Thursday, August 30, 2007

September Concert Calendar


Yes, it's true...we've been your Michigan blogging neighbors for an entire year now. What a lovely year it's been! We're trying to expand our horizons here at JHaJ for our second year, so there will be a whole new group of musicians added to the concert calendar and show coverage. As always, please feel free to leave comments with amendments/corrections. Happy Autumn!
annie moss

Sept. 1
-Tone and Niche, The Wednesdees at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit
-The Sights in Pontiac

Sept. 2
-Thunderbirds are Now!, Sunday Painters, Marissa Guzman, The Amino Acids, Desolation Angels, Serenity Court, Ghost City, Johnny Headband at Detroit News/Comcast Stage in Pontiac
-Head and Toe, Drunken Barn Dance, That's Him! That's The Guy!, Chris Bathgate at the DAAC in Grand Rapids

Sept. 3
-Canada, Patrick Elkins, Lieutenant Nun, Kevin McGorey, Alina Simone, Mason Proper at Canada House South in Ypsi

Sept. 4
-Brandon Wiard and the Saviours at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor

Sept. 5
-Chris Bathgate, Misty Lyn, Matt Jones at the Lager House in Detroit
-Dirt Road Logic at the Intersection in Grand Rapids

Sept. 6
-Zoos of Berlin, Citizen Smile, The Go, The Singles at Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak

Sept. 7
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe, Dirt Road Logic, The Bell Tree at Mac's Bar in Lansing
-Mason Proper, Perhapsy, The Coast at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Tone and Niche live on WDET in Detroit
-Tone and Nice, Murder Mystery at TC's Speakeasy in Ypsi
-Woodman, The Wildbirds with Hotness, Ben Cyllus at the Magic Stick in Detroit
-The Sights, Dan Neal at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit

Sept. 8
-Great Lakes Myth Society at Barnes and Noble in Ann Arbor
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Chris Bathgate, Creaky Boards, Ching Chong Song at the Elbow Room in Ypsi
-The Pop Project, Eons, The Hard Lessons at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Frontier Ruckus, Combat Corduroy, Asphodel Fields, Fernelity, Olivet, Day Walker & The Skychild, The Giving Tree, Eyes of an Enemy, Hollow Heroes, Common Shiner, The Kinds at the Kalamazoo Theatre in Kalamazoo
-Head and Toe at Good Beans Cafe in Flint
-The Bell Tree at East of Averill in Flint
-The Sights, Dirt Road Logic, The Darts, Minor Planets at Mac's Bar in Lansing

Sept. 9
-Brand Wiard and the Saviours at Serendipity Cafe in Canton
-The Novel Citizen at Arts and Apples Festival in Rochester
-Misty Lyn at The Elbow Room in Ypsi

Sept. 11
-Frontier Ruckus, That's Him! That's The Guy! at Scene Metrospace in East Lansing

Sept. 12
-Chris Bathgate, Canada, The Cotton Jones Basket Ride, Andrew Dost at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor

Sept. 14
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City
-The Hat Madder, The Royal Affairs, Relapse (opening for Oh My God!) at Mac's Bar in Lansing
-The Oscillating Fan Club at the Belmont in Hamtramck

Sept. 15
-Frontier Ruckus, Flatfoot at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City
-The Darts, Lay of the Cid, Hollow Point at Replay Entertainment Exchange in Lansing

Sept. 16
-Annie Palmer at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi
-Tim Monger at the Old Town Tavern in Ann Arbor
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City

Sept. 17
-Wildcatting, Fast Computers at The Belmont in Hamtramck

Sept. 19
-Chris Bathgate at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi
-The Great Fiction, Judah Johnson, A Stitch-up at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak

Sept. 20
-Child Bite, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Juice Boxxx, Bonde do Role at the Magic Stick in Detroit
-Chris Bathgate at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor
-Sycamore Smith at Red Eye Cafe in Saginaw

Sept. 21
-Johnny Headband, The Hard Lessons, The Noisettes at The Magic Stick in Detroit
-NOMO at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Chris Bathgate, Ellery at Lemonjello's in Holland
-Sycamore Smith, Clear Days Always at the DAAC in Grand Rapids
-Head and Toe, The Bell Tree, Daniel Roth at Replay Entertainment Exchange in Lansing

Sept. 22
-Zoos of Berlin, Starling Electric, Elm From Arm, Sycamore Smith at JHaJ's Birthday Showcase at the Elbow Room in Ypsi
-Mason Proper, The High Strung at CAID in Detroit
-The Darts, Brandon Wiard and the Saviours, Sh! The Octopus at the Painted Lady in Hamtramck
-NOMO at Festival of the Forks in Albion
-Chris Bathgate, Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe at the DAAC in Grand Rapids
-Beilby's Ball, The Bell Tree, Stargazer at A.J's cafe in Ferndale

Sept. 23
-Breathe Owl Breathe, Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate at the Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo
-Tim Monger at the Steak Hut in Detroit
-Sycamore Smith, Dondo Rappleyea at Amsterdam Espresso in Detroit

Sept. 28
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Frontier Ruckus, Deastro at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Drunken Barn Dance, Brandon Wiard and the Saviours at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room in Ann Arbor
-Sh! The Octopus at The Union in Clarkston

Sept. 29
-The Hard Lessons at Red Ink Studios in Flint
-The Darts, Liam and the Sinners at Nunica Cafe in Nunica
-Wildcatting at the CAID in Detroit

Sept. 30
-The Oscillating Fan Club, Wildcatting, Qui at the Magic Stick in Detroit

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mick Bassett, Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II. December, 2006

(photo by Chris Bassett)

Bassett's Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II, begins with some tinny percussion that fused into a dirge-like opener, “Baby, I'm Just A Man A' Means.” I was kicked off my seat when the first song started gaining momentum. Weird, non-melodic piano licks threw me off in the beginning, but finally a jazzy piano theme began to meld with the staunch percussion. Honestly, a bit awkward to hear at first, but I couldn't stop listening!

The first song set the tone for the rest of the album- bizarre jazz themes mixed with Bassett's (yes, I'm gonna say it) Dylan-esque voice. Or, to reference a Michigan artist (oh-so-much more appropriate), he has an element of Alec Jensen's vocal trade-marks. There's also a bit of early Pangram-era Jonathan Visgr thrown in the mix.

I sort of get the impression that Mick sat in a studio one day and played around with previously seeded ideas and came up with this ambiguously themed EP. “Haunt Me Clean” stood out as my favorite, and possibly the most accessible track. I'm curious as to the inspiration behind the reoccurring “circus” tracks, comprised of eerily generic organ-grinder melodies. It was a neat addition to the record. The sound of Berr Kerkey was incredibly different from my experience of seeing Mick perform live with a full band. Which, you know, is great. I like musical diversity within an artist.

I'll be honest. Some people won't dig this record. But I HIGHLY recommend tracking a copy down, and at least taking one listen. It was nothing less than captivating. Seriously, this was a refreshing side-step away from my indie-folk roots.

Mick Bassett

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Oct. 4 — Kraftbrau Brewery in Kalamazoo

Friday, August 24, 2007


Guess what, fellow Michiganders?!? September is JhaJ's birthday month! We've been bloggin' our hearts out for about a year now, and in recognition of this, we've decided to put together a showcase of Michigan bands to perform at the Elbow Room in Ypsi. So, mark your calendars for Saturday, September 22, and come check out some lovely music from around the state.

jhaj show
(HUGE thanks to Jon Cendrowski for making this awesome poster. You're gettin' a buncha PBRs from me.)

For our first bar-venue based JHaJ showcase, I wanted to book bands that we really haven't covered much. I dug back into my concert memory reserves and I came up with 4 bands; each that I've only had the chance to see perform once, but who made a really great impression. We're bringing musicians from ALL over the mitten state to the Elbow Room, offering up a smorgasbord of music and performance styles, hopefully providing kick-ass night of music-making awesomeness. A few thoughts and details of our beloved Showcase performers:

Zoos of Berlin (Detroit, MI)
Zoos has thus far been a well-kept JHaJ secret. Erik and I have been huge fans for a while, but haven't had many opportunities to check them out in concert. They've got groovy vocals and keyboards, and the one time I saw them in concert, they pulled out horns and strings and blew me away with their sound. Have you listened to their “Century Rail” Demo? IT IS SO AMAZING. I'm thrilled to have Zoos of Berlin as our headlining act for the JHaJ showcase.

Starling Electric (Ann Arbor, MI)
In no parallel OR non-parallel universe could I out-wit Erik's description of Starling Electric: “Glammed-out baroque and psych stomp of the highest order,” (because, honestly, who could weave words better than that??). These guys decorate their stage with string lights and acrylic foliage, and are seriously engaging performers. Rest assured you won't see another band like Starling Electric unless you get your hands on a time machine.

Elm From Arm (Ann Arbor, MI)
I'm already a huge fan of Matt Jones, and I love his dual personalities as acoustic singer/songwriter AND front man of a synth-flavored jam-rock-band. The one time caught Elm From Arm in concert, right away I knew this was a band to be excited about. These guys are great performers with a lot of energy and their music pulls off unique orchestration and exceedingly interesting lyrics. Also, let's hope they play their full-band version of “Threadlines”- already a great song, but the electric guitar and keyboard rifts take this song to a whole new level.

Sycamore Smith (Marquette, MI)
Sycamore has been entertaining northern Michigan audiences with witty narrative for the past several years after splitting from the duo, The Muldoons. I was first introduced to the music of Sycamore Smith at Keweenawesomefest in Houghton, MI last February, and his kazoo-clad performance was captivating. The artist (albeit in third person) claims, “his scribblings focus on the gruesomely funny exploits of dip-shit characters whose twisted histories unfold over the course of countless interconnected songs.” I've also heard him referred to as “the heart-throb of the UP.” So we're incredibly lucky to have him traveling down to Ypsi for our show.

The specs:

JHaJ Birthday Showcase, featuring:
Zoos of Berlin
Starling Electric
Elm From Arm
Sycamore Smith

The Elbow Room, Ypsi
Doors at 9:30

Bring lots of friends.

annie m.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Has anyone else heard this awesome news about Chris Bathgate getting a UK record deal?!? Bathgate gave a brief interview on MSU's student radio station, 88.9 The Impact, during their local music show and informed Lansing fans of his intended winter tour of Europe AND of the "Cork Tale Wake" UK release. I don't have any more specific info at the moment, but I'll post more as the story develops.
annie moss

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Patrick Elkins

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Somewhere, past the brick-mortar-town-gown of Ann Arbor, in the wildest wilds of Washtenaw County, Chris Bathgate lives on an old farm. It was in this secluded locale that some of Michigan indie folk's finest gathered last Saturday to sing, camp, drink and add another event to the annals of Michigan 'fest history: Farmhousefest.

Unfortunately, to reach said wildest wilds, the JHaJ crew had to overcome both construction and accident-related traffic, so we missed the first half of the day's acts, including Bathgate and That's Him! That's the Guy!. And then we set up our tent during Misty Lyn, so I only caught her last song, the searing desperation of which was the first of many fine complements to the dilapidated barn backdrop.

(I caught all of Misty's set, and she performed beautifully as ever. CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT NEW ALBUM, MISTY!! xo, annie)

As the name would imply, Farmhousefest was a concert that was as much about its location as it was about its music. I couldn't help but feel like I was visiting the unlikely collision of a 1960s hippie commune and a less-dusty version of the rural settings soon to be skewered in Judd Apatow's sure-to-be-awesome music biopic parody Walk Hard; slightly weathered and removed from society, a place where worldly pressure can be forgotten in a few acoustic strums (or cello bows or snare rolls courtesy of two pine branches). But even if any of the performers or attendees were trying to commune with Nature, Nature wasn't interested in communing back — my guess: she's not a fan of the High Life — and instead just dropped sheets of rain down on us and forcing Or, The Whale to play in the basement where I later woke up a victim of craziness good and bad.

Some time before this, Matt Jones continued to get closer to receiving the amount of credit and praise he deserves as a songwriter (actual quote from Great Lakes Myth Society's Greg McIntosh: "Matt Jones, if I could fuck your songs, I would!"), Canada finally put those trees they're always singing about to work (the aforementioned branches-cum-drumsticks) and Frontier Ruckus delivered what I think might have been their greatest set ever. You could say that it's because everything about Farmhousefest was so Fruckus-y or I could babble on about how Matt's voice and songs could have grown from the farm's soil (and Zach's saw was probably stolen from a nearby shed and Eli's beard was given to him by a plowman's ghost), but I'd rather say it was just an effing great performance by a band that continues to get better every time I see them.

Misty Lyn

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Sept. 5 — The Lager House in Detroit with Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Sept. 5 — The Lager House in Detroit with Misty Lyn

Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Aug. 30 — The Michigan Union Ballroom in Ann Arbor with The Singles
Sept. 12 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Chris Bathgate, The Cotton Jones Basket Ride (Mike Nau of Page France), Andrew Dost (Anathallo).
Oct. 6 — (Scene) Metrospace in East Lansing with Chris Bathgate and AM Syndicate

Frontier Ruckus
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Aug. 29 — Alma College in Alma with Blase Splee
Sept. 7 — Mac's Bar in Lansing with Great Lakes Myth Society
Sept. 8 — The State Theater in Kalamazoo with Combat Corduroy, Asphodel Fields, Fernelity, Olivet, Day Walker & The Skychild, The Giving Tree, Eyes of an Enemy, Hollow Heroes, Common Shiner, and The Kinds.
Sept. 22 — The DAAC in Grand Rapids with Chris Bathgate, Head and Toe and Happy Hour
Sept. 23 — Kraftbrau Brewery in Kalamazoo with Breathe Owl Breathe and Chris Bathgate
Sept. 28 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Great Lakes Myth Society

Thursday, August 02, 2007

People outside the state are listening too!

Here's a lovely little mention of Chris Bathgate on the Best Week Ever blog that links to an even more enthusiastic piece in Nine Bullets, (which also contains a comment pointing readers in the direction of Matt Jones' MySpace). In addition to being oh so meta, it's just further proof that thanks to the Internet, the good music of the Great Lakes State is grabbing listeners' ears in the other 49 (even if those jokesters at VH1 didn't read the original post long enough to figure out that A Cork Tale Wake is the new Bathgate record).

Thanks to Brandon for bringing this to our attention.

PS Look ma, I'm blogging again!