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  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit MtBlowout.com to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

    The post Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2011

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Photo: Marvin Shaouni

What are you waiting for? Derby Girls are ready to be served at Roast (Readers' Choice for Best Happy Hour in Wayne County).

Spend the Night - Readers' Choice

The music venues and watering holes our readers treasure

Best Club Night in Oakland County
Best Bar for Under 30s
Best Sexed-up Waitstaff
Best Dance Club in the Suburbs

Luna
1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344; lunaroyaloak.com

Luna is famous for its cadre of fetching dancers, rightly priced drinks and nightly variety. Things get poppin' mid-week with electro-pop Wednesdays, where MGMT will get you one minute and Depeche Mode the next, but they go totally retro on Thursdays, when the Luna dancers twist, shake and shimmy to '80s jams. Fridays are for letting loose, and that's an easy gear to shift into with $2 "you call it" drink specials. And when cover band, Killer Flamingos, plays live on Saturdays, the place simply rocks.

 

Best Bar to Meet Someone - Tie

BlackFinn
530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460; blackfinnroyaloak.com

Pronto
608 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-544-7900; prontorestaurant.com

Sure there are myriad televisions vying for your attention, but at BlackFinn the scenery's mostly off-screen, all around you; babes and bros mingle hard in the saturated singles scene at this happenin' suburban bar and restaurant. There's also the occasional celeb strolling about, often with an air of entitlement. Whereas, a restaurant, bakery and gift shop, Pronto is also home to Video Bar — a thriving scene for southeast Oakland county's gay and transgendered community. With regular drink specials, Video Bar also hosts communal TV (both kinds) watching, with weekly viewing parties for shows (read: conversation ice-breakers) such as Ru Paul's Drag Race, Glee and American Idol.

 

Best Bartender

Andy French, Go Comedy!
261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-327-0575; gocomedy.net

Bartender Andy French's grizzled, tweed swagger is parallel only to his ability to create pun-riddled drink concoctions, such as "The Pickleback" and, our fave, the "Cool Hand Cuke." The man further revolutionizes the age-old drink-slingin' gig by gracing the Go! Comedy stage, where he performs and hosts improvised comedy with the kind of natural charm reserved for a bartender.

 

Best Club for the Libidinal (Horny) Crowd - Tie

BlackFinn
530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460; blackfinnroyaloak.com

Boogie Fever
22901 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-1600; boogiefevercafe.com

If you've always wondered why there's a line of people, in snow and rain, waiting to gain entry into the Royal Oak restaurant and bar BlackFinn, here's your answer: It's a centrally located joint with enough class to make even the most random hookup feel less cheap. And Boogie Fever, with its wacky dress code and retro soundtrack, has garnered attention in the last few years as a hot spot for lust-headed ladies and gents in their 30s and 40s — libidinal singles and scandalous attached folks alike. If you're hunting cougars, it's quite the sexy safari.

 

Best Dive Bar in Wayne County
Best Jukebox

The Bronx Bar
4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464

Even with last year's renovations, this Cass Corridor (OK, fine, Midtown, whatever) classic is still Detroit's most digable dive. Dimly lit, with two killer jukes, the bar is a mix of walk-ins and regulars, whose names can be found on the chalkboard that keeps a tally of drinks bought in advance.

 

Best Dive Bar in Oakland County

Gusoline Alley
309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235

Some thought that Gus' would never be the same when the smoking ban went into effect. Wrong. Characters from all walks of life pack this place throughout the week. Sure, it smells better than it once did, but your shoes still stick to the floor and you're just as likely to get schooled from gents who could pass for bouncers but converse like professors.

 

Best Dive Bar in Macomb County - Tie

Dawg House
35965 Groesbeck Hwy., Clinton Township; 586-791-2773

Goldie's Saloon
45330 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb; 586-286-6991

The Dawg House's greatness is apparent in its years-long collection of grime and grit, frightening those who don't belong but undoubtedly attracting eastsiders with foul mouths and unkempt facial hair. A 15-minute drive north gets you to the delightfully cramped Goldie's Saloon, a dark, wood-paneled bar known for its stiff drinks, cheap burgers and divey-good times.

 

Best Dive Bar in Washtenaw County

8 Ball Saloon
208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com/8ball.html

Any bar that calls itself a saloon better be some kind of den of lifer boozehounds and frothy mouths. The 8 Ball doesn't disappoint. If you thought Ann Arbor was all judgmental jocks, stuffy MBAs and myriad neo-hippie hipsters, perhaps a stop (for pitchers of beer) here is in order. It lives beneath the venerable Blind Pig, but, like its bouncer's beard, maintains a distinctive look and feel, which is apparent from the small side-door entrance, located somewhere down that dark alley. It's not just a dive, it's an adventure.

 

Best Honky-Tonk Bar

Club Bart
22726 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-8746; myspace.com/clubbart

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