Detroit in Ann Arbor: HandGrenades and Kelly Jean Caldwell

. January 25, 2017.
HandGrenades - Photo credit Doug Coombe
HandGrenades - Photo credit Doug Coombe

Hello, everyone. I’m writing this column on the day of an Inauguration that I’m sure you just spent the previous weekend reading (and talking) about, yourselves…, so I frankly have no clue as to what the state of our collective psyche as a country may be at, now that it’s nearly a week into a new “administration…” I’m not speaking for myself, I’m only pointing to the feeds of other artists and fellow friends, their feeds on twitter or facebook, people have some traumatizing anxiety, much of it is justifiable, too.

So, while we risk writhing ourselves into a stupor, I only know one thing, the one thing I’ve always come back to as a certainty whilst writing these columns, is that there’s guaranteed catharsis, and an assured restoration of one’s imperative enchantment with life, through the ceremony of live music, the gathering for a concert, the harmonious sway, stomp, head-nod, or mosh of a mass of people, during the recital of an amplified piece of music.

Not that I wanted to get political. But I’ll certainly tell you that my mind’s too scattered on this inauguration day to keep much focus… So, let’s listen to a song.

HandGrenades are a five-piece out of Detroit that specializes in Beatles-esque three-part harmonies and revel in the resplendent intricacies of space-rock, art-pop and punk-spurred baroque-pop. Tonight at the Blind Pig, the HandGrenades will be joining Ypsi’s elegant-garage/blues-stomp duo Junglefowl and another Detroit-outfit, a trio blending elements of jazz and punk, called Nature’s Garbage. More info

Thursday ~ Blind Pig ~ 208 S. 1st St., Ann Arbor ~ 9pm ~$5 (or $8 for under 21)
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Here’s another song…

Detroit-based singer/songwriter Kelly Jean Caldwell released her long-awaited album, Downriver, a couple months ago. She had a busy year of the usual life-stuff, marriage, raising kids, and helping her husband start a record label that operates out of the bar that he runs in Hamtramck… But, thankfully, her bandmates were all on board when she eventually got back around to embracing the idea of releasing these 2012-recordings. It’s as scruffy like garage, winding and wandering like psychedelia, waltzy and dreamy as a country slowdance, and jangled in its strutting way like classica Americana. But Kelly’s voice has this supernatural aura about it, the way she describes celestial angels with a playful singsong-y melody over explosive guitar riffs and driving beats; it feels weirdly-cozy, uncanny in its comforting-ness.

The Kelly Jean Caldwell band comes to the Elks Pratt Lounge on Friday for a concert that features Autumn from Rebel Kind, Shelley Salant and Ryan Cady on spinning records between, and a newer country-rock outfit from Detroit called Loose Koozies (which includes Ann Arbor’s Erin Davis on bass). More info

Friday ~ Elks Pratt Lodge ~ 220 Sunset Rd., Ann Arbor ~ 9pm ~ $5
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And that’s all I’ve got, for now… If you’re not in the mood for live music, then why not spend your Saturday at Bona Sera for an excellent dinner-and-a-movie-type experience. Film Geeks Underground! Check it out.

Alrighty then. Let’s all keep our wits about us. We’re all in this together. And remember to support local music!

Until next time.

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