Thursday, June 21st, PJ’s Lager House hosted a benefit for musician and artist Eric McNary, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. There were tons of people there to support Eric, countless items donated for a silent auction, and numerous bands providing entertainment for the night. My dad and I arrived a bit late to the show, but did manage to catch the Gardens/Sugarcoats hybrid performance and Don Duprie’s solo act. Though we were united under not-so-great circumstances, the atmosphere was positive and upbeat. I didn’t know Eric prior to the benefit, but it’s obvious how many people love and care about him. Best wishes to Eric for the future.
The Banana Convention
Our next show, Saturday, June 23rd, was another benefit, namely “BENNYfit,” held at the Hard Rock Café in Detroit in honor of the late musician Benjamin Borowiak, who passed away unexpectedly in 2011. We originally went to see Six and the Sevens and Jeecy and the Jungle perform, and, being fiercely loyal to the musicians I know and love, expected to be bored until they played. I’m hard to win over, but The Banana Convention, from Saginaw, MI, impressed me with their confidence and power-pop jams. Kudos, guys. Hope you make it down to the city more often. :)
With Raquel Falcon of Jeecy and the Jungle
The concert continued on, with powerful performances from both Jeecy and the Jungle and Six and the Sevens. The show was incredibly high energy, with everybody in the audience grooving along as they played. Raquel of Jeecy and the Jungle was wearing one of her signature vintage outfits, this one complete with a turban. “Push Machine” is my favorite by Jeecy, so I was thrilled when they started playing it. Raquel’s husband was filling in for Dana, their usual drummer, but you’d never be able to tell. He played just as passionately as the rest of the band; if I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed that he always performed with them.
With John Bissa of Six and the Sevens
Six and the Sevens rounded out the night, and I honestly don’t think anyone would’ve been better suited. They always involve the audience by passing out beer cans turned into shakers, so that everyone can play along with them. This time, however, the audience started getting really into it. By the end of their set, half of the people there were on the stage with them, dancing and laughing. It was a great end to the benefit; everyone was excited and happy. Six and the Sevens is a band to keep your eye on; they’re one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in the scene. Trust me: I go out to concerts every weekend. I know what I’m talking about.
Detroit Pleasure Society
June 27th was the last Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means: New Orleans Night IV at PJ’s Lager House! My dad and I ended up splitting up. He went to Donovan’s to see Dexter Linwood Quintet and my friend Liz came with me to see Detroit Pleasure Society. Liz actually participated during the free dance lesson while I watched from a nearby table with my two left feet. I have no intention of ever missing a New Orleans Night, which I think makes me DPS’s biggest fan. :) They’ve definitely gotten me into Dixieland jazz; I’ve been listening to some of the artists they cover on Spotify for the past couple months. Their second set ended a couple minutes prior to midnight, at which time I happened to be checking Facebook on my phone and noticed that it was going to be drummer Ben Luckett’s birthday. I sang “Happy Birthday” to him with his band mates; always a good time at the Lager House, especially on New Orleans Night.
Stephanie & I with The Muggs
Saturday, June 30th, was a night with tons of options for live music. First and foremost, The Muggs were performing at the Stars and Stripes Festival in Mt. Clemens. It was their first show since they had returned from their European tour, and I was really looking forward to seeing them. My dad and I picked up our good friend Carl and his daughter Stephanie on our way out. The show was great, but my favorite part was talking to the guys afterwards. There were hugs and kisses all around, and, after much effort, I managed to get them together for a group picture with Stephanie and I. Can’t wait to see them again on the 21st at the Cadieux Café in Detroit! :)
Afterwards, we had to make the difficult decision between The Beehive’s showcase and, as Jeffrey put it, a “rare two piece performance” by Gardens at Green DOT Stables. Being a collector, I couldn’t pass up a “variant” version of one of my favorite bands. I didn’t even know Green DOT Stables existed, but it’s a really cool bar that was filled with younger people. We managed to get a table right in front and were able to record the performance sitting down, which is unusual. Jeffrey and new band mate Todd put on an excellent show, even throwing a little comedy into their performance with my second favorite joke of all time: “What did the boy octopus say to the girl octopus?” (Hint: Think Beatles. Answer at the end.)
Frankie Muniz holding The Sights' CD
Tuesday, July 3rd, I went to Frankie’s Inner City with my friends Ashley and Chelsee for a meet and greet with Frankie Muniz before his concert. To be completely honest, I hadn’t previously heard any of the bands that were playing that night and had already written them off. I was solely going to see Frankie Muniz. The meet and greet went really well; Frankie and the rest of Kingsfoil were all really down to earth, which was awesome and unexpected. They asked if we’d ever been to the venue, since we’re all from Michigan, so I did a little plug for Mind Fish (the reason I’m usually in Toledo) before bringing up The Sights, who are currently touring with Tenacious D. The guys seemed interested, so I gave Frankie my copy of their new CD, Left Over Right, that we had been listening to in the car.
Us with Ducky & the Vintage
We left right after the meet and greet and had dinner at Elephant Bar before heading back to the venue. We made it just in time to see Ducky & the Vintage, and I am endlessly glad that we did. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Same goes for Kingsfoil, who played right after Ducky. I was so impressed by both of these Pennsylvanian bands; Detroit better watch its back, because Harrisburg won me over that night. I found out later that Ducky & the Vintage’s lead singer was a contestant on The Voice this past season. The judge’s made a mistake not picking him; I’ve been listening to their CD constantly since the concert, which is real dedication since it’s only six songs long.
Me with Kingsfoil
The bands hung out afterwards, greeting the audience and signing autographs. We stood in the back until most of the masses had left, wanting to have a more relaxed and personal goodbye. I’m really hoping that both Ducky and Kingsfoil come up to Detroit sometime soon for a show. Seriously, guys: if you’re reading this, come play a show in Michigan. I know all the best venues. :)
Jeecy & the Jungle
Friday, July 6th, The Sights had a show in Detroit at the Fillmore with Tenacious D. I found out the day before that Jeecy and the Jungle would be playing at an after party at Park Bar, and was lucky enough to have awesome an awesome coworker who was willing to switch my 4-close shift for his 3-11PM shift. I didn’t get out of the theatre until 11:30, but made it in time to see the end of Jeecy’s set and hang out with my favorites from The Sights. I love those guys, and hadn’t seen them since they got home from the second leg of their tour. It was a great end to a horrible week at work (extreme heat caused numerous power outages, which is bad news for a movie theatre).
John Nash & I at various times
Sunday, July 8th, was John Nash’s (Electric Six) birthday. I feel like this is necessary to mention because John really was my first friend in the Detroit scene. He and I have had great conversations and have very similar tastes in movies and music. To top it all off, John’s a musical genius. I love every band he’s ever been in. Hope you had a great birthday, White Wolf. :) That night, my friend Ashley and I went to PJ’s Lager House. We missed the opening band and had to leave before the headliner played, but we did get to see D. Watusi (Nashville) perform. They lived up to their reputation, and made the trip out to the D worth it.
One last bit of exciting news. The Sights begin their third and final leg of their tour with Tenacious D at the end of this weekend, and I’ll be bussing it down to Memphis to see their first show with my friends Chelsee and Stephanie. Super excited. :D I’ll be seeing Electric Six Sunday night at the Pig & Whiskey Festival, and then leaving early the next morning for Memphis via Chicago. I get to see my two favorite bands within days of each other. Can’t get much better than that. :D :D :D
It’s after two in the morning. I’m sitting on my back porch, enjoying the cool air and listening to Kaleidoscope. My boston terrier, previously my writing companion, has ditched me to sleep in a warm bed with one of my family members. I have an advising appointment in a couple of hours. I’m going to sleep. Peace out, rockers.
(Answer: I want to hold your hand hand hand hand hand hand hand hand.)