Michigan pride flew freely at detroit contemporary Friday with a sturdy and diverse three-part opening lineup for the last performance these parts will see of the gloriously bizarre and unfortunately breaking-up xbxrx. Starting things off right and hyper was one of the West Side’s most promising hip-hop acts, Switch Stance. Deck Master D brewed up a saucy medley of beats and grooves while the MC duo of Dirk Verbals and Danté bounced back and forth, bumbling clever raps off each other. Using a healthy dose of humor, the two grapple with such modern issues as image obsession and media addiction. But they’re not above raps about skateboarding, their hometown (dubbed Waterworld) or the age-old self-promotion, all to the tune of a chill, old-school vibe. Bounding across the stage, crisscrossing past each other and hopping up and down, these two kept up a supreme energy level, thoroughly invigorating a nearly full house. Switch Stance has been officially together for less than a year, but the trio already has accumulated an impressive set and a prominent place on the lineup for a pretty huge New Year’s Eve event, Pan-ik 3 at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Dirk, Danté and D are scheduled to go on before a set from DJ Assault and then a midnight performance from D12, which will be celebrating the release of its new single with the Gorillaz, called “911.” Chris Beck, Ryan Vade, Cedric Schill aka Tracer Red, Goldfinger, J-Money, The Master, Courtney & Dave, Cosmic-Live, Hugh C, Ebony, Darkcube, DJ Teddie and DJ Beatz are the other artists scheduled to perform at this all-ages event, which goes 8 p.m.-5 a.m. Call 313-438-4112 or 248-788-7000 for ticket information.
But back at the dc, Red or Dead went on next and switched the scene a bit from a sweaty masculine hip-hop groove to a sweaty, antsy, womyn-punk-rock, noisy anti-groove. While the quartet is relatively new to the stage, this performance marked a new confidence and promise that wasn’t there so much at a gig the band played a few months ago.
Next up were 25 Suaves, a man-woman duo that continued in the claustrophobic, noisy, rock-deconstruction vein. They announced a move back to Adrian, and convinced audience members to point out where they were from on their own “hand maps” at one point. After 25 Suaves worked the crowd into a frenetic frothy mess, it was time for xbxrx (with a few new temporary members) to bring things to a rolling boil, ending with the band and a few audience members dancing and aerobicizing in their underwear. Then came the massive audience hug and a migration to the Labyrinth to see Adult. at the Ghostly International party.
It’s that time
Since we’re already knee-deep in mushy mode, I might as well bring up some of the holiday-themed releases and shows coming out and coming up that are sure to warm your chestnuts. The Brothers Groove are releasing an original tune, “Funky Santa,” as a CD single this week. You can pick it up at any of the band’s many gigs, including Thursdays at the Music Menu and Mondays at 5th Avenue Billiards in Royal Oak. The group also plays the Cadieux Cafe next Wednesday, Dec. 19. If you haven’t checked out the new lineup yet, it might be a good idea to do so. Todd Glass has taken over for Michael Caskey on drums. And with the addition of Erik Gustafson (Blue Dog, Larval, Jazzhead, etc.) on guitar, the quartet (which also features Chris Codish on keyboards and vocals and James Simonson on bass) can sure tear through a mean “Cheap Sunglasses” and some fun originals too.
If you’re interested in hearing what Joe Kirkland from Small Craft Sighting has been up to since his band has taken a bit of a hiatus, check out the Web site for his new solo project, Lisboa (www.lisboarock.com). The site includes an MP3 of one of his new songs, “Another Stupid Christmas Song,” which, like the title would suggest, isn’t so much about good tidings as it is just a poppy sad song about omens, gifts and stealing a car.
Detroit urban folk stars Blair and Afeni Ngozi Hill will perform at a Kwanzaa brunch benefit for Karibu House on Dec. 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Regine’s Off The Park, 711 E. McNichols in Detroit. The brunch is open to those 18 and older. In other Blair news, the singer-songwriter has qualified for the semifinals of the Detroit Poetry Slam Team. He’ll be slamming again Tuesday, Dec. 18 at the Zeitgeist. The event is hosted by Ella Singer and features a special guest reading by Brian Henry Holvey. It all starts at 8 p.m.E-mail In One Ear at firstname.lastname@example.org