by Jeff Milo
“I know it sounds like bull shit when I say that I am excited for all of the bands playing YpsiFest this year,” the shaggy, bearded, wild-eyed, guitar gutting singer of demolition-punk-duo Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program says, “but it’s true.”
The incorrigibly enthusiastic Ypsilanti-advocate with a “rock and roll heart” dreamed up this event eight years ago as a means to highlight the Washtenaw area’s homegrown musical talent (often overlooked by metro Detroit music fans, albeit sometimes sacrificed to save gas money in these harsh 4-dollar-a-gallon days).
Anonymous (known otherwise as Anthony Gentile), is as bold with his promotional predictions as he is with his howled hoarse singing voice and somersaulted stage antics at any JWPP live show: “I promise that if you love rock and roll half as much as I do, you will love every single night of YpsiFest.”
The jaded and the skeptical could easily shake their heads, should that strike them as too audacious. But, maybe, instead, statements like that should make Detroit’s rock scene homebodies wonder what’s in the water out there; Anonymous is clearly possessed by the output of his fellow Depot Town dwelling musicians.
Tthis weekend’s 3-day festival is meant to bridge the Huron River to the Detroit River, giving a distinct nod to all Michigan musicians as well as to the numerous Detroit-based bands that have graced the stage of Woodruff’s in it's first year of operation.
“This year we have a well-broken-in-Woodruff’s that is just about as comfortable as a bar can be, with Andy (Garris), Hasan (Minyar) and the rest of their team, whom I consider all good friends. But, friendship and the ability to work together are often two different things. For whatever reason, they have let me do everything I’ve asked for and more and that type of support is just a huge blessing
Starting Wednesday evening (10/12) and going through Saturday (10/15), attendees will hear rock n roll blended with some punk, psychedelia and noise-pop, Americana with metal and, hey, even some rap and electronica.
Anonymous commends the collaborative nature of this event, be it the “gang” at Woodruff’s, or the Ypsi-rooted music collective known as the Ghost Family (which features JWPP, along with Err
and Sharky & the Habit) or satellites from the “Loco Gnosis family” (like Duende, Pewter Cub or the Beggars). Anonymous has set the line up thus that, hopefully, attendees can be “exposed to bands (or styles) that they haven’t seen before
No bull shit. “I believe this is going to be our best YpsiFest, by far,” Anonymous says, “celebrating our little tribe in Ypsi and all of the great bands in the area that we’re all so fortunate to be connected to
That sounds like crazy love. Or crazy inspiration.
Whatever it is, it’s the kind of energy that could potentially eradicate any symptoms of jaded ennui that Detroit show-goers may be feeling as of late. No, that’s not your allergies, you just need a fresh perspective. And by fresh, I mean, as Anonymous puts it, “a fun filled weekend of music, drinks, food and plenty of tomfoolery
,” including but not limited to: “floor-diving, fist pumping and joke-cracking.”
JWPP, meanwhile, recently released their 2nd album, The Glass is Half Full, with a release show at the New Dodge in Hamtramck, on October 22nd. Expect a remix single of their song “Yer Lion” to drop soon, featuring a trio of local rappers.
YpsiFest’s Wednesday night kick off show cover charge is $5 and then $8 for each preceding night.
YpsiFest's full line up is on the Facebook page.
Oct 12 - Oct 15 - @ Woodruff's Bar - 36 Cross St (Depot Town) Ypsilanti