The Immigrant Suns have always mixed their multicultural music with the innovations of the avant-garde. Inspired by the Earwhacks Festivals of several years back, Suns bassist Joel Peterson has organized a one-night-only cavalcade of ethno-avant traditionalists and experimenters. Named the Wrench Festival, it promises "music to damage the machinery." The Wrench Festival takes place this Friday (Sept. 17) at detroit contemporary (5141 Rosa Parks), headlined by the mighty Tarheel guitarrorist Dr. Eugene Chadbourne. The odd Doc’s breadth runs from the depths of improv to "Country Music from the World of Islam" to the devastating cover of Parliament’s "Mr. Wiggle" that he executed (with help from the Suns) the last time he was in town. Expect more wild-card unpredictability from the brilliant Bad Chad. The Suns will play on their own and several of the Suns will double or triple in the Scavenger Quartet. This is the group ex-Only a Mother (and Earwhacks mover and shaker) Frank Pahl has assembled to perform his motley patchwork of twisted tunes, with a bit of extra help from instruments of an automated thrift-store nature. The Eyesores (of Providence, R.I.), with their introspective avant-country tunes, open. Call 313-898-4ART for more info. —Greg Baise
Get your ears ready for the 1s and 0s this weekend at downtown coffeehouse IO (1529 Broadway). Friday and Saturday, the performers at IO will point toward a digitized retro-future and an electronically integrated urban future. Plumbing the past for Friday night’s fun is the W-Vibe, which has just released the W-Vibe Game Program, a surprisingly atmospheric collection of sounds found between the buttons and joysticks of such simple, obsolete electronic detritus as Atari 2600 game soundtracks, battery-operated toys, sampling keyboards and synsonic rhythm machines. While the album’s spare, exploratory, ambient and, at times, very creepy, the W-Vibe live show’s a Pong of another design. Core vibe-ers Dan Augustine (whom you should know and love already from his wonderful-but-sadly-defunct zine Hoofsip) and Joe Hornacek undertake to rock the crowd, sans all those usual sweaty guitar and drum heroics. Get your reflexes ready, too, for the song, "Hi Bouncer" during which the boys launch Superballs into the audience, adding a touch of kinetic chaos to the proceedings. Occasionally aided and abetted by Tomoko Taniguci-Livingston and Rachel Angelini, the W-Vibe didn’t crash to earth on a wayward comet — the band’s just made up of millennial suburban kids who aren’t afraid of their own imagination and aren’t limited by limited technology. Look for Game Program in stores or write Davies Productions at 7275 Maxwell, Warren, MI 49091.
Saturday marks one of the first occasions music-lovers have had to peep urbandesign, the new project of former Fuxa member and current Masstransfer magazine publisher Ryan Anderson. With a focus on sonic interaction and immersion in the urban environment, and Anderson’s past spaced-out track record, come prepared to take a cruise along tomorrow’s motorway. The urbandesign show is part of the monthly "Dizzying Heights" series which focuses on that genre we all used to call space rock and has featured sets by many of the humans populating the bubbling area musical underground.
You’ve got about two weeks left to get out to your favorite newsstand and pick up a copy of Icon Magazine. Inside, you’ll find a wealth of Detroit-related verbiage: From the feature on Iggy Pop, to an interview with the clowns, to former Detroiter Dave Marsh’s ruminations on the wickedly whacked-out musical mutants Detroit has offered the world (from Kid Rock to the Nuge to the MC5 to Destroy All Monsters). Marsh does a good job scratching the surface and legacy of our city’s sonic output, but a well-planned Friday or Saturday night on the D’s club scene’ll startle you with the realization that there’re some wonderful, lesser-known (to MTV, anyway) anomalies making sonic art around town.
Verve Pipe will perform in the Tiger Stadium courtyard before the game against the Cleveland Indians next Wednesday (Sept. 22) and sing the national anthem before the cats take the field. Well, if KISS can do it ...