Best Of 2018

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Best Art Fair
Sept. 21-23;
Best Art Gallery
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900;
DJ Danny D.

At some point in the mid-2000s everyone with a MacBook and a decent set of headphones decided they were going to become a DJ. But when it comes to entrusting the task of getting a party started and keeping it going until the break of dawn (or last call, in most cases), metro Detroit knows better than to relinquish control to just anyone. Enter DJ Danny D — a real crowd-pleaser. Danny D, aka Dan Duchateau, says it’s a natural high to see people dancing to his sets. It is his penchant for good timing that is far and away his greatest gift as an entertainer making his ability to make Top-40 hits sound exciting a close second. “I am so grateful to have come this far with something that started as a hobby in my garage,” Duchateau says. “Always believe in yourself and follow your dreams.” —Jerilyn Jordan

Frontier Ruckus perform at the Ark.

316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451;

This cozy Ann Arbor non-profit venue hosts live music over 300 nights a year in a room that is incredibly conducive to performing softer music. Top notch acoustics and seating very close to the stage intimately connects performer and audience. With a 400 person capacity, the Ark is where you want to see your favorite up-and-comer or longtime folk music hero play. Since 1977, each year the Ark hosts the Ann Arbor Folk Festival. The funds raised all go toward keeping roots and folk music alive in downtown Ann Arbor. The 2018 festival was headlined by Jason Isbell of Drive-by Truckers fame and country and folk singer-songwriter John Prine. —Anthony Spak

Sam Austins' headlining debut at El Club.

4114 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-279-7382;

While this Southwest Detroit music venue is perhaps better known for booking indie rock, a close look at El Club’s calendar shows acts from just about every musical genre under the sun are well-represented — and that includes plenty of great hip-hop and R&B. Some highlights from the past year or so include Ghostface Killah, Kelela, Lil Xan, Nightmares on Wax, Kitty, Milo, Shamir, Ravyn Lenae, and Detroit’s own Sam Austins, who made his headline debut earlier in April. “I think what our room does best is intimate,” El Club owner Graeme Flegenheimer says. And that intimacy, Flegenheimer says, translates especially well for hip-hop shows. “Hip-hop is the new punk rock,” he says. “That’s what people mosh to now. They don’t mosh at rock shows anymore!” —Lee DeVito

Best Metal Club

28949 Joy Rd., Westland; 734-513-5030;

Anna Burch.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if our readers weren’t hip to the musical stylings and happenings of indie angel Anna Burch. Burch, who landed a spot on our “Bands to Watch” roundup in 2017, became a Metro Times cover girl earlier this year, and is riding the wave of her successful debut record Quit the Curse with an extensive U.S. and European tour. What makes Burch’s music special, aside from her candid and confessionary storytelling, lo-fi sensibilities, and infectious hooks? The girl has a voice that surges with warmth even when putting an ex-lover on blast or calling herself out. “I was insecure for a long time about writing about heartbreak and relationships,” she told MT. “I didn’t want to fit into this trope of the broken woman. I kept feeling like, what do I have to even sing about? The world of the emotions is all there really is. I think writing the record I had to get over that feeling. I haven’t looked back since.” Looking ahead, Burch’s forecast is looking bright. We expect Burch and company to take the world by storm — or at least hold the umbrella while we cry because goddamn her lyrics cut deep. —Jerilyn Jordan

2357 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948;
Best Place to See a Jam Band

345 E Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-291-6160;

Over the past decade or so, a strain of jam-based rock music mixing Americana, bluegrass, and roots influences has flourished, and in Michigan, Kalamazoo’s Greensky Bluegrass might best exemplify the genre. So it makes sense that the band helped christen Ferndale’s restaurant-music venue, Otus Supply, when it opened at the end of 2016. Thom Bloom, one of Otus Supply’s owners, says they saw a void in the local scene when it came to that kind of music. “When we set out to do the music program, we had a core belief that some of our favorite music was jam-based,” he says. “We’d get a lot of bands for 10 or 12 years who would just skip Detroit and do Cleveland and Chicago and sell out shows. There wasn’t really a home for that.” Until now. For the past year and a half, the venue’s Parliament Room has hosted a variety of acts primarily along the jam-band axis, but often delving into other genres as well, including recent shows by rockers Greta Van Fleet and funk pioneer George Porter Jr. The psychedelic music pairs well with Otus Supply’s out-of-this-world interior decor, as well as the restaurant’s inventive menu. “We wanted to create this place that was kind of like a utopia for us,” Bloom says. “We love music, and food, and art. We were always wondering why all of those couldn’t live in one venue.” — Lee DeVito