The South End: A&E

Logout|My Dashboard


rss feed
Monday 01/16/2012
Review: BASS KITCHEN @ The Works

In a dazzling combination of lasers, strobe-lighting, crowd hopping and bass dropping, React Detroit presented yet another successful bass-driven show, this time landing at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Rosa Parks Boulevard at The Works.

Last Saturday night, Jan. 14th, BASS KITCHEN: KILL THE NOISE – DETROIT featured artists Kill The Noise, Serax, Matt Clarke, Casey Phear, DJ Raw Wave, Madis One w/ MC Meel Ticket, DUBphonics, Yetti, Massiffect, DJ Claymore, RCU and Disciple at The Works Club & Grill. The crowd filled the back room of the venue, pushing up against the stage and pulsing to the beats, cheering and waving their arms when each new artist came to the board.

"BASS KITCHEN is a bass music-oriented event encompassing all genres of EDM," said Jason Wakefield, Marketing/PR, React Presents Detroit.

Under the black lights, the scores of attendees sporting neon colors and twirling glow sticks seemed to move in stop motion because of the lights that flashed in accordance with the music. From furry hats and fish nets to baseball caps and button-downs, partygoers from all over Metro Detroit stayed inside until the wee hours of Sunday morning, away from the 17 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures outside.

"Shows like these demonstrate a big love for the community, which translates to support for making Detroit a better place," said Trevor Dernai, a photographer for the event and art promotion agency, sEnt.

Coming up tonight is MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE 2 in Detroit on Saturday Jan. 21 at Bert's Warehouse and Theater 2739 Russell St. The show starts at 8 p.m. and goes until 6 a.m.

Posted in A and e on Monday, January 16, 2012 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 09/21/2011
The Beat: R.E.M. broke up today...

15 years too late. Here are some bands from their hometown of Athens, Georgia that have managed to not cheapen their cause:

"Neutral Milk Hotel": Singer/songwriter Jeff Mangum's influence on alternative music is so massive that it even put him out of commission at the turn of the millennium. After releasing two acclaimed LP's - 1996's On Avery Island and 1998's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Mangum dipped out of the spotlight before NMH legitimately took off. Thankfully, 2011 marked his return back to music with the release of a commemorative box-set that spans the entire NMH discography, plus 15 unreleased songs. Although this writer was a bit weary of the return being a potential cash-grab by Mangum, he's handled the situation in the most genuine way. With sporadic performances slowly becoming consistent touring, after 15 years since playing the Magic Stick in Detroit, a return to the area seems inevitable.

"Witches": If Neil Young wrote songs for Nirvana to play but Kurt Cobain had an angelic female voice, tho at melting pot would equate to Witches. With a new full length "Forever" the three-piece is one the most impressive indie-rock bands of our time. They've played the Trumbullplex a couple of times, each to under 30 people making them undoubtedly one of music's best-kept secrets. All appreciators of an astoundingly catchy tune should give Witches a try.

Posted in A and e on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Monday 09/19/2011
The Beat: Foo Fighters mock Westboro Baptist Church appropriately

Finally, a group of musicians handle the "Westboro Baptist Church's": attempt to regress society’s mindset one ineffectual protest after another in a comical way that mocks their idiocy impeccably.

While I think giving "Fred Phelps": and Co. a millisecond of my time is as futile as say, the Iowa straw poll, the Foo Fighters managed to effectively turn the tables against the anti-homosexual group before their Kansas City stop of their ongoing tour.

Prior to the show, they set up shop and performed in the back of a touring vehicle and courted the protesters while draped in costumes from their recent video "Hot Buns ": Singer/guitarist "Dave Grohl": hilariously teases away with the line, "Driving all night got a hankering for something. Think I'm in the mood for some hot-man muffins. Mmmm, sounds so fine, yes indeed."

Presumably that particular line lit the wick of Phelps' moral candle and became the basis for their protest at the Foo’s show.

But, instead of "writing on the Internet": about it - what the WBC wants - they put together a bit worthy of "Saturday Night Live’s 1990-95 era": .

So, to anyone who’s attending the Foo Fighters show at the Palace of Auburn Hills tonight, enjoy the set and enjoy the fact that after 15 years, they’re still willing to stand for something other than a paycheck.

Posted in A and e on Monday, September 19, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Sunday 09/18/2011
The Beat: Girls delivers stellar, retro-vibed sophomore release

On _Album_ the superb 2009 debut from San Francisco’s "Girls":, singer/songwriter Christopher Owens displayed a collection of throwbacks to the get-up-and-go rock ‘n roll vibe of "Buddy Holly": and "Elvis Costello": but with a distinct narrative capacity.

Holly’s biggest contribution to modern-day society is his "trademark rimmed glasses": (e.g. this writer). But, Owens capitalized on his keen sense for hooks and melody, catapulting Girls to the front of the nostalgic-indie-rock pack onslaught that’s occurred recently.

The 32-year-old Owens is a former member of the troublesome "Children of God": religious cult, which stemmed out of the hippie movement in the 60’s, and his story has become somewhat of folklore in the music world. His mother (whose troubled relationship with Owens frequently is a focal point in the lyrical content) strictly adhered to CoG’s anti-medicine stance and allowed his brother to die from pneumonia. Owens eventually broke away and was taken in by bizarre Texas artist "Stanley Marsh 3": Girl’s outstanding sophomore release _Father, Son, Holy Ghost_ gracefully divulges issues of Owens self-destructing habits and difficulty of handling his previous life experiences.

Where Girls contemporaries like "Male Bonding":, "Pains of Being Pure at Heart": and "Smith Westerns": fall short of innovating out of their yesteryear inspirations, Owens and co. inject astonishing amounts of life and personality in their songs.

Opener ‘Honey Bunny’ skips along to a rolling drum beat and immediately displays the biggest contrast to _Album_. While Owens voice previously sneered with a sinus-infected delivery, the vocals on _Father_ appear more confident and bright with a smooth whisper that spookily resembles "Elliott Smith": The innocent vitality displayed on every aspect of the recording juxtaposes Owens astute awareness of life’s devastating potential.

_Father’s_ extremely capable instrumentation is fitting for the lyrics, which while seeming a bit oversimplified, manage to unveil the desire of Owens attempt to answer the harrowing questions most people have to address in their life. “How can I say I want you, now that you’ve said I want you? Now that you’ve said everything I said to you, to somebody new?” he sings on appropriately titled 'Saying I Love You.' Toward the song's conclusion he paints the familiar, ex-lover coming back and upset over a breakup, picture asking “I hear you crying, what can I do? You threw my heart away. You made me blue” But, with the difficulty of lingering attachment and uncertainty of how to deal with the scenario, puts his figurative foot down and sings, “You threw my heart away, you made me blue.” The situation is commonplace in at least one person’s conversation on a daily basis, but Owens gives an immense sense of comfort to those reeling from similar hardship over a fundamental light-rock arrangement à la "The Beach Boys":

The eclectic genre palette is followed up two songs later on the most abrasive cut of the album 'Vomit,' a six and a half minute roller coaster. The initial minimal guitar work and whispered vocals are followed by an outburst of noisy guitar work and an organ filling out the driving rhythm section. Owens repeats the lines “Nights I spend alone, I spend ‘em looking for you baby. Looking for love,” through the majority of the song before the threshold bursts at the tail end with professional gospel singers, the organ taking off for a solo and Owens vocals moving to the back of the mix accumulating to the climax of the album. It’s hands down the most enjoyable section of Girl’s impressive catalog in their brief existence.

While there’s a contaminated influx of retro-vibes in alternative music and Girls may come off as nothing new, the record is a refreshing and unique take on what’s been done and manages to confidently stand on its own two feet - something Owens himself should take note of.

Posted in A and e on Sunday, September 18, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 09/13/2011
The Beat: You know, $20 for a record seems pretty pricey...

I have a couple of friends who absolutely despise going into record stores, but John Maus, the experimental pop composer from Minnesota, blew me away with his comments in an August 3 feature on "Pitchfork":

“You don't know how happy it makes me that the days of the record store are coming to an end,” he said, after being asked what his favorite one was. “$20 for an LP? Do you remember going to the record store and not getting what you want because there was no other place to get it? Now we can get it all for free, and I think that's wonderful. There was always something really depressing to me about record stores...There's something oppressive about them, like the guy who looks you up and down and looks at what you're buying. You're bound up in exchange with the snobby clerk. So I'm glad they all have little 'closed' signs on their doors now.”

My only recollection of a record store clerk who looked me up and down and all around at what I was buying happened in Ann Arbor.

The guy, who reeked of a jaded thirty-something music aficionado vibe, was sporting a Joy Division shirt. His store (which, by the way, is my favorite record store in Metro Detroit; he just works there one day a week) happened to be selling a copy of Joy Division’s ‘Peel Sessions,’ something I had been looking to purchase for some time.

When I walked up to the counter, he gave me a solid “up and down” and in the most undeniably smug voice I’ve ever heard, muttered "_Ughhhhhhhhh_. Every time I wear a Joy Division shirt someone seems to buy a Joy Division record.”

Considering I just ruined his day, I opted to – unlike Maus – decide, 'you know what, that really wasn’t a big deal whatsoever' and buy the record as I intended. I think afterward I drove home, ate dinner and then probably had a pleasant night’s rest.

Maus "back pedaled": the following day, saying he was surprised people didn't understand he was referring to "large mega-stores."

It’s 2011; I’m fairly certain Tower Records, Sam Goody, F.Y.E., Virgin Megastores, etc. are all irrelevant or just defunct.

The fact that Maus sees it fitting for record stores to close because the price of an LP went up a few bucks is just as pathetic as it is scary. It’s only 2011, and already there are musicians, championed as artists of our generation, who would rather see everyone walk around using deafening ear-bud headphones than enjoy a physical copy of an album – the way it’s intended to be heard.

Posted in A and e on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Sunday 09/11/2011
The Beat: I'm not ready for football

Football fans are breathing a massive sigh-of-relief as Monday Night Football returns to primetime tonight for its first broadcast of the season that almost didn’t happen.

For those of you who - like me - are not fazed by the above sentence, there are a couple things going on in Detroit tonight that might be of actual interest.

After five long years since their last album, Samiam released their most-refined effort yet Sept. 6.

Recorded in Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame’s basement, ‘Trips’ (Hopeless) is a wonderful culmination of a band that’s kept around for over two decades.

While the songs themselves aren't a far cry from their earlier catalogue, the album itself just sounds immensely better than 2006’s _kinda-sounds-like-it-could-of-been-recorded-in-a-tin-can_ ‘Whatever’s Got You Down’ (Hopeless).

There’s still a slew of 2011 releases that haven’t had a legitimate chance to register in my eardrums yet, so saying ‘Trips’ is a contender for album of the year should be taken with a grain of salt. But, it’s a solid effort and most importantly shows Samiam hasn’t lost it yet. They’re playing the Magic Stick at 8 p.m. with Walter Schreifels (ex-Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits) opening up. Plan on bringing $16 for admission

*Detroit's favorite folk-punk's return*

Defiance, OH is coming to the Trumbullplex as well tonight for $6 at 7 p.m. continuing their trend of (seemingly) making quarterly visits to Detroit.

Fans of the most loved folk-punk band in history have probably registered 15 times of seeing them. But, surely the space will still be filled up as Defiance, OH consistently delivers a good time for all attendees. Faults to Foil (featuring members of Tyvek) is opening up.

*What about the big game?*

If you didn't know what was going on yet and (for whatever ludicrous reason) were relying on me to give tonight's football scoop: ESPN’s opening ceremonial doubleheader includes New England vs. Miami at 7 p.m. followed by Oakland vs. Denver at 10:15.

Posted in A and e on Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Friday 02/25/2011
Free Motion City Soundtrack Concert a Success.

After all was said and done, it seemed like those present had a good time at the Motion City Soundtrack concert that was put on at the Majestic on Feb. 24. The crowd seemed reluctant to mingle at first, but before the show was over everyone was carrying on like mongooses in the snake pit from raiders of the lost ark.

If this is any indication of what's to come, WSU students have a vibrant night life to look forward to... and not just later hours at the student center.

Posted in A and e on Friday, February 25, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Friday 02/04/2011
Midnight review: Young Prisms' debut album worth time, money

Young Prisms bend light, time, space, guitar strings and my sleep schedule with their debut album “Friends for Now.”

It's nearly impossible to understand most words on this album, but that's fine. Title track "Friends for Now" is a shiny sonic atmosphere. This intro maps out the oblique strategies that follow.

Listen to "If You Want To" on repeat. Or if you want to, you should put this song on a mixed CD -- if you kids still make those these days -- and give it to your best friend. You should bond with someone over this song. That is ... if you want to.

"Sugar" is sweet. It is concise and precise. It is just enough of what it is.

The bass distortion in "Eleni" is perfect, another hypnotic highlight of the album.

"In Your Room" is lengthy and mellow. It is the weakest track thus far, but not disastrous by any means.

Then disaster strikes. "All Day Holiday" is weak to the point of being unnecessary. It is less than a minute long and that is more than long enough.

Things get back on track with "Breathless." There are more lyrics that are impossible to understand without a lyric sheet, but, again, that's not always a bad thing.

"Feel Fine" and "If Don't Get Much" continue the band's streak of strong compositions.

"Stay Awake" is ironic right now, after personally having been awake for 17 hours. It is definitely time for bed, but this album will be played again tomorrow and some other time in the future ... and then again at some point.

But if I die before I wake, I pray that my advice you take. Get this album (legally).

Posted in A and e on Friday, February 4, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Thursday 01/20/2011
Guest review: an evening with 'Live Ladies of Literature'

Chilling weather and deep snow did not stop a “twilight evening” with Tracy E. Christian and Adra L. Young and a much-hyped presentation of “The Live Ladies of Literature: The Mocha Monologues, From the Inside Showing Out, Male Edition.”

Detroit’s art community came out Jan. 16 to the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center to show solidarity and support. An eclectic collection of musicians, poets and writers intermingled with bright lights, merchant vendors and pepper jack cheese trays while a Cincinnati artist named “Wisdom” served pink bubbly wine to dilettante crowds and thirsty paparazzi.

Dr. Janice K. Connor gave extemporaneous mini-lectures on faith and God and the virtues of Timothy 1:7, hoping to persuade anyone listening to purchase her new book, “Propelling Faith.”

Comic and playwright Heather J. Henderson chatted with authors Monique Mensah and Cheryl Lynn Pope while filmmaker Lenderrick Jones snapped BlackBerry Curve shots of Kimle Mitchell and Trinity Film Coalition founder’s Janaya Black, Rockey Black and Marshalle Montgomery.

But Christian and Young were the shining-star celebrities of this gala-like event, the dynamic duo sporting glamorous evening dresses and radiant smiles. Cameras snapped, bulbs flashed and Mia Verde pushed haute couture.

After awhile the host took the microphone and waxed eloquently the poetic virtues of Detroit’s burgeoning art scene, feminist quibbles on the woman’s plight, then went on to introduce the night’s event.

One by one, the “males” moved through the performance, extolling their vicious thoughts and cynical philosophies on why women have a difficult time finding good men. (At least ninety-percent of the audience was black women.)

“The Mocha Monologue Male Edition” is essentially a reflective meditation on the complex dynamics of love and relationships and how men view and treat women in the scheme of things. There are many different ways to look at the ambitious performance, especially since the play is written from the perspective of Young.

And, although the characters are presented via rich, multi-dimensional personalities, presenting dynamic attitudes and theories on how and what women want from men, there is still the overarching and bothersome matter that Young is looking at her own subjects through truncated lenses with uncritical scope.

By the end of it all, we walk away from “Mocha Monologues” with an obscured vision of ourselves and our humanity and our capacity to move beyond the pain and confusion. All we get is yet another entertainingly problematic examination of black men, perhaps because Young has relegated them to sexualized abstracts and burdensome objects.

By the time the curtain falls none of the mocha males solve the problem of why black women can not find love.

_Jeremy Williams is a former Wayne State student and a Michigan State University graduate. He is the author of the book “Detroit: The Black Bottom Community” and writes using the pen name Push Nevahda._

Posted in A and e on Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)

Thursday 01/13/2011
You don't have to wait long to be offended by Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'H.A.M.'

"H.A.M.," the new single by Kanye West and Jay-Z, has upwards of 65,000 plays on the Facebook page promoting the coming release of the duo's "Watch The Throne" album.

First available for streaming shortly after midnight on Jan. 11, "H.A.M" dares listeners to deal with 19 uses of the "N" word and - if not enough - 16 uses of the "F" word.

Let's look at it this way:

"H.A.M." clocks in at 4:37, but only up until 2:46 are there lyrics. The instrumental ending still leaves me indifferent to opera, by the way. Once being a math major, let's hope my calculations are correct...

If equally spaced, in 2:46, the "N" word stabs the eardrum an average of every 13 seconds and similarly, the "F" word every 16 seconds. I rounded up to the nearest second.

What are we being exposed to here? How is this "likable" to 61,655 people? These questions are beyond me as the classic American novel "Huckleberry Finn" goes through "N" word censoring.

WTF, you guys!?

Posted in A and e on Thursday, January 13, 2011 12:00 am. Comments (0)