times when audience members (myself included) did a double-take and turned to their friends with a “are you seeing this?” look on their face, like it was an M. Night Shyamalan twist come to life through the power of rock and roll.

YUM are a prime example why you should catch every band’s set at a show (aside from the fact that, you know, you’re supporting artists and your music scene and whatnot). Even if you aren’t familiar with the openers, you could be missing out on your new favorite band. Rock and roll is very much alive and well, and YUM is doing it better than anyone else. I listened to their 3-track EP nonstop on my hour and a half drive home from the show and didn’t even get remotely tired of it. Check out Ugly And Buzzed and watch for what the future holds for this bombastic Michigan duo.

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