Band of Horses // Michigan Theater / Dec. 3
by David Nassar
Back in 2004, it seemed that Band of Horses might be on the verge of being the next big thing to come out of Seattle after emerging from the ashes of front man Ben Bridwell’s previous band, Carissa’s Weird. While there was nothing extraordinary about their sound, they seemed to capture a distinctive post-grunge mix of flannel-laden melancholy, guitar-driven experimentation and melodic vocal arrangements with broad appeal. The band’s success peaked in 2010 with the release of the Grammy winning southern-rock influenced “Infinite Arms.”
Their latest album, “Mirage Rock,” was released in September to mixed reviews, but it’s been their consistently exceptional live shows that have maintained a loyal fan base. Band of Horses will play the Michigan Theater Monday, December 3 with opener, Jason Lytle. Tickets start at $42.50 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit MichiganTheater.org.
Maia Sharp & AG // The Ark / Dec. 10
by Mary Simkins
Maia Sharp will join longtime friends AG (Adrianne Gonzalez of the Rescues) and Garrison Starr in their first ensemble tour which is coming to The Ark on Monday, December 10.
Sharp is an accomplished singer and songwriter in her own right and has collaborated with inter-genre superstars such as Cher and Art Garfunkel. The California native recorded her first song at the age of five and went on to study musical theory in college. Sharp’s jazzy folk style has influences such as Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt and Sting.
AG won Overall Grand Prize in 1999’s USA Songwriting Competition, and her band’s music has been featured in several popular TV shows. With nine solo albums under her belt, AG has been influenced by Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls.
One of the founders of the band Among The Oak & Ash, Garrison Starr has been playing music for over 20 years and has recorded nine solo albums. 2012 marked Starr’s first self-released album, “Amateurs,” which came out in May.
Doors are at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16. For ticket information and to view a seating chart for the show, visit theark.org
Wagon Wreck Music Festival // LIVE / Dec. 14 & 15
by Jasmine Zweifler
It is not often that we here at iSPY profile events that may or may not actually be happening, but rules are made to be broken, friends. You see, the inaugural Wagon Wreck Music Festival is all dependent on us. The festival is scheduled for the 14 and 15 of December and is being funded entirely through a Kickstarter campaign. From the mind that brought us the dearly departed Michigan Roots Jamboree sprang WWMF, and, if we can make it happen it’ll be a doozy.
LIVE in Ann Arbor is gaining momentum as one of the cooler venues and they’re locked down as the location for the “Wreck.” The acts include, but are not limited to, Dragon Wagon, Ghost City Searchlight, Third Coast Kings, Lawless Carver and Ypsilanti dreamers Match by Match. So if you want to get down, donate to the Kickstarter. In fact, you should make a donation in your friends’ names in place of a Christmas gift. They’ll love that.
Erin Zindle and Friends Holiday Show // The Ark / Dec. 15
by Mary Simkins
This year marks the fifth annual tradition of The Ragbirds’ Erin Zindle hosting a holiday extravaganza featuring an array of local musicians. Zindle not only acts as frontwoman for The Ragbirds, but she is also a skilled songwriter and string musician. It’s clear to those who have seen The Ragbirds live that Zindle derives great joy from her music, but most people probably don’t know that she attributes her initial love of music to the Christmas season. Joining “Ebird” throughout the night are many familiar musical faces, such as Laith El-Saadi, Madcat Ruth and Tyler Duncan (Ella Riot and My Dear Disco). In the spirit of getting quite a few birds with one stone, attendees will likely get their fair share of laughs, as the event will be MCed by comedienne Shelly Smith.
The Ragbirds are a five-piece folk band that borrows influences from all over, leading to a truly unique and varied sound. Led by Erin Zindle, many of their songs include optimistic lyrics and danceable beats which have caused The Ragbirds to grow steadily as one of the most popular bands around. A live performance by The Ragbirds is sure to hold one or two musical surprises.
Doors are at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16. For ticket information and to view a seating chart for the show, visit theark.org
The Killers // EMU Convocation Center / Dec. 20
by Amanda Trent
About eight years ago, the Killers burst onto the music scene with their dancey album “Hot Fuss” that was deeply rooted in the heart of their hometown, Las Vegas and twinged with just the perfect amount of sin city’s dark side. And ever since their somewhat perplexing first single, “Somebody Told Me” (Somebody told me / you had a boyfriend / that looked like the girlfriend / that I had in February of last year), hit airwaves, the Killers have continued to reinvent themselves on their way to the top.
In 2009, Rolling Stone named their second album, “Sam’s Town,” as “the most underrated album of the decade.” The band’s long list of awards and nominations received includes four NME Awards and seven Grammy nominations. They won the BRIT Award for Best International Band in 2006 and “Sam’s Town” won “Best International Album,” and they rank third on Amazon.com UK’s list of best-selling artists and albums of the decade.
There’s no doubt that the Killers are not only a huge band, but one that brings stadium-sized energy. And, on December 20, they will be bringing that energy to Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center along with the indie favorite twin sister duo, Tegan and Sara, who will be opening. Tickets start at $32.50. For more information, visit emich.edu/convocation.
Nothing Elegant Holiday Sweater Party // Majestic Theater / Dec. 23
by David Nassar
While some of us might be dreading the oncoming cold and snow of a Michigan winter, there’s one thing that warms the heart and makes it all worthwhile – hideous holiday sweaters! It’s time to raid your grandmother’s closet and look for anything that includes tinsel woven into the fabric or requires batteries to operate because Detroit’s Majestic Theater is celebrating tastelessness with the Nothing Elegant Holiday Sweater Party.
Let your holiday freak-flag fly as you dance to DJs Lady Fantastic, Amy Dreamcatcher and Uno Mas. The ugliest ensemble of the night will earn a special prize and make you a legend in your own right. Admission is $5 for those with a sweater, $7 for those without. For more information, visit MajesticDetroit.com.
Ugly Sweater Party / Passalacqua & House Phone vinyl release // Saint Andrew’s Hall / Dec. 23
by Treasure Groh
It’s that time of year again! No, not just the one where we gorge ourselves on turkey and pie, but the one where we cast away our preconceived style notions and don the ugliest of the ugly – the holiday sweater. The time-honored tradition of sporting a bulky knit sweater in an organized group of people in order to drink and be merry is being brought to the forefront in a major way this year at Saint Andrew’s Hall.
Not only will you get to shamelessly rock that snowflake adorned sweater, but you’ll get to listen to some of the best music metro Detroit has to offer. The recently skyrocketing hip-hop group The Black Opera will be performing their new tunes from “EnterMission,” filled with quality beats and lucid lyrics that aim to start a revolution in the music industry.
We can also look forward to a 7” vinyl collaborative release with Passalacqua and James Linck of House Phone and performances to accompany said release. And, if you’ve never seen either of these bands perform, you’re definitely in for a treat. Passalacqua never disappoints, continuously bringing down the house with their upbeat, funky vibe that makes you want to party into the wee hours of the night. Also expect spectacular performances from Of Mice and Musicians, D.Allie and Detroit Cydi to round out the evening of holiday debauchery.
The most important part of this shindig – the timeless ugly sweater – doesn’t just serve as a fashion faux pas, but will also gain you tickets for upcoming shows if you win the ugly sweater contest. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, visit saintandrewshalldetroit.com.
Skrillex // Palace of Auburn Hills / Dec. 31
by Paul Kitti
Chances are, you’ve had a bass dropped on you at least once. Symptoms include traumatized nerve endings, shredded ear drums, profuse sweating and momentary disorientation. Basses have been dropping like mortgage rates all over the country, and a good number of them have fallen from the hands of reserved LA punk kid, Skrillex. His crunchy, metal-influenced sound helped spawn the dubstep craze and has taken him from massive venues to Grammy nods to collaborations on Kanye West’s private jet (stay tuned…).
The kids are addicted to the stuff, evidenced in the genre’s swift transition from underground oddity to mainstream sensation. Few things are as viscerally thrilling as the collective roar of a thousand head-bangers with hands reaching in the air for that seismic bass, the swell and surge, the tension and release… Wait for it… it’ll be dropping hard at the Palace of Auburn Hills on December 31, as Skrillex rings in the New Year louder than anyone else.
Greensky Bluegrass with Frontier Ruckus // Majestic Theatre / Dec. 31
by Treasure Groh
Admit it – you’re tired of the same old thing for New Year’s Eve. Feverishly looking for an outfit appropriate enough for whichever swanky locale your friends have chosen, spending hours getting ready only to have it ruined within the first thirty minutes of the night and shelling out perhaps hundreds of bucks in order to ensure a perfect evening is all far too tiresome to even slightly be considered a joyous occasion. So this year, try something new, and head to the Majestic Theatre for some stompingly delicious bluegrass with Greensky Bluegrass and Frontier Ruckus.
The quintet, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., effortlessly takes the loveable, classic sounds of traditional bluegrass and updates them, breathing new life into the tunes with a fresh take that includes a dobro player, distortion pedals and a rock n’ rock infusion. Over the past 12 years that the band has been active, they’ve released four studio albums, including their most recent “Handguns,” as well as three live albums. While fans wait with bated breath for new material, they can certainly catch up with the gents – Michael Arlen Bont, Paul Hoffman, Anders Beck, Mike Devol and David Bruzza – and ring in the New Year jamming with the best of them.
Not to be forgotten, fellow Michiganders Frontier Ruckus warm up the party with their own brand of folk rock laced with reminiscent tales of places close to home – which adds an extra layer of fun to the evening. Ring in the New Year with both acts at the Majestic Theatre on December 31, of course. Doors are at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available at majesticdetroit.com for $25. All ages welcome.