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.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Live Music Log, August 2019

8 2 19 Carrie McFerrin #29/Libby DeCamp #9/MORGAN INGLE Zazio’s, Kalamazoo   Carrie's Songs And Stories series continues to be a rousing success, at least artistically, and this installment was no exception.  Three very different women taking turns singing and telling stories, downstairs from the usual venue at Webster's, inside the Radisson hotel downtown.  The change of venue brought a definite lessening of the crowd, and the people there were less inclined to listen; they mostly seemed confused that people perched on stools were singing at them.  All the while a very loud chef was leading some kind of tasting thing in the main restaurant adjacent to us in the bar. Morgan, from the band Slim Gypsy Baggage, has an earthy, bluesy quality;  Carrie is our country folk belter with a heart the size of a Buick; and Libby is ethereal, somehow urban AND rural, and somehow young AND impossibly old. One story of Morgan's involved a song that just kinda fell out of her head, as opposed to being worked on for ages;  I said, "so it was prolapsed?"  She found that amusing.
8 4 19 Emilee Petersmark #9 Creston Brewery, Grand Rapids  At this point I've become friends with a lot of artists.  I'm not collecting coups, or bragging, it's just a byproduct of show attendance and general admiration.  This artist, in particular, has broken through into real life.  We have lunch.  We walk the dog. I sang a song at a party thrown by her and her partner while facing the fence for a talent show. So I hope she tells me if I ever get obnoxious at a show.  Creston can feel like a big living room at Christmas where not everyone is paying attention to the person opening the gifts, and I have developed a bad habit of talking to artists midshow if things seem slow.  It's a case of familiarity overriding the respect I should have for the creative space, and it needs to stop.  Because wow everyone needs to hear these songs.  Em rarely plays Crane Wives songs at her solo sets, she has developed a significant arsenal by now of new ones and very old ones, revolving around themes of depression and recovery, anger and fear, despair and hope.  I'm hoping for a solo EP.  Gifted songwriter, excellent guitarist, great singer, striking visual artist, effortlessly cool person....and yet she struggles with anxiety and depression.  I'm not telling tales out of turn, she says as much at every show.  On the one hand, what hope is there for the rest of us gomers if someone as awesome as her feels this way....but on the other, if she likes to spend some of her precious time with me, maybe, just maybe, I'm ok too.  Clean Slate, Heavy, Black Hole, Before The Lights Came On, If The Sun Rises In The a better parallel world, these are big hit songs.  Get out to see her when you can.  And don't be afraid to shush me.
8 10 19 The Corn Fed Girls #6/The Red Sea Pedestrians #2 Bell’s, Kalamazoo  These two helplessly intertwined Kzoo institutions have a nifty parlor trick they pull out a few times here and there:  they play all of Abbey Road.  Every track.  Eleven musicians generating that sweet sweet Beatles noise.  Part of me is sad that it takes the tribute gimmick to fill the beer garden with people for these fabulous musicians, but the end result was so dang fun it's hard to be grumpy about it.  Each band played their own effortlessly virtuosic set before the main event, so I did get a good snootful of originals, CFG's homespun charm, then RSP's amiably menacing cosmic klezmer. Making polyrhythms safe for the masses! Bell's "remodeled" beer garden has comically few seats, I was leaning against a tree in an attempt at spinal support, but the music was of such a quality as to be worth the crappy venue.  Finally:  "shoot" (bass twirl).  "shoot" (bass twirl).  A glorious technicolor rendering of the Beatles' swan song.  The pageantry of the Anvil.  Vocal harmonies keeping I Want You (She's So Heavy) from slipping into tedium.  Here Comes The Sun:  the most money the Fab Four ever threw away.  The glory of the big medley.  This music will surely outlive us all.
8 11 19 FARMFEST Johannesburg: JILL JACK/Appleseed Collective #3/The Crane Wives #72/Luke Winslow-King #3/Seth Bernard #9  A little creative scheduling at work allowed me to drive way, way north for the final day of this smallish festival on someone's farm, deep in the wilds of far northeast Lower Pen.  Kinda glad not to do all three days, this was very much Dirty Hippies in the Woods with Weed, but the lure was two full sets by the Crane Wives.  And what will bring me back again is the main stage, an astonishing, gigantic natural bowl amphitheater that could accommodate many multiples of the people who were there.  High high on the hill by the food and vendors, almost a quarter mile from the stage, you could hear every note perfectly. I sat up there with Michele (who was vending her jewelry) for a good portion of the day.  But there was another stage, a small wooden dance pavilion, through the woods (or the hot fields) a good way, and that's where most of the music I wanted to hear was.  Jill Jack was an ingenue the last time I saw her, twenty years ago.  Now she has lived a life, recorded 12 albums, and she is still out here telling you how it's going, in wry, heartfelt, heartland folk-pop.  Blow Me Down featured fine high harmony from her (male) guitarist, who also used a Slinky as percussion on one tune. Another highlight:  the lovely Full Circle.  I then proceeded to hang out awkwardly with the Crane Wives on some hay bales while the Appleseed Collective slayed us with their virtuosity.  These four gents have an album coming out now (January) that was gestating a long long time, and I got to hear most of it across their two sets this day. This is as good as the genre you could call "Mumfordia" ever gets: crushing it, but the world has moved on. Pretty sure a line was "whores in my bed," but I chose to hear "horse." A cover of Blood, Sweat and Tears' "And When I Die":  a masterful showstopping rendition of a terrible song. The Collective and the Wives played one set on each stage;  the Collective had no repeats, the Wives had a few.  The big rock music with its faint whiff of past folkiness sounded damn good literally ringing from the hills. Luke Winslow King was a person who played music, joined by Seth for a few tunes.  Scott Pellegrom, there to play with Seth, came within millimeters of my back bumper with his Sprinter van.  (The guy at the gate gave me no directions when I arrived, so I ended up parking 40 feet from the damn main stage.)  Seth ushered in the sunset with his pensive guitar anthems and exhortations to take care of the earth and each other.  It was a long drive home in the dark, but it was so worth a day of my life.

8 16-18 19 HOXEYVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL, Wellston: Lindsay Lou #7/Political Lizard #3/FRONT COUNTRY/May Erlewine & The Motivations #18/CHICAGO FARMER/The Insiders #3/The Crane Wives #73/Gregory Stovetop #3/Airborne or Aquatic? #3/The Go Rounds #7/THE RAGBIRDS/Public Access #10/FULL CORD  Once again this year I did not attempt camping;  Dan and I shared a nearby cabin, this time with indoor plumbing. Lindsay Lou was the MVP of the festival: in addition to her fest-opening set, she sat in with more than a dozen other acts throughout.  Her set featured the Traditional Lavengood Sit-In, as well as a Warblers section with Melody Walker of Front Country subbing for Rachael Davis.  There were also covers of original Woodstock artists interspersed with the progressive bluegrass, in honor of its 50th anniversary, kinda wish every act had done this.  (Many did.) Then it was over to the Mitten Tent for Political Lizard.  It was moved much closer to the main stage this year, and scheduled sets had no overlap between the two.  A cynical man might say this was so they could pay fewer bands, but it did mean not missing anything unless you wanted to. The Lizard:  What if Silverchair were on Kindercore Records?  Jenna Olsen is my favorite lil scared bassist, like Tina Weymouth with a gun to her head.  Great new tune called Red Wine Gossip.  Chekhov's accordion sat there on the stage, but never went off. Front Country was a pleasant wash of countryish flavor, with impressive harmonies and some twists in the tail.  An acoustic guitar fed through pedals was made to sound like a cheap keyboard:  backhandedly impressive.  One tune sounded like the rebirth of redneck trance.  Highlight:  Don't Take My Life Away.  The Motivations were reliably joyous, with enough May-dancing spectacle to get me through to the winter.  A northern white girl shouldn't be able to get away with this soul revue, but dammit she does.

Saturday brought Chicago Farmer, a dude who usually plays one man band style, but had a trio for this set, including the amazing Jaik Willis, a shit hot guitarist who looks like one of the hillbillies in that Bugs Bunny cartoon.  This was very funny (great comic timing, shaggy dog stories) and musically solid.  The Dirtiest Uniform was a Todd Sniderish ode to strivers.  We can all relate to the one about $13 beers at the big arena show.  And, there is no pride in the factory farms.  Look him up.  The Insiders Pettied it up good:  not much else to say, they're a well oiled tribute machine by this point, one off charity show turned cash cow.  MOAR PHIL THO.  The Crane Wives coined a new term for their all inclusive yet sad sound:  dance-grief.  I always love watching other people grooving on the band I love.  Gregory Stovetop brought the rawk, like a course-corrected Bob Seger:  melodies for days, fleet fingers, a Selner on drums. Airborne or Aquatic? is the prog rock Brigadoon:  only appears at certain places and times to melt your mind before it buggers off back into the mists.  The Rickabus/Pellegrom drumoff was one for the ages. To close the evening, the Go Rounds played a silent disco:  all the music was piped into headphones that were doled out to all attendees.  With no headphones on, the sweaty, writhing tent was eerily silent, not even the vocals could be heard.  The tech limitations of this format led to the most satisfyingly stripped down sound I have yet heard from this cosmic brotherhood....and I danced my ass off.  Inhibitions went away for a while.  There are witnesses.  This was the sound of the visuals from one of those planetarium light shows being downloaded straight into your cortex.  There was a dog on the dance floor.

The Go Rounds were supposed to play a "normal" set to kick off Sunday, but lightning strikes put the kibosh on that.  Graham looked like he could kick a dog. So while we waited for the all clear, Gregory Stovetop played a magical impromptu set right there in the dirty grass in front of the stage, eventually joined by Rickabus on a snare drum if I'm remembering correctly. There were dancing toddlers.  I am not sure how I got this far without hearing the Ragbirds (the fuzz shutting down the Corner Bar's Rockford concert series helped with it), but of course they're fabulous.  Just like the Wives, rockier now than their folk origins, but Erin Zindle's violin ensures they always have a foot firmly planted in their roots. Skilled musical interplay serving songs that are bruised but defiantly optimistic. Em did a brief guest appearance on backing vocals for a Natalie Merchant cover.  Public Access, at full strength for full guitar-wall awesomeness, blew the crowd away, especially when Emilee stepped in for the only vocal, an encore of "Whole Lotta Love."  Steve broke a guitar string, so Dan Haefs raised his arms to let Steve play the iconic solo on his body, Whose Line style.  This move is now canon. Full Cord is straight bluegrass, which is not always my thing, but this band is so dang good at it that all succumb to their charms.  New kid fiddler is made of fire. There was more music, but I was tired so I went home.  I skipped most of the main stage acts in favor of the "Mitten Stage": tells you where my loyalties lie.

8 21 19 Molly #5 GDK Park, Holland  It was a lovely summer day, not too roasting yet at noon, so before work I moseyed downtown Holland to see Molly, accompanied by husband Scott, do an hour of tunes in the shady confines of the concrete-and-brick pocket park in downtown Holland.  Pleasant but low stakes....uintil Molly's visiting friend, Marcus Jordan, came up to sing a couple with her.  The gentleman is a stage singer of some renown and great skill, and a spin through Summertime was spellbinding. Molly can't sit still in any setting, and in the summer breeze with an appreciative audience, a lot of free form dancing happened.  But it never affects the rock steady vocal line.  Thanks kids.
8 22 19 Cameron Blake #3/SECRET FORTE GR Live, Home at the BOB, Grand Rapids  A noon hour of nifty local tunes:  Secret Forte was nice, kind of a Modest Jimmy Eats The Mouse World. I'd go see em.  But Cameron's kinda hard to believe he makes his home here, the Baltimore transplant is just so dang good and assured and BIG in his lonesome scarecrow sound. His upcoming album (still not out in January 20) is more diverse than his piano debut and gospel-tinged second, judging from the tracks he played today:  funkier, louder, but still lots on its mind.  Only Goya was a STOMPER, and Gillian was lovely. I was backer #2 on his Kickstarter. Five months later and no CD though....

8 23 19 Hollywood Makeout #5 Riverfront Park, Allegan  I dearly love the propulsive asskicking surfpunk sound this band, led by a med tech and a kindergarten teacher, puts out.  Downtown Allegan had its bell good and rung when its excellent outdoor sound system pushed this joyful noise out across the river and echoing off the crumbling brick backsides of the stores. I got Roo to come out with me because I knew she would really dig this powerful female-fronted rawk.  Sheila (the dog)  also came, because outdoor show, but enjoyed it rather less. New album soooooon.

8 24 19 COLIN COOPER & DAVID SIMMER Ridge Cider Co., Grant  Semi-reunion of the Irish band The Saltbound, my gateway from Married Life to Music Life (Colin worked with my ex wife at Walgreens). Kaity, Colin's wife, was there, but did not reprise her role as second singer.  A few other old acquaintances from the day came out for the show, making times awkward but enjoyable, which is honestly my wheelhouse. David is an excellent mandolinist, Colin has some fun originals, and the traditional Irish tunes were thick on the ground for a nice lil northern hootenanny.

8 30 19 Pillar To Post #2/The Missing Generation #4 Louie’s Trophy House, Kalamazoo   Turns out dudes can still make compelling music too;  I've been so focused on female fronted music that I sometimes forget that.  The Missing Generation is a much more focused and confident band after a few years, looking forward to a recording.  Maxine was a best foot forward, Abe Savas' crunchy compulsive ear candy blending well with Chris Schleuder's tuneful intelligence and Tim Sparling's earnest honesty.  Chris had a great song about John Stockton and Karl Malone (old b-ball players) as buddy cops.  The slightly fuzzier edge sits well on them....but Abe is the only guy in the band who was wearing long pants.  Whatever that means.  And then, Brian Koenigsknecht's Brigadoon rock band put us through our paces with well-practiced, muscular yacht rock chops.  Brian has made a name for himself as more of a troubadour, but I hope the band sees a resurgence, because they're all so dang good, and the songs take on an urgency that can be lost solo.  (Intensity, though, goes UP solo.)  A good time with the menfolk at the Olde Dogge.

8 31 19 Megan Dooley #19 Founders, Grand Rapids  I have seen Dooley play in so many different settings:  church, library, bar, stage, museum, back of a resale shop....but never the big stage at Founders, till now.  She changes her look a lot, and she switches up her repertoire, but her show has never gotten far from her playing the songs she likes and hoping you like them too.  This was billed as kind of a last hurrah for this type of solo show;  she's planning to put a band together to go in other directions.  Being a professional musician is incredibly difficult, and to keep the fire in your belly, you have to stoke the fires.  Her light may flicker in a stiff breeze, but it never goes out.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Venue Counts

VENUE COUNTS since mid-2014
In Michigan unless noted 1/18/20
Towns 56
Venues:  private 122  public 30  outdoor 41 now closed 9 Map link

    Covered Bridge Park 1

     Riverfront Park 2
     Tantrick Brewing 1

    Wildwood Family Farms 1

Ann Arbor
    Blind Pig 1

Battle Creek
    W.K. Kellogg Foundation 1

    Short's 2

Benton Harbor
    The Livery  7
    Mendel Center 2

    Eagles Lodge 1
    House show 2

    Charlevoix Cinema III 1

    Rumpus Room 1

    Showboat Park 1

Chicago, IL
    Schuba's 1
    Vic Theater 2

     Depot Park 1

Comstock Park
    Beaver Lodge 1
    Perrin Brewing 1

    Circle Pines Center 3

    Saugatuck Brewing 1

East Lansing
     Bailey Park 1
     MSU Community Music School 1

    Crane's Pie Pantry 6
    Salt Of The Earth 9

    Otus Supply 1

Goshen, IN
     Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College 1

Grand Haven   
    Grand Armory 10
    House show  2
    Tri Cities Museum 2

Grand Rapids
    A vacant lot on Logan St. 1
    Ah-Nab-Awen Park 1
    Billy's 1
    The BOB 11
    Chaffee Planetarium 1
    Creston Brewery 15
    EcoPrint 5
    Festival of the Arts 2
    Founders 26
    Grand Rapids Art Museum 1
    Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Branch 1
    Harmony Hall 5
    HopCat 1
    House shows 5
    Intersection 6
    Kent District Library, Cascade Branch 2
    Knickerbocker 1
    Listening Room  3
    Local First Street Party 1
    Long Road Distillers 1
    Mulligan's Pub 1
    One Trick Pony 1
    Outside Coffee Co. 1
    Peoples Cider Co. 1
    Pyramid Scheme 10
    Quinn and Tuite's 2
    Riverside Park  2
    Rocky's 2
    Rosa Parks Circle 4
    St. Cecilia Music Society 1
    SpeakEZ Lounge 1
    Tip Top Deluxe  7
    20 Monroe Live 4
    Van Andel Arena 1
    Wabash Hollow (house show) 1
    Wealthy Theatre 5

    Ridge Cider Co. 1

    Thornapple Plaza 1
    Walldorff Brewpub 1

    Hilliards Corner Lounge 4

    Brew Merchant 1
    Coppercraft Distillery 2
    Fireside Brewing 1
    GDK Park 1
    Hops at 84 East 1
    Knickerbocker Theatre 1
    New Holland Brewery 13
    Park Theatre  8
    Theopolis (house show) 2
    Waverly Stone Gastropub 1

    Corson Auditorium 1

    Farmfest 1

    Arcadia Ales 1
    Beer Exchange 1
    Bell's 28
    Bronson Park 1
    Chau Haus 2
    Craft Draft 2 Go 1
    Factory Coffee 1
    Final Gravity Brewing 9
    First Congregational Church 2
    Grand Traverse Distillery 5
    Harvey's 4
    HopCat 5
    House shows 4
    Jerico 1
    Kalamazoo Piano Co. 1
    Kalamazoo Valley Museum 6
    Kal-Tone Instrument Co. 3
    La Luna Recording Studio 1
    Louie's Trophy House 6
    Milhouse 1
    O'Duffy's Pub 1
    Old Dog Tavern 27
    Overneath Creative Collective 1
    Papa Pete's 1
    Potter's Lounge 1
    Rootead 1
    Rupert's Brew House 2
    Saugatuck Brewing 1
    Shakespeare's Lower Level 1
    Tibbs Brewing 1
    Union Cabaret & Grille 1
    Webster's 13
    Zazio's 3

Lake Ann
    Lake Ann Brewing 1

Lake City
    Earthwork Farm 3

Lakewood, OH
    Winchester Tavern 1

     The Loft 1
     The Robin Theatre 1

Lathrup Village
    Municipal Park 1

     Barn Brewers 1

    Old Art Building 1

    Mitten Bar 3

    Ore Dock Brewing 2

    Memorial Park 1

    Frauenthal Center 3
    Pigeon Hill Brewing 2
    Unruly Brewing  4

Nelsonville, OH
    Hocking College 1

    Feed The World Cafe 2

    Bookends Resale Shop 1

Paw Paw
    Lucky Girl Brewing 1
    Paw Paw Brewing 1

    Ransom District Library 1

    Rockford Brewing 4

    Guardian Brewing 1
    Saugatuck Center For The Arts 1

     Cellar Brewing 1

Spring Lake
    Seven Steps Up 7

South Haven
    Black River Tavern 1
    Community Pavilion 1
    Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum 1
    Riverfront Park 1

     Sturges-Young Auditorium 1

Three Rivers
    Downtown on the street 1

Traverse City
    House shows 1
    Rare Bird Brewpub 3

     Distant Whistle 1
    The Bus Stop 2

    Hoxeyville Festival Grounds 3

    Tripelroot 5

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Artist Master List

Through 1.18.20

Accidentals, the 12.31.15
Adams, Lexi 11.2.17
Aguirre, Marisa 12.1.18
Airborne Or Aquatic? 8.19.18
Al Saadi, Laith 6.10.17
Allen, Jake 10.27.17
Anderson, Kate 9.22.18
Andrade, Antonio 10.23.18
An Dro 2.16.19
Andrus, Christopher 2.10.17
Ani & Kora 9.21.18
Annagail 1.18.19 
Apple & the Moon 6.2.17
Appleseed Collective, the 8.19.17
Arcangeli, Kate 7.21.18 › kate-arcangeli
Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club 12.16.18
Atkinson, Travis 12.18.19
August 11.8.19
Austin, Alex 4.29.18

Baker, Andy 10.23.18
Baker, Sierra Skye 9.20.19
Barley Saints, the 8.11.18
Barry, Phil, Electric Band 10.27.18
Beach Boys, the 1987
Beauchamp-Cohen, Michael 9.16.17
Belly 9.17.16
Bennet, Jimmie 9.2.18
Bernard, Seth 12.31.16
Big Dave & the Ultrasonics 1992
Big Dudee Roo 5.27.17
Bigfoot Buffalo 8.18.18
Big Sirs, the 4.5.19 
Birdseed Salesmen, the 1.6.17
Bittinger, J. Oscar 10.23.18
Blake, Cameron 9.7.18
Blanca Luz 5.26.18
Blue Jay Bridge 12.18.19
Bombara, Beth 11.24.19
Borr, Matthew 2.4.17
Borr McFerrin
Bowles, Ralston 11.2.17
Brandino Extravaganza, the 10.18.19 
Breathe Owl Breathe 8.18.18
Brena 12.18.19
Bride Of Fleckenstein 9.1.18 
Bridges, Dacia, Project 11.25.17
Brother Brothers, the 11.3.18
Brown, Sari 9.16.17
Burch, Anna 11.11.18
Burgess, Charlie 10.19.19
Burns, Tanner J. 5.11.19 

Canceled Plans 9.22.18
Capt. Cat 1.23.19 
Chance Jones 11.26.16
Channing & Quinn 6.14.19
Chapman, Beth Nielsen 6.14.19
Chicago Farmer 8.17.19
Chirp 6.14.19
Churchill, Mat 1.6.18
Cloudlight 5.19.18
Concussions, the 4.28.19
Cooper, Samantha 1.20.18
Corn Fed Girls, the 8.26.17
Cooper, Colin, and David Simmer 8.24.19
Costello, Elvis, and the Imposters 11.17.18
Covert Operations 6.15.18
Crain, Samantha 6.15.19
Crane Wives, the 12.31.15
Cranick, Chris 5.3.19
Crooked Spires 5.11.19 
C2 and the Brothers Reed 3.28.19
Curved Earthward 7.21.17

Dalmatian Stone 5.4.19
Dangerville 1993?
DarlenYa 11.10.18
Darling, Charlie 9.13.19
Davina & the Vagabonds 10.10.19
Davis, Billy 9.16.17
Davis, Rachael 6.17.18
Dawes 8.17.18
DD MOTO 10.6.18 
Dean Martian 2.1.18
DeCamp, Libby 2.18.17
Dede and the Dream 3.23.18
Deerfield Run 1.18.20
DeWylde, Delilah, and the Lost Boys 6.10.16
Dickinson, Fiona 1.20.18
Diff & Dudley 2.3.17
Domestic Problems 11.27.15
Dooley, Megan 11.4.16
Double Strung 10.18.18
Dorman, Chris 9.21.18
Dowd, Gerald 7.29.17
Drew Phoria 11.24.18
Dupas, Ed 10.26.18
DuPont, Chris 2.1.18

Earth Radio 11.30.18
Effert, Sandra 10.23.18
Eight Belles 9.2.18
Electric Light Orchestra 7.23.19
Elliott, Blake 9.23.18 
E Minor/Elizabeth Landry  9.15.17
Engblade, Eric 1.20.18
Erlewine, Anne 9.16.17
Erlewine, May 12.10.16
Escaping Pavement 6.14.19
Extra Texture, the 4.14.18

Fancy Restaurants, the 1.22.19
Fauxgrass 9.20.19 
Foo Fighters 2010?
Ford, Frazey 6.2.17
Founding, the 11.16.17
Foxfeather 5.9.19
Frenchtown Playboys, the 12.16.18
Friends With the Weather 3.23.18
Front Country 8.16.19
Fruit Punch 2.9.19
Full Cord 8.18.19
Funktion 6.14.19 

Gabriel, Matt 10.20.17
Garland, Allie 8.2.17
Gasoline Gypsies, the 6.10.17
Gifts Or Creatures 9.16.17
Gladding, Ryan 5.18.19
Glaspy, Margaret 9.28.18
Gold, Paige 2.9.19
Good, Chris 11.10.18 
Go Rounds, the 12.31.16
Granny Devito 8.18.18
Gross, Matt 3.31.18
Guided By Voices  9.12.14

Haapala, Stefanie 9.28.18
Hacky Turtles, the 10.12.17
Hamilton, Jordan 8.16.18
Hamman, Kevin 6.9.17
Haner, Morgan, and the Transmitters 8.11.18
Hannah Rose & the GravesTones 5.28.17
Hansen, Cole 7.6.19
Harrell, Mark 5.4.19
Harrison, Dhani 7.23.19 
Hawks & Owls 6.16.18
Heavy Color 2.11.17
Hicks, Braxton, and the Contractions 9.22.18
Hill, Nikki 6.14.19 
Hølborn 9.21.18
Holloway, Nashon, Band 8.26.17
Hollywood Makeout 9.2.17
Holy Warheads, the 2.21.19
HoneyHoney 6.2.17
Honeytones, the 4.29.18
Hoom 5.11.19
Hootie & the Blowfish 1992
Hopie Jo 11.10.17
Howard & Skye 10.23.18
How To Live Together 2.9.19 
Hymn, Tom 4.28.18

I Believe In Julio 5.26.18
I'm With Her 11.3.18
Infamous Stringdusters, the 8.17.18
Ingle, Morgan 8.2.19
Insiders, the 8.19.18 

Jack And The Bear 2.18.17
Jack, Jill 8.11.19
Jackson, Maddie 5.19.18
Jacobs, Neil 10.23.18
Jacobsen, Aspen 9.22.18
James, Stephie 12.31.17
Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish 5.28.17
Jessica In The Rainbow 5.19.18
JetBeats, the 11.11.16
Jive After Five 9.15.17
Johannesen, Brian 7.6.18
Johnson, Loren 4.29.18
Joseph Airport 9.12.14
Joy Formidable, the 6.9.16

Kahn, Daniel 9.16.17
Kahn, Eli 12.29.19
Kalmink, Jake, and Further Closer 5.4.19
Kate and the Cold Calls 1.6.18
Kinks, the 1995
Knee Deep Shag 12.27.14
Koenigsknecht, Brian 3.31.17
Koviak-Davison, Stacy 11.3.17
Kramer, Jes 9.22.19
Kraus, Caitlin 6.2.17
Kristene, Leah 5.19.18

Lady Ace Boogie 2.8.19
Laine, Hannah 2.8.18
Last Gasp Collective 6.16.18
Lavender, Yolonda 6.23.18
Lavengood, Mark 2.8.18
Lazy Genius 11.26.16
Leaf & Foote 9.22.19
Leaf, Steve, and the Ex Pats 4.21.17
Lee, Grace Elizabeth 7.14.17
Lee, Miranda 10.19.19 
Lighting Matches 6.7.18
Light Switches, the 9.2.18
Lindsay Lou (and the Flatbellys) 3.3.17
Ling, Bruce 2.17.19
Link, Ian 8.4.17
Lipstick Jodi 5.19.18
List, Mike 5.18.19
Lockwood, Max 4.8.18
Longley, Liz 1.21.17
Lushh 11.30.18
LVRS 10.29.19
Lynch, Kari, Band 12.18.19

Macquarrie, Lachlan  7.6.18
Madcat Midnight Blues Journey 6.15.18
Mae, Melissa 5.18.19
Mainstays, the 3.23.19
Maloney, Heather 9.22.18
Mann, Branden, and the Reprimand 12.31.19
Marcy Playground 12.14.19
Martinez, Diego 12.1.18 
Matchsellers, the 6.9.18
Matthews, Bruce, Band 12.18.19
McCartney, Paul  1994
McFerrin, Carrie 12.2.16
McKay, Nellie 5.11.18
McLaughlin, Micah 6.15.18
McWeakerton 3.7.19
Melophobix 11.22.19
Mench, Charlie 5.18.19 
Michigander 2.8.19
Mickley, Judy 7.21.18
Millard, Charlie, Band 9.27.19
Millerschin, Olivia 4.13.19
Minor Element 11.30.18
Mipso 9.22.17
Miss Atomic 9.9.17
Missing Generation, the 6.9.17
Misty Lyn 3.23.18
Mitchell, Anais 10.20.19
Moaiery, Lisa 7.29.17
Modern Adventures 4.20.19
Molly 6.23.18
Moore, Nathan 7.21.18
Mousewolf 9.21.18 
Mustard Plug 6.16.18

Negar & MJ 4.20.19
Nelson, Drew, and Highway 2 8.26.17
Nicholas James & the Bandwagon 9.15.17
Nicole, Danielle 6.10.17
Nobody's Darlin' 6.22.19
North Carolines, the 9.23.18
Northern Fires, the 2.4.17
NorthLand 1.23.19

Often Home 4.20.19
Oh Brother Big Sister 6.30.19
Older, Les, and the Ganja Gang 9.27.19
Olivia & the Aquatic Troupe 4.2.16
Ooze and Ozz, the 10.31.19
Osborn, Rodger 5.18.19
OUT 1.11.20
Over The Rhine 9.16.16

Papa Vegas 12.27.14
Parr, Susie, Trio 9.21.19
Peat In The Creel 11.16.17
Perilous Cats, the 2.2.18
Perren 2.9.19
Pershayla, Patty 1.20.19
Peters, Mechele 7.21.18
Petersmark, Emilee 3.4.18
Petrillo 1.11.20
Pillar To Post 9.7.18
Pillsbury, Kate 5.16.18
Piotrowsky, Nadia 10.23.18
Pistol Gang 6.9.18
Pixley-Fink, Elizabeth 9.21.19
Plain Jane Glory 11.25.16
Political Lizard 7.7.18
Porter, Joe Rollin 10.23.18
Powell, Joshua, and the Great Train Robbery 2.1.19
Powell/McFerrin/McCoy 10.26.18
Pozzetronics 5.19.18
Premo, Laurel 9.23.18
Pride, Monte 9.22.18
P.S., Anna 1.23.19 
Public Access 2.11.17

Quinlan, Axel 6.9.18

Rachel B 5.12.17
Radell, Allison 11.10.18
Ragbirds, the 8.18.19
Ravenwood, Zoe 10.24.19
Red Rio 7.1.17
Red Sea Pedestrians, the 9.15.17
Red Tail Ring 4.21.17
Reggie 5.26.18
Reilly, Joe 11.10.18
Richie And Rosie 8.19.18
Rickabus, Dan 8.27.17
Right Now, the 7.1.17
River Bend 10.13.17
Rodriguez 6.2.17
Rollins, Jacob 10.19.19
Roosevelt Diggs 1.20.17
Rose, Josh 10.23.18
Rose, Kaitlin 7.15.17
Roth, James 12.22.18 
Rough and Tumble, the 6.9.18
Rundgren, Todd 1995
Rush 1996?
Rupple Brothers, the 9.27.19
Ryne Experience, the 12.13.18

Sahlgren, Mark, and the Fragile Egos 3.2.19
Sailor Kicks, the 11.11.16
Saltbound, the  6.17.14
Sanger, John 1.10.20
Saxsquatch & Bridge Band 6.1.18
Schlueder, Chris 7.17.18
Schrock Brothers, the 6.17.18
Seasaw 10.11.19
Secret Forte 8.22.19
Semisonic 1996?
Seger, Bob 1996?
Serraperre, Jo, and the Willie Dunns 9.22.19
Sharp Dressed Men 5.18.19
Sherman Gepherd 2.14.19
Shain, Jon 10.27.18
Short Hair Domestics 12.13.19
Slankard, Megan 11.25.19
Smith, Jahshua 6.22.19
Smoke & Whiskey 12.1.18
Smoking Dandies, the 3.30.19
Snooze Cycle 1.6.18
Sparling, Tim 7.21.18
Spektor, Regina 11.4.17
Sprout, Tobin 4.8.17
Staggs, Danny 5.18.19
Starr, Ringo 2002?
Stepladders 8.19.17
Stash Band, the 4.15.18
Stella 6.16.19
Steppin In It 8.17.18
Stickley, Jon, Trio 8.19.17
Stover, Justin (Stovepipe) 8.10.18
Stovetop, Gregory 9.15.17
Strange Country (Weir/Noise) 11.24.17
Stroke 9 1999
Strapping Owls, the 6.16.17
Stuart, Mark 3.16.18
Suzies 5.26.18
Sweet Water Warblers 4.15.17
Swifney, Carl 2.9.19
Sygit, Jen 5.12.18

Talk Radio 5.11.19
Taylor, Desi 5.18.19
They Might Be Giants 6.2.17
Thomasma, Nicholas James 11.2.17
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot 7.29.17
Timm, Jonathan 7.6.18
Timmy The Teeth 8.11.18
Traverse, Ben 12.12.19
Treading Bleu 10.6.18

Upcoast Kin 11.27.19 

Valentiger 4.28.18
Valerie the Vulture 7.4.19
Vangoes, the 11.16.19 
Van Lente 5.19.18
Verve Pipe, the 12.27.14
Vespre 9.16.17
Via Mardot 1.9.20
Vox Vidorra 5.13.16

War and Treaty, the 8.2.17
Watkins, Sara 1.21.17
Way Down Wanderers, the 12.31.15
Whales 1.11.20
Whistle Stop Revue 8.18.17
Who, the 2004?
Who Hit John? 12.5.19
Wilcox, Liam 5.19.18
Wild Sparklings, the 11.24.17
Wilkin, Darcy 12.2.16
Wilson, Karisa 11.16.17
Winnow 8.17.18
Winslow-King, Luke 6.2.18
Wished Bone 6.2.17
WOOTS 11.24.18
Wright, Aaron 12.23.17

Yankovic, Weird Al 3.10.18

You Know I Know 4.20.19 
Youngman, Frank, All Stars 8.19.17

Zed Zeppelin (Fred Zeppelin) 9.16.17

Monday, December 30, 2019

Top 5 for Local Spins 2019

I've dived so deep into the rich and varied local scene that I can only think of a small handful of new national acts I bought this year.  Here's my shot at this.

1. Darcy Wilkin, Bristol:  If this got national distribution it would be Americana album of the year.  After 21 years cocooned in the Corn Fed Girls, Darcy steps out on her own and hits it out of the park with astute, sometimes harsh but always humane glimpses of lives led in quiet desperation.  Stellar production by Joe Newberry.  Wait till you hear Waiting For The Wildflowers, just, wow.

2.  Borr McFerrin, Bottle Makes Three:  years in the making, this duo album takes their country folk sound and blows it up widescreen, the sound of lives lived hard but kind.  Trains, booze, horses:  well worn Americana topics, but served up with heart, harmony, and go for broke brio.

3.  August, Bloom:  I bought this one at Sandra Effert's release show after they played a great opening set.  First spin:  oh, this is nice, inoffensive soulful pop.  Second spin:  oh wow, are those women sisters?  Those harmonies?  Third spin:  Bailey Budnick is the best undersung drummer in this town, check those jazzy fills and off beats.  Fourth and fifth and more spins:  oh damn this is album of the year isn't it.  Like a Vox Vidorra with less weighty subjects on its mind:  not a diss, we need this sort of music as soundtrack to a well rounded life.

4.  Earth Radio, Mother's Breath:  the most exciting sound in West Michigan heads for outer space, and it shows few signs of coming back till they retrieve all our lost soul singers and prog heads.

5.  Guided By Voices, Sweating The Plague:  Robert Pollard is a personal hero, parlaying a teaching career into perhaps the biggest cult following in music.  His band's third album of the year, 32nd overall, actually finds new sonic territory to explore, with perhaps the most skilled lineup of a 36 year odyssey. Rawk!

Best live show this year:  TIME OUT: An Evening of Songs and Stories with Katie & Sav of the Accidentals and Kate & Emilee of the Crane Wives, Mendel Center, Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor:  In which all the tissues were required, on stage and off.  This special show, first of a three night run, was just what it says on the tin, four young women elaborating on what their songs mean to them.  It got really real, really fast, to the displeasure of some, to the bleary delight of others.  So much candor about anxiety, depression, disease and doubt.  And a lot of REALLY GOOD TUNES.  Em stuck to mostly unreleased material again, and Kate had a few new ones as well.  Katie had a great song, Geminids, about watching a meteor shower with her mom, cancer diagnosis looming over her like a celestial question mark.  Sav had one called Marrow, about a sick baby, that had us all bleary eyed.  Catharsis:  The Tour.  A lovely rare outing for Kate's Can't Go Back, a song that kicks my ass every time.  "It's time to be more forgiving of yourself, and your sins." Em's Destroy Everything is a gentle but insistent kick in the ass.  From my notes, can't remember context:  "Lucid nightmares speeding on M-45."  Oh lordy have I ever been there.  In my top ten shows ever.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Live Music Log, July 2019

Hi.  I'm a guy who goes to shows in West Michigan and then writes down what I remember about them. These are their stories.
7 4 19 Olivia & The Aquatic Troupe #28/VALERIE THE VULTURE Founders, Grand Rapids  The bogus holiday was celebrated with the Mainville/Schreibers in the increasingly problematic confines of the Founders Taproom.  Opening act Valerie the Vulture, like Alice Cooper both a band and a person, lit a firecracker under our asses with big fat garage rock chords from a trio of women who were not here to play nice.  Valerie, aka Willa Rae Adamo, previously led a Halloween themed band, so they were a more natural fit with Liv and Brandon than outwardly apparent.  Back then they had nothing out, now there are two singles to hear and a lot more to come.  The Troupe were nearly blown off their own stage, but the femme-Django strains soothed the savage beasts just fine.  The band taunts us by playing so many songs from the album that will never ever be released it seems:  languid talky anthems with Olivia's precision guitar stings, Adam's controlled chaos on drums, and Brandon's steady bass, so different from his own excitingly erratic guitar with Jack and the Bear.  I think Bleu was there.  This was a long time ago. To prevent this crap from happening, I am gonna start writing about shows immediately, and save the drafts.  This blog is supposed to be a memory aid, not a test.
7 6 19 Carrie McFerrin #28/COLE HANSEN Beaver Lodge, Comstock Park  This was a model of how a house show should be run, a model I intend to attempt copying at my house next year.  Stacy Noonan and Jonathan Beaver, who play music together under the name Beaver Xing, put on a few shows each summer at their house right alongside York Creek, with a big backyard on a beautiful piece of wooded land sandwiched between the behemoth York Creek Apartments and six lanes of Alpine Avenue.  I could bring Sheila!  Two canopies were pitched:  one for the performers, and one for the crowd in case of rain. A spread of snacks and beverages were available.  Cole Hansen played first;  late of the band Bello Spark, she's been stepping out on her own with her amiable, intelligent folk-pop.  Favorite lyrical image:  uncracked garage sale books.  I know that feeling and smell so well...  Undisputed highlight:  the utterly charming Tightrope Walker, extolling the virtues of doing whatever the hell you want to with your life. Carrie, resplendent in handkerchief-dress-thing, brought Mikey Powell up to GR with her for support and harmony, and she sounded super spiffy in the warm night air.  But then it started to sprinkle.  And then it started to pour.  And because the Beavers came prepared, the show moved under the big tent to continue unplugged.  Sheila, already not a fan of amplified music, retreated to an old couch inside the barn, and since she seemed disinclined to budge, I joined the writhing crowd under the tent, glasses steaming up, hollering and dancing as the show devolved into drunken singalongs.  This was the definition of how to spend a kickass summer evening.  The next weekend, I had to move all my belongings to my new Miracle Ghetto House, so I was glad of the respite.
7 23 19 ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA/DHANI HARRISON Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids  Since my immersion in the local scene, I don't carve out a lot of time for national acts.  For Jeff Lynne's first US tour in 35 years, I made an exception.  This was my first time inside Van Andel in ten years, since seeing Foo Fighters with my ex wife. I had bought the tickets eight months earlier in hopes of bringing my mother, but she had oral surgery close to the date and begged off. I invited an acquaintance from Kzoo to come with, as a kind of test date, but no sparks seemed to fly in either direction.  (If she reads this: surprriiiiise)  Dhani looks and sounds so much like his dad it's spooky, but he's carving out his own path:  even in his thirties, he looked like a kid sneaking onto the stage with his scruffy mates amid the gargantuan ELO sets.  His band thenewno2 seems to be no more, these were more straightforward rock tunes, but I couldn't make out the lyrics at all:  the sound crew gave the opener short shrift compared to the booming fidelity of Jeff's set. The huge crowd roared when Jeff broke into "Standin' In The Rain" (odd opener) and barely let up for the next 100 minutes as the jukebox kept a crankin.  No other original members are left, but some of the randos on stage got a spotlight at times as Jeff rested his voice or his guitar hands. Do Ya was the only Move tune of course, and the hardest rocker of the evening;  Can't Get It Out Of My Head was impossibly lovely; the only surprising tune, 10538 Overture, was majestic as fuck; Shine A Little Love still sucks; and the Roll Over Beethoven encore connected it all back to Mom's old ELO II 8 track:  some nights, nostalgia rules.  Undisputed highlight was when Dhani came back out to join in on Handle With Care, to eulogize departed Wilburys. Would I have liked more deep cuts?  Absolutely.  But this massive production was about delivering Mr. Blue Sky to the masses, and that's ok.

7 27 19 The Crane Wives #71 The Robin Theatre, Lansing  I got to attend a Wives show with Dan in his own town for the first time.  (He was also at the Loft show, but I was with Renae and Julie at that one.) Five months out, the details are gone, but I guarantee I enjoyed myself in the intimate setting with an attentive audience.  Kate once asked me:  aren't you bored to death with these songs yet?  This is show 71!  Answer:  nope.  There is always new nuance, slight change in setlist, welcome spins around the block with old friends (both the songs and the band). This is loyalty, but not JUST loyalty:  these tunes are the soundtrack I choose, the way I want the flow of my emotional life to be directed.  From the depths of despair found in Nothing at All to the hesitant dawn of new hope in Daydreamer, these are the grooves my heart bumps along in.  Always looking for new converts to my cockeyed religion.