City Slang: Sunny fun at the Berkley Art Bash

Jun 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the sun is beating down in Berkley. The weather couldn’t be more perfect for the annual Berkley Art Bash, a sort of family-friendly street festival taking place along 12 Mile Rd. in the very wholesome but increasingly arty Detroit suburb.

There’s fun for all, with bounce-houses and giant inflatable slides for the kids and, you know, a fire truck with the ladder extended for those that like to look at that sort of thing in safe surroundings.

The art itself is nice enough, though not at all edgy. There are celebrity fridge magnets, and pins and shirts with Detroit-loving slogans. There are metal animal sculptures, and various pieces of pottery. Black and white photos of Detroit. You get the idea.

I did see some cool music though. Sat outside of the excellent Berkley Music Company store is Jennifer Westwood and guitarist Dylan Dunbar. Westwood is no stranger to this publication, an awesomely talented blues and country singer-songwriter who carries an air of both strength and vulnerability every time she utters a note. Dunbar’s a killer player; the notes seem to trickle out of his fingers effortlessly. Of course, this isn’t the case but he’s a joy to watch anyway. The two of them are the perfect acoustic act for this sort of event. The songs hang beautifully in the sun, allowing the listener to chew on them like mollases.

Over on the “main” stage (a van with the side opened up), local folkie Maggie McCabe, and she too is good summer fest entertainment. He voice isn’t as strong as, say, Westwood’s and there isn’t one song that stands out, but they move along quite nicely. The musicians at this event basically provide background music for the rest of the goings on but, stop for a minute, and there are some cool sounds happening.