Two Shows You Need to See Next Week

. January 4, 2017.
Catch Saajtak at the Blind Pig on January 13
Catch Saajtak at the Blind Pig on January 13

Hello Current readers. I’m typing to you upon a quiet morning before the loud evening of New Year’s, the last day of 2016. You can review our Favorite Local Albums of 2016 here, and by this week you should also be seeing print editions of our January issue, which features an interview with the folks at The Ark, talking about the 40th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

But with the holiday parties over, we’re all heading back to work now, or maybe starting up our winter semesters…, which means we could all use something to look forward to – like a couple of concerts!

Next Friday 1/13/17: Saajtak

The Macpodz are local legends and they’re hosting a dance party at the Blind Pig, next Friday. You’re guaranteed a hot, heavy blend of rock ‘n’ roll with slick funk and emotive soul; fiery trumpet, roiling organ, guitar, bass, drums, the works! Opening up is Jive Colossus, a brass-heavy funk and Afro-Cuban ensemble based out of Ann Arbor.

Then, for some more variety, there’s Saajtak, a Detroit-based quartet fissuring acid jazz and noise-experimentaion, glitch-heavy post-rock skews and mesmeric voice-modulations Mobius-stripping in these eerie/dreamy intonations. Saajtak had a live session on WCBN last month, and their debut album spectral [drips] came out in April.

Vocalist Alex Koi shifts from specter to space alien, from a metallic-mantra to a delay-splashed cavernous catharsis, all with a variety of different effects. Jon Taylor’s work on drums spans a fitful jazz splash of fills and fast tempos, to a militaristic metal slam. Ben Willis’ bass accompanies the percussion, but not often in a traditional sense of arrangement, instead that instruments utilized for the more beguiling timbres and evocative sounds that low-end growl can be aggressively-teased-into creating, finding are more motor-chugging whir and a woolier resonance; and that leaves the spell-casting synthesizers slung across extreme peak-to-valley oscillations and fascinatingly-jutted and embossed with an occasional flaring of supernatural/unnatural yowls, digi-drones and computerized agit-purrs.


Next Saturday 1/14/17: Jill Jack

Also coming up this weekend, The Ark is hosting a birthday bash for Detroit-area singer/songwriter Jill Jack. In fact, Jack has thrown these warm and celebratory shindigs for a few years’ running, now; it’s become a tradition here at a venue that has always been like a second home to the nationally-renowned performer. Jack has won several Detroit Music Awards and performed at the 2008 Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

Earlier this year, Jack released an album that delightfully diverged from her typical genre realm of folk-rock & Americana, and paired with a group of talented collaborators with backgrounds in jazz to form Jill Jack and The American Songbook, producing a covers collection with cherished standards by icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, George Gerswhin and more.

You can listen to more music from Jack at her website. Click here for more info on her Birthday Bash at the Ark.

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Laith Al-Saadi & Friends – Annual Birthday Bash

It goes without saying that Laith Al-Saadi is a treasure of the Ann Arbor music community. But if you haven’t yet experienced this bipedal force of nature with his signature beard, shredding guitar, and astonishing singing voice, then clear your schedule next Saturday… Laith Al-Saadi’s Annual Birthday Bash Sept 29 The Michigan Theater 8pm INFO

Grove Studios Grand Opening

If you’ve been following the pages (printed or online) of Current this past year, then you’ve probably heard a bit about Grove Studios already. Grove is a grassroots effort to provide musicians and artists from all around the Detroit metro area and western Washtenaw County a rehearsal and creative space for their work and development.

Audiotree Music Festival (Kalamazoo) – Sept 22/23

The Audiotree Music Festival returns to Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place next Saturday and Sunday. The lineup features more than 20 artists, including Father John Misty, Khruangbin, Chicano Batman, Diet Cig, and many more! While the names we dropped in the previous paragraph are nationally renowned artists signed on to notable labels like Sub Pop or

saajtak featured among a genre defying lineup at blind pig – sept 13

  Genres are irrelevant. No one proves that assertion better than Detroit’s saajtak. Formed five years ago at U-M’s School of Music, saajtak’s made quite an impression with their stormy fusion of free jazz, noise experimentation, electronica, space-rock and opera. Their newest EP, Hectic, came out earlier this summer. Hectic EP by saajtak Thurs, Sept 13 saajtak