The 6-month-long season of a Michigan winter kicked off this past weekend as the dreaded “s” word reared its ugly head. Friday night I managed to brave the elements and trek out to the Magic Bag to catch a few bands, drink a few hot toddies and watch a few verbal boxing-match blowouts — just your typical, average night.
Seems a bunch of the old-school scenesters turned out, including Jimmy Doom, Greasy Carlisi of the Reefermen, and the recently wedded duo of Deborah McCauley of Union Street and Steven Ellis of Alvin’s. It was rumored that Ron Asheton of the Stooges was to make an appearance, but my eagle-eyed party was unable to spot him.
Early on I stumbled across social diva Kim Leitz — who basically knows everybody — as well as the striking Beth Milosevich of Eternal Artists and cute bald guy Eric Z, lead singer of opening band Braille House. I also encountered the president of Eternal Artists, Bruce Lorfel, who got me all hyped up by hinting at a pending big announcement about one of the bands he represents, and then refused to divulge a word of it. Tease.
The lead singers of the next two bands both forgot to bring their shirts; the bare-chested Tim Authier of Hemigod and Johnny Flash of the Lanternjack are going to catch a bad cold if they keep running around half-naked like that in the dead of winter. Incidentally, Hemigod has a new drummer, Erin Pitman, formerly of the Suicide Machines. The Lanternjack still has a drummer who wears a goat head. Cute. Now on to the good stuff:
Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, at 6-feet 2-inches and 200 pounds, an aggressive promoter of bands, the former guru of CPop, and all around oddball, Rick “My Name Isn’t Manure, Damnit” Manore. His opponent, Magic Bag owner Jeremy “No Rock Stars Allowed” Haberman.
This particular below-the-belt match breaks down like this: Manore, who is managing the Lanternjack, approached Haberman about the band doing an opening slot for Hemigod at the Bag. Haberman responded with an edgy e-mail, questioning whether the Lanternjack could pull in a crowd, and indicating he’d heard Manore’s boys had behaved in a less-than-civilized manner on occasion. I believe the exact words were “I like to have cool bands play here … not ‘rock stars’ … I need to know that they are going to draw a substantial amount of people and not behave like assholes.” In fact I know those were the exact words, because Manore decided to flaunt some big brass cojones and printed up what was purported to be the private e-mail into a band flyer which he distributed around Ferndale. Still, the band was booked. Come the night of the show, my pen and camera were poised, eagerly awaiting the first blow. Unfortunately, I missed it when Haberman called Manore to the front of the bar halfway through Lanternjack’s set, and I heard a bona fide scene ensued after some reportedly nasty words were exchanged by both parties. Manore said he was told the second his band finished, they and his entourage were to pack up and get out.
Can’t wait for Round 2.
CAUTION: DANGER AHEAD
Saturday night I managed to brave the cold once again, venturing out to the Music Menu to hear the blistering sounds of the Grand Rapids outfit Dangerville. Before the show, band members Delilah DeWylde, Danger, Johnny Oblivion and Peter Biltwell (also known as Sarah, Jim, Jeff and Kirk) went for dinner at Fishbones. Apparently the leather pants, cowboy hats and wife beater-exposing-chest hair look of the band was deemed a bit unorthodox for Fishbones, earning them a few stares from other clientele.
Thoroughly fueled on alligator, the band headed back to the Music Menu and torched up the stage, blowing away the rather tame 30-something office crowd — who eventually loosened up and took the opportunity to shake some booty and do some really bad drunken swing dancing (names of the guilty parties withheld to protect their reputations). Super-babely Delilah showed off her skills on the upright bass, kicking ass on an instrument that was as big as she, while the tongue-in-cheek stage presence of charismatic singer Danger had mistress of photography Monica Mitchell consistently cracking up.
Music Menu owners Rick Pinkerton and Gordon Novak generously shared some of their dee-lish birthday cake, as Rick was the birthday boy for the evening. Sitting front-and-center and plowing their way through several pitchers of Ghetto Blaster were Popeye (who forgot his spinach) and the originators of Spag, Lisa Wright and Kelly Joseph, formerly of the Labyrinth. Due to irreconcilable differences, Wright and Joseph have left the Lab and are looking to open up their own venue. In the meantime, look for the return of Spag at the Gold Dollar on Dec. 22. And to any entrepreneurs who are interested in financially backing a punk-rock bar, now’s your chance!
Sunday evening saw the third anniversary of WCBN-FM DJ Del Villarreal’s roots-rock radio program. To celebrate, Del threw a big party at the new venue for his regular Sunday night Swing-A-Billy gig; once housed at the Blind Pig, the night has now been moved to the Elbow Room, a cozy little dive in downtown Ypsi. The impressive turnout included Nebraska native, corn-fed hottie Dorothy Moulds, resident rocker George Bedard, hot-rod addict Josh Hall and Cash O’Reilly of the Psychobilly Cadillacs. O’Reilly was wearing considerably more clothing than he is on www.rockabillydating.com. What will they think of next?Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Send cheap shots, party invites and juicy news to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial