Last Blasts of Summer
So the city's crammed with Labor Day fests? Go see these bands.
Published: August 31, 2011
Why you need to see 'em: Indie R&B or straight groove-pop, your call.
Deep See Sound System
Friday, 4:30 p.m., Mirepoix Cooking School International Stage
Eric Hoegemeyer can do and play most anything. He has played drums with Crud and the recently reformed Charm Farm, he has fronted a band (Gold Cash Gold), he works as a producer and engineer at Royal Oak's Rustbelt Studios in, and he also has this little project — an electro-dub-reggae thing called Deep See Sound System.
Why you need to see 'em: You'll feel bass rumble deep inside your kidneys.
Sunday, 8 p.m., Ford Focus
The Infatuations shouldn't be as good as they are. Hairy white guys playing soul?
Oh, hell no. But, somehow, they are on the less hyperbolic side of fantastic. Is it the super-catchy mid-'70s-y soul-disco tunes? Part of it. There's also merrily self-effacing about this crew, which is Caleb Gutierrez (vocals), Lacy Baby (vocals), Christian Draheim (guitar), Jeff Lee (drums), the Wolf (bass), Chris Polite (guitar), Bobby Myers (percussion), Nick Behnan (guitar).
Why you need to see 'em: Because Earth, Wind & Fire ain't playing. Plus, there's a dude named the Wolf.
Hamtramck Labor Day Festival
Two stages, Three days,
Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Casmere Stage
It's a "weird kind-of psyche/gospel" guitarist-singer Zachary Weedon reluctantly surmises, "but I don't wanna term it that yet, that's just what I've been listening to." A half-dozen shows in, this group (with guitarist-singer Loretta Lucas, drummer Beren Elkine-Huett, and bassist Billy Lennox) has already started growing away from its initial sound — an almost-off-the-hinges surf-punk shimmy and rattled-up guitar pop — and into a bit sparser, soulful and atmospheric realms.
Why you need to see 'em: Well, 'cause they're probably winking at later VU, Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Staple Singers.
Danny & the Darleans
Saturday, 4 p.m., Caniff Stage
The Danny in this band is, of course, Señor Kroha, he of the Gories, the Readies and the Demolition Doll Rods, an attitudinal bluesman wrapped up in punk rock. Or maybe it's the other way around? Anyway, the dude's a sick and tasteful guitar player who evokes rare and raw bluesmen, such as Doctor Ross. And Kroha can blow some alright harp too. The Darleans are bassist Colleen Burke (who may or may not have learned bass to be in this band) and the savvy drummer (and total mensch) Richie Wohlfeil.
Why you need to see 'em: Post "garage" boom Detroit blues-rock done in the least douchiest way possible.
Saturday, 1 p.m., Caniff Stage
Drifty, dreamy shoegaze, surfer- skateboarder indie-rock, shadowy hybrids of brit-pop and even dashes of new wave: Suffice it to say, Pewter Cub brews an effervescent blend — pouring enough fuzz and echo for the psyche-pop klatch, enough radiant, heart-wringing vocals for the wallflower romantics and enough angular hooks for the post-punkers. All of that, deftly strung together by a mere trio (Regan Patrick Lorie (vocals, bass, keys, guitar), Scott Sandford (guitar, bass). Dave Jennings (drums). Swoon your head and heart simultaneously.
Sunday, 8 p.m., Casemere Stage
What evolved from an accordion, acoustic guitar and inebriated inspirado between longtime-collaborators Corey Weedon (vocals, guitar) and Todd McNulty (drums) has gone through some lineup shifts, some strange hybrids of punkified Stones struts, and has aged nicely into a healthy amalgam of styles that doesn't stray too from the duo's punk roots (Lee Marvin Computer Arm). It's all bolstered now by guitar hero Joey Mazzola (guitar) and Neal Simms (bass). "One song will be a gritty blues stomper, then a fast punk song, then another will sound like," McNulty pauses, "I dunno, Wire, or something."
Why you need to see 'em: Mazzola's in the band and because we say so.
Monday, 5:30 p.m., Caniff Stage
OK, so there are couple of different versions of the Contours gigging the cruise ship circuit. This version, with early Contour Sylvester Potts, (as well as Kim Green, Darrell Nunlee and Tony Womack) might or might not be better than the others. What's important is that, if the Hamtown sun's out, those Motown classics will be as welcome as a beer at Paychecks or some yummy goo from the Polish bakery. I mean, c'mon, it's not as if they're all set to release a great new album anyway.
Why you need to see 'em: Because it's the Contours and, unless Aretha shows up, this will be the best soul heard all weekend.
Panic in Hamtramck
One venue, three days, a dozen (more or less) gnarly bands
The Johnny Ill Band
Thursday, Painted Lady, 2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck; 313-874-2991
Led by Johnny Ill (aka John Garcia, this paper's fill-in proofreader) on guitar and vocals, the band's evolving lineup now comprises Chris Campbell (Terrible Twos) on drums, Pete Steffy (the Beekeepers) on keys, Paul Derochie (once of Fontana) on guitar, and Matt Larson on bass. Don't expect a wild stage show; instead, the band's energy gets channeled into a straight-up sound. And that power comes through on their new 7-inch on X! Records.
Why you need to see 'em: The band's variety of stripped-down garage rock has been pleasing dive bar audiences for years, earning comparisons to the Modern Lovers and Pavement, perhaps due to Ill's amusing throw-away lyrics, which hold the hard-rockin' together with a certain naïve charm — for those who are really listening.
Friday, Painted Lady, 2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck; 313-874-2991
Every picture of this band — Jamie Cherry (drums), Phil Dworzecki (bass), Al Adams (keyboard), Morgan Blank (guitar, vocals) on their Facebook profile sees them all sweat-soaked like a group of alcoholic tree-trimmers. There are a couple reasons for this: One, they are very sweaty dudes. Two, they play every show like they've a shotgun pointed at the back of their heads. It's like synth-stoner-noise. We're not quite sure what SROS stands for, but let's take a shot in the dark: Suck Rancid Old Socks? Nah — too easy.
Why you need to see 'em: Because they sweat.
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