Peninsular Place


August 27, 2012

The Buzz: September


Frontier Ruckus // The Ark & The Crofoot / Sept. 6 & 7

by Paul Kitti

A VHS tape of “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” (anyone?) on their homepage is just one of countless reasons to love this folk rock band from our home state. Here are a few others: a musical saw and melodica are among their song-crafting tools; they perform best surrounded by trees and creeks without studio aid; singer Matthew Milia’s voice carries a warm, unadulterated quiver reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, and the lyrics could stand alone as strikingly visual pieces of dark poetry. And we’re not the only fans – Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone and PopMatters have praised Frontier Ruckus for their clever songwriting and memorable performances. Barely a season away from the release of a double album entitled “Eternity of Dimming,” they’ll be back in Michigan for double performances: first at The Ark (an ideal venue for their natural sound) and a night later at The Crofoot.

Pink Lightning // Woodruff’s / Sept. 7

PHOTO: Andrea Zarzycki

by Jeff Milo

Imagine trying to dance with five partners at once. Fast, freaky, fun. That moment in the basement of the house party where you kinda just lost it, yanked off the tie or let your hair down as the drums keep hitting and suddenly you’re sweating – that’s Pink Lightning. Plenty of hooks and flared with a manic kind of sass, lead singer wobbling upon the breezed blast from the amps like a crooning/yowling kite, guitarist arching his whole body from his nose to his knees at one riff then bent backwards as he shreds blends of funk and garage-gut-punches, bass player looking keen and cool with a suave smirk as he grooves a shoulder-juking buoyancy that spurs on the wheezy wails of that exquisite rock-ready accordionist to his right and all the while the drummer, some agit-disco trundle with a wild-eyed, often shirtless rock-energy, madly intent on keeping kinetics up up up. That’s Pink Lightning. This Detroit quintet spent their summer crafting new tracks to follow-up April’s “Happy To Be Here” LP, but much of their September 7 set at Woodruff’s will be new to you since they don’t make it out to Ypsi often enough.

Opening will be Disinformants – the evolution of JWPP/Lizerrd, distinctly-Detroit-dented rock seeking a more refined musicality through a barrage of sound along with blues-punk duo The Wolfs and alt-reverent psyche-trio My Pal Val.

Homegrown Festival 2012 // Ann Arbor’s Farmer’s Market / Sept. 8

by Stefanie Stauffer

Between 6 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, the Ann Arbor Farmer’s market will be transformed into a free celebration of local food, drink, and community at the fifth annual Homegrown Festival. This year’s festival features food vendors, live music, locally-grown produce tastings, chef demos using local ingredients, seed planting, honey making, cider pressing, a silent auction, an artisan market and other farm to table-oriented activities for all ages.

Homegrown Festival 2012 also sees the return of the always popular heirloom Tomato ‘Taste-Off,” but this year is extra special since sponsor Project Grow is celebrating their 40th anniversary with 50 varieties of tomatoes available for sampling! Also back this year is the second annual homebrew competition and a garlic tasting with the Dyer Organic Family Farm/ “Dick’s Pretty Good Garlic” (back by intense popular demand!). In addition, Slow Food Huron Valley will be showcasing a little bit of Michigan’s food heritage with a display of over 30 types of heirloom vegetables grown locally for at least 60 years.

And, for those of you who like locally-made adult beverages to go with your locally-grown food, you’ll want to spend some time in the beer tent tasting the wide selection of Michigan-made beer, wine, cider, mead and kombucha available for purchase. You may even find yourself raising a toast to the best local food and drink that SE Michigan has to offer!

The Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is located at 315 Detroit Street in Kerrytown. For more information about the festivities, visit 10th Anniversary Party // Woodruff’s / Sept. 8

by Mary Simkins

For those engaged in the Ypsi/Washtenaw County art and political community, Mark Maynard is somewhat of a household name. For many, is a regular in their daily web news rotation. Named one of the most influential political bloggers in Michigan, Mark Maynard was also a key player in the inception of popular Shadow Art Fair at Corner Brewery.

Says Maynard of his blog: “My original intent was to help build local community in hopes of affecting some degree of positive progressive change at the grassroots level.” Maynard’s site is a go-to for commentary on local politics and social happenings, as well as a forum for others who care about the community to make their views known.

Maynard has been somewhat tight-lipped regarding the details of his site’s 10th Anniversary Party, saying only that Minus 9 will perform a set and assuring us that “the night will be action packed.” The five-dollar cover benefits FLY Children’s Art Center, specifically the organization’s work in Ypsilanti schools.

The festivities start at 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Facebook event.

Iron and Wine // Michigan Theater / Sept. 15

by Jasmine Zweifler

Iron and Wine is not just a recipe for disaster at the gym. It’s that band that feels pretty much just like slipping into a warm bath. The breezy vocals and hushed acoustic guitars lull you into serenity with a quickness matched only by valium. A little background first, Iron and Wine is really the stage name of singer/songwriter Sam Beam. His talent for spinning delicate tales of wistful imagery and longing has garnered considerable attention in the 10 years since Iron and Wine began. Not the least of which was being named to the “Best of Daytrotter” list in 2001. His latest album is titled “Kiss Each Other Clean” and was released last year. Sam “Iron and Wine” Beam will be performing along with fellow beard-ophile and mellow fellow Glen Hansard at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor on September 15. Tickets run from $35 to $50 and are on sale now.

Wild Nothing // Magic Stick / Sept. 17

by Jasmine Zweifler

Wild Nothing may not be an act that everyone is talking about…yet. But they are sure to start soon. Jack Tatum is Wild Nothing. In the studio he’s flying solo, and on the road he brings along the band to paint the picture with him. With a voice and style is reminiscent of Morrissey as well as British Invasion bands but couched in ethereal indie jangle, this southern boy isn’t afraid to turn the synth and reverb up to 11. This handsome rogue is most definitely a young ‘un at the tender age of 23 and only two albums under his belt so far. But his first effort “Gemini” garnered him mad love and acclaim, mostly through word of mouth promotion and his second album “Nocturne” was released on August 28 and promises even more sophistication and depth. Wild Nothing will be coming up to visit us in the Mitten with a show at the Magic Stick on September 17with two other noteworthy indie acts, Diiv and Obelisk, and we’ll get to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about. I think he’ll fit right in.

Freshwater Musicon // The B-Side / Sept. 22

by David Nassar

Are you a young musician looking for some sage advice on how to share your art with the masses?  Or a fan of the independent music scene and looking for a way to connect with others in the community?  The Freshwater Musicon is a day-long summit for young musicians and artists to engage in local independent music scenes and learn DIY tips and tricks from industry professionals. This year’s summit will kick off with a keynote from Detroit-based MC and community organizer, Invincible. Others from the Michigan music scene will share knowledge through workshops and panel discussions covering topics like press and publicity, art direction and branding, music and social activism, publishing and licensing and much more. Presenters will include representatives from Ghostly International, the Blind Pig and Woodruff’s, as well as local independent artists and iSPY’s own Tim Adkins.  Stick around after the summit for an all-ages concert featuring Jamall Bufford (A-Side Worlwide), Shigeto (producer, Ghostly International) and local indie rock duo, Secret Twins, among others. Workshops, panel discussions and merch fair runs from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. and is free to all, though donations are appreciated.  The concert begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $5 for students and $8 general admission. For more information, visit or call (734) 214-9995.

Gotye // Fox Theatre / Sept. 18

by Jasmine Zweifler

Alright, we all know the song. Just a seconds of that spare plinking piano opening and you either crank it way up or shut it down. We are, of course, talking about Gotye (pronounced go-tee-yay and not GOTCHA like I originally assumed). Love him or hate him, his plaintive wail has burst onto the scene with a ferocity that cannot be ignored. And he has been touring intensely to capitalize on the wild success of “Somebody That I Used to Know” and its attendant tribute to camouflage music video. He was in town not long ago at Ypsilanti’s Pease Auditorium, and, on September 18, he’s going big at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. It’s a prestigious venue for a whipper snapper like him and will really give him a chance to show that he’s got what it takes to be more than a one hit wonder – and, if the images are to be believed, he likes to keep it real trippy at his live shows. Joining him will be Chairlift and Zammuto.

Bloc Party // Royal Oak Music Theatre / Sept. 19

by Paul Kitti

What would your favorite best-kept-secret indie rock band sound like if they had stadium ambitions? Or what might U2 sound like if they had never left their garage, jamming their hearts out unaware that the whole world had their ears against the door? British rockers Bloc Party occupy that wonderful space in between new craze and hidden gem, reaching more ears with their 2005 debut “Silent Alarm” than any guitar-drums-bass indie rock act had any right to. Skilled songwriters, hard-rocking and heartfelt, they’re still hot off the buzz from that original chord they struck with fans as they emerge from a brief hiatus with a new album and a string of European, North American and South African tour dates. They’ve been exploring a bit – electronic, R&B and grunge influences creep into their new releases – and it’ll be interesting to see how their live performance has evolved.

Kevin Hart // The Palace / Sept. 22

by Paul Kitti

Imagine Shaquille O’Neil and Lebron James falling all over themselves, laughing to the point of tears, except they’re in suits, not uniforms… That is the raw comedic power of Kevin Hart. And such was the general reaction to his Seriously Funny stand-up routine in 2010, proving he had a whole lot more to say after his wildly popular I’m A Grown Little Man aired on Comedy Central in 2009. He’s been acting for a while now – you may remember him from “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Scary Movie 3” and “Death at a Funeral,” among others – but you wouldn’t know he’s one of the most talented stand-ups in the world unless you’ve witnessed his unscripted antics. A seasoned storyteller with a catalog of riotous facial expressions, he spins tales of fatherhood and other daily absurdities into wicked humor that resonates. See if you agree with me when he comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills on September 22, shortly after hosting this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. In the meantime, fire up YouTube and catch his Shaq impersonation.

Ben Harper // Michigan Theater / Sept. 26

by David Nassar

If you don’t like his fire, then don’t come around …but something tells me you do.  Yes, his long-awaited return to the Mitten State is almost here. Soon you will be able to join the man himself, Ben Harper, for an acoustic evening at the Michigan Theater. That is, assuming you’ve already purchased your ticket because  they are long gone, aside from possibly being able to scrounge one up from your favorite online broker. Harper will be playing favorites from throughout his career, along with tracks off of his latest album, “Give Till It’s Gone.” The tour, creatively titled, “An Acoustic Evening with Ben Harper,” kicks off in Virginia on September 4 and winds down with a show at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall in mid-October.  Something tells me we just might see that one end up on a DVD in the not-too-distant future.  Catch Ben Harper at the Michigan Theater Wednesday, September 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Dinosaur Jr. // St. Andrews / Sept. 27

by David Nassar

Even by the time they hit it big back in the 90’s with their single, “Feel the Pain,” Dinosaur Jr. had already long established themselves as touring veterans and favorites of the underground scene. While they were never able to again crack the mainstream and have gone through numerous lineup changes, including a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, Dinosaur Jr. continues to record and tour regularly. Their upcoming tenth studio album, “I Bet on Sky,” is set for release September 18.  The newest single, “Watch the Corners,” is pretty much classic Dinosaur Jr. in every way.  A fuzzy, melodic riff that teeters between pop and metal, apathetically soulful vocals and a shredding guitar solo to close. Recent interviews with the band suggest the rest of the album will prove to be much of the same that fans have come to know and love.  Catch Dinosaur Jr. at Saint Andrews on Thursday, September 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Ingrid Michaelson // Power Center / Sept. 30

by Jasmine Zweifler

Ingrid Egbert Michaelson (totally her real middle name by the way) crept into our subconscious when her song was featured in an Old Navy sweater commercial. You know the one. Anyway, it’s been years since then, and she has forged a name for herself as a sweet voiced chanteuse and talented pianist. Her tunes are catchy pop honesty and lend themselves so well to commercials and TV shows that they’re almost ubiquitous. Michaelson provides a welcome respite from a daily barrage of pop stars behaving ostentatiously, as she lets her lyrics tell the story rather than the tabloids. But that isn’t to say that she isn’t creating a stir. She released her fifth album “Human Again” this year and is touring to bring it to life around the world from Singapore to Sydney and then to…Ann Arbor! Two weeks after returning from the land down under she’ll be performing at the Power Center on September 30.


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