Last Blasts of Summer
So the city's crammed with Labor Day fests? Go see these bands.
Published: August 31, 2011
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.
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?
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
Saturday, 8 p.m., Ford Focus
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