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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Last Blasts of Summer


So the city's crammed with Labor Day fests? Go see these bands.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will be performing Friday, 9:15 at Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak

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Jason Stollsteimer will be performing with The Hounds Below Saturday, 5PM at Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak

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Phantasmagoria perform Friday, 2 p.m at Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak

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The Sugarcoats perform Sunday, 8PM at the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival

Its summer's end and school's still out, which can only mean it's time to freak on three non-jazz fests this weekend — Panic in Hamtramck, Hamtramck Labor Day Festival and Arts, Beats & Eats. Here we chose, with few exceptions, the killer local bands playing this weekend that you need to see. 


Arts, Beats & Eats

Three days, 250 bands, Royal Oak


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. 

Friday, 9:15 p.m., Michigan Lottery National Stage

This show marks the band's first back-home show since impressing 10,000 fans at Lollapalooza. If you've had your nose in our pages, you'd know about the breakout year Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein are having. Almost a year to the day, these Detroit dudes, both multi-instrumentalists, were playing in front of a couple dozen tastemakers in West Coast bars. This September, with a full-time drummer, sometime horn section, and rotating skeleton choir, they're off for another national tour, with stops at Austin City Limits Music Festival and Popped Fest in Philly. Then they'll head abroad, with multiple London shows already booked and an appearance at Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik. 

Why You Need to See 'Em: Kid and Em aside, they're Detroit's biggest band at the moment, and rising. 


The Hounds Below 

Saturday, 5 p.m., Soaring Eagle Stage 

Jason Stollsteimer's Hounds Below has fast become his best group, and that's cool, because it's driven by songs that are at once beautiful and weirdly sentimental — but like some experience you've yet to feel. That's hard to do. See, Stollsteimer's songwriting has evolved at an eyebrow-raising rate of late, making much of his Von Bondies work sound like kids' stuff, which it probably was. More, the Hounds lineup has changed drastically; what began as a local super-group of sorts, with some hired guns, has become a proper band, including bassist Gjon Gjevalini, guitarist Skye Thrasher, drummer Brent Nagy, and keyboardist Allison Radell. 

Why you need to see 'em: Because, by next year, you'll have to be crammed in for a blurry view from a distance. 


Amp Fiddler

Monday, 8 p.m., Ford Alternative Stage

OK, Detroit. We're being fucked with. There's a conspiracy. Who would book Amp Fiddler at the same time as George Clinton? Amp cut his chops playing with Parliament Funkadelic. And old George has more than a few things to do with Amp's distinguished yet excitable stage presence. C'mon, that big ol' floppy hat Amp wears has P-Funk written all over it. Nonetheless, we are made to choose between the master and the disciple. But if you're perhaps looking for a smoother and sexier R&B approach, Amp is the Man. And his showmanship is among the top tier in Detroit. 

Why you need to see 'em: Dude, this world class soul-infused funk torch-carrier is a legend in the making. 


Kidz Klez of Michigan

Monday, 1:30 p.m., 

Mirepoix International Stage

This ensemble performance is a one of its kind in the area. For years, these kids have klezed it up hard, honing their horns on an ancient sound, one reminiscent of the Mediterranean basin yet also of the jazz born of New Orleans. It's a non-narcotic mood elevator. Its funk is subdued, but there, and the trombone slidin' bewilderment is addictive. And it's performed mainly by 13-to 18-year-old young adults. 

Why you need to see 'em: Really? When was the last time you saw a klez band? 


Dutch Pink 

Sunday, 5 p.m., Soaring Eagle Stage 

Think a smoke-grimed piano bar nuanced with poetic lyrics, soulful rhythms and atmospheric feedback. Dutch Pink has steadily developed a signature sound — a growled, twanged take on blue-collar blues — and further honed it into a kind of rock waltz. 

Why you need to see 'em: Because Dustin Leslie (vocals, piano, guitar), Clyde Mashinter (bass), Joel McCune (guitar) and Scottie Stone (drums) have a knack for stitching the poignancy of Americana balladry between rousing crescendos of piano and fuzzed guitars


Eliza Neals 

Saturday, 8 p.m., Ford Focus 

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