Motor City Rides 

When it comes to music and cars, Lightning Love gets much from little. Hyperbole aside, the Ypsi indie-pop trio's stage setup seems improbably minimal, given just how huge their choruses and hooks are; charming vocalist Leah Diehl plays a single compact keyboard, her brother Aaron rocks a stripped-down drum kit, and Ben Collins strums an equally unassuming guitar setup.

What's more, Leah earned a degree from the University of Michigan School of Music (she majored in French horn) and Ben's about to snag one there too (in Performing Arts Technology), so it stands to reason the three-piece has firm grasp on musical dynamics.

The back-to-basics approach is in part a reaction to Leah and Ben's previous gear-heavy combo Minor Planets. ("It would take us 10 trips to load everything in," Leah laments.)

With less gear, Lightning Love can load in and out of a show in five minutes — it all fits in the back of Leah's battered '97 Escort Wagon. In fact, Lightning Love crams so many people on top of their gear in that little red Ford, the whole scene could double as a circus act.

Aaron: "(The Escort) is pretty much a clown car. We rented a Saturn SUV once and couldn't get as much stuff in it as the Escort!" Leah agrees, "It's a miracle we can fit all our stuff and friends in the Escort."

Dig Lightning Love's music at The band supports the Von Bondies on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555. They'll play the Metro Times Blowout in early March.

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