Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

My Photo
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.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Spotlights For August 2018

8 1 18 Audra Kubat  Kalkaska

8 3 18 Frontier Ruckus  27 Dollars

8 4 18 An Dro  Dante's Daughter

8 7 18  Frankie & Myrrh  (unknown)

8 8 18 Pack Sounds

8 10 18 Morgan Haner & the Transmitters  One Mistake At A Time

8 13 18 Mel*n  All Or Nothing

8 14 18 Monte Pride  Ferns and Flame

8 16 18 Jordan Hamilton  Better Days

8 20 18 Sandra Effert  Driving You Crazy

8 21 18 Matt Gabriel  Push Comes To Shove

8 22 18 Minor Element  Sly Steve

8 24 18 Kari Lynch Band  Your End Of The Gun

8 28 18 Tomas Esparza Blues Band title unknown

8 30 18 Visk Mono  Messages From Mia


Live Music Log, July 2018

7 6 18  Overneath Open Mic with Megan Dooley, James Burkett, Charlie Mench, Kate Arcangeli, Mike List, Jeffrey Babbitt, Borr + McFerrin, Noah Nigg, and Lisa Moiaery  Overneath Creative Collective, Kalamazoo           Stacy Koviak-Davison #2  Chau Haus, Kalamazoo             JONATHAN TIMM/BRIAN JOHANNESEN/Fiona Dickinson #5/LACHLAN MACQUARRIE                  Rupert’s Brew House, Kalamazoo    For this month’s Art Hop, the people at Overneath had a great idea:  an open mic, recorded and filmed, for the participating artists to have a record of as a calling card or resume item.  This studio space, upstairs in an old building in downtown Kalamazoo, was open to all comers, with a Steinway grand available for use.  Dooley, the host, opened with oldtimeyness and panache.  James Burkett had a lovely acoustic ballad with a woman on harmony (didn’t catch her name), his songs stronger than his voice, not to say the voice wasn’t compelling. Charlie Mench, an old country dude, had a fun tune called Gas Station Rose.  It occurred to me at that point I was the only Muggle there (that is, non-musician), though some more wandered up from the street before all was done. Kate Arcangeli took advantage of the piano to belt out her big long churchy songs in truly impressive form, so much more, er, grand than her synthesized open mics at Louie’s.  A line of hers that clobbered me: “I miss who you could have been.”  Mike List, of the Hawaiian wardrobe and shaggy charm, had one called possibly How Long You Gonna Keep Me Waiting, and, bizarrely, Counting Crows’ Long December. Jeffrey Babbitt was the stealth star of the show, a fast picker on melancholy originals with clever rhymes and two revelatory covers:  Action Party by the Sinatras and Sabbath’s War Pigs. Borr and McFerrin did not stray from their well worn path, but they sounded super swell in this professional space, boding well for future recording. Noah Nigg: not a fan of his new Band Of Human project, but credit where due:  he also used the piano to transform a couple of his new songs, kinda pallid and synthesized on the recording,  into undeniably pretty and expansive songs with his fine tenor. At this point I slid out the door to catch some of Stacy Koviak-Davison’s rare solo set at the Chau Haus.  Deep catalog, many songs unheard with her band, Treading Bleu…but barely audible with her ukulele in a noisy dining room. Moseyed on to Rupert’s for a trio of sensitive white dudes, a genre I have only recently been rediscovering patience for, with the added spice of a British lass.  Lachlan is a handsome young fellow with a fine blues guitar sound, a large vocal range, and an accent I could not place. Like if Cillian Murphy sang. Brian was a lonesome country picker from Iowa City, appealingly wry.  Highlight: Two Hot Dogs and a Coke. Fiona was a perfect red herring on the bill, with her four piece band and raw tsunami of sound.  We have enough pretty little songstresses, so glad she’s turned toward CLOBBERING US WITH VOLUME.  Hilarious to hear the cathartic maelstrom then a tiny little English “thankyew” after each song. Jon Timm finished us off, with a voice somehow younger than his face, with thoughtful ballads.  I could have sworn I saw him at Louie’s last year, but I have no record of it.  Either way, he’s good. So, six hours, three venues, fourteen acts:  a hell of a night in the Zoo.
7 7 18 Lipstick Jodi #2/POLITICAL LIZARD  Outside Coffee Co., Grand Rapids          Olivia Mainville #20 (with Brandon James)  Hops at 84 East, Holland This was a novel idea and location for a show:  voter registration awareness event, early afternoon, with people helping you register onsite if necessary, at a new coffee shop that is essentially a trailer in a garden. Political Lizard, despite the name conjuring a DC sketch comedy troupe, was a pair of very pale younguns, he with a forceful 90s style voice, she with a wispy trill and a melodic kazoo.  Cute originals, hipster covers culminating in “the Juno song” by Moldy Peaches.  They went from here to a string of dates opening for the Accidentals, the road testing undoubtedly did them some good.  Lest this sound like faint praise, I thought they were charming.  Lipstick Jodi has been beset by illness, so at this show it was just Karli the singer and Luke the drummer, keyboards and bass still being AWOL. Nervous chatter between songs led into muscular, assured performances, big sound for just a duo. I love the song Katrina quite a bit. Later that night, I ventured into Holland, to Yet Another Brewpub, for Olivia n’ Brandon strumming and funning in the front window.  I can’t remember musical specifics;  I think Olivia feels setlists are for the weak. I just know I had fun with these two spooky kidz.

7 13 18 Libby DeCamp #5  HopCat, Kalamazoo           Matthew Borr #9/Lisa Mackie Moaiery #3/CHRIS SCHLUEDER  Final Gravity Brewing, Kalamazoo  Libby is an integral part of the Olivia Jack Aquatic Bear Collective, but more of her own thing:  a more rarefied sensibility, less uproarious and more pensive.  This was completely solo on the hot porch at HopCat, in a stripey dress that looked a hundred years old. The Consumer Of Hot Sauce alternated between banjo and guitar, spinning tales of dusty yesteryear and thirsty now. When my friend Robert left, a random dude sat next to me, marveled at her talent, then made some remark to me about her beauty, not super crude but not welcome either.  As a garden gnome who has given up on that part of life, I do not understand why men can’t simply acknowledge and enjoy the company of women without objectification. I was no angel, but I was no devil either.  Over to Final Gravity, then, for a Webster-style in-the-round performance by three Kzoo notables.  Chris Schlueder is like a cross between Lou Reed and James Taylor:  mild of manner, but all kinds of weirdness going on behind the eyes. Quote in my notes without context:  clean kitchen, clean heart? Matt Borr, who I rarely see Carrieless, was charming, low key, and a right wizard on guitar. Lisa sneaks up on you too:  like the others, born to be mild, but razor sharp lines poke up through the strumming to catch you when you listen.  She does a cover of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You that sounds really close to the original, but with more feeling.  She told a dirty joke!

7 14 18 Brian Koenigsknecht #14/Molly #2/Aaron Wright #2  Bell’s, Kalamazoo  A date opened up, and Bell’s gave Brian ten days to put a show together.  He did, it was marvelous, but they didn’t put it on the marquee.  Mystifying decision that led to very sparse attendance….but every person who was there was into it, and that’s better than a packed but disinterested house (coughOldDogcough).  Aaron Wright, like Darcy, has a background in education, and that humanistic spirit comes through in his songs, kind of a Ben Folds as sad guitar bastard sound.  Only lack of exposure (and possibly fear?) could have kept this guy from getting known:  he is astonishing.  Razor sharp lyrics, versatile voice (wow that high tenor), melodies that turn on a dime.  Nothing on YouTube, argh, so watch for his shows.  Lines that jumped out:  “Heaven on earth is a prison colony,” “She can drink a fifth to sleep and want more,” and “time flies when you’re fucking up.” Molly was the perfect bridge between the soft dude with the hard edges and the angular dude with the soft edges, being a big red ball of lightning-strike sunshine.  Her new songs are either very angry or breezy like a late summer day; accompanied by husband Scott and a Lauryn Hill pendant, she spun and swirled and danced and growled like she was playing for 2,000 people and not 50. New song Flame is a burner (har har). Brian was excellent, accompanied by the diamond sharp sound of guitarist Geoff Stockton, and Carrie McFerrin on several harmonies. 5th of July, a Pillar To Post tune, is a new one to me and sounded great in this setting.  This was a musically superior night filled with friends, an overall A+ experience. And if it had been promoted even halfheartedly, you might have been there too.

7 15 18 The Accidentals #7  Bronson Park, Kalamazoo  I already can’t remember why I went to this:  I like the Accidentals fine, but an hour drive, with the dog, for a short outdoor show?  Did I do something else that day?  It’s gone from the memory banks. Pleasant show with lots of new songs, with one weird tense moment.  Sat with Ken Campbell and Bob English, two other musically voracious dudes. There was a shirtless dude pacing around the park randomly , seemed vaguely altered, then suddenly he beelined for the stage, shot up the steps, dropped some money at Sav and Katie’s feet, and ran off again.  It all happened too fast for anyone to prevent, though Sav’s dad and the event organizer both came close. Also at one point Sav loved on Sheila for a moment, meaning my dog has met an Accidental before I did.

7 20 18  Olivia Mainville #21 (with Brandon James)/Ian Link #2  Grand Armory Brewing, Grand Haven  I typed out a long grumpy thing about noisy patrons, but I erased it, because you know what?  It’s not constructive.  A lot of those people came out for food and beverage and had no idea there would be live music, it’s not the reason for their visit like me, and the noisiest people largely kept themselves to the back of the room.  I wish people cared, but I am not the Decibel Police.  That said, Ian Link was almost universally ignored, despite opening with a ballsy Jimmie Rodgers yodel. I hope to hear him play in a quiet room someday, there was some There Will Be Blood atmospherics going on there.  And, Olivia and Brandon are like your favorite childhood Halloween:  dark n spooky, but smiling your head off while consuming the sugar.  We all went and ate in the parking lot at Taco Bell afterwards.  It was great.
7 21 18 Megan Dooley #17  Crane’s Pie Pantry, Fennville        Feed Kalamazoo With Music:  KATE ARCANGELI/TIM SPARLING/Chris Schlueder #2/JUDY MICKLEY/Kaitlin Rose #6/MECHELE PETERS/NATHAN MOORE  Feed The World Café, Oshtemo         Lipstick Jodi #3  The Livery, Benton Harbor  Triple Show Saturday began at Crane’s, in a steady rain,pie pounding patrons packed under the portico for the ukulele queen.  She always seems to feel worse but sound better at these early gigs. Particularly welcome was an outing of Fair Weather Friend, an unrecorded original. She recently wrote her first song in years:  looking very much forward to what she comes up with in calmer times.  At Feed The World Café, Kevin Hamman corralled a whole lotta Kzoo musicians for a daylong fundraiser, basically doing what the restaurant already does:  raise money for feeding the less fortunate. 
I arrived in time for Kate Arcangeli and her dramatic keyboard flourishes and high impassioned soprano.  Tim Sparling, new to me, was an intense dude, kind of a male Kaitlin Rose, who did a cover of one of Kevin’s songs, making his month.  Chris Schlueder: deceptively mild mannered.  Listen to his lyrics. Rosalyn is a classic. Judy is a folkie with a lot of heart and a big big voice. Kaitlin had another, higher profile show that day, but she still sold it to the small suburban crowd with undiminished power. Mechele Peters, with whom Chris often plays, had a line that stopped me cold: “I’d keep heading north but this ain’t my car.” I know them feels. Nathan Moore is a lovely sunny fellow with a huge bright voice, but like a jackass I left halfway through his set to catch Lipstick Jodi in Benton Harbor.  The Livery is a cool enough bar, but it’s a weird oasis of whitedudeness in a majority African American town. This band defies the dude part by gleefully and defiantly playing their ’06 Fueled By Ramen style rock like a lesbian Cars.  Anymore and All I Have To Do are instant classics.  Yeah Yeah Yeahs covers (plural) happened.  I did a lot of grinning.
7 27 18  The Crane Wives #52  Lake Ann Brewing Co., Lake Ann  This falls under the excessive part of fandom:  a two hour one way drive for an outdoor show.  But these are my favorite songs by my favorite people, and the more local shows happened on days I couldn’t go.  I took Carlton with me, because while things are less awkward than they used to be, it’s still hard when the only people you know in an entire town are on stage.  This was a good one:  engaged audience (even in light rain at the beginning), strong playing, debut (to me) of new song Hollow Moon.  Then after set break, Special Guest Steve Leaf plugged in and started doodling with Magic Marker all over their well rehearsed songs, adding an element of chaos, which made everyone involved grin like idiots.  The deviation from the norm made the show slightly dangerous and all the more special.  Apologies to the Dahlbergs for the size of my giant head.

7 28 18  Darcy Wilkin #12/Dede And The Dream #3/Borr (#10) + McFerrin (#18)/Brian Koenigsknecht #15  House show, Kalamazoo     A wonderful, and highly itchy, evening in Jennifer Prenkert’s backyard.  I brought my friend Kay from GR to let the worlds collide. Darcy kicked us off with prose humor and sung sadness, including a couple new ones:  album soon!   Dede Alder is a sweetheart, and I love the unconventional instrumentation (marimba and violin), but with my apologies, I haven’t been able to get into the tunes.  I will keep trying. I will note that she’s the only person I can think of who can get away with singing about sex and still have it sound like a children’s album. Matt and Carrie have been pursuing separate paths more often these days, but tonight it was harmonies and trains and wolves oh my. Pick A Flower and Kathleen sound like hits.  Brian convened most of his band, Pillar to Post, for this one, mostly Roswell tunes but a few older gems mixed in as well.  Gruffly acoustic, joyously earnest.  I left a cooler behind that I just picked up yesterday (Sept.2.) SO MANY MOSQUITOES.