These Weekly What’s Up often encourage you to slam yourself into a cramped, cacophonous, dimly-lit club for a late night set from a very loud, provocatively expressive, eccentrically-attired band or artist pouring their guts out between swishes of PBR.
But this time, we’re going outdoors, in the daylight, amid a mixed crowd of hipsters and grandpas, cool college kids and hip Gen-Xers, between the museum patrons and the theatre patrons, the coffee-house troubadours and, yes, the regulars from the indie-rock club circuit.
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival kicked off earlier this week, running through July 6 with a full schedule of entertainment every weekend.
The idea? Celebrate and inspire the creativity of the community. Where’s it all going down? Hill Auditorium (825 N. University Avenue) Ingalls Mall/Top of the Park (915 E. Washington Street), and the Power Center (121 Fletcher Street). What’s the big deal? Upward to 140 events and performances, ranging from live music, songs and dancing, to family/kid-friendly activities, to DJ-decked dance parties. While headliners include several well-known national touring talents like Andrew Bird, Trombone Shorty, or, Michigan’s own comedy icon Lily Tomlin, but then, at the heart of it, are local treasures and musical mainstays like Frontier Ruckus, Jim Roll, The Understorey, The Whiskey Charmers Matthew Altruda, and many more.
Music: Timothy Monger, The Ragbirds, Zander Michigan and many (MANY) more
Most of the music (which is where this column inevitably leans) will happen at the Top Of The Park. This is the area where you can do fun stuff with the family at the KidZone (Arts In Motion) or on the Power Center Lawn (Yoga sessions). But, on the Rackham and Grove stages is where you’ll find a fine sampling of local bands and singer/songwriters.
Next week, on June 26: Timothy Monger (formerly of Great Lakes Myth Society) brings his resplendent re-imagining of Americana to the Grove Stage while Mel Brooks’ immortal sci-fi spoof Spaceballs will be screened at the Rackham Stage. That’s a refreshing mash-up, right?
On June 27 the impossibly-categorized Ragbirds perform at the Rackham Stage, expansive in genre and in talent – blending varyingly strong or subtle hints of world-music, bluegrass, folk, pop and rock and I’m sure three other musical flavors.
On June 29, you have the chance to sample some sounds from Detroit’s side of the state. Zander Michigan (otherwise known as singer/songwriter Zander Melidis) will perform his stylized brand of folk, with a melodic ramble and ear-worm warbles over an energetic strum on the acoustic guitar. With his suit striking an air of reverence and chivalry for the knightly troubadours of the old world, Zander completes his presentable folk-pop with a harmonica around his bow-tied collar and his straw boater hat keeping the sun out of his eyes.
Take a listen:
More info: https://a2sf.org/