Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hey Local Bands! Play the Ferndale Public Library!

So yeah, I started handing these out, and Jeff Milo posted it over at his new FPL blog, The Ferndale Public Library Observer. It's official: I'm planning a monthly local music showcase at the library. Those of you who attended our preview party know that the sound in the Multipurpose Room was pretty impressive. Well, that's where this biz will occur. A Friday per month (still deciding which one) after library hours (6:30 - 8:30 PM) the library will turn into a music venue, with a difference. Enjoy local bands in a new and different kind of place. It's not a bar or club or meat market. It's YOUR library. Where you go to discover new things.

If you have a band, and you're interested in doing this, please send me an email with the following subject "YOUR BAND NAME at the Ferndale Public Library". I can't wait to get this going!

Stay tuned for my review of Echofest!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Came, You Saw, You Rocked Out

My feet still aren't touching the earth. That's because the Library's Community Preview Party was such a success. Especially the music portion. From Pete Peltier and Paul Gaughan's sweet acoustic renditions of classic rock songs to The School of Rock's amazing energy and talent to The MyDols' super fun, punky set for kids to The Pop Project's great harmonies and witty lyrics to The High Strung's quirky set perfect for a library, the music was great. This is a personal thank you from me to all of the musicians who worked with a library for the first or 200th(!) time.

Let me get some (more) gushing out of the way. Having The Pop Project and The High Strung in my library at my "request" was a dream come true. Maybe that's cheesy, but I don't care. The Pop Project were one of the first local bands I really got into. In fact, I can remember driving home from a show with my best friend, working out the words to "Hearts and Flowers". It was the first time we'd ever heard it. How's that for catchy? As for The High Strung, as soon as I heard the This American Life about these guys playing public libraries all over the state (and later the country), I began dreaming of having them play my library.

Saturday's shindig had been a source of stress for me for at least two months. It's just in my nature to worry. And believe me, as time went on, there was plenty to worry about. Frankly, the only thing I didn't worry about was the music. As the day got closer, people from all directions came together to make our party happen, no matter what, and it was this solidarity that finally calmed (as much as this is possible, I mean, think who we're talking about, here) me down.

The day's music started shortly after a lovely dedication ceremony with Pete Peltier and Paul Gaughan. They played classic rock tunes expertly to a quickly growing, very diverse audience in our Multipurpose Room.

A word about our Multipurpose Room. First, the space is gorgeous. It looks out onto Nine Mile, but everything is so well-insulated that you only hear the loudest of trucks as they pass. Secondly, the design includes a very high ceiling with plexiglass way up high. This seemed (though I think I'll have to consult one of the acoustic design books I bought with The Dance Grant) to channel the sound in the room in all the right directions. The bottom line here is that I am really psyched about bringing musicians of all sorts into this space.

After a short break, The School of Rock house band filed in and began setting up. At first glance, your average library attendee might have been puzzled by the age of the musicians. But after a few minutes, I don't think anyone noticed that the kids playing Zeppelin, The Who and Beck weren't old enough to drive. These kids really ROCK. And with a teacher like Troy Gregory, it's no surprise.

Now the tricky part. Moving the PA from the Multipurpose Room to the Children's Library. Successfully executed. The MyDols engaged and involved the kids and parents in the kids area. I had people of all ages tell me how much they enjoyed the set.

The programmed lull here had me worried a bit. See, when the party was a Grand Opening, this is where the library would have been closed for services. But since things had changed, we'd decided to keep the whole place open the whole time. Dinner time can be a bit dodgy for shows, so the worry-o-meter was running a bit high. Soon, though, as a whole new crowd began to come in, I relaxed, and finally took off my debilitating shoes, and enjoyed the music and the company of friends, colleagues, and fellow library supporters.

The Pop Project played a fantastic set filled with their classics and a bunch of new songs that I wish I had a good enough memory (or have had the sense to record the show) to remember them all. I can vaguely describe a mostly acoustic song built around a sound. I mean, I guess I just did. It was all harmony and beauty and everything I love about this band. An older woman, who apparently remembers the 60s and 70s said to me as she left with her grandchild, "They're great! Reminds me of listening to Hendrix and the Beatles". I mean. That's pretty great, right? Kids really liked dancing to The Pop Project and their parents thought this band was awesome.

The High Strung are library veterans. They've played some 200 library shows. They really know how to play a diverse audience. Everyone around me enjoyed their crazy, fun, quirky set. My dad and oldest brother included. I only wish we had dispensed with the chairs and encouraged more dancing. Because I think some groovin' would have broken out. Lesson learned. Less chairs.

So I'm recharged. I can't wait to plan a SCHEDULE of bands at the NEW Ferndale Public Library. Hit me up with emails at and let me know if you're interested.
Here's some poorly executed photographs:

The Pop Project

The High Strung

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Times They Are a Changin'

So here's the deal. Saturday's party is still on. Everyone is still playing. There will still be free food. However, due to some technical issues that are out of our control, we will not be doing library business on Saturday, July 10th and we will not be opening the doors on Monday. We want it to be just right for our patrons and it's just not possible...yet. Rest assured that when we do fling open the doors and welcome you all in, it will be with confidence in our beautiful, full-service facility.

So until then, please come to see the building, the bands and our smiling faces on Saturday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' on!

Let's get started with the thing I'm most excited about. The Grand Opening Party! This is the biggest party we've ever planned and with the most music! Come check out Pete Peltier & Paul Gaughan, The MyDols, The School of Rock, The Pop Project and The High Strung throughout the day at the new and improved Ferndale Public Library! The whole thing is FREE (as it should be) and we want to see tons of people there, so tell a friend!

So on to my weekend, because for the first time in a long time, I had one. I had planned to spend Saturday evening and night at the New Center Park, which is lovely and a 3 minute bus ride from my apartment, for the free music going on there. I arrived with enough time to schmooze with lots of great people from Loco Gnosis Records, The Beggars, Pewter Cub and The Spitting Nickels. I only mention this because it means more local music in the library for YOU, dear reader. I saw Macrame Tiger's set and I thought it was a blast. Really fun, and perfect for the hot summer day and  the venue. I will definitely see them again.

It was during the break between Macrame Tiger and Woodman that I started to use my handy HTC Incredible to play Facebook (I'm assuming you don't need a link) detective. See, I'd heard that a "GLMS Tribute Band" were lined up to play at the Savoy, which is newly run by none other than Andy Garris. This is intriguing, but perhaps not enough to make a girl leave the comfort of a grassy hill...unless someone plants the idea in her head that it's actually Great Lakes Myth Society playing under the name The Pussy Hummingbears. After some snooping, I decided that the evidence was such that it merited a 40 minute drive to Ypsilanti for more investigation.

I am so happy I went! GLMS were playing in their "civilian" clothes and calling themselves by that ridiculous name because they were technically practicing for their gig the next day. The result was an intimate audience, a fun (and funny) set and plenty of time to talk to everyone afterwards. Hearing them play "Nights in White Satin", something that probably wouldn't have gone on as long as it did in a "normal" gig, was awesome. Too bad my camera freaked out, or I could share it with you. I also scored a (nearly) one of a kind Pussy Hummingbears t-shirt complete with "bear" autographs. Brilliant.

Chris Bathgate also played a set which, due to the layout of the Savoy and the number of people I was interested in talking to, I missed most of. He did close with his cover of "Across the Universe" and it was beautiful. I hope this ends up on an EP, or some special edition thingie.

Macramé Tiger

The Pussy Hummingbears