Loose Lips 

TOKIN’ FOR BUDDHA

"Break it for me down, just a one more time; what was our name? Buddha Fulla Rymez!" They may sound like hokey lyrics in print, but the live version, belted out by Detroit’s own Buddha Fulla Rymez, filled the Token Lounge in Westland Friday night at their WRIF-presented show.

The Token polled patrons to see which of the night’s bands pulled in more fans. Insect Opera’s numbers took the lead in the official count, but everyone I talked to was a devoted Buddha-head.

While BFR assembled their considerable stage show, including the twin five-foot bongs that house Shadow and Menny Kills’ mics, I chatted with native Westlanders. Joe Kolpacke, Butch Bodorski and "Melon" Richarde proved that cool dudes aren’t always arrogant and obnoxious, and certainly represented their fair city favorably.

The ambience approximated old-school rock, with a healthy handful of early punk and just a pinch of hillbilly, whatever that means. Somehow, the blend resulted in a true music-lovin’, babe-cruisin’, blurred-vision kind of night that makes one wonder – just for a moment – why we waste time at high-fashion, pretentious preening palaces that are too uptight to really unwind in.

Walking in, I air-guitared to AC/DC’s "Back in Black" in the big room. Making my way into the lounge for a cocktail (well, Bud Light), I suffered system shock to my groove thing as Michael Jackson’s latest noise assaulted me from the Z-TV! It was an incongruous background to the biker dudes silhouetted against the screen.

Lending their shapely silhouettes to the evening were Jessica Wambergue of Wyandotte and Jaime Sturgill of Warren. Stealing my thunder, these Buddha-head beauties quickly became the focal point of every solo slickster (and slickstress), including a freakish fellow leering near the huge aquarium (a la Fifth Avenue). WRIF’s Julie narrowly escaped the guy’s stealthy approach.

Treating my old stoner self to some time in the spotlight, I rocked, rapped and rebelled, cutting loose among friendly faces. I would have been happy to stay all night, especially after bumping into the veritable Fonz of the Token, the beatific bear known as Ron. But alas, other parties called. I will return, however, as Ron bestowed upon me VIP status in his kingdom!

HADJ-PADJ

Over the freeway and through the hoods, in the storybook land of Grosse Pointe, a good old-fashioned house party offered up hospitable happenings. Little dishes of nuts and snacks smiled pleasantly from every end table. Shrimp and other swanky sides lusciously anticipated appetites. And basins of beer beckoned, begging for imbibers. But wait! That’s not all!

This deluxe "how-to-throw-the-perfect-party" model also included a live band in the basement, just past the pool table. Love Dart jammed away, comprised of Motown radio rogues, airwave idols, loudspeaker luminaries and other behind-the-scenes genies we all wonder about.

Providing bass and vocals was the heroic Hadji, of The Planet 96.3’s "Johnny in the Morning" show; "heroic" because this audio artist boldly broadcasts his smitten state for Britney Spears to all within earshot. Sigh. He’s otherwise halfway happenin’ and wholeheartedly hospitable.

In fact, I was treated to the band’s signature shot, the Love Dart, a Kool-Aid-tasting killer concocted by Hadji and Mr. In the Morning himself. (This column brought to you by Extra Strength Excedrin.)

On lead vocals and guitar was charismatic crooner Curt Kruse, known simply as "Kruse" by the faithful fans who listen to him weekdays on 96.3. Kruse’s sense of style is squandered as a jock, let me tell you. A regular at Royal Oak’s Incognito, his cool cat clothes fairly tap you on the shoulder and say, "Begging your pardon, but look at me."

Plenty of Planet people in the house, to be sure, with Jeff "Fuzz" Laskowski also handling bass and vocals for Love Dart, and the enigmatic Opie amiably aiding aesthetics. Laskowski’s super-nice fiancee (sorry, girls) played audience with the rapt rock revelers ... er, OK, somewhat-sauced scenesters.

Rounding out the musical misters were WJR’s Chris "Beef" Matché on guitar, and drummer Rich Maxon. Babe-magnet Beef had little swarms of swooners buzzing about him all night, so I thought, until the swarm’s affections appeared to be arbitrary and alcohol-accrued. Guest vocalist Gabriel Grady graced the par-tay with his unsucky singing. And, lo and behold, who should pop in at the end of the night for a little guest-bassing but Sidi Henderson of The Civilians. The smiley superstar strummed outstanding, and seemed to have a secret behind his sneaky smirk. My hunch is to watch for something big coming out of camp Civilians soon; catch them at smaller venues while you have the chance.

LAST CALLS

Saturday night at Ye Olde Tap Room in Detroit – the place "where good friends meet great beer" – Fletcher Pratt and the Trash Brats packed the pub with a who’s who of musicians and in-the-know icons. Brash Brat Toni Romeo was in rare form, ripping off his skimpy red dress to finish out the set in his tightly tailored birthday suit!

At the DIA this weekend for Mr. Death, the varied viewers rivaled this artsy documentary for my attention. Just don’t eat a big meal before settling in for this interesting eye-opener; a snoring symphony surrounded my seat.

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