By Kristi Kates
The five members of the band that would become the MacPodz - Brennan
Andes, Nick Ayers, Jesse Clayton, Ross Huff, and Griffin Bastian - spent
much of the latter half of 2005 backing up various singer-songwriters and
other performers around Ann Arbor, including poet/social activist John
We all really enjoyed each others musical stylings and late-night
antics, explains percussionist Ayers, and we just started palling around
Andes was equipped with a basement studio at the time, and, as Ayers puts
it, wed stay up all night writing instrumental dance tracks.
After a couple of house party gigs in 2006 (just for fun, Ayers points
out), the band became a fast hit, encouraging them to stick with it and
expand the groups repertoire into more. Fast-forward to 2011, and the
MacPodz are still going strong.
The response we got at those parties made us say, whoa, we gotta roll
with this, Ayers says.
ROCKING AND ROLLING
And that they did, putting together setlists, continuing to rehearse, and
snagging their name from a combination of bandmate moniker and, er, marine
Well, Brennan toured with the band Smokestack in the early 00s, Ayers
explains, and his nickname was B-Mac. Podz [sic] is a group of Orca
whales that once they band together, never part. And there you have it -
Never parting is presumably what the plan is for the band, too, if Ayers
enthusiasm is any indication. Their diverse and slightly wacky blend of
sounds brings together classical, metal, pop, Latin, electronic, and
rhythm and blues music, as Ayers lists; but above all else, its about
getting the feet moving, keeping the bandmates challenged and amused, and
keeping the dance floor full.
We all have an affinity for the freedom of self-expression in jazz music
that keeps the brain occupied, Ayers says, but we also love the
mindless, effortless pulse that keeps hips moving till the wee hours. The
style of music is really just a dialect or accent on how the story can be
The MacPodz story includes a couple of albums on the way, one this month
and one set for release after the busy summer months conclude.
The Truth E.P. will be available beginning June 21, with the
as-yet-untitled full-length album additionally on the way in the fall.
You can currently download our new single, The Truth, for free online,
And the band will be keeping their respective dance cards full with a full
slate of shows and festival appearances until their album is ready for the
masses, including live (and dance-floor friendly) sets at the likes of
Blissfest, Hoxeyville, Dunegrass, and the Electric Forest festival, the
latter of which will serve as the replacement for the defunct Rothbury
Festival. In Ayers opinion, the local shows end up being some of the
I think Michigan stands out in the Midwest, and therefore in the country,
as being a deep well of talented musicians, he says, the economic woes
create great stories from real people, and the people are so proud of
their beautiful homeland.
Ayers himself is proud of his band and his bandmates, too. When asked what
fans can expect at their upcoming Traverse City show, he says with a wink:
Youll see five talented, energetic, and handsome young men whose sole
purpose is to create an environment of joy with their passion for music.
The MacPodz will be performing at Union Street Station in Traverse City on
Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11; shows at 9 p.m. both nights. For
more info on the band and to download their current single for free, visit
them online at www.themacpodz.com.