Detroit has a milli+ events this weekend to spook the Halloween into you. Dress to kill at MOCAD's Halloween extravaganza, or go down the street to the Majestic and watch as your fave bands step on stage dressed as some other band.
The best thing I can think of is in Pontiac- a scary place in itself. Try the Crofoot for twenty excellent Detroit bands performing incognito as they conjure up their alter egos and perform as other musicians.
Keep on the look-out for the gal in the Cher costume. The Entire reason I've been rocking 25+ inches [yeah, just measured] of hair for the past year- Excellent! [although cannot wait to chop it] Halloween is serious business, y'know.
deadmau5 performed a two night stint at The Fillmore in Detroit. Photographs from the show published elsewhere.
Some gal with a blossom perched in her hair turned to me and said 'Now is this beautiful- or is this beautiful.' And it was.
Florescent green mouse ears bobbed up and down- mimicking the ebb and flow of the crowd. They had gathered to witness musician/producer deadmau5 work his electronic magic during his current Meowingtons Hax tour. Tonight's setting was Detroit, which is no stranger to the electronic wave that is poised to take over the industry.
Detroit remains an integral force in electronic music worldwide, maintaining its position even as a steady influx hits the mainstream. [Detroit favors the underground - artistically and musically speaking: get too popular and it will turn its back on you as though you were its ugly stepchild] The mass appeal of deadmau5 points to a greater phenomenon: electronica reaching new levels in popular culture. Although, the advent often signals the demise.
The mau5eketeers packed into The Fillmore to experience deadmau5. The wide variety of handmade mou5eheads fabricated by fans were impressive. The most prominent style of the evening was the traditional redhead, although an ample amount were dedicated to other color variations, some with XX eyes. The best pseudo-mou5e of the night award goes to the LED head- it lit up the place like a Disney float at The Main Street Electrical Parade.
deadmau5 puts on the Party of the Century each time he steps onstage. Tonight The Big Cheese made his grand entrance by being elevated through the floor. Donning a holey, mustard-yellow headcheese that had been designed by a fan, he settled in for the evening on a raised platform that towered high above the stage itself.
Although the stage is stationary- it felt like it was moving. It transformed and reconfigured itself in front of your eyes. The Rubik's Cube theme was a well-executed feat in electromagnetic computer-generated engineering. As the show progressed, the design concepts followed suit through spectacular use of lighting and synched beams.
Sometimes you felt like you were a character in a video game, other times the set morphed into a whole other dimension- propelling you into another planet. Heavy reverberations bounced around the theatre like a pinball. Bass starts in your jaw and moves outward- expanding to every point in your body.
The crowd was exuberant, sporadically 'throwing their wedges in the air.' deadmau5 has no choice, his perma-grin makes him appear really, really happy- the exception being when the eyes are eerily illuminated and the smile is obliterated in darkness- that is sinister. Throughout the night, however, the audience's smiles refuse to fade.
deadmau5 has an unbelievable control over his audience. With one 'angry' fist- [remember- the unwavering smile] or a dual raising of hands, he can command his fans to their knees.
It is masterful. The crescendos arrive at the right time, spilling over with precision impact- all the while he is covertly scheming to take you into some back alley and leave you there. Then, just in time- he skillfully picks you up and carries you from the background to the foreground again, without anyone realizing you were ever gone.
At one point, nearing the end of his almost two hour set- he was starting to lose the masses en masse. So he delved into his bag of tricks and pulled something out of his hat, pounding down the beats and regained control like some sovereign leader. It was then that the building went insane.
How does Joel Zimmerman, a ghost-faced kid from Toronto manage to carry a ragin' party every night? There must be something in the swiss- or is it gouda? No matter, one thing is definite- this mou5e runs tha house.
Gateway to Bruges
Bruges is known as ‘Venice of the North’ due to its vast network of canals. As I entered Bruges by car- the first thing I saw was Kruispoort Gate, otherwise known as ‘The Gateway to Bruges.’ The white limestone structure was constructed in 1402 and is a short distance from the three remaining windmills that are in Bruges.
Venice of the North
This canal-based city is an island, encircled by channels. Check out Dijver Canal the proper way- by boat. You will duck under stone bridges, passing by gardens, and houses- ancient and modern! Medieval Times. Bruges is renown for Gothic architecture that has been impeccably preserved from the Middle Ages. There are also some structures still in tact from its inception in the 15th century.
Swans glide down the placid waterways as you walk over the arched bridges throughout the city. Horse-drawn carriages clip-clop down the cobblestone streets. Bruges seems to be the setting of a storybook you read as a child. Climb up the three hundred sixty-six steps to the top of Belfry Tower for a breath- taking view of the city. The bell tower has forty-six bells, which are played manually by a carillonist.
Don’t forget to stop by one of the restaurants to chill and try the world class Belgian brews and french fries. Not only was the town itself memorable- the dining was exceptional.
Bruges, Belgium is an idyllic setting for a summer vacation abroad. If you are staying in the unban setting of Brussels- take a side trip to Bruges to experience the unique history of this town.
Tonight is the 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. There will be a silent art auction, dinner by well-revered local restaurants, as well entertainment by talented artists.
Entertainment begins at 9pm~ the line-up includes: Ze Dark Park, Prussia, HAUTE to DEATH, (Ash Nowak + Jon Dones) & DJ Brian Gillespie.
Visit www.mocadetroit.org for details.
It was raining outside, and there was a storm a-brewin' inside St. Andrews tonight. Minus the Bear stopped in Detroit during their current '10th Anniversary Tour.'
This Seattle-based band is comprised of five members, most of whom have been playing in this band since its inception in 2001. Jake Snider takes the lead on vocals, playing a mean guitar as well. Cory Murchy throws around a wicked bass while Dave Knudson does his part- turning out his guitar. Alex Rose rounds out the sound, lending his voice to backing vocals and lets his fingers do the walking- on the keyboard. And holding down the fort while kickin' a new flava in your ear- Erin Tate on drums.
The resounding 'Thank You for Being a Friend' intro signaled the calm before the storm, then Minus the Bear walked onstage. Dark came crashing to light as the band ripped into their first song. The spotlights flashed like lightning, and with a thunderous clap, the band began their controlled chaos in front of a packed house.
The crowd seemed insanely happy with every song that was sung, bouncing around and shouting the lyrics into the air. They clapped along fanatically to almost every song, keeping in league with the momentum Minus the Bear themselves created.
One song flowed into the next as they ran through songs, pulling heavily from the 2002 release of Highly Refined Pirates. The inclusion of this album- performed thoroughly- was one of the advertised perks of this tour. As each song was revealed, the entire crowd roared with approval as each note left their respective instruments.
Comparable to a roller coaster ride- the music mimics an ascension. Clink. Clink. Clink. You are perched precariously at the top of the highest point for a moment before... Freefall! You plummet down the tracks- holding on for your life.
The difference between the live show and the studio releases was the clarity of sound. The albums are clear and concise, each part distinctive and fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. The sound of the actual performance was layered differently, the instruments and vocals ricocheting around the speakers.
I stood behind some kids who were scheming to get backstage. They were hardcore planning, as though they were about to embark on an expedition. Each time a shaft of fluorescent light escaped out of the backstage door- they craned their necks in its direction, and began refining their plot to perfection. The only thing they were missing was the map with X marks the spot.
The end of the show came sooner than expected. Snider flashed the thumbs-up to the audience as he and the rest of the band members exited the stage.
The crowd chanted 'MTB! MTB! MTB!' Captain Hook, a fan wearing a metal hook in lieu of his hand- raised his silver grapnel into the air, pleading for the band to reemerge. Minus the Bear stepped back onstage, full force as they tore into an early favorite- 'Just Kickin it Like a Wild Donkey.' It started out smooth, then was shocked alive-maybe as they kicked! it- by the inclusion of a jingly tambourine.
After taking a group bow and singing an inordinately large amount of songs for the encore- they settled into a hypnotic version of 'Pachuca Sunrise' as the grand finale for this show.
The show ended with more band members mimicking the Fonz's hand signal in the air- interspersed by many 'thank you guys.' The final two band members remained onstage taking pics, and throwing picks, and then the stage was abandoned.
And now the roadies break down the stage- signaling the kids in front of me put their plan into effect and sneak backstage.
Nothing compares to a New Mexican sunset. The colors, displayed in combinations only found in dreams, are rare throughout the rest of the country. So it was highly unusual that tonight, as the setting sun dropped down from its perch, that the midwestern sky was transformed into a scene from 'The Land of Enchantment.'
Zach Condant is familiar with those New Mexican sunsets. His journey into the music which would morph into his band- Beirut, started out within the confines of his Santa Fe bedroom. It then expanded, trouabador-style, into the streets of Paris, Oaxaca, and wherever else he felt the desire to roam through.
These memories and experiences became inspiration for his albums, in which he tells stories that are heartbreaking yet wildly exuberant. Passionate lyrics, often poetic, never contrived, cascade over the layers of instruments. His earlier work stems from a naive inquisitiveness, laced with the interests of an old soul.
Strings of lights cascaded over the stage at The Royal Oak Music Theatre. Beirut took their places below them. They came to rock this town, old world-style.
With his french horn tattoos peeking out from underneath his dark jacket- the mastermind behind Beirut barreled into 'Scenic World.' The voice that resonated throughout the historic theatre is that of an early David Byrne, although not as fully formed. In appearance, he calls to mind a young Beatle, namely Paul McCartney.
Beirut is serious musicianship, surrounded by tomfoolery and banter. The haunting baritone, that booms when it wants to, is accompanied by an extremely talented bunch of boisterous musicians. All play a menagerie of instruments and perform with jubilance, interspersed with a choir of diverging voices.
And in the end, the band exits quietly, leaving Condon alone on stage. Much as he started out- a world away- by himself, alone in his room in New Mexico.
All images & text ©Nicole Wrona