Posts Tagged ‘Elliot Street Lunatic’

2013 Michigan music roundup Part 2 of 3

Here’s part 2 of our three-part round of Michigan releases for 2013. Read part 1, featuring Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts, Flint Eastwood and The Swellers.

Lights and Caves “In Satori” EP

Formed late in 2012, Lansing-based Lights and Caves started writing songs and playing gigs almost immediately. With 2013 came the addition of Elliot Street Lunatic founder/guitarist/singer Jason Marr on guitar and vocals. Marr helped produce, and even played on, the EP. Released in August, the band has been playing gigs around the state any chance it gets.

From my Lansing City Pulse review: “The opener “Manchy” gives a nod to Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra, with rocking but polished guitar chords mixed with pounding drums that proclaim the music’s danceability in no uncertain terms. “In Satori” recalls Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” with a finger-picked clean guitar countering another, Ebow-laden guitar that calmly washes over a light snare-dominated beat.

It all combines to hold Gorden’s Thom Yorke-esque falsetto to Earth. The same Radiohead influence is evident on “Run,” but with a lot more ambiance and spaciousness. Marr’s influence on this band is pretty obvious; the opening of “Tragedy” recalls ESL’s own song “Maps” from their second album “Ghost Town Lullabies.” Some of his guitar tones here sound straight out of ESL’s soundworld.

Moses “Gush” LP

Mount Pleasant band Moses, originally a large, multi-instrument acoustic outfit, changed its sound dramatically in 2013 by going fully electric and cutting down to three members (or sometimes four, adding the occasional extra guitarist at live shows) with just electric guitar, bass, drums and vocals. The band released its long-awaited debut album, “Gush,” in November on its Bandcamp page and played a few low-key shows to promote it.

From my Central Michigan Life review: “The vocable “ah-ha”s throughout “Huron,” recorded with ambiance and the live crowd in mind, will stay in your head for days.

The guitars driving the signature melody are accompanied by Schaeffer’s smooth and driving drum patterns and a crunchy rhythm guitar, while Pitzer’s vocals provide chill-inducing feeling, especially the line “When did we, when did we become what we are?” This line is delivered with a great conviction and energy and is definitely a stand out track on this LP.”

Small Parks “Meet Me In Cognito” EP

Formed out of the ashes of post-rock band Good Weather for Airstrikes, Lansing-based Small Parks strips away the long, drawn out instrumentals and exchanges them for tight, to-the-point emo punk songs.

From my LMTV review: ““Parallel Thoughts” has such a Gin Blossoms vibe toward the beginning, especially recalling their early 90′s hit “Hey Jealousy”. Talo’s distorted, intricate guitar picking gives the songs another tip-off to emo; noodley and textured like Connecticut’s The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die or Rockford, Illinois’ Joie De Vivre. Radick shows honesty and sadness in his lyrics: “You’re no longer with me when I sleep but your body still haunts me in my dreams/We could be onto something here/But I’m too afraid of failure to find out” and “yes it is true I once loved you/And at one point I loved myself too”.

Lots of shows coming up in Mount Pleasant

Sean here.

I’m back in Mount Pleasant for school and there are a ton of shows coming up in town over the next few months I’m really excited about and you should be too.

Check it out:

Rubble’s Bar is located at: 112 W. Michigan St., Mount Pleasant, MI

Hunter’s Ale House is located at: 4855 East Blue Grass Road, Mount Pleasant, MI

 

Thursday Jan. 17

Thursday Jan. 24

Saturday Jan. 26

  • Detroit indie-dance band Flint Eastwood play Hunter’s Ale House with Farwell’s Delightfuls and Mount Pleasant’s Benthos opening.
  • 9:30 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for anyone 18-20

Friday Feb. 8

  • Grand Rapids ska band Mustard Plug play Rubble’s Bar with Lansing’s Decades and Mount Pleasant’s Ugly Broads opening.
  • 10 p.m./21+/$7

Saturday Feb. 16

  • Grand Rapids band The Soil and the Sun play an all-ages show with Mount Pleasant’s Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Moses and Newday Dreamers opening.
  • 8 p.m./Ticket prices TBA

Friday March 22

  • Detroit indie band Bars of Gold play Hunter’s Ale House with Grand Rapids band Empty Orchestra and a local band to be determined opening.
  • 9 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for 18+

Midwest Fest 2012 poster released; Tickets available now

Midwest Fest 2012, held this year on September 25-29, at Rubble’s Bar as well as Kaya Coffee and Tea Co. in downtown Mount Pleasant, MI, has released the poster after holding a contest to design this year’s festival poster. The winner was Gina Heydens.

Photo courtesy of the Midwest Fest Facebook page. Flier by Gina Heydens.

Lansing bands playing the festival include Drinking Mercury and Elliot Street Lunatic. Detroit’s The Hard Lessons are headlining the final night of the festival but other bands such as Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, The Soil and the Sun, Empty Orchestra, Gifts or Creatures, Child Bite and many others are playing throughout the week. Get your tickets at the above link by clicking on “Tickets”.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 6: Home at last

After a week of excellent adventures, great shows and lots of driving, Elliot Street Lunatic and The Cutthroat Drifters played at Mac’s Bar in Lansing along with Detroit’s The Wall Clocks, Lansing’s Commodore Cosmos and Grand Rapids’ Simien The Whale.

Johnathan Mazzei (center) singer and guitarist for The Wall Clocks from Detroit, MI

The Wall Clocks played a damn good show. Lead singer and guitarist Johnathan Mazzei has the look of a ’50s doo wop guitarist with an old-school hollow body (which I can’t name) and microphone plus a full suit. Definitely had the look down. I enjoyed their brand of ’60s-esque psychedelic rock and roll. Their second guitarist even busted out a guitar solo cover of a Pink Floyd song. Good times from these dudes.

 

Simien The Whale and Commodore Cosmos played well too. I (admittedly) didn’t catch much of either set but I liked what I did here. Simien The Whale has a lot of slow, funky jams. Commodore Cosmos (a duo, with ESL’s Jason Marr on drums) with Jon Mickelson on guitar and vocals. I liked the stripped down nature of this band’s songs a lot. Solid drumming from Marr and lots of power chords from Mickelson. Cool stuff worth checking out.

Dave Meyers, guitarist for The Cutthroat Drifters

Later, The Cutthroat Drifters played a pumped, energetic set of rock and roll tunes for the crowd. Over the past few days of touring this band has gotten tighter and tighter and it showed here. Everything was rocked out and on time. Nick Kjolhede has the front man thing down pat. He definitely loves what he does, running around stage and engaging the audience. Definitely entertaining. Guitarist Dave Myers showed his chops, shredding but also jamming the blues. He can play with the best of ‘em.

The Cutthroat Drifters, from Denver, Colorado.

The drumming was great. Simple yet concise. Jeremy Robins (brother of ESL guitarist Eric Robins) played the bass, keeping time and mostly playing root notes. In a rock and roll band such as theirs, root notes and precision are important and the rhythm section do it perfectly.

Elliot Street Lunatic, after a week on the road, played the hell out of their songs. They shows on the road tested them as a band and a unit. They’ve come out of it even better than when they left. The rhythm section of Caleb Knight (drums) and Josh DeBrabander (bass) were tight, bouncy and powerful. Knight has definitely improved over the last week of shows and is definitely home behind the kit. He even sings echoing backup vocals, adding another layer to the band’s sound. Marr and Robins play their parts with a passion and energy that this past week of shows has only helped to increase. One of their newest songs, “Illuminate”, is bouncy and incredibly catchy. The verses will have you hooked.

The band were glad to be back in Lansing after a long week of shows. Here, Josh DebraBander (left) and Jason Marr (right) are featured.

Their set ended with usual closer “Lullaby” but with an extended outro with about 20 people (me included) singing along. With all that momentum, I couldn’t have imagined the band would play another song but they unexpectedly played “Dearly” from their first album “Stories from the Void”. A great end to the tour and a great week that none of us will forget.

 

 

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 5: Toledo, Ohio and back home to Lansing

Elliot Street Lunatic performed at the Ottawa Tavern in Toledo, OH.

We arrived in Toledo, Ohio at about 2pm after a long night driving through Illinois and Ohio after the show at Reggie’s Music Joint in Chicago. Seemingly arriving in Toledo extremely early, we were bored with nothing to do. We wandered around the city looking for a place to chill and relax but no luck. We went back to the Ottawa Tavern and sat in front of it for a while, chilling and watching Dragonball Z Kai. It’s been a long tour, and by now, the exhaustion has set in with all of us.

Caleb Knight (left, drums) has been playing with Elliot Street Lunatic since the beginning of the year. This show was the first time he has played in Toledo.

Later on, after more killing time, the show finally began at about 11pm with Elliot Street Lunatic. The band, tired like the rest of us, still played an excellent, energetic set although the bar patrons seemed a bit indifferent to them (and the other bands as well). It was definitely a fun show though and reminded us all of what was to come at their show in Lansing. The Toledo show was a warm up for both ESL and the Cutthroat Drifters.

With only three bands, the show would have seemed to go by quickly but it really felt slow and dragged on. Being in Toledo for that long with nothing to do took a toll on us all. The car ride home was a tiring but rewarding one: we were all finally home in Michigan.

Tonight is Elliot Street Lunatic’s return home show with some great bands including The Cutthroat Drifters and Commodore Cosmos.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog part 4: Iowa City and Chicago (Days 1 and 2)

Tuesday May 15, 2012 – Iowa City, IA

 

The entrance to Gabe’s. Along with local bands, the venue also brings in nationally-known punk and indie bands.

Tours have their ups and downs. Some shows are great (like in Lincoln) and some shows are not-so-great (like in Iowa City). We rolled up to Gabe’s, which has a lot of pretty big bands roll through, especially punk bands. The Dear Hunter played the venue a couple of weeks ago and one of the locals that played Tuesday’s show opened for them. The show finally started around 9 with the Cutthroat Drifters. As the night wore on and ESL took the stage, a few people walked in a little after their set began. The local bands, Chasing Shade and Zeta June played long sets (which we didn’t expect) and, although they were good sets, they play for a very long time. They did manage to bring some people out though, which was good.

After the long night at Gabe’s (which we hope to be back to soon), we crashed hard at our hotel. Now, we’re on the road to Chicago for an eventful two days. ESL have a radio interview with Fearless Radio and a full band open mic at The Elbow Room. The following night, ESL plays at Reggie’s Music Joint. Looking forward to that.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 – The Elbow Room

We arrived in Chicago just in time for the band’s interview on Fearless Radio. The band’s interview was really good. They were asked great questions and even got a question from a listener in the UK. That was definitely a pleasant surprise. The interview will be online on the Fearless radio website.

Once we met up with their friend Parker (who let the band store their gear in a friend’s practice space), we went to get pizza (again). After some chilling around the city, we headed to the Elbow Room for the band’s open mic. There was a pretty decent crowd and they reacted well to the songs of both ESL and The Cutthroat Drifters. My cousin Chris came out to the show and bought a CD from ESL. The band played great and worked out their songs live even more. We all did a bit of networking at the show too, which is always good to do.

ESL played at The Elbow Room at the full-band Open Mic on Wednesday May 16.

Thursday May 17, 2012 – Reggie’s Music Joint

The next night at Reggie’s was excellent. The crowd was small but the bands were awesome. Alar Wave, who played after The Cutthroat Drifters, were a two piece (acoustic guitar and bass) that really reminded me of Andrew Jackson Jihad. The Chicago band killed their set and kept warming up the crowd. I would definitely see them again in Chicago when I go back.

Chicago band Alar Wave played second, after The Cutthroat Drifters. They play as a duo with Gerard Pannekoek (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Alex Sisto (bass, vocals).

ESL took the stage played the best show of the tour so far. The band were on and super tight. It was a great show for sure.

The Cutthroat Drifters opened the show at Reggie's Music Joint in downtown Chicago.

Elliot Street Lunatic performed at Reggie's Music Joint on Thursday May 18, 2012.

The following band, This Magazine Is Haunted, were awesome too. Playing a brand of power pop like The Lemonheads or The Replacements, they played an excellent set. I loved everyone of their songs. It was too bad they didn’t have any CDs on hand as I would’ve definitely bought one. They said they only play gigs about once a month or so. Hopefully I’ll see them again too.

As I type this in Toledo, Ohio’s Ottawa Tavern, we’re waiting for the show to start. We rolled into Toledo at about 2pm and have had almost nothing to do. Luckily we have each other to keep each other entertained. Tomorrow’s show in Lansing will be great. It will be great to be home. I (and the rest of us) can’t wait.

 

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog part 3: Good luck and good people in Lincoln, Nebraska

ESL played a last minute show at the Zoo Bar in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska.

Some things just work out. Elliot Street Lunatic and the Cutthroat Drifters were expecting to play the Bourbon Theater in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Two hours before the band were due to load in at the venue, Jason received an email saying the show was canceled. We were all devastated. The Bourbon Theater show promoter got in touch with Jason and scrambled for a show in Lincoln. The band got a break when they were offered a show at the Zoo Bar in downtown Lincoln. The band, with nothing else to do, took the show. The bartender said the band needed to draw at least 25 people to the bar in order to play. As we sat in Brothers bar across the street, we sat wondering how we would accomplish this task. The Cutthroat Drifters’ singer Nick Kjolhede, came up with a (what we all thought) was a crazy idea: take the band’s acoustic guitars and try to get people out to the show. With nothing else to lose, the bands took the task. We spent the greater part of two hours talking to people, asking them to come out to the show. By just talking and striking up a conversation, we managed to get almost 30 or 40 people out to the show.

Nick Kjolhede, singer for the Cutthroat Drifters, singing at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska. The crowd enjoyed both Elliot Street Lunatic and The Cutthroat Drifters.

The efforts of Caleb Knight, ESL’s drummer, and Nick Kjolhede made the night worth while. Caleb and Nick inspired the rest of us to push the show to be the best it could be considering the circumstances. It was all about making the best of bad luck. All about the love of music and putting on a great show. Sometimes when you’ve got nothing to lose, you take a chance. Maybe the people you approach won’t go to the show but by at least approaching them about it and letting them know is better than doing nothing. We were all glad the show worked out. The bartender, at first, seemed like he didn’t want the bands there but once the bands took the stage and played, people filtered in, and by the end of the night, they were overjoyed at how well this last minute show went.

After this inspiring night, we head to Iowa City to play at Gabe’s with locals Chasing Shade and Zeta June. We’re all pumped and ready to go for the rest of the tour.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 2: ESL at Bender’s Tavern

Bender’s Tavern, in downtown Denver, was host to Elliot Street Lunatic’s tour kickoff on Saturday May 12. The bill was certainly one I wouldn’t expect ESL to play on. Hard rock and death metal opened and closed the show last night with bands like MF Ruckus and The Hookers playing along with ESL and the Cutthroat Drifters.

Josh and Caleb waiting in Bender's Tavern green room for their set to begin

The venue was really similar to Mac’s Bar in Lansing. In the green room, graffiti and band stickers covered the walls. Most of the bands with stickers on the walls I’d never heard of (and almost all of the band names were terrible too). Caleb, the band’s drummer, who, at 19 years old, was not allowed in the bar area of the venue so he had to wait in the green room before and after ESL played. Also interesting was the building itself: there were two rooms with two completely different shows going on. On one side, the ESL show with tables and a risen stage. On the other was a traditional country band, which actually felt more like a restaurant than a bar.  That was pretty neat.

I missed the first band and I didn’t really care that I did. ESL went on second.  The crowd, oddly and surprisingly consisted of a lot of Michigan friends of theirs, which was a nice surprise for them. Josh, the bassist, was even surprised with a visit from his friend Rachel. It felt like a local show in a way. The venue had the Mac’s Bar feel (but a lot more divey and scumey if you can believe that) and ESL felt at home playing Bender’s Tavern.

Eric and Jason playing during their set at Bender's Tavern on Saturday May 12.

Time seemed to move slowly during their set. The whole 20+ hour drive to Denver, the exhaustion, lack of sleep and gas station diets led to the show. They put a lot of their energy into trying to please the somewhat sparse crowd (maybe 30-40 people were there) and they seemed to do a good job. Opening with a cover of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles, it seemed appropriate for the hard rock crowd. Playing originals like new song “Illuminate” (which is my new favorite song of theirs), Ghost Town, This Modern World and Lullaby went over well with the crowd. They turned some of the crowd into new fans, as some later bought CDs and T-shirts.

Josh playing bass during ESL's set

The Cutthroat Drifters put on a good set of hard rock and roll. Singer Nick Kjolhede is a great frontman, dancing and swinging the mic around like he’s dancing with it. Bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin influenced this band for sure. They play their instruments well and with energy. The guitar play is very good, playing licks and running up and down the guitar. Their show was a good time.

Today (Sunday May 13) is a chilled out day for all of us. Cookout, beer tunes via the record player will make for a good, relaxing day. Tomorrow morning will be the start of a week of shows, beginning in Lincoln Nebraska at the Bourbon Theater.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 1: Midland to Denver

Elliot Street Lunatic kicked off their tour in Midland, MI at the Tiz-It bar.

This blog started being written at about 10:30 am on some never-ending highway in Iowa, just outside of Iowa City on our way to Denver, Colorado. Last night’s show in Midland at the Tiz-It Bar (which I first thought sounded like the name of a strip club) was at least good for the gas money. The band played well to a small but enthusiastic crowd of locals. We arrived at the bar a little late (as the bar staff was saying) but after the band setup, they ran through their set in an almost practice-like fashion. Don’t get me wrong, they played the hell out of their songs but it felt a bit odd as everyone watching was sitting down (myself included) and it just didn’t feel like a “show” to me but more like a rehearsal for their shows later in the week. They even busted out their cover of “Sgt. Peppers” by The Beatles. Surprisingly, the crowd, consisting of older folks and your stereotypical bar-goers, enjoyed the band’s set and was screaming for more by its end. There were even some girls dancing to their music.

Killer Kong, the hometown band, killed it with an excellent set of power trio-style rock and roll. They’re like, as Jason puts it, “if The Rival were more ’60s influenced”. That’s a perfect description. Loud and abrasive but with a backbone of a bass and loud drums and dog-off-his-leash guitar, the band knows how to put on a show. The show was an unexpected success for both bands and was an excellent start to the tour.

The drives through Iowa and Nebraska were largely uneventful. Lots of Benadryl-induced sleeping and lots of listening to the (maybe) five radio stations available out in the middle of nowhere. A sign we saw at a gas station said “You Are Nowhere”. This sign, a small sign we almost didn’t see, encompassed our thoughts on the long, monotonous drive. It didn’t dampen our spirits though; it in fact made us even more eager to get to Denver.

We finally rolled into Denver at about 8pm Mountain time (10pm Eastern time, which we’re all used to). We stopped by the practice space of ESL’s tourmates, the Cutthroat Drifters, and watched them practice after we loaded their gear into the Drifters’ practice space. I currently write this at former ESL drummer CJ Kjohede’s apartment in Denver. It’s currently 2:44am (Denver time). We’re all exhausted but not even ready to get to bed. We’re all excited for the show at Bender’s tomorrow and the next week of shows. It’s going to be an awesome time.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour and website additions


First off, Lansing’s Elliot Street Lunatic are going on tour in support of their newest album, Ghost Town Lullabies, in a few days to Denver, CO and back with stops in Lincoln, NE, Iowa City, IA, Chicago, IL, Toledo, OH and finally back in Lansing. Check their website (linked above) for tour dates and show information. Singer and guitarist Jason Marr was interviewed by the Colorado University Independent newspaper ahead of the shows in Colorado. I (Sean) will be tagging along on the tour, documenting it on our website with blog posts, photos and videos. There will also be twitter posts @lansingmusictv. It’s definitely going to be a fun time.

Also, there will be some great additions to the website soon. First is a list of venues from around Lansing and beyond, complete with contact information and a description. That is currently being worked on and should be done very soon. Secondly, a encyclopedia-type database of Lansing bands, other Michigan bands and out-of-state bands that frequent the state will be on the website by the end of the summer. It’s going to take a while but it will be a great resource with pictures, video, contact information and everything else bands will need to contact other bands. Once it is done, the list will be periodically updated with new bands.

Look out for all of that soon,

Sean

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