Thursday, July 12th, my friend Liz and I drove down to Columbus to see Mind Fish open for YouTube-famous singer Julia Nunes at The Basement. You’d think that, after an 11 day road trip across the country, I’d be used to long car rides and that three hours would be nothing. However, Ohio makes any time spent within its borders unbearable; it seems like each minute turns into (at least) an hour. 180 hours is a bit much to drive in one night, but these Ohio natives never disappoint. Her music really wasn't my thing, but Mind Fish continues to knock them out of the park. If I wasn’t sure Mind Fish would put on a great show, I wouldn’t have bothered.
Friday, July 15th, I got out of work early and hustled to downtown Trenton to see Mitch Ryder at the Midsummer Festival. I only saw part of his set because of the heat and how crowded it was, but what I did see was really good. I can see why he's considered an icon in the Detroit area.
Saturday, July 14th, I made another three hour trek out to Grand Rapids to see Electric Six with my friend Lindsey. Their drummer, Mike Alonso, is awesome and put us on the guest list. E6 has been my favorite band for years, way before I ever met them, so I feel incredibly cool whenever I talk to them at shows. Alonso came up to me afterwards and mentioned that he had just gotten my text message. He said it right in front of some jealous fans that were waiting to get his autograph. Yeah, that’s right. I’m friends with the coolest band in the world. :) Carjack opened for the Six, and I loved his set as well. Very cool. I’d seen Brian’s other band, Electric Fire Babies, at Blowout a few months ago and was glad to finally catch his solo act.
Zach Shipps of Electric Six
The following night, July 15th, I jetted out to Ferndale after work with my friend Jonathan to see The Hard Lessons and Electric Six (again) at the Pig and Whiskey Festival. We made it just in time to see THL’s entire set, which was definitely a treat. I couldn’t get any good pictures because the sun was at just the right level to backlight them the entire time, so that was a bummer, but at least it allowed me to focus on the show more. Electric Six played nearly the same set as they did the previous night, but it didn’t bother me one bit. I’ll never get sick of Electric Six; I could see them every night for the rest of my life and still want more. I stood on guitarist Zach Shipps' side of the stage for the first time ever and finally got some good pictures of him.
Troy Gregory, Me, John Nash, Matt Smith
I was thrilled when Troy Gregory (The Dirtbombs) and Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry, The Volebeats) joined E6 onstage for their cover of Rubberband Man. I quickly turned my camera to video mode and missed the first few seconds, but managed to film the large majority of the song. I’ll upload it when I get the chance (and if I can figure out how to do it). I hadn’t been to the Pig and Whiskey festival before, but it seemed like I knew everybody there. Danny Methric (The Muggs) in a cutoff t-shirt, Jeffrey William Thomas (Gardens), Jesse Paris Smith (Belle Ghoul), Troy ‘s son Jackson, and Lo-Fi Bri (Electric Fire Babies) were just a few of the faces I recognized in the crowd. It’s such a great, supportive community; I love seeing musicians at each other’s concerts.
The next morning, July 16th, I left for Memphis, Tennessee via Chicago with my friends Stephanie and Chelsee on a Megabus. Our trip was pretty ridiculous and rushed, and most of our time was spent on the bus. Our main objective? Seeing The Sights in Memphis Tuesday night, returning back home early Thursday morning. Chelsee and Stephanie had never heard The Sights before, so I really appreciated them trusting my musical tastes and coming along for the ride. We got to the Hi-Tone Café early and spent a good amount of time hanging out with the guys. There weren’t very many people there; Eddie could (and did) literally name every person in the audience. The size of the crowd didn’t affect their performance, though I’m sure it was a big difference for them, playing for 10-15 people when this tour has gotten them used to groups of thousands.
Me with The Sights & Jerry Sprinter
Jack Oblivian got on stage with them near the end of their set, which made their performance unique. Very few people can say they’ve seen that collaboration, and I feel fortunate to be one of them. Afterwards, my friends bought one of their CDs and went back to our hotel room. Apparently, not everyone is used to not sleeping like I am. I stayed out and hung with The Sights until they left. They gave me a ride “home” in their van, named Jerry Sprinter, which was really cool. I got to see how and where they’ve been living for the past two months. I’m so incredibly jealous that they’re constantly on the road; these few trips that I’ve been taking lately have given me a serious case of wanderlust. Traveling’s become an addiction; I need some more of my bands to go on tour so I have a good excuse to get out of Michigan more often. :) The Sights have about three weeks left until they’re home; I wish them all the best and hope they have a safe and fun last leg of their trip!
Tonight, I have three concerts lined up. My brother’s band, American Sea Creatures, is having their last show in their friend’s back yard with My Killer, My Master and bunch of other local bands. After that, Gardens is playing at Park Bar and The Muggs are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Cadieux Café at the Cadieux Café. Three great shows, featuring some of my favorite people. Can’t wait. :)
PS: Top five bands I’d like to see live that aren’t together anymore (in no particular order):
Magic Jake & the Power Crystals
Conspiracy of Owls
Magic Jake & the Power Crystals
Conspiracy of Owls