Peninsular Place


January 27, 2013

The Buzz: February 2013


Brill // Through Feb. 10 / Performance Network Theatre

by iSPY Staff

Performance Network Theatre forms a special “artnership” with Creative Rights and Pop Up A2 to install visual art that follows the theme of the current and upcoming shows in the theatre’s lobby. “Brill” by David Wells with music by Frank Allison (now – February 10, 2013) features works by Adam Bota, Lea Bult, and Katie Halton in the theatre’s lobby for the duration of the performance.

“Brill” is a world premiere by emerging playwright, David Wells with music by local celebrity, Frank Allison of Frank Allison and the Odd Socks. The story follows a washed up big band musician in the world famous Brill Building in Manhattan when a young woman arrives at his office with a guitar, her ambitions, and a few secrets. Performance Network Theatre is Ann Arbor’s award-winning professional theatre and is dedicated to engaging, challenging, and inspiring audiences and artists. The works in the lobby by Bota, Bult, and Halton reflect the themes of music, the city, and inspiration of “Brill.”

“I performed in Creative Rights’ “In Progress” in the fall and found the collaboration with visual art and performance art fascinating,” said Performance Network Theatre’s Marketing Director, Marissa Kurtzhals. “I mentioned the idea of the partnership to Creative Rights’ Executive Director, Brandon Weiner and he was extremely enthusiastic and ready to join forces! It has been a pleasure working with Creative Rights and Pop Up A2. We could not be happier about this exciting new project and look forward to bringing artwork to our patrons throughout the season.”

For tickets or information regarding the pieces, call 734-663-0681.

Ugly Mug Art Opening // Feb. 2 / Ugly Mug

by Jasmine Zweifler

Art and coffee are a natural and zesty pairing – one stimulates your body and the other your mind. It seems only natural that The Ugly Mug in Ypsilanti has gotten a bit more formal with their patronage and involvement with the local art punks of our fair city. Their latest show has its opening on the evening of February 2 and features the work of Bri Howard and Melissa Phythian. These two likely lasses share some strong similarities in their work but come from two different worlds. Phythian has a background in industrial design that gives her illustration a hard edge. Howard, by contrast, brings a tattoo artist’s eye to the same types of vivid, whimsical images.  Howard’s pieces often feel a bit softer and are more likely to include beautiful women than robots. The opening will begin at 7 p.m. and provides a caffeinated and cozy atmosphere to gawk and talk with the artists.

Chit Chat // Feb 7/ Blind Pig

by Jeff Milo

They say it’s all been done before, with rock to punk to pop perversions and provocative experimental diversions. Whatever you want to call it, there’s a right way to fray the lines between pop and punk, surf and slime, howls and harmonies, and Chit Chat found it early on. Their scruffy demos impressed this writer when he happened upon them a year ago, shimmered with a snaky guitar splashing reverb over strut-thumped rhythms and throaty, thrashing vocal yawps. Last December, they debuted with a proper 7” (with four fuzz-curdled rock cuts conjuring Link Wray glories as much as affecting a psychedelic-surge comparable to their contemporaries in Ypsi’s new breed of post-punkism, Bad Indians).

The local quartet returned to town at the end of January, wrapping an East Coast tour with NY-based Stolen Girls, energized, inspired and ready to start recording all the new songs they’ve penned through the end of their most formative year (2012). In terms of an avant-garde psyche-rock deconstruction of bubblegum-pop and garage-balladry, there’s few more industrious these days than the dynamic/raw Ty Segall. Cheers to Chit Chat as they’ll be opening things up for Ty’s show at the Blind Pig at 9 p.m. on Febuary 7.

Yo La Tengo // Feb. 8 / Michigan Theater

by Jeff Milo

Yo La Tengo are just three modest musicians from Hoboken NJ, yet they’ve managed to steadily expand an impressive universe of songs over what’s become an impressive career spanning a dozen albums and as many years as this writer’s been alive. Their canon is charmingly stocked with characteristically subtle fuzz-furled lullabies, warmly reverb-muddled rock-chuggers and intriguing experimentations in acerbic atmospherics, sustaining a multitude of dreamy melody murmurs meandering often past the seven-minute-marker They’ve been there, tried that, done this and reinvented that, bafflingly defying myriad notions of pop through pleasing pollinations of noise-pop, indie-pop, twee-pop, surf-rock, doo-wop, punk-rock lounge-lizards, boardwalk skater-rock shredders and oh, oh, oh the harmonies.

“Fade”came out on Matador a couple weeks ago, and the trio hasn’t lost any of their shine. Rustling rhythms and echo-stretched resonations bedazzle the ears from the get go, thrummed with the warmth of those harmonies and the percolating feedback wail of a guitar, like a jet engine rumbling beneath your feet as the melody threads your head into the clouds. Listen close, the whispery vocals are waxing philosophic quite often on “Fade,” soothingly-twanged tumblers sing of “resisting the flow” like resolute river rocks, gracefully bending their way into ever evolving aesthetic environments, proving ever-adaptable, decades-on.

The Avett Brothers // Feb. 12 / Hill Auditorium

by Jasmine Zweifler

The winter chill has an admittedly stultifying effect on most types of merriment, but the Ark in cooperation with Hill Auditorium is hell bent on heating things up. Their latest installment keen on beating back the icy death grip of a February in Michigan brings the Avett Brothers to Ann Arbor.

The popularity of the Avett Brothers has grown steadily in recent years, and it reached a fever pitch with the release of “The Carpenter” in 2012. The themes on “The Carpenter” are their darkest and most grown-up yet, but be assured that the show will be anything but subdued with banjoes and catchy hooks that get the crowd singing along. And with tickets at $45, it’s a tune that almost anyone can dance to. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. on February 12, and tickets can be purchased in advance through The Ark’s website.

Songs of Love / Songs of Hate // Feb. 13 / Woodruff’s

by Jasmine Zweifler

Intellect Records and the goofy, smiling mug of Christopher “Chewy” Anderson are just as much a part of the Ypsi/Arbor music scene as anyone you could name. His latest contribution to Washtenaw county’s never ending story of musical wonderment is February 13th’s “Songs of Love/ Songs of Hate” show at Woodruff’s.

The show is a night that celebrates the vagaries of the human heart in and out of love. This is the second installation and the first in Ypsilanti, and we’ve been promised an evening of the unexpected.  Nicole P’Simer, Leadpan and Trembling Earth will all be on hand to show us some love/hate. The amorphous super group we’ve come to know as The Vagrant Symphony will be on hand and will distribute free love to all present. And if you’ve blown all your v-day funds on an overpriced dinner or a bottle of whisky to drink alone in your apartment, no need to fret because the show is free.

Electric Six // Feb. 14 / Blind Pig

by Jeff Milo

Eureka Six…indeed. Two years ago, this perennial A2-favorite released what proved to be their most experimental record, “Heartbeats & Brainwaves”– a work relying more heavily than ever upon the synthesizer and approached as though their studio were more of a laboratory with compositions more pieced-together, separated, detached and spread out through various sessions instead of the old days of recording everything live, together in one room. The album itself, however complex in construction, was still dynamic in its own right and felt like a natural progression in their blend of disco-beat trash-thrash panache. Late last autumn, the Electric Six released “Absolute Pleasure,”a “live” record (and, essentially, a best-of).

It was an interesting time for the Electric Six – a rare window of time where they weren’t finger-to-the-bone, rubber-to-the-road, out-of-their-heads busy for the first time in more than 10 years. Now, coming up for air and listening-back to the live recordings, they were impressed with how stupendous it sounded, simply due to its live-ness. Resolved to return to their fierier rock-fundaments, backed by a bottomless cache of new material and enthused by the crisp, crazed playback of “Pleasure,” the Six should be sufficiently recharged for another characteristically piquant, sweat-spackled live performance, when the kick off their winter tour at the Blind Pig on February 14.

The Love Hangover // Feb. 15 / Woodruff’s

by Jasmine Zweifler

The Love Hangover is an annual event comprised of 5 simultaneous shows in venues across the country. In their own words “playing songs to heal broken hearts and break whole ones.” It’s a concert that has outposts in places as far flung as Brooklyn and North Carolina, and this year will descend on Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti on the day after Valentine’s (of course). The show is simple in concept – you hunt down the best talent in the area and then you pair them off with the task of covering their favorite love songs, to the delight of lovers everywhere. Participants in years past have included members of Cat Power and the Magnetic Fields. This year’s bill has been kept under wraps so far, but love should be surprising right? Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $8, which is a small price for love in this writer’s opinion.

Elephant Revival // The Ark / Feb. 17, 18 

by iSPY Team

Young in age and fresh in conception, Colorado’s Elephant Revival brings creativity and inspiration that was easy to feel at the 2012 Ann Arbor Folk Festival. This neo-acoustic quintet is on the cutting edge of an emerging new genre known as Transcendental Folk. Individually and collectively the band members have performed with Bela Fleck, John Paul Jones, Michael Franti, Little Feat, Yonder Mountain String Band, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and Leftover Salmon. Elephant Revival delves into Scottish/Celtic fiddle tunes, original folk pieces, traditional ballads, psychedelic country, indie rock, powerful reggae grooves, ‘40s/’50s jazz standards, and an occasional hip-hop beat, but in whatever they do they keep a sense of encountering musical materials for the first time and finding their spiritual power. In the words of Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident, “Elephant Revival is a magical blend of melodies and rhythms with their roots in the past and their hearts in the future.”

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