Pretend that I posted this a long time ago.
Me with The Cheetahs
Wednesday, September 26, I started out my week in Ypsilanti. The Streetwalking Cheetahs, newly renamed The Cheetahs, were playing at Woodruff’s. Lead singer and guitarist Drew Hill had messaged me about the gig, so I decided to go with my friends Erin and Charlie. I’d only seen The Cheetahs once before, but I liked them a lot, so the drive was worth it. Erin and Charlie immediately dug their sound as well, and it made for a great night.
Thursday, September 27, was probably the craziest concert I’ve ever experienced. PJ’s Lager House was hosting a two part event, “Under the Big Tent,” and Thursday’s show consisted of Gardens, Timmy’s Organism, Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees. There were hundreds of people in this large tent set up in the lot next to the venue, coming and going throughout the night. Even though it was a cold night, I ended up putting my coat in my car because of all the body heat and movement. The night was loud and crowded and chaotic; we had to push through hoards of people to get anywhere. From this chaos came something wonderful, though. It was a great music experience unlike any other that we got to share with one another. So much energy, so many young people and familiar faces… It was definitely a show I won’t be forgetting any time soon. As Zak Bratto (Growwing Pains) said the next morning, “last night was in-tents.”
Me with Melvin Davis
Friday, September 28, was the second night of PJ’s “Under the Big Tent” event which featured Tyvek, Natural Child, Melvin Davis and United Sound, and the Detroit Cobras. Less people turned out, but the quality of the crowd and musicians was still on par. I missed out on most of Tyvek, but Natural Child was awesome. I’m definitely a fan of Burger Records and the bands on their label. Melvin Davis was just as classy as always; I love his Motown sound and wish there were more people like him in our scene. The Cobras brought the night to an end, playing only a few songs due to their late start. They’ve had a lot of different members over the years, but I think their lineup now is pretty solid.
Jeecy and the Jungle
Saturday, September 29, was Jeecy and the Jungle’s CD release party at the Magic Stick. The show had a circus theme and featured all sorts of crazy performers in between sets, including contortionists and a burlesque dancer. It was an interesting concept and made for an entertaining night. The Crooks performed as a four piece again, with Ben Van Camp coming back out from behind the drum set to play guitar and sing. I have to admit: I’ve been kind of wary of them adding a fourth member. Lead singer and guitarist Jordan Krebs is a hard person to compete with; even some of the best musicians would sound weak compared to him. However, their performance that night erased any doubts I had. Ben really seemed comfortable up front and didn’t end up being in Jordan’s shadow. I was really impressed. Jeecy and the Jungle performed second to last, pulling off a long and strong set. They mixed it up a bit by featuring musicians Eddie (The Sights) and Amy (Amy Gore and Her Valentines) on a couple of songs. Jeecy and the Jungle is always a fun band to watch; I’m glad I didn’t miss out. Six and the Sevens were last to take the stage, bringing new meaning to the term “grand finale.” Any effects I had been feeling from my long weekend of work and late nights were cured instantly. Never failing to be an upbeat party band, the guys revved up the audience and made us wish the venue wasn’t about to close.
Being the hardcore person that I am, I got up early the next morning and took my friend Elisa to Cliff Bell’s to see Jarrod Champion once again for his weekly afternoon performance. I set my camera up to film on a makeshift stand and enjoyed the good food and even better entertainment. Jarrod’s a more than excellent performer and I highly recommend checking him out if you get the chance. He plays nearly every Sunday at Cliff Bell’s when he’s not on tour with The Sights. After his first set, I came back downriver to work for a couple of hours and then drove back out to Detroit to see The Vonneguts at Cass Café with Elisa and Chelsee. We got there really early, so we left and got some pizza at Sgt. Pepperoni’s. Afterwards, still looking for something to do, we made our way over to Park Bar to see if we could catch Danny and the Darleans. No such luck (they weren’t going on until much later), but we did get to hang out with the band and Troy Gregory a bit before I got a “heads up” text from The Vonneguts’ drummer, Jake Kmeicik. We arrived at the café with enough time to get good spots, which is especially crucial in smaller venues. I was surprised to see Six and the Sevens’ guitarist Mike O’Brien playing with the band; it was my first and only time seeing them play, but Mike’s skill matched with The Vonneguts’ sound definitely made for an excellent experience.
Me with Kingsfoil
The next day, Monday, October 1st, I drove down to Toledo yet again to see Kingsfoil at Frankie’s Inner City with friends Ashley, Nicole, and Chelsee. Not having seen or talked to them since July, we were ecstatic to find that the guys, even drummer Frankie Muniz, remembered us. We arrived at the venue just a couple minutes too late; lead singer and guitarist Jordan Davis informed us that we had just missed their music video being featured on TV. We had a great time hanging out with the band before and after their set, which was killer, by the way. We found out that they were performing the next night in Romeo, MI, and immediately decided to drop whatever plans we had to drive out to see them again. Because Kingsfoil had played an earlier show, when we got back to Michigan, Chelsee and I had enough time to make it up to Detroit to see The Cheetahs at PJ’s Lager House. It was unplanned, but both of us had some sort of cheetah print clothing element on. We must have been destined to attend their show. I can’t ever say enough good things about The Cheetahs; they’re consistently one of my favorite bands.
Me with Kingsfoil, again
Maintaining our new tradition of adding one girl every time we see Kingsfoil, Laurie joined our group Tuesday night on our journey up to Romeo. High Octane is not the type of venue I’m used to. For those of you from Downriver, compare it to The Modern Exchange (RIP). It’s an all-ages venue, and there were all kinds of teeny boppers running around. Preferring a more mature crowd, after going in to greet the band, we wasted time before their set at a restaurant and exploring the small strip of stores. We got back to High Octane and managed to find room to stand directly in front of the stage. The crowd was very receptive to their performance; they were selling merchandise and signing autographs afterwards for at least half an hour before we were able to talk to them. After loading up their van, Jordan, Tristan, and Tim joined us at a little bar that was just down the street. We hung out for a bit and wished them well on their tour before starting the long drive back home.
After having gone to a show every night for a week straight, I was worn out, but not so worn out that I grew distaste for concerts. Far from it. Less than a week later, on Monday, October 8th, I went back to PJ’s Lager House to see The Cheetahs again. I had had a terrible day and was lucky enough to have a good friend like Warren who was willing to drive to Detroit with me for a show, even though he had to get up early the next day, just because he knew it would cheer me up. And it did. Nothing like loud music to take your mind off of things.
Me with King Tuff
October 11th finally came. I’d been waiting to see King Tuff ever since Jake Culkowski moved out to California to play with them, and they were finally on tour, coming to my favorite venue and home away from home, PJ’s Lager House. The place was packed; nearly everyone from the Detroit scene was there to see and support Jake. Even Bobby Harlow (The GO) came out for the event, who I hadn’t seen in so long that I didn’t even recognize him right away without his long hair and beard. :P We were lucky enough to be able to squeeze in at the front of the stage; I actually ended up sitting on the stage next to the speakers because it was so incredibly crowded. King Tuff was all I had hoped for and more. I can’t wait until they make their way back to the mitten again; I might have to head out to California again ASAP. They are definitely in my top five favorite bands ever, and I think their self-titled CD should be considered for record of the year. Just saying. Listen to it here.
Crime and the City Solution
A week later, another weekend of rare performances found us in the Motor City. Crime and the City Solution kicked off their tour on October 19th at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Reforming after a hiatus, this primarily Australian-based band now features Detroit legends Troy Gregory (The Dirtbombs, After Dark Amusement Park) and Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry, The Volebeats). Their performance was unlike any other; they have a very different, ethereal sound that I absolutely loved. The audience loved it, too.
Me with The Muggs
The next night was The Muggs’ live recording show at the Cadieux Café. I had to work, but managed to get out in time to catch their entire second set. I was bummed to have missed the beginning, but they ended up replaying some of the songs so they’d have more options for the CD, so I didn’t miss too much. I know I keep saying that every band is my favorite, but I can’t help it. I don’t go out to see bad bands. Ever. The Muggs ooze talent and are constantly on top of their game. They’re also probably the nicest guys I know, always greeting me with a smile, a hug, and a kiss. :) They’re going to be back on tour in Spain this coming spring and I really hope I can make it there to see them. I love it when my friends’ bands go on tour; it gives me an excuse to get out and see the world.
Saturday, November 3rd, was The Sights’ live recording show, which was filmed for their DVD which will be coming out next year. It was their first show since they had returned from their European tour with Tenacious D, so it was nice catching up with the guys and hearing stories of their travels. They were all little nervous for the recording; even though they’ve been videotaped many times before, it was never anything official like this. Even I was feeling self-conscious; some of the shots of the band were from the back of the stage, and since I always stand in front, I’m sure I’ll be on that DVD somewhere. Yikes. The Sights had no reason to be nervous, though. After performing almost the same set since May, they were incredibly tight and loose at the same time, if that makes sense. They were comfortable and fluid, moving through the songs without consequence. I can’t wait to see how the DVD turns out.
Friday, November 9th, Chelsee and I ventured out to Lansing to see Electric Six. We drove up early so we’d have some time to explore the city before the show, checking out The Capitol Building, the Traverse City Pie Company, the MSU Campus, and the mall. When we got to the venue, we talked to John Nash and Mike Alonso for a little bit while the opening bands were playing. I got my official copy of their newest record, Absolute Pleasure, on vinyl and CD, which I had only had a preview copy of before. Then Electric Six took the stage, which is always an epic experience, at least for me. We ended up leaving after the first five or six songs, though, because of some rude girls that kept pushing and dancing into us and the impending long ride home that was wearing on our minds. That was the first and hopefully only time I will ever leave an Electric Six concert early.
Actually, I think the only reason I was able to leave early was because I knew I was seeing them the next night at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit. This time, Elisa came with me. We decided to stand in front for the entire show to secure our placement for E6. I usually ignore opening bands, unless I know them, but two person band Little Hurricane (from California) actually was quite impressive and I liked them enough to look them up and “like” them on Facebook when I got home. The Electric Six were what I had come for, though, and they never disappoint. This was Dave Malosh’s first show in Detroit as an official member of Electric Six. Even though I miss Zach Shipps, “Da Ve” is more than acceptable as his replacement. I’ve actually seen Dave play with them more than I’ve seen them with Zach, so the lineup change transitioned quite nicely for me. After they won my heart once again with their performance, I wished them all well on their mini-US and full European tour, which they were about to leave for. I love that my favorite bands are able to tour; even though it means I won’t see them for a couple of weeks, it also means more people will be exposed to their music. They deserve to be heard.
Six and the Sevens
Six and the Sevens had their CD release show the day before Thanksgiving at the Cadieux Café. Being one of the biggest party nights of the year, there were tons of great shows to go to. Chelsee and I stopped by Donovan’s to see Danny and the Darleans for a few minutes before heading to the Cadieux. I hate walking out while bands are playing, but we were running short on time. We couldn’t be late for Six and the Sevens at their own CD release show, especially since it was guitarist Mike O’Brien and keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence McCarter’s last time playing with the band. Six and the Sevens were followed by The Sights. I’m not going to bother trying to come up with new ways to say that both of their performances were phenomenal. Just look up synonyms for “great” and “perfect” and you’ll get an idea of how the night went.
Phil & I
That Saturday, 11/24, was my first Beehive Ball. Hosted by the Beehive Recording Company’s founder, Steve Nawara (Colorwheel, Rocket 455), numerous bands on the Beehive label were showcased and provided a variety of different sights and sounds for the night. Formal attire was required, and everyone looked wonderful in their dressy clothes. I went with my friend Phil, who ended up knowing some of the people at the show. It was an interesting experience for me, since every friend I had brought to a show prior was a complete newcomer. Tons of bands that I love played, including Growwing Pains, Feelings, J. Walker and the Crossguards, esQuire, and Skinny Wrists. My favorite part of the night, though, was an unannounced performance by Gardens with their original lineup. I couldn’t have been happier; it was a perfect end to a wonderful night of music.
November 30th, on my one year anniversary of becoming a frequent concert-goer, I impulsively went to St. Louis to see The Sights. Read about it here.
Stephanie & I
December 8th, I went out of state again to see The Sights in Cincinnati. My friend Warren was nice enough to drive, and we spent some time in Newport, KY before the show at the Newport Aquarium and mall. Eddie texted me when they got to the venue and we went to meet them. Saxophonist Dean Tartaglia wasn’t with them, so they had room in their van to bring Jarrod’s girlfriend, Stephanie. We had a fun time hanging out with them, playing pinball in the basement of the MOTR Pub and talking about life. The other band ended up not showing up, so The Sights were going on much later than expected. We went to another venue to try and see Ohio Knife before they had to play, but there wasn’t enough time. There were plenty of people dressed as Santa Claus, though, which I can only assume was for some sort of strange Ohio Santa festival.
Me with The Sights
We went back to MOTR, The Sights nailed their performance, and we spent the rest of the night hanging out with them outside by their van before we all headed home. Warren and I stopped at four or five Taco Bells on the way before finally finding one that had frozen Baja Blast; Ohio always gets to try their new food first before we get it in Michigan. Yet another reason to dislike Ohio.
Me with TPF$R
Like Thanksgiving Eve, December 21st (AKA the end of the world) was a stacked night for live music. While my dad attended Hentchmas, I made a tough decision and went to see my brother’s band, Teh Pioneerz Fuh $um0 Rightz, play in his friend’s basement around the corner from my house. Zayde and his friends are a very interesting bunch. They have a unique sense of humor that few truly appreciate. I happen to be one of those few. I stood there with a smile on my face for their entire one hour set, a camera in one hand and a video camera in the other. They’re pretty outrageous; I don’t think their friends that had come to see them really knew what they were getting into or what to expect. They were done by nine, but I decided to make it an early night and went home instead of driving out to Detroit to try to catch some of the other awesome concerts that were going on.
And that brings us up to speed. Yeah, I don’t go out as much as I was earlier this year. By not as much, I mean once every week or two, which is still a lot for most people. Not for me, though. My dad still goes out often and tells me that the musicians are always wondering where I am. I’m not done with the scene, by any means. I’ve just been catching up with schoolwork and sleep. You’ll see me around more often soon. Like tonight. The Sights are having a Last Waltz-style review at The Magic Stick, featuring all sorts of guest musicians. It should be a lot of fun. :) Tomorrow marks one year since I saw them for the first time, so tonight is especially special for me. Hope to see you there!