Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend of June 8 — Quite Scientific Records Bash at the Elbow Room and Great Lakes Myth Society CD Release Party at The Magic Stick

Part the First:
One of the biggest challenges that comes with being a music fanatic is the battle with familiarity. I’d venture to make a Klostermanian estimate that 85 percent of heavy listeners are quite content with the bands, records and songs that they love. If that is the case, the remaining 15 percent is made up of those who actively seek the new stuff and share it with everyone else; this portion of the population is usually represented by older siblings, recommendation-giving friends, Internet seekers, DJs, rock writers, and — ugh — bloggers.

Nonetheless, I too can be guilty of wallowing in familiarity, which is probably why I found myself doodling on fliers during The Dead Bodies’ set at the Elbow Room Friday (it was the first time I’d heard them), yet uttering my nine millionth “Woooo!” in response to the opening melodica riff from Canada’s “Look to the Trees” (it was the second time I’d seen them in less than a week).

This being the case, Elm From Arms deserves some delayed applause for placing something we’re well acquainted with — singer-songwriter Matt Jones — in new surroundings. Thankfully, when Jones’ idiosyncratic vocals find themselves in the realm of jam-prone bar rock, it’s more like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and less Black Knight.

And yes, a MySpace favorite = familiar, but hearing a full-band rendition of “Threadlines” was certainly a treat. Electrified, there’s an even greater play between the lumbering verses and spidery instrumental breaks, like a Mr. Hyde who metamorphoses not into Henry Jeckyll but some bizarre arachnid with an affinity for odd time signatures.

The ever-transforming Chris Bathgate showed up in solo-electric-with-the-aid-of-digital-looping mode, proving that if there’s anything better than one Bathgate voice, it’s several layered Bathgate voices.

While the rest of the United States will get to know Canada for the next two months, Ypsilanti got the band for one more night. As exciting as it is to continue hearing newer material from the Canadians, it’s sad to see the free-for-all antics of their late winter/early spring shows have calmed down into a more controlled divide between the songs Joe sings and the songs Steven sings.

I Am A Bolt Of Lightning

The Dead Bodies

Part the Second:
Have you ever taken a long look at the Magic Stick’s ceiling? To me, it seems that during the renovations that created the Majestic Theatre Complex, the only echo of the building’s past spared from the cover of paint or black curtains were these aging overhead slats. Within those boards, there must be some increasingly low-frequency reverberations from the venue’s halcyon vaudeville days mingling with the remnants of some classic independent rock and roll performances. I imagine the “oohs” and “ahhs” prompted by Houdini melting into Neutral Milk Hotel’s only Mitten State appearance.

Count the rumble of Great Lake Myth Society’s Compass Rose Bouquet release party among that which has so righteously shook that lumber. While GLMS may not carry the recognition of the others who have left their mark on The Stick (YET), their Saturday performance was yet another example of why they ought to.

Compass Rose is a major triumph for Great Lakes, and their performance celebrating it’s release to the public cleared the bar that the record sets so high. Fans fed on a streaming diet of “Debutante” (which could launch every show for the rest of the band’s career), “Summer Bonfire,” “Heydays” and “March” eagerly gobbled up the album’s other tracks, even if a faulty direct line prevented Tim from pouring baby makin’ accordion noise over some of the opening tracks.

Yes, there’s an increased energy on the new record, and yes, it’s found it’s way into the live show, but not always in the way you’d think. “Debutante” and “Summer Bonfire” went off like a string of M-80s, but the midtempo sway of “Raindrops and Roses” burned bright, too, thanks to some epic strumming coupled with Fido’s punishing snare and bass drum work.

Though the accordion problems temporarily derailed the set’s momentum, they were a distant memory by the time Greg descended into the audience to deliver the final “Wines” in “The Gales of 1838.” Surrounded by fans and friends, his sad, slow tale of drug smuggling was the last to be lifted towards that hoary ceiling. They may have put a shinier coat on themselves, but Great Lakes Myth Society will always look good in the dimming light of a grimy lantern.

Opening support came from a rootsy Chris Bathgate — who has found an unexpectedly killer complement in Chris Dorman’s dulcimer — and the twangy American Mars, but the night belonged to GLMS.


Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
July 27 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
August 11 — The Elbow Room in Ypsi

Chris Bathgate
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 12 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor opening for Memphis and Apostle of Hustle
June 29 — (Scene) Metrospace in East Lansing with Jen Sygit
July 4 — Short's Brewery in Bellaire with Susan Fawcett and Hawks and Owls
July 5 — The Manistee Bandshell in Manistee
July 7 — House show in Marquette
July 8 — House show in Houghton
July 12 — Street Music in Harbor Springs
July 15 — Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo with Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe and The Plurals
July 27 — The Tap Room Annex in Ypsilanti with The Setup
July 29 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Frontier Ruckus
August 24 — U-Fest at Michigan State University

The Dead Bodies
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 18 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
June 19 — The Belmont in Hamtramck with Serenity Court

Elm From Arm
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Show
July 13 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Great Lakes Myth Society and Starling Electric

Great Lakes Myth Society
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 22 — The Elbow Room in Ypsi with The Minor Planets
June 23 — Barn show in Dexter with Dave Boutette (see MySpace for details)
July 13 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Elm From Arm and Starling Electric
August 30 — University of Michigan Union Ballroom

American Mars
Web site


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie Moss, I love you.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous katie canavan said...

Doodling on fliers!? How rude!! ;)

11:54 AM  
Blogger Just Haircuts and Jackets said...

<3 =)

also, i just want to say that i quite enjoyed The Dead Bodies. it was a Fog-tastic time. (hah!)
annie m/JHaJ

1:03 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Detour Magazine's review of the GLMS show is the best thing I've read all month.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Just Haircuts and Jackets said...

Man, if I had half of Loftus' way with words, I'd be able to think of a witty metaphor to compare our abilities ( even if it is 2:35 a.m.).

11:32 PM  

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