City Slang: The Seatbelts rock the People’s Arts Festival

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On years gone by, the People’s Arts Festival has been plagued by rain-related issues. Thankfully, this year saw no such problems and the sun was shining down as Saturday saw the festival kick off without a hitch. That’s great too, because a lot of work goes into putting this thing together, and it really is a labor of love (as opposed to financial gain) for the organizers.

OK, so first glance – Gwen Joy’s Joy Toys look as oddly cute as usual (Shark-Baby was a particular fave). Also, there seems to be a new t-shirt company here every year selling Detroit-related merch, which is great. For the most part, the art was great for browsing.

A casual jaunt over to one of the stages led to a happy surprise. Apparently, Circus Boy were added to the bill at the last minute but then had to cancel because of a singer-related-foot-injury. In their place, CB bassist Skid Marx pulled in one of his other bands – old school punks the Seatbelts.

Now, I’m sorry that I didn’t have my camera with me, and that the picture here is a very old one. But to be fair, singer Greg Upshur really doesn’t look too much different. He still carries himself like a cross between Bryan Ferry and Lou Reed too, even pulling out a cover of “Sister Ray” today.

Rick Mills’ guitar sounds great too, and not even the Motor City Rah-Rahs dancing on stage with the band could distract me from Mills’ punk guitar gyrating. The Seatbelts are magic today, and the fact that they were unexpected made the set that much more enjoyable.

Click here for more information on the People’s Arts Fest.

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