This is the time of year I usually construct an Autumn mix showcasing notable local singles; something to affect a richly fogged aesthetic crackled with tinny acoustic strums and shuffling, brushy percussion. But the Internet connection in the coffee shop where I’m drafting this is abysmal and I have no way to sync up with any of your neighbors’ commendable bandcamp streams for reference. Just the same, there’s TOO much going on in October to waste my word space, I have to tell you about the Neutral Zone, and YpsiFest and new albums from Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful (and, eventually, Frontier Ruckus). And I have to tell you about cover bands, too.
(Continuing) Music Education
Ace indie/folky singer/songwriter Chris Bathgate performed a fundraiser-concert last month at the Blind Pig, supporting the Ann Arbor-based teen center (Neutral Zone) and its creativity-stoking educational programming and workshops. This isn’t entirely rock-music-related and Mr. Bathgate doesn’t have a new album for your ears (yet), but I just felt it important, with school days here again, to stress the vitality of supporting such an endearing/inventive/educational hub. This is the place where the next generation of Arbor/Ypsi musicians/artists can begin honing their crafts, making their own music, making their own art, even running their own studio, at such a young age.
New Albums On The Way
The fifth annual great-lakes-music-glorifying MidWest Fest was hosted up in Mt. Pleasant late last month, featuring performances from, among many Arbor/Ypsi-ites –one of my personal favorite autumn-jam composers: Gun Lake. Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful also played at Midwest, a band that will finally see the release of its 2nd full length album False Honey in early November. You can find the dusky/delicate folk-furled ballads of Ms. Misty Lyn Bergeron (another regular on my autumn mixes) via her bandcamp (should you succeed with a better coffee-shop-wi-fi connection than I). Frontier Ruckus, stunningly stately, richly-rendered Americana-tweaking rock-odyssey-authors, are on tour this month (probably somewhere in the south as you read this, Oklahoma maybe, or possibly Missouri), fleshing out their newest songs that will soon see release via the double-album-sized Eternity of Dimming LP (currently at 20 songs, 90-minutes and about 12-full Word-Doc pages of lyrics). Look out! That’ll be later on, this Winter. New music’s on the way, also, from Ann Arbor-electro-auteur Charlie Slick, embarking on another campaign of creative reinvention last July by starting up his own electronics company and changing his dance/funk-flaring band’s proper name to Saggitronics. His most recent shows paired him with hip-hop leaning acts, so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes with this, evolving into sager, eclectic territories, beyond the initial basement-set party-starter.
YpsiFest (Ghost Family Reunion)
The 8th annual music festival returns to Woodruffs October 11-13, featuring dozens of Washtenaw (and Wayne) county regulars like Blue Snaggletooth, Ferdy Mayne, Lawless Carver and Congress. Started by Ypsi-based singer/songwriter/punk-ethos-preservationist Anthony Gentile back in 2003 and backed, now, by the rock-reverent band-collective known as Ghost Family, the goal, each year, as always been “to celebrate our little tribe in Ypsilanti and all of the great bands in the area that we’re all so fortunate to be connected to.” Who needs my Autumn mixes when you can find a fine revue of local talents on display, live, that weekend. Eight bands per night, with music starting early; get there!
My internet connection hasn’t improved this far into the column so it’s as good a time as any to sign off. I wish you all a happy autumn and a happy Halloween: costume parties are an inevitability, but being in Michigan means you’re spoiled with a surplus of enthusiastic/talented musicians who are all to ready to spice things up by masquerading as iconic bands of varying eras. It turns the whole tribute-band function on its ear; you can find far (and more creative) cries from knock-off family-friendly-festival-trolling Beatles or Elvis impersonators. Your local rock club could be a reliable destination to spiritedly dance like a zombie.