Acclaimed pop punk band DETENTION plays 2023 Athens Halloween Block Party

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – It takes a special kind of performer to headline Athens’ annual Halloween Block Party.

After all, it’s the biggest party of the year – it’s colorful, it’s intense, and even though a stage sits at the intersection of Court and Union streets, it’s incredibly difficult for musical acts to stand out amidst the apex of the revelry.

Luckily for us, “standing out” has never been a problem for DETENTION, the high-octane pop-punk group from Northeast Ohio playing the Block Party Saturday.

DETENTION has some notable fans, including Gerald Casales of Devo; The Black Keys, and even musician/comedian Fred Armisen. Those “cool credits” aren’t the only accolades the band is sporting: they also won “Best Punk Rock Band” at the Cleveland Music Awards in 2022 and 2023; and they’ve played for increasingly larger and more excited crowds over the course of the past six and a half years.

A promotional image of DETENTION. There are four members in the band and they are posing outside.
DETENTION [Image courtesy of the artist]

Winning fans over one show at a time

The high energy dynamism of the group’s live performances has generated a real buzz among fans of all things punk rock oriented.

A charismatic front person will always catch the ears and eyes of rock ‘n’ roll fans; and DETENTION’s Elliott Carter certainly fulfills that role in all its commanding, manic glory.

It’s also true that the quality of a band can always be linked to the quality of their rhythm section. DETENTION bassist Fritz Dannemiller and drummer Luke Konopka work together to create solid grooves for guitarist Evan Cox to skillfully build ear-catching riffs on.

Here’s the curveball: every member of the dynamic foursome is under the age of 20.

Even so, they’ve sported their current lineup for about six and a half years, and they’ve already played festivals like WonderBus (Columbus), WonderRoad (Indianapolis, IN), WonderStruck (Cleveland), Bloomfest (Bowling Green), Launch Music Conference & Festival (Lancaster, PA), and Brite Winter (Cleveland).

A promotional image for the band DETENTION. The lead singer Elliott Carter is leaning against the railing of an outdoor ramp and the rest of the band is leaning against the brick wall behind her.
DETENTION [Image courtesy of the artist]

Athens always loves a good rock band

The Halloween Block Party isn’t DETENTION’s first show in Athens.

They’ve regularly graced the stage of The Union since early 2018. While DETENTION shows always elicit an audience response, Dannemiller says the experiences the band has had in Athens are special.

“[In Athens] there’s just so many people who like what we do,” Dannemiller said, noting that it seems like Athens is home to people who are “[…] into hardcore and into emo and into other weird kinds of music.”

This makes sense – you can hear little bits and pieces of all those genres in DETENTION’s sound. If you listen, you’ll hear a kind of hard-charging intensity which will remind you of emo pioneers Rites of Spring; and next thing you know you’ll pick up on a kind of dynamic emotional range which makes you think of Cap ‘n’ Jazz. See DETENTION live and the group’s oozing, hard-rocking charisma might even make you think of Swedish garage revivalists The Hives.

Sure, comparisons like those are enough to make any music nerd swoon.

And swoon they should!

Let’s just remember DETENTION isn’t any of those groups; DETENTION is DETENTION and the sound they’ve cultivated is hard won and unique.

The key to that artistic success?

It’s complicated, just like success always is.

However, the band does have advice for other musicians hoping to accomplish something similar.

“Taking music lessons of some kind is a good thing to do,” Dannemiller said. “Even though people kind of sh*t on it, lessons are a good thing – at least to an extent, at least get to the point where you can play an instrument.”

Cox encourages aspiring musicians to not give into the temptation of comprising their personal musical likes and dislikes.

“It doesn’t matter what anybody else likes,” Cox said. “No matter what, if you like something, I promise there’s going to be other people that’ll start a band with you and play that kind of music.”

The group’s Halloween Block Party costumes are a closely guarded secret

DETENTION is looking forward to headlining the Athens Halloween Block Party.

“Everybody told us that we need to play [the Block Party],” Dannemiller said. “It’s pretty much been the collective sentiment from everybody we’ve ever talked to about it.”

DETENTION is sure to deliver an ear-catching set late Saturday night; but something tells me they’re also going to deliver an eye-catching one with the costumes they’ve settled on.

The group won’t divulge details on that – so we’ll have to check them out in person to find out.

DETENTION is scheduled to perform at 9:30 p.m. for the 2023 Athens Halloween Block Party. Find more information on the Block Party at this link.

Follow DETENTION on Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, and find more relevant info at this link