These days everyone's an alien, crash-landed on this planet to save our rock 'n' roll souls. It's a grand tradition and one that wipes the rock-cultural baggage slate clean, allowing for free-ranging musical expression — from Bowie's post-hippie, proto-glam to the instrumental meanderings of Man ... or Astroman? to countless less-well-known operatives working the fringes in America's heartland. It is just such a batch of aliens that ended their interstellar journey in Grand Rapids. So thank the lucky stars and planets that delivered these aliens to our fair state that there's now reason to believe that the city is home to more than radical religious-and-political conservatism and Amway.
Detroit — a town that's had its fair share of Motherships, Landcruisers and Cybotrons — has never shied away from loving the alien. And so, from the far burbs to downtown, they come, in search of an audience, calling out those who will listen.
This weekend brings together a summit of the intergalactic fringe-dwellers with three GR-based pods of rock and their Detroit (at least in spirit if not in genetic makeup) brethren.
The GR contingent consists of Mekanik (backstory: crash landed on our planet several years ago, working to raise money to repair his ship) and his one-alien show of rhythm and sound news; the Night Doctors, who will unveil its brand-new rock opera about a band catapulted to stardom by their new super-manager only to find out he's — ta da! — an evil space alien who wants to kill them; and, finally, Whirlwind Heat, which may not profess to be from another galaxy, but nevertheless works the techo-paranoia rock outlands where Brainiac and Devo did their pioneering work in rock agitation.
Their Detroit hosts consist of ether, god & devil, a reworked and more ambient incarnation of skronk-and-clatter noisemakers, Visitor; Brighton's Wolf Eyes and their left-field, no-wave kraut beats (I've heard Suicide's not too far off the landing strip); and, grounding the whole interstellar lunarcy is DJ Fukno, crafting beats from the EZ-listening whirled of Hank Mancini, breakbeat and other found-sound fun (but, you know, in a really unpretentious way).
This postmillennial madness occurs at the Gold Dollar on Saturday, Jan. 8 on our Earth calendars. Call 313-833-6783.
GIMME SUMMIT ACTION, PART 2
Well, the Suicide Machines sure are making the most of this holiday season, reconnecting with their loyal Detroit fan base at every turn (see In One Ear 12/22 and What's Happening 12/29). This week's SM update finds the foursome sharing the stage with Detroit's finest crusty punk, hard-rock and hardcore outfits at the 4th Annual Steve Krass Memorial show. But this story's not about the Machines — they're just an easy way into talking about this rock 'n' roll throwdown. The punk party, happening this Saturday at St. Andrew's Hall, is a gathering of the 313 rock tribes to celebrate the life of Feisty Cadavers member Krass, who was shot to death in 1995. It's just such bands as the Feisties that are the bread-and-butter, the meat-and-potatoes, the beer-and-a-beer of the Detroit working-for-the-weekend music scene. The memorial celebrates that spirit, this year bringing together the aforementioned ska-punk SMs, hard-rock overdrive heroes, Speedball; strident (in that Social Distortion way) old-school, "keep-it-simple-stupid" rockers, the Gutterpunx; the hard-to-the-core bashment of must-be-seen-and-heard-to-be-believed dudes Moloko Plus; Cold As Life, a hard-rock, hardcore quartet that is intensity incarnate; and the Bar Rats and Supertanker (who, thanks to the fact that I haven't gotten off my ass to see them yet, will be lacking a clever descriptor just now). And, we're promised, there'll be surprise guests. There'll surely be a lot of dudes and chicks throwing down the brew and the power chords in equal measure (with the "power chord" contribution coming from the "dudes"). But it'll make you feel so very "Detroit." And that is a good thing.
This all-ages show kicks off just after 6 p.m. St. Andrew's is at 431 E. Congress.
News of the passing of Lili Karwowski has brought up fond memories and reminiscences from the wide-reaching community she fostered through her personal kindness and through Lili's 21. So, it's very appropriate that she be remembered in the very place where many of us came to know her. Lili's son, Art Lyzak, will host a wake for his mother at Lili's 21 (2930 Jacob, Hamtramck), Friday., Jan. 14 from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. It's a chance to share stories, share a drink and share good company remembering a good woman. See you there.