Last year, I resolved to cut the words “hip” and “party” (but only when used as a verb) out of my vocab diet. It seemed to work well. It lasted a lot longer than the previous year’s “Ab Roller” and it was fun too. I had to stretch my social lingo and came up with fabulous substitutions, reviving the ever-popular “sweet dude!” and “kick ass!”
This year, in addition to removing “kick ass!” (“sweet dude!” never dies) I’m going to wear earplugs at live music events. You guys are loud. Falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean in the middle of a concrete metropolis ain’t natural. But bare ear-drummin’ it for a year with you all was one hell of a ride. Here are some of the highlights.
Stories from the city
A few months ago, I traveled to New York without any concrete plans to see some bands play during the CMJ festival. I figured, heck, I’m from Detroit. I can handle myself. Well, um, that’s to be determined, but regardless, seeing our stately city’s music peeps in fine form made me proud. Watching Matthew Jacobson and the bands on his Bloomfield Hills-based Le Grand Magistery label running the shit was worth all the expensive cab fares up and downtown until I figured out the subway system (sort of). And stealing the set list off the stage after the Atomic Numbers’ rock-never-died performance at Arlene Grocery was priceless. Getting them to sign it afterward was pushing it a bit, I know, but they didn’t have to sign “Fuck you Melissa!” Hearing the Atomic Numbers rattle the Cass Corridor at Dally in the Alley is definitely worth reflecting upon as well.
The year of the W
We were spoiled rotten with sonic treats galore from the White Stripes (De Stijl), Waxwings (Low to the Ground) and Witches (Universal Mall) — along with the rest of the country, as evidenced by the tour stories. Remember Jack’s buffalo tale? Warn Defever and the rest of His Name is Alive brought a new side of soul to the city at their 10-year anniversary party at the Magic Stick, until of course the “whale incident” cut things a bit short.
Now don’t get too caught up in the swirl between “Deck the Halls” and “Auld Lang Syne” and forget to see Defever perform his wack country-western songs from I Want You To Live 100 years at the Gold Dollar (3129 Cass in Detroit, 313-833-6873), Dec. 30. Ghost World, Aliccia of Slumber Party and Bob of the Volebeats round out the bill. And in gratuitous Fred Thomas news, Detroit’s favorite musician-storyteller will be back in town with his new “New York” haircut that week to perform as part of the “100 Years Band” with Defever.
The world caught up with Detroit’s underground when the ghetto-tech scene blew up this year. DJ Assault and DJ Godfather hit the mainstream full-force with ocean-jumping tours, massive quantities of quality releases and unexpected pop culture references to “bitches and ho’s” at every turn. All the while keeping it real, offering countless chances for the hometown crowd to shake that ass.
The members of Slumber Party didn’t get much sleep this year due to the success of their self-titled debut LP on Kill Rock Stars and the subsequent tour. They picked up some follow-the-band fans on the road and saw Gina Birch from the Raincoats wearing a sleeves-cut-off version of a pink Slumber Party shirt. The band’s playing tonight (Dec. 27) at 313.JAC (624 Brush in Detroit, 313-962-7067) with Fletcher Pratt and Moods for Moderns, two bands that also released excellent material this year. DJ Eddie (aka the Sights’ guitarist — again, another band, another superb 2000 release) will spin some soul into the crowd with his enviable collection of rock and Motown.
There’s always next year
We still have a few days left of 2000, but here in the news-entertainment weekly world, we’re always looking ahead, ahead, ahead. And what do we have to look forward to in the coming months? Well, for one, there’s always that Spindle record we waited for all last year. And I hear that a They Come in Threes record is nearing the final stages and should be ready in February. Whoo-hoo! Time to party!Melissa Giannini covers the metro-Detroit music scene for the Metro Times. E-mail her at [email protected]