The words "get there early" have never had more importance than when talking about Ben Kweller’s upcoming two-night stand with the criminally popular emo-carpetbaggers, Dashboard Confessionals. Kweller’s brilliant pop songwriting and youthful exuberance will make the headliners seem like a contrived joke in comparison. Those unfamiliar with Kweller should expect heartfelt pop melodies, piano-based, adolescent rants though ageless themes of love gone wrong and song craft that will put the -tional back in emotional. Clutch Cargo’s 65 E. Huron, Pontiac. Call 248-333-2362 for info. Get there early.
28 THURS • MUSIC — Dan Bell
In the mind of Daniel Bell, less is like … way more. Bell will be stripping techno and house grooves to their pounding essence in a very rare Detroit-area DJ set this Thursday at the Necto (516 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. Call 734-994-5436). The ex-Detroiter currently runs three D-town-based labels — 7th City, Accelerate and Elevate — from his new home in Berlin. His 2000 mix for Berlin’s Tresor label, The Button: Down Mind of Daniel Bell, (cq) has been partially responsible for a newfound eclecticism and commercial interest in abstract, minimal house and subtle, musical techno. Lose control to the sounds of full-flavored minimalism. Look to metrotimes.com for Robert Gorell’s Web exclusive on Bell.
29 FRI • MUSIC — Eels
If you follow the career projection of most highly individualized rock heroes (think Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison) they all go through a beard phase. Call it the midlife crisis of a rock star. The beard says "I don’t need to be pretty to score with the ladies anymore." The beard says "I drink too much. I’m at least 15 pounds heavier than my when I did my hit single, and you’re probably not going to like my next three records." The beard has become a prereq for the underdog pop-star genius. Eels’ front man, E (aka Mark Oliver Evertt), is no different and when he sings "Ma won’t shave me/Jesus won’t save me" on the band’s newest collection of distorted pop gems, Soul Jacker, it becomes clear that he is going to juice his beard phase for every hairy detail it’s worth. The Magic Bag is at 22920 Woodward in Ferndale. Call 248-544-3030.
29 FRI • ART — DIRTier
If there were ever a hall of fame for the notorious Motor City Bar Stars, Jerry Peterson would probably be the first inductee. He’s got the credentials from his days as sleaze genius behind the nauseatingly ballyhooed Obrit, his dubious co-founding of everyone’s favorite advertorial bird-cage liner (Real Detroit Weekly) and his belching glory as the most-loved and most-detested fatso about town. And just when you think that Detroit’s low-rent Larry Flint is to about to waddle into the sunset, he comes back. At the helm of DIRTier, a boner-inspiring show of "skintillating erotica from dozens of Detroit artists," creepy Uncle Jer is right where he belongs. The show will run March 29 and 30 (8–11 p.m.) and Easter Sunday, March 31 (1–4 p.m.) at the Bankle Building, 2994 Woodward, Detroit.
30 SAT • MUSIC — Blanche, Americans, Warn DeFever
There’s something about the way that Dan and Tracee Miller deliver a song that’s almost too captivating. His half of the equation is equal parts snake-oil salesman and vintage ringmaster — replete with Brylcreem sheen and a pencil-thin mustache. But his counterpart is no less enchanting, standing at his left with fiery red hair, alabaster complexion and breathy answers to his lyrical questions. "Do you love me?," he croons. "Yes I love you. Do you love me?," she coos. "I’m not sure," he sings. Combine their alluring stage chemistry with the other characters in Blanche — the spacey drone of David Feeney’s pedal steel, the twang of Brian Boyle’s banjo, and spare strut of Lisa Jannon’s drumming — and the band’s slightly off-center alt-folk-goth-country songs fully imbibe the shadowed soul of the Midwestern dustbowl. CPOP is at 4160 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-833-9901 for more information.
31 SUN • MUSIC — The Volebeats and Slumber Party
When future rock historians are looking for a comprehensive snapshot of Detroit’s downtown music community they won’t have to look much further than the Motor City Brewing Work’s Ghettoblaster compilations. Every Sunday through the spring, Motor City Brewing Works will host two bands, get them beer-addled and rowdy on their top-notch microbrews and roll tape. This Sunday the Volebeats and Slumber Party will find themselves in front of the microphone; future Sundays will include the Dirtbombs, the Hentchman, Bantam Rooster and the Paybacks. All the kids in the UK are going to eat it up. Motor City Brewing Works is at 470 W. Canfield, Detroit. Call 313-832-2700 for more information.
1 MON • LITERATURE — Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poets
In a celebration of Detroit poetry, M.L. Liebler, Dr. Melba Joyce Boyd will host an evening of readings and discussion at the Scarab Club (217 E. Farnsworth, Detroit. Call 313-831-1250.). The reading is free, open to the public and is the first of many events in April (National Poetry Month) sponsored by the YMCA Writer’s Voice.