Four Show Previews: John’s Carpet House, Swirlies, King Diamond and Joshua Davis

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1. Joshua Davis, July 9

The Voice finalist and Traverse City native Joshua Davis plays the Magic Bag, pushing the reissue of his 2005 album Fool Rooster. According to a press release from Davis' site, the album "was recorded in 2005 at Glenn Brown Productions in Okemos, Mich. Tracked straight on to 2-inch tape with no overdubs or studio trickery and a bevy of wonderfully talented humans."

Ten years on, and after the whirlwind of The Voice catapulted him into national stardom, Davis told the Detroit Free Press last week that The Voice completely changed his career and draw. "Last time I went to East Lansing I played Metrospace; there were maybe 30 people there. Now I'm playing Wharton Center and over half of the tickets sold already."

The day before his national TV debut, on Feb. 22, Davis casually informed his fan group on his website that he might be on the show. After that airing, Davis was in for a wild ride. However it wasn't his first one. Davis had traveled extensively in Palestine with the nonprofit On the Ground for a "Run Across Palestine" event in 2012. Davis was one of six Americans who ran 129 miles in five days within that country.

As a result of his experience, Davis wrote A Miracle of Birds, an album based on his experience there. Donating half of the album's proceeds to Project Palestine, Davis said "the stories and songs on the album, released one year after the run, are honest expressions of my experiences in the West Bank, colored by my own unique history and upbringing."

Home state hero, national music star and humanitarian activist —three reasons to not miss Davis in Ferndale on Thursday.

Show starts at 8 p.m.; 22920 Woodward Ave.; 248-544-1991;; tickets are $20.

—Dennis Burck

2. King Diamond and the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, July 11

Attention all metal heads and heavy music aficionados: The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival is this Saturday, July 11 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre and there will be performances by Slayer, King Diamond, Jungle Rot, and White Chapel.

Danish metal band King Diamond's addition to the bill is a standout. Active since 1985, King Diamond was a pioneer in metal concept albums, which helps to make each set list a spectacle of Alice Cooper-type theatrics. And although they only received critical acclaim with a Grammy nomination in 2007, King Diamond consistently tours and produces new music despite the fact that the King himself, Kim Bendix Petersen, being a hardened metal veteran at 59.

King dropped hints as to what metal operas they will cover during the show, saying that "as for a set list, I'm not going to reveal that here, but it will be built around 'Dreams of Horror'. The Puppet Master will be there with grandma, and we will even go as far back in time as to 1777. You're all in for one hell of a show if you come to this Sabbath!"

King had three heart attacks from blocked arteries and had to get triple bypass heart surgery in 2010. In an online interview with Blabbermouth, his wife Livia Zita said "He was walking and eating solid food already two days after the operation, and he was the first one in the history of the hospital who walked on his own power from the ICU to normal care."

King says "this is going to be one hot and hellish summer! Slayer and King Diamond on the same stage — it does not get more devilish than this! We will be putting on a one hour set with the full King Diamond stage production."

Doors open at 1 p.m.; 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 800-745-3000;; tickets start at $26.

—Dennis Burck

3. Weekly blues jam at John's Carpet House, July 12

Things looked bleak for John's Carpet House back in April. Facing large fines for disturbances and other small infractions, the future of the Carpet House was in the audience's hands. Thanks to crowd donations sourced online and in person, John's Carpet House is back in business.

The Carpet House was proud to post this on their Facebook page on June 19, after hours of stress and deliberation on the city's part about whether the jam will be able to run this year. The post read "mother nature has shut us down for the last three weeks. Here hoping no more rain, and we will be open this Sunday."

"The city put all types of pressure on me," owner and operator Albert "Big Pete" Barrow says. "They're trying to shut it down. They're trying to take my property because I won't sell. They've been giving me tickets and everything. They're fining me for using my own land."

Barrow and the house band seem overjoyed that they will be able to play this season. Among the musicians featured last week were Kenny Mitchell, the house guitarist, and Harmonica Shah, a world-renowned harmonica player with local roots. "I always enjoy coming out here," Mitchell says. "The crowd isn't what it used to be since the city was pulling on us, but it's coming back and it feels good to be back."

"We hang in until the cup run out of water, then our blessings are cut off," Shah says. "So we keep going. If our blessings run out, we go somewhere else— go to the west side and start it, go to some other neighborhood."

While the jam itself is technically a free event, Barrow depends on the generosity and donations of listeners to keep the lawn maintained and the jam alive.

John's Carpet House is held every Sunday, weather providing, from 3-9:30 p.m.; 2133 Fredrick St., Detroit; admission is free but donations are appreciated.

—Matt Harmon

4. Swirlies, July 13

I went to the site to read about the tour 7-inch that the band will have with them for sale (archival radio sessions!). So, the accompanying blurb reads that Swirlies' music was "a mix of the brawny indie rock emanating from their native Massachusetts at the time and the hazy 4AD and Creation records they'd have been importing at the time." The young reviewer, speculating on the independent music of 20-plus years ago, is off by a few years with some details. Most heads had given up on Creation by 1988, with the important exception of My Bloody Valentine's releases. Certainly, Swirlies emerged from a super exciting, homegrown, and very American shoegaze-y moment that might not be too well-known at this time, especially since so many independent rock music narratives lazily force everything into pre- and post-Nevermind camps.

By 1992, when Swirlies released their first record, the excellent "Didn't Understand" 7-inch for DC's Slumberland, dozens of groups up and down the East Coast (including Polvo, Autoclave, Uncle Wiggly, Trumans Water, Fly Ashtray, and of course the Lilys) had melded a new, more intentionally skewed and sometimes introspective vibe to the aggro yet tuneful schtick of mid-to late '80s post-hardcore (Husker Du, Dinosaur, Squirrel Bait — "brawny indie-rock" acts who were themselves a chief influence on the original U.K. shoegazers). Swirlies' sound at first appeared to vault back and forth between the precisely woozy downer-core of Autoclave and the hyper, heavy, detuned chugging sound of Polvo, adding a dollop of sweet pop on top of it all.

But Swirlies soon enough proved themselves to be the only American band as good as the Lilys at adopting those anthemic tone-bending tricks one associates with Kevin Shields, and making them their own shiny new beasts. Swirlies' sound was recklessly dizzying; their collaged moments were the noisiest. They were a great live band too. This touring version of the group, now playing 25th anniversary shows across North America, features the original lineup minus the drummer (that's OK, as other people can play drums). I saw them a handful of times in the early 1990s, twice in 2003, and am now eying my calendar to figure out if I can possibly take a few days off work to follow them around. I can't, but I did waste 15 minutes just now seriously debating it.

Starts at 9 p,.m.; 2110 Trumbull St., Detroit;; $12 in advance.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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