Birthday bombast 

After an impressive week of live music, which expanded in my mind like rice in my belly (Bright Eyes, Granddaddy and the Dandy Warhols all put on excellent shows that I didn’t want to end), I was in need of some good, old-fashioned Detroit rock. And Speedball delivered it, pan-fried and fast, to a spill-out crowd at the Magic Bag on Saturday. They stepped on stage and everyone let the rock shower pour. Even as a trio, the group provided a powerful, raw, drunken metal attack. Bill Kozy, the band’s other guitarist, has been running sound for Lit during its tour with No Doubt. He’ll be back in a week and a half, but then drummer Mike Alonzo will be touring the West Coast with his other band, Bantam Rooster. The duo will be back Aug. 26 for a Magic Stick show. But back to Saturday …

It was lead singer Chuck Burns’ birthday and everyone was in the mood to celebrate (drink heavily) or at least talk about how they used to. You could tell that most of the crowd was there in the early ’90s when the band started out, as they shouted out classic titles and reminisced to me about when they saw them in college. A few thrusting fists in the air was all I needed.

WANNA GRAB A SODA?

The Mood Elevator’s new CD, Listen Up, makes me wish kids still “went steady” and met for soda pop and ice-cream floats after school. Formerly known as the Neptunes, the Mood Elevator is currently going steady with local press and fans who can’t get enough of the highly anticipated recording. With Virgin recording artist Brendan Benson handling production duties and Al Sutton on mastering, the band’s first full-length CD brings to mind classic pop songcraft from bands such as the Beatles, the Who and the Kinks. But it also fits in with a rekindling of the power pop genre with the current popularity of Jason Faulkner from Jellyfish and Fountains of Wayne. Locally, the Mood Elevator isn’t alone in its quest. The music from bands such as Moods For Moderns and Spindle also waxes nostalgic for the innocent fun of drive-ins and jukeboxes, even though many of the members aren’t even old enough to rent a car. In what is looking to be one of the guiltiest pleasure shows of the summer, the Mood Elevator and Moods for Moderns are playing together at 313 Jac, Aug. 5. The Atomic Numbers, the Numbers and the Atomic Fireballs will be playing downstairs. That was a joke. Please don’t go and say I said that. I’m thinking about naming my new band the Moody Numbers … (Download three full-length MP3s from The Mood Elevators' debut album in Sonic Metropolis.)

HEADING HOME

Hey, remember the Suicide Machines? Well, we’ve shared them with the rest of the country all summer, but now they’re getting ready to come back to Detroit (er, Pontiac) after a long Van’s Warped Tour for a show Aug. 31 at Clutch Cargo’s. Hopefully, they won’t be too worn out. I hear their bus was dubbed the official party bus of Warped Tour 2000 because of their participation in the “Beer Olympics.” They won’t be able to rest for long, however. The show is part of a co-headlining tour of the United States with Less Than Jake and, following it, the Machines head out to Japan in September for a headlining tour. Whew. Take a break.

LITTLE ORLANDO

First, it was seeing this girl (who used to dance at the studio where I took lessons) on the Queen Latifah show with her teen band Nobody’s Angel. Now they tell me the next Christina Aguilera is recording a demo in her Warren basement while Donna Wright, the manager for N’ Sync and Backstreet Boys, “observes.” After garnering a fan base from across the country with sound clips on her Web site (listen.to/laney), 17-year-old Laney seized Wright’s attention and the high-profile manager flew to Michigan and hear the young talent’s voice in person. All last week, Laney worked on recording a demo of original songs from a California publishing company in her basement. I “observed” and heard a very strong, Mariah Carey-Whitney Houston-influenced sound. She says some of her favorite singers are Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. I asked Laney if she had dancers. She said yes, that she had held auditions a few weeks beforehand and then giggled as if she just realized for the first time that she had dancers and how cool that was. That actually might be kind of fun, to have dancers. My life already has a sound track. Where are my dancers!?

Melissa Giannini writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail her at letters@metrotimes.com

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