17 FRI • MUSIC: The Detroit Symphony — Music for the soul’s depths by two Viennese early-moderns is on the ticket this Friday and Saturday as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra serves up a of truly inspiring program. Twelve-tone genius Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto (with breathtaking soloist Christian Tetzlaff) and Gustav Mahler’s profoundly lyrical "Symphony No. 5" will be guest-conducted by Yakov Kreizberg (pictured), one of the more magical interpreters on the classical scene. Friday’s shows are at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Saturday show is at 8:30 p.m. — at Orchestra Hall (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit). Call 313-576-5111.
17 FRI • COMMUNITY: Greektown Arts Festival — As the first of many annual outdoor festivals, the Greektown Arts Festival is a three-day street fair that takes place in one of Detroit’s most vibrant neighborhoods. This year’s festival will offer performances from such notables as The Brothers Groove, Alberta Adams, Thornetta Davis, and the Butler Twins in addition to the juried art fair which will include both local and nationally recognized artists. In addition to the stunning photography of Todd Lundeen (pictured) there will be a diverse showcase of work including sculpture, fibers, jewelry, ceramics, painting and mixed media. The festival starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and runs through Sunday, May 19. Admission is free. Call 313-963-3357 for more information.
18 SAT • MUSIC: The Promise Ring — Pity the Promise Ring. Pity that it accidentally inspired one of the biggest trends of the last decade. Pity the band because it bears a heavy cross as the founding fathers of "emo," a stylistic movement which started out with all the inspiring, youthful fury of ’70s punk and ’80s hardcore and eventually became an MTV-ready fashion disaster, perpetuated by Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox-carrying teen dolts. Pity the group because it might never be seen as what it truly is — a relentlessly progressive band which has always been at least three years ahead of the indie-rock game. For those who still doubt, take a listen to the latest Promise Ring offering, Wood/Water. Created with legendary British producer Stephen Street, (the Smiths, Blur, Pretenders, Cranberries and Psychedelic Furs), Mario Caldato Jr. (Beck, Beastie Boys) and former Jellyfish keyboardist Roger Manning, Wood/Water is head and shoulders above anything that has ever been packaged under the emo moniker. The Promise Ring will perform at the Majestic Theatre (4120 Woodward, Detroit; call 313-833-9700). Leave your lunchbox full of preconceptions at home.
20 MON • MUSIC: Bill Ricchini /Joey Sweeney, Flashpapr — Without trying to sound completely obtuse, it’s a kind of sad the popular understanding of music has so little to do with songs. If it did, Philadelphia songwriters Bill Ricchini and Joey Sweeney would be championed by the masses for their ability to construct songs with vitality and honesty and filter them through a catholic understanding of pop innovators both old (Brian Wilson, Phil Spector) and new (Belle & Sabastian, Elliot Smith, Wilco). The duo will be in good company at the Lager House (1254 Michigan, Detroit. Call 313-961-4668) with Ann Arbor’s Flashpapr (pictured), which has built a quiet reputation for compact pop symphonies. It’ll be a night of stunning chamber pop.
20 MON • MUSIC: Me'Shell Ndegeocello — It’s would be difficult to adequately prep oneself for an evening in the shared company of Me'Shell Ndegeocello and Chocolate Genius. Her bass-heavy R&B has the ability touch on sexual, spiritual and intellectual planes all at once with a lyrical heft that runs circles around her contemporaries. But Chocolate Genius is no slouch either, deconstructing streetwise smooth jams with uncanny sexuality. They will combine forces at the Majestic Theatre (4120 Woodward, Detroit; call 313-833-9700) in an evening that promises to be an intellectual aphrodisiac.
21 TUE • MUSIC: Monster Magnet — If you had a nickel for every mutton-chopped stoner dude who grows his hair to his ass, hangs his "ax" at his knees and likes to rock with his cock out you would be a bazillionaire. Anthropologically, it’s the devolution of modern man to his most primitive state — choosing sickening predictable power chords over beating two rocks together as a means of self-expression. And he can barely muster the self-restraint to stop himself from clubbing chicks over the head with his "sweet" (probably "tricked-out") guitar and dragging them backstage by the hair. And though these Neander-rockers have been in no short supply since the mid-’70s, few are able to match the glorious primitivism of Monster Magnet. If you get that Tuesday-night itch for handlebar mustaches and motorcycle boots, the Shelter (431 E. Congress, Detroit; call 313-961-MELT) is the place for you.