Monday, January 4, 2010

Mittenfaced

What a weekend. I spent New Year's Eve at the Magic Stick where I finally saw Kommie Kilpatrick. This is the kind of band you didn't know you needed to hear until they start yelling "get punched in the face tonight!" and you feel this weight leave you as you laugh and yell along. I also saw Secret Twins who everyone's been talking about. I really dug them. Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor rang in the new year with their song "2009," which was perfect and Silverghost finished off the night with a bang.

Friday I went to the Elbow Room for the second night of Mittenfest IV. While it's always hard to get yourself out the door to an early show (especially after New Year's Eve), once I got to the venue and heard Tim Monger's solo set, I remembered why I came. The community of musicians in Ypsi is tight-knit and friendly and the mood is contagious. Seeing old friends play together and be amongst a crowd that is happy to see that happen just feels good.

Tim Monger played with a newly assembled band. I was super happy to hear that he is working on another solo album. Next up was Ghost Heart, from Grand Rapids. They set up the stage with two drummers facing each other and a bicycle wheel between them. The result was visceral and rhythmic. Probably the most unique thing I saw the whole weekend.

After a dinner break, I came back in time to see the Juliets. What they do has been dubbed chamber pop, and it consists of well-crafted songs played by excellent musicians. Can't wait for their album.

As 10 PM arrived, I was in for the long haul. I stationed myself at the front of the stage and prepared to have my face blown off by awesomeness. Silverghost refreshed my fuzzy memory of the night before. Their new songs "I Want to be Your Star Child" and "Little Baby Fell Into a Music Machine" are great and I hope there's some kind of CD that I can get for the library so you can all hear them! Next, Lightning Love came on and played all my favorites. After that, Champions of Breakfast put the hurt on my dancing feet. They've got a new song too that has something to do with a cybernetic arm. And finally, Great Lakes Myth Society played. At shows like Mittenfest, you can barely hear the band sing over everyone singing along, which is a testament to how well-loved these guys are. After some dancing and good-bying, it was off to get some rest before the next day of Mittenfest began.

Saturday, I was back at the Elbow Room by 5 PM to hear Nathan K. His jokes and stories are just as entertaining as his music. Again, I headed out for some dinner and got back to see Greg McIntosh's solo set. At one point he invited members of Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful up to sing a song with him and I captured it on video. After some tweaking I'll upload it and link. From 9 PM on it was no-holds-barred excitement for me. First, Black Jake and the Carnies, who I haven't seen in probably close to a year, gave everyone a lesson in crabgrass. Jake's light-up banjo, the balloons, and Joe's dancing out the devil brought the energy WAY up in that place. They covered "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and a Misfits song (I can't remember which!) and finished up the set with "Ypsitucky," the chorus of which you can learn and belt out before the song is over. Next was Jim Roll who is known mostly as a producer around these parts, but who is also an excellent guitarist, bassist and song-writer. I had never seen his band before and really dug the bluesy set. After that, Drunken Barn Dance played like they were headlining at Woodstock. The energy and the love in that room when Scott Sellwood is onstage is palpable and catchy. I feared for The Friendly Foes, who were up next, because it was a hard act to follow. I need not have worried. They took the challenge and beat it to a pulp, and people noticed. I found it particularly great to look around and see all the folkies banging their heads along to the band. Nice work Foes. And finally, Child Bite came on and finished the job. From the bizarre face paint to the spastic dancing to the trips out into the audience and beyond they tore the place up.

I just found out today that Mittenfest IV made $12,000 for 826 Michigan. That is truly amazing.


So, that was my weekend. I have about 300 pictures to sort through, and will be editing and posting them soon. I will leave you with two pictures that kind of say it all.



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