Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

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Location: Zeeland, Michigan, United States

Hi. I wish I had a job selling squirrels. They're so furry, and give you toothy grins. Unless they're rabid, in which case they will eat your face off and then find the rest of your family. That's not so good, I guess.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spotlights for March 2018

3 17 18 Darcy Wilkin Take You With Me

3 18 18 Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe Danger Death Ray

3 19 18 Michigander Falling

 3 20 18 Hollywood Makeout Speedo Spider

3 21 18 Bet On Rats Attraction to Reaction

3 22 18 Borr + McFerrin Pick A Flower

3 23 18 Friends with the Weather Be The Song

3 24 18 Crane Wives Daydreamer

3 25 18 Chuck Whiting If Everyone Loved Like You

3 26 18 Dacia Bridges Project I Begin To Wonder

3 27 18 Major Murphy Step Out

3 28 18 Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas Hot Damn

3 30 18 The Krelboynes

3 31 18 Delilah DeWylde  the Devil Inside


Friday, March 02, 2018

Live Music Log, February 2018

2 1 18 Public Access #4/CHRIS DUPONT/DEAN MARTIAN  GR Live at HOME at the BOB, Grand Rapids  These noon live broadcasts are fairly easy to pop into and out of in time for work when something interesting is coming down the pike.  This day featured Public Access promoting the big album release show (see the 10th).  Public Access Lite, that is:  just Zito on bass, Rickabus on drums, Leaf on the one and only guitar, and Chesney on the noise machine. A melodic racket was still made, proving the infinite malleability of this band’s genius concept:  when the world is running down, make the best of what’s still around.  Chris Dupont is a sensitive dude with an acoustic guitar who used to play heavy metal.  There are literally thousands of guys who fit that description, but he had a wry self-effacing manner and some good songs.  Worth investigating further.  Dean Martian is an EDM DJ who made some noises outside my realm of knowing what’s good and what’s not. Because I am old get off my lawn.

2 2 18 Kevin Hamman #2/PERILOUS CATS Kalamazoo Piano Co., Kalamazoo
2 2 18 Carrie McFerrin #15/Matt Gabriel #2/Brian Koenigsknecht #8  Webster’s, Kalamazoo
2 2 18 Olivia Mainville #16 (with Brandon James)  New Holland Brewing, Holland  Triple Show Friday baybee.  Kalamazoo’s sprawling ArtHop events, first Friday of every month, bring together fine art and music for a full sense experience.  Kevin Hamman is both, and he was playing music and selling art at this piano shop downtown.  I helped set up chairs and carry stuff, it was all very DIY and charming as hell.  Kevin is a teacher by trade, a very enthusiastic amateur who can sneak up on you with the insight of his songs.  The Perilous Cats is an ad hoc agglomeration of scenesters who mainly pay tribute to the late great Patrick Carroll. Of special note are the soaring tenor of Nathan Moore, and Chris Schleuder’s remarkable ode to Carroll, Sprint The Mile:  “I feel you slipping away to music only you can hear.”  Moseyed on over a block and a half to see three of my Redemption Night personnel sharing a bill at Webster’s in the round: so very much fun, so very many tuneful tunes.  So great when Carrie adds an impromptu harmony to a Brian song, or Brian pulls out a harmonica to augment Matt’s tune. I am guilty of talking and laughing and joking with these people during the show, I might kinda hate me if I was in that audience, but these are really friends now, not just people I see play music.  The beauty of Webster’s is that maybe half a dozen people care what’s playing, but having anything playing at all adds cachet and ambience, so they keep booking great talent.  And I can bug my friends at work without worrying TOO much.  Hour’s drive to Holland for New Holland’s late starting show with Olivia:  about 45 minutes late, but I still heard lots and lots of tunes.  Hanging with Carlton and the Mainvilles (sounds like a band name) while the kids goof around and slappa da bass.  Low stakes gypsy swing: it gets no funner. 

2 3 18 Big Dudee Roo #5 Grand Armory Brewing, Grand Haven  This began as a Dudee Duo, due to Daine the drummer being at a daddy-daughter dance.  That was a fun sentence to write, not gonna lie.  More fun, in fact, than I was having at this show: I forgot that I rather hate this venue.  Indifferent crowd of quaffers, overpriced mediocre barbecue, nothing to drink but beer (not even pop other than root beer), The duo sound was nice, some moody rhythm work by Max; a highlight was his own spin on Harvest Moon, and Justin Dore’s lead tone is one of the best around.  But when a friend wanted a ride to a party in GR, I took them.  For the first time in my life, I left a musical event for a non-musical one.  Is that growth?   Tiny treasonous whisper:  I miss Nate.

2 8 18 Dan Rickabus #4/MARK LAVENGOOD/HANNAH LAINE  GR Live @ The BOB, Grand Rapids  Another afternoon to support Mr. Rickabus, here to promote the next night's Jammies along with Mark Lavengood, late of Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, and Hannah Laine, a powerhouse neo-soul vocalist. Dan plays his songs either alone on ukulele or with a massive conglomerate of sound, so hearing him here with just one or two people in support was a treat. Lavengood, Laine, and bassist Ian Thompson assisted nicely.  Lavengood grinned his way through a couple numbers, including the Guess Whoish In Transit.  Then Hannah Laine blew my eardrums out, in a good way.  Huge huge voice without the Mariah melisma.  Here's a video.  Go see her.

2 9 18 19TH ANNUAL WYCE JAMMIE AWARDS The Intersection, Grand Rapids featuring the B Side Growlers, Dan Rickabus, Brian Koenigsknecht, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Hannah Laine, Justin Avdek, Mark Lavengood, Hollywood Makeout, The Crane Wives, Lipstick Jodi, and Lazy Genius  A local awards show where half the nominees were snowed out...but those of us who made it had a grand old time.  Short sets and big crowds don't lead to much in the way of meaningful mind melds with the artists, but it can lead to great new discoveries. Just getting out in front of a crowd that huge can be a boon for a lesser known artist. Bigger acts on the main stage, "emerging" artists on the little Stache stage next to the johns. I was as close as I get to my High School Spaz days, I had so many friends around to talk to and listen alongside.  Beyond the musicians, shoutouts to Ken, Jacob, Dan, Sarah and Randi. Festivities kicked off with the B Side Growlers, old timey washboard grinners gathered around one mic like they seen in that one movie.  Ramshackle but secretly accomplished.  Dan Rickabus on the main stage: widescreen Technicolor perfection.  The Really Big Band, with the other Crane Wives plus Leaf and extended family, brought the epics to life in a satisfying fashion.  Over to the small stage, where an unfortunately thin early crowd was catching Brian's exuberant set, then Phil and Sarah's hushed but sweet one.  The Kalamazoo Invasion begins. Hannah Laine and Justin Avdek have a new funk-prog band together, Earth Radio, so their adjoining sets basically became the first big gig for Earth Radio, and I am on board.  Weird yet tuneful, vocally acrobatic yet somehow not annoying, sweetly funky pop soul for the discerning listener.  Mark Lavengood is a one man Greensky: fun without much in the way of consequence, and the greatest guitar face ever.  Hollywood Makeout was the revelation of the evening:  I had seen them once before, at Mulligan's, home of the Shittiest PA Known To Man, but here on this stage they were Fun Squared.  Erin Lenau is magnetic, and the band is tighter than a fitted sheet in a military barracks.  Shorthand:  what if Blondie played only Strokes songs? High volume melody with not one extra note. And then: with May Erlewine snowed out, the Crane Wives pinch hit a set; with no nominations, no skin in the game, they could play a victory lap for the hometown crowd, wonderful new songs with the big old favorites, and I was right up front shouting along.  Lipstick Jodi were very good, more 80s slick than Hollywood Makeout but good fun and a sound that could take them places.  Shorthand:  genial lesbian insouciance.  Back over to the small stage for Lazy Genius, light psychedelia with no bullshit attached, like Flaming Lips before the dude started wearing suits.  Featuring a woman whose instrument is inchoate Yoko wails.  I left before the afterparty got into full swing because all my friends were going home to bed.  But oh holy Jesus on a Segway did I have a whole lot of fun.

2 10 18 Public Access #5  Wealthy Theatre, Grand Rapids   The Monster Melody Machine rides again:  this show was the victory lap after the successful Kickstarter campaign that financed the guitar army’s second album.  (I was backer #2. I got a T shirt, a mug, and a tote bag, along with two tickets to this.  I brought Kay.)  So many moving parts, but played so cleanly that you can hear each cog.  Seth Bernard has a field day with his pink electric guitar;  Rickabus is the bandleader, keeping the beat and the peace;  Leaf is the Cheer/Leader, pushing everyone to the finish line.  Saxophone, keys, bass, eight or nine or ten guitars:  King Crimson, eat your heart out.  Notable for the jumpsuit debut of Ben Kolk, Kate Pillsbury, and Fiona Dickinson:  some estrogen enters the clubhouse.  I could pick out Kate’s tone from the melee, and Dickinson is a damn wizard; I hope they stick around.  We sat right up front like giant dorks because that’s what you do when your enthusiasm outstrips your dignity.

2 16 18 Megan Dooley #15  Final Gravity Brewing, Kalamazoo
2 16 18 FLEETWOOD MAC TRIBUTE NIGHT with the Marci Linn Band, Big Boss Band, Bride of Fleckenstein with Laurie Laing, Matt Gabriel, and the Kaitlin Rose Band  Old Dog Tavern, Kalamazoo  I started off with Dooley playing her first home game at her new job, Final Gravity.  She hosts an open mic, but this was her first full starring gig.  She sounded relaxed and committed, next to a comically large ancient amp.  Cry To Me was a strong opener, and she gave good banter, despite the presence of a table full of noisy assholes close to the stage.  First Day of My Life made me weep a little dammit.  Over to Old Dog for a Fleetwood Mac night that was popular beyond anyone’s wildest dreams:  even with a $10 cover, the place was over capacity.  Took me an hour to get in, but I heard most of the music from the hallway.  Mini sets from different combinations of KZoo All Stars played tracks from all eras of the band’s knotty history.  Especially impressive was the Big Boss Band, with a pensive Albatross and a swinging version of Hypnotized!  (I chipped in the tip jar for that obscure favorite.)  Matt Gabriel tore it up on Go Your Own Way.  Laurie Laing’s growl made Tusk rise above some unfortunate verse confusion.  Just like her Dylan night, Kaitlin Rose was clearly having a damn ball, and her enthusiasm infected that packed house.  Original music is great and wonderful and worthy, but an occasional nostalgia wallow is nothing to be ashamed of.

2 17 18 Brian Koenigsknecht #9/Samantha Cooper #2/Fiona Dickinson #2  Louie's Trophy House, Kalamazoo  Nice show that could have been nicer with a better PA.  Brian opened acoustically, with Sam Cooper accompanying on violin, for a short set of heavy hitters.  Soon-to-be-released Roswell, a strong Istanbul Sky with the violin deepening the pathos, and Seth Bernard’s Overhaul, a great emotional song, and Pat Carroll’s Stay Up Late. Ms. Cooper weds the innocence of the Icicles with the philosophical bent of Ani DiFranco for a unique, bouncy yet serious sound, played with a full band’s muscle and nuance. Dickinson’s guitar, especially, works very well within the context of Cooper’s songs…but during her own set, it overpowered her compositions, at least with this sound mix.  Her playing was dexterous, wondrous, tasty as hell….but I could not understand a single word she sang.  I think I heard “twenty-nine” a few times.  Looking very much forward to hearing her in a bigger room with a bigger mix.  She is the Catherine Wheel to Samantha’s Lush, for the shoegaze fans who can follow that analogy.

2 23 18 Olivia Mainville #17 (with Brandon James) Short's, Bellaire  I don’t like to work on my birthday.  I like to get the hell out of town.  So I went Up North for the weekend, for two nights in Charlevoix.  This show was a last minute idea (thanks, Facebook Events) and a good one.  Short’s is a nationally distributed beer made in this tiny town, and the flagship store is impressive in size and in musical bookings.  These Krazy Kids played basically the same set they would in Zeeland’s Tripelroot, trading back and forth on guitar, bass and vocals, setlist confusion, wacky banter, and murderous glances when Dwayne and the Rock Johnsons are mentioned.  The Dahlbergs kindly let me join them for the hijinks. A birthday beverage was bought for me afterward at the dive at the end of the block.  Thank you both.

2 24 18 The Crane Wives #41 Charlevoix Cinema III, Charlevoix  I saw that this show was happening on my birthday several months earlier, and just knew that had to be the kernel of a trip. I expressed misgivings about going so far to be Creepy Alone Guy…and Ms. Kate Pillsbury set me straight.  She told me it was brave to seek experiences alone, that I had proven over and over I am not creepy, and that my support meant a lot to her and the rest of the band.  It was the nicest set of things possibly ever said to me by someone I was not related to.  In the end, my friend Roo came with me so I wasn’t even Alone:  I was just Guy.  Strange show, the band in single file on a very narrow stage in front of a movie screen in the town cinema, but packed, thanks to heavy promotion, with a fun, relaxed atmosphere.  The comfort level led to more storytelling than usual, a special treat.  I love Volta and Daydreamer so much:  all songwriting cylinders are firing, seven years in.  New Kate song, inspired by Detroit desperation, that I have named Ghost Of Me in my head.  Another birthday drink from Roo afterward in the most obnoxious townie bar imaginable.  It’s been a good year, despite the world ending, and every indication points to 44 being a pretty damn good one too.