Peninsular Place


December 20, 2012

9th Symphony: Vagrants at Rush Street and Blind Pig


I don’t want this to be a typical blog post.

It’s not about a traditional band.

I don’t want this to be a review or a perfunctory feature story, I don’t want to have to tell you why you should go see this band.

Because this band does something wholly refreshing for me – from the onset – they’re not a band, by design. They are ever transient; indeed, Vagrants!

Ypsi/Arbor-area collective The Vagrant Symphony has been bandying about, in one form or another (or another) for nine years now. This Friday at the Blind Pig commemorates their “conception” –via songwriters/co-founders Christopher Anderson and Randy Peabody paging through a random thesaurus—that blossomed into a 20-member elastic-institution of performers/multi-instrumentalists/songwriters and overall outside-box-thinkers dedicated to conjuring their own brand of a darkly-dreamy neo-psychedelia, jangled-‘round-to-a-contemplative-daze, strummed and sweetened with hazy, lulling harmonies – a communal sonic séance of the Stones or VU – in the form of a strange new folk-pop format.

And come Friday – says Anderson – they’re hoping to pack as many current / former Vagrants onto the stage as physically, temporally, structurally possible. Multiple guitars, keyboards, bass, African drums, djembes, “and some mandolin action…bongos!” Plus: busking-entertainment outside on the sidewalk… Everything, hopefully, but the kitchen-sink.

“I’m really pumped about having my buddies: Harison Zamperla and Nicole P’Simer on the bill,” said Anderson. “I have seen them literally go through many musical phases and I love them both dearly. Laura K. Balke and The Hand In The Ocean both being on this bill is also quite wonderful. I met those acts in two church shows back in my hometown of Royal Oak at the same venue.”

Looking back: “There were a lot of trio-based phases of Vagrant,” says Anderson, “with both of the combos of (Anderson) / (Harison) Zamperla / Casey Dickerson and/or (Anderson) / Alexis King / Joseph O’Dell.” The group started as a six-piece outré-orchestra, a new-weird-wonderful-wandering folk thing, initially purposed to soundtrack a house party and soon after entering a battle of the bands at Pub 13.

Back then, Anderson didn’t even sing, it was Rashon Massey on lead vocals. “Now, I’m up to 30-originals and feeling excited to reveal our five-song set at the Blind Pig stage. It’s very representative of the catalog…” Anticipate new compositions by Anderson / Jeremy Vanheistma, mixed with “…a classic Harison-song and two oldies-but-goodies.”

So it goes – The Vagrant Symphony continues its melodious meandering, nine-years on… Toast them at the Blind Pig this Friday.


See them live at Rush Street for MiniFest…an intimate / off-the-cuff / introductory musical celebration acting as prelude to Mittenfest.

@Rush Street – 12/26 – 8 pm – THE VAGRANT SYMPHONY



Vagrant Symphony’s 9th Anniversary

@The Blind Pig – 12/28 – 9pm – THE VAGRANT SYMPHONY hosts this epic line up:

Harison Zamperla

White Pineapple
The Hand in the Ocean
Laura Kathleen Balke
The Vagrant Symphony

Nicole P`Simer
Steve Smalls and Company

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.

Mike Vial at Woodruff's

passalacquamittenfest (1)

We All Care

An Open Letter To The Performing Bands at Mittenfest… Dear all… Well, the first thing I’ll say is thank you, thank you and thank you again… to every human being who walked through Woodruff’s doors over the New Year’...
by Jeff Milo

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 6.35.42 PM

The Dish: Sava’s on State

Since Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is upon us again in just a few weeks, I’ve turned my attention to some of the best restaurants that Ann Arbor has to offer. There are so many great ones – and that number is steadily growing ...
by Stefanie Stauffer

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 11.42.52 PM

The Mad Scientist of the Ravens Club

There’s a lab in the basement of The Ravens Club. It has beakers and vials and jars filled with mysterious ingredients. There are dropper bottles and measuring scoops. Jeff Paquin is the creative force behind The Ravens Club�...
by Tammy Coxen



It’s Time to Eat

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week Twice a year the Main Street Area Association organizes Restaurant Week, a showcase of some of the best restaurants Ann Arbor has to offer. On January 20 – 25, Restaurant Week will return to Ann Arbo...
by Stefanie Stauffer

Peninsular Place

Folk the Police 2013

There are a few events that define the spirit of our little Ypsi-Arbor community and distinguish just what makes us so damn special. Things like The Shadow Art Fair and Mittenfest are among them, but a relative newcomer that I ...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Photos by Jen Harley and Brandon Zwagerman via Instagram.

Mittenfest Day 1 [Review]

The first night of Mittenfest is like the beginning of a marathon that you’ve been training for all year. You’ve been to a few local shows here and there and you’ve sussed out your favorite new artists, but this is the bi...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Drink of the Week: Samichlaus

Works Every Time When I think of a “malt liquor”, I generally think of King Cobra, St. Ides and Colt .45. I generally do not think of a dopplebock brewed in Austria. But because of a high alcohol by volume, this week’s �...
by Patty Smith

iSPY Magazine Events with UpTo

scott morgan benefit flier

Rational Respect

A fervent little noodle roiling in the primordial soup of psychedelic pop came strumming, shimming and screaming its shimmery way out of Ann Arbor’s steamy sonic bowl in the mid 1960’s. A few years before this town became k...
by Jeff Milo


Mittenfest VII Lineup Announcement [Exclusive]

You’ve been patient enough. The lineup for this year’s Mittenfest is below. Inside you’ll find some familiar faces and a bunch of new ones. One thing you can definitely expect is an incredible 5 days (we’...
by iSPY Team

Mittenfest VII

Mittenfest VII

Woodruff’s doesn’t just close out the year, they close it down. On the subject of local music events in Ypsilanti, Mittenfest is the final word. It’s a five day Michigan music marathon that fills the pesky gap between Chr...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Peninsular Place