Noise for COTS

If the endless holiday movies and songs have it right, this is the most magical time of the year.

December is, after all, the time of year when we’re inexplicably kinder to each other, when smiles come a bit easier and pockets get a little deeper. And, in this town, for the past four years anyway, the holiday season also accounts for a coming together of the Motor City’s small stable of rock stars, who provide an evening of mirth, holiday cheer and jams. The affair is called Detroit Sounds and Spirits and it’s one of a kind.

Aside from all those sort-of-famous people sharing the stage, Sounds and Spirit is — more importantly — a fundraiser for COTS, a nonprofit housing program based in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.

The event was started by Tempermill Studios owner-musician, Dave Feeny.

“It was originally intended to be a bad Lawrence Welk/Andy Williams-type Christmas show,” Feeny says. And despite a rocky start, it’s evolved into a tradition.

For the players, Sights and Sounds is a large-scale after-hours party. “It’s a chance for everyone to poke fun at themselves; it’s not a battle of the bands,” Feeny says.

The performances — from precious to absurd — have left an impression. “It’s so nice to see the collaborations,” Feeny says.

Past match-ups have included such luminescent pairings as Jack White and Brendan Benson. And while the man in red, white and sometimes black won’t grace this year’s festivities, the scheduled lineups show promise: creepy country singers Blanche (Feeny’s band); SSM (members of the Hentchmen, Cyril Lords, former Sights); Loretta Lucas & the Larkspurs; the Come Ons; Windy & Carl; A Thousand Times Yes; the Holy Fire; Fred Thomas; Sunshine Doray; Man Ray, Man Ray (a Mick Collins side project); the Volebeats; Wendy Case and others. Rumor has it that white-boy rapper Esquire and fiery-haired Marcie Von Bondie are also slated to sing a version of the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping.”

And the true highlight should come in the father-and-pre-teen-sons trio, the Muldoons, who made their debut in front of a delighted audience at the White Stripes show this fall.

But Feeny says a bigger thrill follows the show, when he goes down to COTS to drop off the check.


9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. 18 and over.

Eve Doster is the listings editor for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]