Me, Steve, Richie, & Mike
Friday, August 17th, I worked all night and then headed to The Rockery in Wyandotte. Richie Wohlfeil (Danny and the Darleans, Colorwheel) was guest DJing their weekly event, Soul Deep. There were probably at least a hundred people there; I wasn’t aware that Downriver had such a bumpin’ night life. I worked my way through the crowd and found Richie at the front with one of my favorite people, Steve Nawara (Colorwheel). I hung out with them on the modest stage for about an hour, looking out over the packed room. Halfway through the night, Steve somehow convinced me to dance with him. I don’t ever dance because I’m terrible at it, but Steve gave me some pointers and I actually had a lot of fun. It was strange seeing the two of them Downriver; I’m used to having my home life and night life separate. Everything gelled really well, though; Detroit should head south more often.
Saturday, August 18th, I split my time between two different events. Bootsey X was having a record release party at Corktown Tavern, and The Crooks were playing at PJ’s Lager House. I spent the first part of the night at Corktown, socializing. Since PJ’s is just down the street from Corktown, I left and made it just in time to see The Crooks play. Afterwards, I hung out with The Crooks and Matt Smith (Outrageous Cherry) outside for an extended period of time. I had custom made my first band t-shirt for the show that said, “The Crooks Stole My Heart.” I didn’t get a picture with them while I was wearing it, but no matter; I need to redo the shirt, anyways, before I show it off. While we were talking, The Crooks mentioned that I should be their tour manager when they get a van. I’m not sure if they were being serious or not, but I can’t think of many things I’d rather do. I can’t wait to be on the road again, and being involved with music while I travel would make the experience 10x better. That being said, if you’re a musician and you need a tour manager or just someone really awesome to travel with, hit me up. :)
Sunday, August 19th, I continued my habit of never sleeping by picking up my friend Chelsee for brunch at Cliff Bell’s before work. Jarrod Champion sings and plays piano nearly every Sunday at this comfy little jazz club. The food was great and Jarrod was simply amazing. I wish I was able to make it out to Detroit every time he plays. The Sights are about to go on tour in Europe in a couple of weeks, so I’m not sure about Jarrod’s schedule, but definitely keep your eyes on our concert calendar. I highly recommend going to see him if you’re in the area. Later that night, I listened in to The Crooks on TapDetroit, an internet-based radio station. I posted the links to some of their videos in the TapDetroit chat room, and got a shout out from the band. The guys were pretty goofy; I don’t think Rikki Roxx knew what he was dealing with. :P
Wednesday, August 22nd, my friend Erin and I caught Eroders and Fake Surfers at The Painted Lady Lounge in Hamtramck. Both bands are fast, loud, and definitely different from most acts I go to see (in a good way). I was particularly impressed by Fake Surfers; they’re a two piece band that has a full sound and captivating stage presence. I know Adam Hunter and Jake Kmiecik from Growwing Pains, but had never seen them like this. Adam really shone as the only vocalist and guitarist, with Jake supporting and keeping the rock steady on drums. I was really impressed; so impressed, in fact, that I bought their cassette in addition to the free CD I received. I don’t have a cassette player; definitely a collector’s item.
Thursday, August 23rd, my dad and I went out to Ann Arbor to see Gardens and Sugarcoats at The Blind Pig. We had originally planned on leaving right after Gardens played, since we had to get up early, but there were some scheduling conflicts and Gardens ended up headlining. I’m glad we stayed, because I hadn’t seen a full set by the Sugarcoats before and the band that played in between their sets, The Heard, was incredibly awesome. I finally officially met Joe Mazzola and talked to him for a bit after Sugarcoats played; we were only Facebook friends prior. Then Gardens finally played after a long night of good music; they had yet another new lineup, now with Brian Blair on bass guitar. Still just as solid as ever; Jeffrey never adds subpar musicians to his band. During the set, Jeffrey broke one of his strings. Not an uncommon occurrence at rock shows. As always, I immediately reached for my wallet. I do this every time a musician breaks a string, and it’s all because of Jeffrey. Back in March, during the MetroTimes Blowout, Jeffrey split his finger open while playing guitar. I had literally just taken an entire box of band aids out of my purse that day that I had been carrying around for at least a month. Since then, I always have a couple of band aids in my wallet, just in case. Good side story, I know. Before we left, I got two older Gardens 7”s and the Genders box set; worth every penny.
Me, Greg Beyer, & Don Duprie
Saturday, August 25th, my dad and I headed out again to see The Crooks at The Old Miami. The not-so-funny thing was that The Crooks weren’t allowed to play since they’re under 21. We got there around the same time they did; the venue had let them begin loading their stuff, and then checked their IDs. I was pretty upset; it was the venue’s mistake, not theirs. When booking, if you’re going to have an age restriction, you should probably make that apparent, instead of advertising a show and having fans show up for a band that isn’t allowed in the building. While disappointed, The Crooks took it in stride and went to play a makeshift gig at a party. Luckily for us, there’s always something going on in the D. We went to Corktown Tavern to see Matt Dmits for the first time. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I am not a big fan of country music. This was different, though; I really had a great night, especially when Don “Doop” Duprie, Katie Grace, and Pat V got onstage. It was a super star lineup, each performing some of their own songs with Matt Dmits and his band backing them. So much chemistry and talent on one stage; they definitely ended the show with a bang.
Sunday, August 26th, was my dad’s birthday. We went to PJ’s Lager House to see Colorwheel at a free, special dinner event before The Crooks played. Chad, Steve, and Richie managed to fit themselves and all of their equipment onto the tiny DJ stage in the bar/dining area of the venue. They played a killer set and then split pretty quickly to tend to their other responsibilities. We chatted with Chad about dogs while he was packing up; I think our boston terriers should definitely be friends. :)
Since we had missed out on seeing The Crooks the night before, I was glad that they had scheduled back to back shows. They exceeded my expectations, which came as no surprise to me. They're definitely one of my favorite bands.
Amy Gore & Her Valentines
Thursday, August 30th, Amy Gore and Her Valentines and The Sights played at The Whitney for their final garden party event of the summer. I dressed in proper garden party attire: a cute pink dress with little birds on it and a big floppy hat. Both bands were awesome; I feel like that’s all I ever say in these posts, but it’s always true. I wouldn’t waste my time with a band that I didn’t KNOW was going to bring it every time. Two highlights: Jackson’s variety of guitar faces and The Sights’ covering “Well Well Well” by John Lennon.
Saturday, September 1st, really kicked off the Labor Day weekend / end of the summer festival season. We opted to go to Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak to see The Hounds Below and The Sights. The crowd responded really well to both bands; there were people dancing, a man doing flips, and the Spaghetti Man even made an appearance. The stage location was also pretty epic: it was right next to the train tracks on one side and near the Ferris wheel on the other.
The Sights benefited the most visually from the location, at least from where I was standing. At one point, bassist Kyle Schanta had the lighted up Ferris wheel and a gorgeous sunset behind him at the same time. I wish photographs could’ve captured the scene properly.
After The Sights, we rushed to Hamtramck to try and catch Danny and the Darleans at Lo & Behold! Records & Books. We made it just in time, and managed to get right up front. The store was absolutely packed with an assortment of different people; two little girls even came in partway through the set with their stuffed animals and sat on the floor, admiring the musicians. It was adorable.
We said our goodbyes when they finished and stopped in the Belmont to greet Christopher Tait (Electric Six, Belle Ghoul), who was DJing and manning the Love It To Death merch table with business partner Christian Fuller. I bought the Love It To Death buttons, which weren’t available yet online, and went home to prepare for the rest of the long weekend.
Me with Danny & the Darleans
Sunday, September 2nd, was my mom’s birthday. We got up early and spent the first half of the day with her; I made lunch (stuffed shells and fruit desert cups) and we visited my grandparents. Then my dad and I headed out for the rest of the day. We got to the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival right after Danny and the Darleans had got done playing. It was a bummer, but we still got to hang out with them a bit and I got to show off my newly made Darleans shirt. Since the Darleans were kicked off of the bill for Panic in Hamtramck, I wanted to show my support when I was at the Painted Lady later that night. Passive protesting for Team Darlean.
I saw a ton of bands that afternoon/night, and suffice to say they were all phenomenal. Instead of me finding different synonyms and trying to not be repetitive with my descriptions, I’m just going to post some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Bootsey X & the Lovemasters
Bootsey X & the Lovemasters, featuring Mike Alonso (Electric Six) on drums, rounded out the evening. Even with his illness, Bob still manages to completely rock and impress his audience. The crowd went crazy when he got up on stage, especially Timmy Vulgar, who impulsively joined Bootsey on vocals for a couple of songs. There was so much energy during their set; it was a great way to end the night.
Friday, September 7th, Yelp had a free event at The Fillmore that The Sights headlined. My friends Erin and Jon joined me for an evening of free food, drinks, and prizes.
Me with The High Strung
Afterwards, my friends and I parted ways and I went with my dad to the Magic Stick to see The High Strung and The HandGrenades. I’d only seen The High Strung once before, maybe 10 years ago at the public library in my home town. I like that story; I don’t really remember their performance, but I like being able to say that I’d seen them in such a unique setting. Everyone at the Yelp event spoke very highly of The High Strung, and I was glad to find that they lived up to the hype.
The HandGrenades headlined the concert, and brought a different crowd than I’m used to. There were maybe ten or fifteen young women dancing at the front of the stage that knew every song and every lyric. I’m usually one of the only girls at the shows I go to, but The HandGrenades seem to have a strong female following. They were really good; I’m glad that their manager had contacted us about coming out, because we probably would’ve went home after The Sights played otherwise. I’ll definitely be coming out to see them again, hopefully soon.
Saturday, September 8th, was yet another long day. I worked 8AM-4PM, picked up my friend Elisa, and went to Dally in the Alley in Detroit to see Gardens. It was another close call, but we found the stage just as Jeffrey was doing their opening announcement. We snuck up to the front, and I recorded a couple of songs on my camera. Dally is crazy; I’d never been before, but it was basically like a normal street fair crammed into a much smaller space. SO MANY PEOPLE. I was stopping every couple of minutes to greet a different musician; Elisa must’ve thought I was really cool. We saw a song and a half by J. Walker and the Crossguards; they’re a band that I’m definitely going to have to try to catch another time when I’m not in such a rush.
Elisa and I left Dally and I took her to Sgt. Pepperoni’s to get some tasty pizza before heading over to Small’s for Kenny Tudrick’s record release party. It turns out that we didn’t need to rush, because things were running a bit behind schedule at Small’s. It was fine by us; we cherished the break and relaxed in our booth. Mary Cobra (The Detroit Cobras) joined us for a while, and we caught up with what was new with the Cobras. Then the show started; it was well worth the wait. Colorwheel played a short set, still impressing me, especially with “Red Helicopter” (my favorite song by them).
Kenny Tudrick & the Snake River Canyon Band
Kenny Tudrick and his newly named Snake River Canyon Band put on an absolutely killer set. They were jaw-droppingly good. I feel like I spent a good deal of time just staring at Kenny and Ben as they played; I probably looked like a creep, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t even take that many pictures because I was so distracted by their talent. Ben Luckett is still my favorite drummer; his motions are so loose, fluid, natural, powerful... I’ve never seen anyone drum like him. And Kenny, don’t even get me started. The man oozes talent. He’s great at guitar and vocals, and, though I’ve never seen him, he’s apparently an excellent drummer, as well. This show was the start of their tour, and I don’t think it could’ve gone better.
Me with Growwing Pains
Monday, September 10th, Chelsee came out with me again to PJ’s Lager House to see Growwing Pains. I made yet another band t-shirt right before I left for the show, this time for GP. I think making personalized clothing is one of my new favorite things; at this rate, I’ll have unique shirts for all of my friends’ bands in no time. Growwing Pains came at us hard and fast, and, since my dad didn’t come, I held the video camera for the first time for an entire set. Afterwards, I got a picture with the boys and we split.
Me with Six and the Sevens
Thursday, September 13th, The Loving Touch hosted the DIY Street Fair’s launch party. I drove to Ferndale right after I got out of class, going only to see Six and the Sevens, who opened the show. Amazing, as always. The stage wasn’t big enough to hold all six members and their instruments, so bassist John Bissa had to stand on the floor. After their set, we spent an hour packing up their stuff and trying to get all of the guys in one place. Raquel (Jeecy and the Jungle) took some artsy pictures of us, and I got to show off my newly made Six and the Sevens shirt. It was a super fun night; definitely a great start to the annual festival.
Friday, September 14th, Jon picked me up after I got off work and we drove out to Ferndale for the first day of the DIY Street Fair. I like introducing my Downriver friends to the music I'm into, and love when they get into it, too. We missed most of Carjack.'s set, but still got to see him throw black liquorice into the crowd and rock with his robots. The Muggs blew everyone away, and were a tough act to follow. The Sights pulled it off, though, like they always do.
Me with AwesomeR
The night ended with an energized performance by AwesomeR at The Loving Touch. I hadn't seen them yet, but my expectations were high. They opened with "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw" and won the crowd over immediately. Steven Tuthill is an over the top front man; he is probably the most charismatic and confident performer I've ever seen. Can't wait for their next show. :D
Thursday, September 20th, my dad and I drove down to Mickey Finn's in Toledo to see The Sights for the fifth time in four weeks. I love that The Sights play so often; it's fun watching the band evolve. I'll never get sick of seeing them play. This was their last show in the Midwest before they leave for their European tour. Keep safe and have fun on your travels over seas, boys! I wish I was coming with you. Maybe next time...
I had the rest of the weekend off. As much as I love concerts, it was nice having time to relax and actually sleep. Busy week/weekend coming up; check out our calendar and catch some of Detroit's finest musicians at work. Hope to see you around!