All my pals who have fancy-schmancy writing jobs in New York and Chicago want to know about all the bands and the happenings in the town they fled. Apparently, all the industry players and watchers are still longing for a Detroit musician to call their own.
Everyone smile pretty.
In the Feb. 15 issue of Rolling Stone (a nearly naked Jennifer Lopez graces the cover), a few writers went digging to find the bands to watch out for in 2001 (probably to reclaim some underground cred after the obvious sex-sells cover shot). Our fine city’s offerings made three of the 10 spots. The White Stripes, Detroit Grand Pubahs and D-12 are featured with big glossy photos and descriptions alongside Nelly Furtado, At The Drive-In, Sigur Ros, Jadakiss, Shakira, Pete Yorn and Bilal. In the White Stripes section, it says the duo is entertaining offers from “eight or nine” record labels. As they should be. The Pubahs let the magazine in on the title of their next single, “Skirt Up Pants Down.” And one writer eats buffalo wings and chats with D-12 in Royal Oak about the group’s debut album, Devil’s Night, and how burning abandoned buildings the night before Halloween is a “Detroit tradition.” Did anyone else just find out recently that Devil’s Night only happens in Detroit? Me neither — I was just wondering.
He leans so well
It was a scene straight out of “My So-Called Life” Saturday night when the Magic Stick opened the upstairs to the all-ages crowd. You see, some members of the night’s opening band, Odd Man Out, were still in high school and they wanted their friends to be able to come. I melted like a doodling-in-her-notebook alternateen when the lead singer caught my eye and his braces reflected off the stage lights. He was kind of like a mix between Jordan Catallano, Thom Yorke and one of those scarf-wearing, indie-rock Gap models. The band’s a bit young and its influences don’t seem to go much further back than mid-to-late-’90s “post-fill-in-the-blank” bands. But we’ll check back in a year or so. The guys obviously already have a fan club. The place was crawling with marching-band varsity jackets, burn-outs, goth kids and other self-consciously shy post-adolescents. Even more surreal was the scene at the bar — a sparse crowd of the typical 21-and-overs interspersed with “chaperones” sharing kid stories over cocktails. My companion for the evening summed up the experience by saying, “Wow, this is probably the only room in town where everyone’s more awkward than you!” Just when we started having dangerous flashbacks — he wanting to start a fight to get back at high school bullies, me developing crushes that could land me in jail — The Grey Electric made its way to the stage and cleared our heads. Au Revoir Borealis then fuzzed them back up again in a good way. If you missed the show, you can catch Au Revoir Borealis and The Grey Electric when they play at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 27) at Stormy Records, 22079 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. Call 313-563-8525.
Fletcher Pratt and Moods For Moderns leave Feb. 2 to tour the East Coast for three weeks. They’ll be back at the end of February, then off to Austin to play at SXSW and on the West Coast. In April, they’re heading to Europe. See them off right Saturday (Jan. 27) at Bittersweet Coffee House starting at around 9 p.m. Eight bucks gets you in. And if dingy Detroit rock gets you going as much as dirty-minded pop, hop back and forth across the street, since the Unfriendlys, The Lanternjack and Octopus will be playing at the Magic Stick.
The Immigrant Suns’ expanded ensemble debuts at the Magic Bag on Friday (Jan. 26). Frank Pahl, Laura Gulley, Tim Holmes and Omar Hamza have joined the five original members to play a full set, featuring rearrangements of old songs and some new ones too. Returning to the stage to open the show is an old Detroit favorite, CIA.
Through the grapevine
One of Motown’s songwriting legends has finished a new collection of soon-to-be hits called Stronghold II. Buddha Bar (21633 W. Eight Mile, 313-535-4664) hosts a CD-release-and-listening party for the new Barrett Strong disc Thursday. Eliza, on his Blarritt Records label, will also perform.E-mail In One Ear at email@example.com