Detroit’s music scene has always been on the map, but one scene, in particular, grew out of an underground sound that was completely different from the rest. Detroit’s industrial-inspired garage-rock/punk-rock scene grew out of a movement that matched the hardworking, blue-collar mentality that Detroit carries. 

Detroit's punk rock history

Detroit newcomers GiGi, featuring the legendary Detroit Cobra’s rocker Mary Cobra, performing at the band’s inaugural show during the Detroit All-Star Garage Rock Punk Revue. | Photo by One Detroit

In the early 1960s, Detroit’s punk rock history began with bands like MC5 and The Stooges, and then  Cinecyde in 1976, who created the sounds of Detroit’s underground punk movement. Some of those early influential bands are still rocking out today, and they’re joined by a host of newcomers like The Idiot Kids,  Sugar Tradition, and crossover artist Audra Kubat, who have taken the genre and made it their own.

The full scope of Detroit’s punk rock history was on display in August at the 4th annual Detroit All-Star Garage Rock Punk Revue. The 4th annual event spanned two days at the Cadieux Cafe, and served as the inaugural debut of Detroit rocker Mary Cobra’s new band, GiGi, which formed after the late Detroit Cobras’ singer Rachel Nagy, 48, passed away in January.

RELATED: Detroit All-Star Garage-Rock Punk Revue Returns for 4th Annual Festival, Expands to Two Days

One Detroit producer Chris Jordan takes viewers back to the two-day punk rock festival to learn more about the origins of Detroit’s punk rock history and how it continues to evolve. Jordan talks with festival organizer Smitt E. Smitty, of the 1980s Detroit band Figures on a Beach, and currently Little Billy Lost and Smitt E. Smitty and the Feztones; host and iconic radio DJ Michael Halloran, the former host of WDET’s Radios in Motion; and several of the artists who performed there.

The festival focused on more than just the City’s musical history, however. The festival was powered by collaboration and community. Jordan talks with the wide range of artists there about the foundation many of the early bands laid for others to now stand on, and how newcomers are turning those influences into their own unique sounds.

Detroit's punk rock history

Detroit punk rock band The Idiot Kids perform their song “Nothing” at the Detroit All-Star Garage Rock Punk Revue two-day music festival. | Photo by One Detroit

Watch full live performances from The Plugs, The Idiot Kids, The Amino Acids, The 3D Invisibles, Sugar Tradition, Smitt E. Smitty & the Feztones, GiGi, Cinecyde, and Audra Kubat at the 4th annual Detroit All-Star Garage Rock Punk Revue below.


Watch Live Performances:

The Plugs – “Donna”

The Idiot Kids – “Nothing”

The Amino Acids – “Dunked in the Think Tank”

Sugar Tradition – “Biff Bang Pow”

The 3D Invisibles – “They Won’t Stay Dead”

Smitt E. Smitty and the Feztones – “Big Bad Boy”

GiGi – “Don’t Quit the Band”

Cinecyde – “Don’t Push Me”

Audra Kubat – “Oh Mother”

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