Well, we appear to have made it through those first bum weeks of a New Year when booking folks and musicians take long winter’s naps and forget to entertain us. Luckily, one night of the week has remained a consistent source of good-time, steamy-window, eardrum-rattling rock ’n’ roll since the first Saturday of November. And even now with plenty of other options, “Saturday Nights Live” at the Lager House still packs ’em in with the lure of some of Detroit’s most prominent bands (plus promising out-of-towners), up close and personal for just five bucks.
Fancy Lad & Living Endustry Productions (aka Rich Hansen and Chris Fuller) have managed to synthesize some kind of Garage Rock City wonderful week after week. I think this is what Detroit music fiends all over the world perceive the city to be like 24-7. After practicing the art of dodging cigarette burns and drunken hip-shakers for two weeks in a row, I don’t know if my peripheral vision could handle it nonstop, but it’s fun to imagine. Next week should be another hot one with two acts known for superior stage presence — Wildbunch, with its ostentatious rock wallop, and esQuire, with his campy rap and go-go dancers.
This past Saturday featured Mr. Airplane Man, a two-piece female blues combo from Boston, which is new to the Sympathy for the Record Industry label and was in town recording with Jim Diamond. Next up, the Shams brought some exuberant Cincinnati-style garage rock to the table. Then came Ko and the Knockouts. The trio played a bunch of fun, sweet and sad (in a fun way) songs that are going to be on its new record, which is also going to be put out by Sympathy. Then the Come Ons played. Holy cow, I love this band. Have you heard its new record, Hip Check? It’s super-good, but hearing the songs live is even better! It was the group’s first show with new keyboardist Nate Cavalieri, who is looking for a tailor so he can match the sharpness of the rest of the Come Ons at shows. If you know of a good one, give him the word when the band plays as part of the third “Swarm,” Tina’s birthday show at Magic Stick.
Talk about a good lineup, check this out: the Sirens, the Von Bondies, the Buzzards, the Hentchmen, Ko and the Knockouts and the Come Ons are all playing Friday, January 25 for the birthday party. The Sirens, a fun cover band that takes as much inspiration from ’60s girl groups as it does ’70s punk and ’80s metal, will play everything from Ike & Tina to Poison. With a few slight revamps, the lineup now stands with Muffy Kroha on vocals, Deanne Iovan on drums, Michelle Lanoo on bass, Melody Licious on guitar and (when he’s not on tour) Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs on guitar.
On a quieter note...
A beautiful noise gently bounced off the art-clad walls and corners of CPOP gallery as Ida played a special Detroit show to celebrate the release of its new record Shhh …, on Livonia’s Time Stereo label. But that’s to be expected. What wasn’t necessarily as anticipated was the gentle-natured performances from Michigan’s own Electric Bear and Warn Defever and the I Want You To Live 100 Years Band, both of which are generally better known for a bit of scratchiness. The Electric Bear made two special appearances, once as a solo during Tara Jane O’Neil’s spectacular cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” And then during a clamorous but pretty version of Ida’s “Shrug.” Defever and band alternated between olde-tyme folky songs about capitalism and some of the more “orchestrated” numbers from his new solo record, When Flowers Covered the Earth. Sadly, no “hollow log” was passed around this time. This, however, is probably for the best, considering the log’s special contents wouldn’t fly so high in the all-ages setting.
When Flowers … has been in the works since last November and is quite a departure from previous solo efforts. Duh. That sentence is almost embarrassing. Of course it’s a departure. There’s a definite wake-up, freak-out, time-for-bed vibe to it. If you like that sort of thing, you also might want to check out a recently released record from Pinwheel, a new band featuring Jacob Danziger, one of the violinists who appears on When Flowers …. Danziger might have them on hand tonight, when he plays with Flashpapr, which is opening up for Papa M at detroit contemporary. I’m on fire. You?