MUSE // Joe Louis Arena / March 2
by Jasmine Zweifler
THE BRITISH ARE COMING! You know that when we let a band take over the home of our beloved Red Wings, that they had better be damn good. On March 2, such a band will be moving into the Joe Louis Arena when Muse comes to town. These lads have toted their not inconsiderable talents along with a not inconsiderable light show all the way across the pond to show Detroit what they can do. The show promises “high concept theatrics,” which are a perfect match for lead singer Matt Belamy’s soaring vocals. The tour is in support of their recent album The Second Law but set lists reveal that tracks from previous albums are not in short supply with hits like “Time is Running Out” and “Supermassive Black Hole.” Tickets can be purchased on the Joe Louis Arena website and will lighten your pocketbook by about 70 dollars on the low end.
The Gaslight Anthem // Fillmore Detroit / March 3
by Treasure Groh
Proving that hard work really does pay off, The Gaslight Anthem will be making a noticeable upgrade in their venue volume when the band plays the Fillmore in Detroit, having played at the considerably smaller St. Andrew’s Hall just a few months ago. The promotion shows the band’s growth, meaning that more and more people are following the New Jersey punk rock quartet (Brian Fallon, Alex Rosamilla, Alex Levine and Benny Horowitz).
Since its inception, the band has heard numerous comparisons to another Jersey boy, Bruce Springsteen, but state that they don’t want to be beholden to one sound created by one guy. Regardless, The Gaslight Anthem can’t help but appeal to the masses with their blue collar, rough and rugged appearance and demeanor.
The oft fast paced tunes that come along with punk rock mean that Gaslight Anthem shows are nothing short of a good time. Expect to hear tunes from their previous albums (including the incomparable “The ’59 Sound”), as well as their most recent, “Handwritten,” which was released last July and features the track “Here Comes My Man,” the video for which features the gorgeous Elisha Cuthbert.
If you’re hungry for new material, fret not, as Fallon has revealed that the band will head into the studio to write some new material soon. In addition, Fallon said on his blog that he would also be working on a solo album to channel material that he feels isn’t a fit for what The Gaslight Anthem is working towards. Good news or bad? But let’s forget that for the time being and prepare to see a great show. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at livenation.com or at the Fillmore and Saint Andrew’s Hall box offices service free.
Tame Impala // St. Andrews Hall / March 7
by Paul Kitti
Tame Impala is that quietly cool kid at the party who you didn’t know you needed to be introduced to. They look like a trio of stoners who could have hacky sacks in their pockets – and maybe they do – but they also have secret powers.
“Psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music” is their game, and they’ve gotten damn good at it. They have two critically applauded albums waiting to meet your ears, and they’ve sold out more shows than any other band you probably haven’t heard of (including the one at Saint Andrew’s Hall on March 7 – but when there’s a will…).
Really, there are too many bands pushing down on the beat-less chest of 1960s music, but this one simply holds the memory and adds their own warped ingredients to the mix. What their music reminds me of: a shaggy-carpeted space ship shooting whammy-bar lasers a la Guitar Hero.
Kat Edmonson // The Ark / March 13
by David Nassar
Kat Edmonson might be a woman born in the wrong era, but we’re probably better off for it. If you caught her performance on the newest season of Austin City Limits, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The Austin, Texas native has a style more reminiscent of a folky, jazz-era songstress but has taken full advantage of the modern era by launching a successful Kickstarter campaign that earned her enough cash to record her sophomore album, “Way Down Low.” She has worked and toured with legends in the industry including Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson, but her biggest break may have come back in 2008 when she entered an NPR-sponsored contest for aspiring songwriters, in which they asked for works inspired by the recent presidential election. She won with the song she penned and recorded called, “Be the Change,” and followed it up with her 2009 debut album, “Take to the Sky,” a collection of mostly covers. Now she is hitting the road in support of “Way Down Low,” visiting The Ark in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, March 13. Tickets start at $20. For more information, visit KatEdmonson.com and TheArk.org.
Animal Collective // Royal Oak Music Theatre / March 15
by Jeff Milo
Animal Collective singlehandedly set the standard for this young century’s psychedelic art-rock aesthetic. Not the ultimate hipster band, but certainly a contender – distinguished and transcendent, though, by their genius if not their meticulous production, notable studio experience and incorrigible experimentalism. Back in 03/04, they were like the creature-masked faces that launched a thousand genre signifying ships – from buzz-blog to hipster-zine, you couldn’t escape them – to the point where vague and flowery terms like experimental/ambient/prog-revivalist/neo-electronica/cerebral-dance-pop started clogging up the browser reservoirs. They were woodsy and esoteric and blending techno-rhythms to glitch-stormed anthemic space-folk way before it was cliché. They made that shit cliché!
I mean, take their latest videos streaming online: an engorged dayglo-splattered dragon skull with flailing humanoid limbs and streaming confetti entrails in the desert on a dune-buggie – or seizure-inducing seductive silhouettes sumptuously suckling exotic fruit – kaleidoscopic – tripped-out – you get the picture.
They kick off a new tour this month, a second round of sensational stage shows to support last autumn’s release of their tenth album “Centipede Hz” – a work that muscled in a bit more of a rock aesthetic (if just more guitars) compared to the much more rave-ready dance dissertation from 09 (“Merriweather Post Pavilion”). It’ll be worth the drive over to Royal Oak. And, you can see what all the hype is about; don’t feel self-conscious, this ain’t just another hipster band.
Ken Burns // Michigan Theater / March 21
by Jasmine Zweifler
If you are as big a fan of dignified voice-overs and slow pans over grainy black and white daguerreotypes as I am, then hold on to your hats because Ken Burns is coming to town. On Thursday March, 21, the University of Michigan School of Art and Design is presenting an evening with the acclaimed documentary filmmaker as part of their “Penny Stamps Speakers Series” at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. Burns has directed some of the most important, beautiful and effecting documentaries about the things that have shaped America. Topics as far ranging as baseball, the Civil War, Jazz and Mark Twain have all gotten the Ken Burns treatment. Part of what makes this evening so special is that this series of lectures is presented free of charge, so that the opportunity to engage with one of the most important voices to have chronicled the history of our nation is open to everyone.
Disinformants // Woodruff’s / March 22
by Jeff Milo
Disinformants are a different breed of weirdo-rock – not as heavy, really, as their tremulous-metal-rocking allies in Nice Hooves or Golden Torso – yet not as psychedelically singed or jitter-pop inclined as art-punk acts like Congress. They’re heavy, definitely – the vocals scream as much as the guitars, but they’ve got darkly-droned ambient leanings as well, sprawling into more experimental, layered and cerebral soundscapes. The Ypsi power trio’s sound, debuting on this month’s E.P. certainly has aggressive, somewhat-chaotic elements (all rock needs that, really). But this “new-er” group is more like a Swiss-army knife of hooky-punk, post-hardcore voracity and thrumming metal storms. They strike a fine balance, gracefully toeing the neon-black rapids of noise-rock while keeping their heads in the more textured/smoky clouds of psychedelia and still not losing any luster for what lead singer/guitarist Anthony Gentile called “good old fashioned peacock-strut pageantry.”
Born from the implosions of various rough and tumble acts like …Err, JWPP and Lizerrd, Gentile, with bassist Jheremie Jacque and drummer Larry Johnson are doing much more than seeking throat-curdled, wickedly-grooving, amp-frying catharsis – they’re blending a range of vibrant hues while being careful not to wreck the canvas – neither splattering like cavemen nor disorienting with overly avant-gardist abstruse pointillism. The tones bend into acerbic death-purrs now and then and the rhythms affect the pocked cement tumble of a barely-surefooted skateboard shredder, but this isn’t Dinosaur Jr. and it isn’t Sonic Youth. It isn’t Child Bite or Nice Hooves or Golden Torso, for that matter. It’s an explosion that’s had time to figure itself out before detonating (benefited, as the trio were, by not playing out immediately, after forming last summer). They’re ready now, hence their new E.P. and hence the show and will be joined by none other than comparably explosive Nice Hooves and Golden Torso on March 22nd at Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti.
Mexican Knives // St. Andrew’s Hall / March 22
by Treasure Groh
There can never be too many sassy fuzz rock bands. Never. Mexican Knives is happy to indulge such salacious appetites and will be doing so when the quartet opens for fellow Detroit band, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. The sassiness is definitely affected by lead vocalist Ruth Synowiec’s low, haughty tones, which give the tunes a working class Motown feel.
Capable of uptempo garage pop in the same instant as smoky, moody rock, Mexican Knives has the ability to give a little something to everyone. Their double release of “Nightmare/Down To Hell” is a prime example of such wonderful dichotomy that is more than worthy of your ears. Guitarist Zach Weedon’s riffs are melodic and slightly anarchic at the same time, setting the pace alongside Synowiec but causing the listener to take pause and wait for some wild tangent to spark.
Catch these mildly psychedelic pop rockers when they open for Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas at St. Andrew’s Hall. Hernandez, a show stopping musician in her own right, will showcase her big, bold vocals with her bluesy, jazzy accompanying band, The Deltas. Tickets can be purchased at livenation.com or at the Saint Andrew’s Hall box office, service free. Doors are at 8 p.m. for this all ages show.