Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Motley‘s Crue pays Tribute to Bad Boys of rock

Music Rick Coates The “Original Bad Boy’s of Rock-n-Roll,” Mtley Cre are currently out headlining a major summer concert tour. Following right behind them is Motley’s Crue -- the newest entry in the Mtley Cre tribute scene.
“Our booking agency, A Plus Entertainment, located in Northern Michigan, had been getting a lot of requests for a Mtley Cre tribute band the past couple of years,” said Sarah Adkins. “We started looking for musicians in Northern Michigan and found the right mix of guys to look and sound the part of all the members of Mtley Cre.”
Calling themselves Motley’s Crue, they will perform Saturday June 18 at Ground Zero inside The Streeters Center in Traverse City. They will be joined by In The Name Of: the Ultimate Black Sabbath Tribute Band.
“What we have booked are shows near and around the actual Mtley Cre tour and we will be giving away tickets at Ground Zero for their Grand Rapids show,” said Adkins.

BIG HAIR SCENE
The real Mtley Cre formed in 1981 by bassist Nikki Six and drummer Tommy Lee and recruited lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil to join them. The Cre helped to usher in the hair metal scene of the ’80s with such hits as “Shout At The Devil,” “Looks That Kill,” and “Girls, Girls,Girls.”
Now faux Mtley Cre is just coming off their second show but the demand for them is already there. Taking a page out the KISS playbook band members are remaining anonymous and even wearing costumes on stage.
“We go into character an hour or so before the show,” said Jim (plays the Vince Neil part). “We are still working everything out. our Tommy Lee guy got too into his character and was a little too intoxicated at our last show.”
The popularity of tribute bands continues and the economy is a big factor.
“We are charging $8 in advance to see two great tribute bands,” said Jim. “Mtley Cre tickets are going for $65 to $100 apiece for this tour and if you were to add Black Sabbath to the mix it would easily be $150 a ticket. People are tight with their dollars right now so this is very affordable entertainment.”
Early reviews have been positive with attendees at their last show commenting on how closely they resemble the real Mtley Cre. Lead singer Jim has been a part of several successful tribute bands and says he finds it easy to emulate the actual singers.
“I liken it to my martial arts training. In martial arts you go to great lengths to study your opponent,” said Jim. “I master their mannerism and then get their vocal sounds down it is actually easier than it looks.”
Jim’s success as tribute band singer has led to the actual acts to call upon him. He was runner up in the search for Journey’s new lead singer a few years ago. Now, Black Sabbath is reforming and he is the front runner to take lead singer role originally held by Ozzy Osbourne and also Ronnie James Dio who recently passed away.
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Michigan Music Fests Are Rockin? Along

Music Kristi Kates 2010 said bye-bye to Rothbury - but fortunately for Michigan music fans, a replacement fest has sprung up in its place, even in the same locale (see “Electric Forest Festival” below) for 2011. Other events celebrated their longevity in 2010 (happy 30th birthday, Blissfest) and are still going strong this year. Stack ‘em all together, and you’ve got another great selection of 2011 Michigan music fests to choose from, whether you choose to stay Up North or venture downstate in search of an even wider variety of tunes and venues.
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

MacPodz

Music 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
Sinclair.
“We all really enjoyed each other’s musical stylings and late-night
antics,” explains percussionist Ayers, “and we just started palling around
more often.”
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

4Play: The Go-Go‘s, The Kinks, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benetar

Music Kristi Kates The Go-Go’s- Beauty and the Beat: 30th Anniversary Edition - Capitol
It’s the 30th anniversary of this landmark Go-Go’s album - so what better
way to celebrate than with a remastered disc plus a bonus concert disc
from one of the band’s early ’80s live shows? Belinda Carlisle and her
bandmates really set the bar for their own brand of candy-pop, perfectly
frosted with surf-worthy guitar riffs, solid beats, and Carlisle’s
distinctive trill on studio tracks like the bright “We Got the Beat” and
“This Town”; the live disc adds another catchy, sugary layer with
now-classic Go-Go’s songs like “Vacation,” “Cool Jerk,” and “Let’s Have a
Party” arriving time-capsule-style from one of their peppy ’80s-era Boston
shows.
 
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Minifest concert series

Music The Northern Express MiniFest will present some of the best of local music over the course of four Thursday evenings in June in a free concert series to be held at Lay Park in Traverse City’s Old Town.
“We’re inviting everyone to come down and to hear some great music in the park and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Northern Express Weekly,” said George Foster, co-publisher of the free newsweekly. Co-sponsoring the series is the Traverse City Parks & Recreation Commission.
The acoustic-oriented concerts will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays June 9-30 in Lay Park on Union Street (the tiny park just south of the Union Street dam).     The lineup includes Sour Mash (June 9), Soul Patch (June 16), Miriam Pico and David Chown (June 23) and the Fresh Fossils (June 30).  Warming up the shows will be the Acoustic Dynamite duo and special guests.
 
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Into The Mystic

Music Kristi Kates Formed six years ago in the Muskegon area, the reggae powerhouse known as
Mystic Dub - comprised of Raya True (vocals/keyboards), William Jeannot
(guitar), Kosta Karis (bass), and Juan Carlos (vocals/drums) began their
musical journey by playing regional venues.
 
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

4Play: Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, Death Cab for Cutie, David Guetta, Deadmau5

Music Kristi Kates Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi - Rome - Capitol
Italian film music and spaghetti westerns were the influences behind this collaboration between Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and Italian talent Luppi. Actually recorded in Rome (on top of the other inspirations), the pair worked with an eye toward copying the recording practices of the late ‘60s, recording live to tape and using mostly vintage gear. Another component of the album were the vocals, contributed by Jack White (“Two Against One,” “The World”) and Norah Jones (“Season’s Trees,” “Problem Queen”), as well as soprano Edda Dell’Orso, making for a pop (yes, pop!) record full of depth and complexity.
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

Taylor Hicks

Music Rick Coates America continues its fascination with American Idol as it continues week
in and week out to be the number one watched show on television. This
season’s finale will take place Wednesday, May 25 with the 10th winner
being selected. Past finale shows have brought back previous winners, but
producers are remaining silent as to who might be coming back this year. 
There is no secret, however, that season five winner (2006) Taylor Hicks
will be coming to Northern Michigan this weekend to perform at the Little
River Casino in Manistee on Sunday night. With a clear schedule for
Wednesday night and a tour that currently has him on the West Coast, the
speculation is that Hicks will make an Idol appearance Wednesday night.
“I will keep that a surprise for now; the show producers like to keep
things a secret so I guess people will just have to tune in and watch,”
said Hicks. “I will give you this bit of information: I am coming to
Northern Michigan and looking forward to that.”
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

Echos of Pink Floyd

Music Rick Coates Take a quick glance at the concert scene in Northern Michigan and it seems
like half the shows are tribute bands. But it is not just here, the
tribute band craze is literally all over the world.
That’s in part because the legendary rock bands are either rarely touring
or not touring at all and partly because of the economy. Tribute bands
typically are $20 to $25 a ticket versus $75 to $150 or more for the real
thing.
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

Rocky the Rhubarbary

Music Kristi Kates Why leave home to see a concert when you can have one at your own place?  That’s the spirit of the Rhubarbary Guest Concert series in Harbor Springs.
“In 2006, we put a timber frame addition on our house, which was quite a project,” Harbor Springs musician Dale Scott says with a laugh, “when we got done - we wondered why we had done it.”
Plenty of regional and national folk and jazz musicians know why. Because that addition would become one of Northern Michigan’s most unusual and intimate concert venues.
“We decided it would be the perfect spot for house concerts,” Scott says.
Scott and his wife, Maureen Scott, are well known around the region as the Peacemeal String Band, so who better to host those very concerts in the Scotts’ own house - and a concert series was born.
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

4Play: Sade, Eddie Vedder, Rihanna, Ben Harper

Music Kristi Kates Sade - The Ultimate Collection - Epic
Whether you term Sade a solo artist or a band, Sade’s jazz-pop is still of note, even though the bulk of their on-the-radar work was back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. This “ultimate” collection includes 29 tunes in all, including Sade’s best-known track, the Spanish-flavored “Smooth Operator,” as well as additional songs “Still in Love with You,” a standout Neptunes remix of “By Your Side” with added guitars, and a well-done experimental revamp of “The Moon and the Sky” which adds trip-hop beats and spoken-word overlays from Jay-Z. It’s a solid best-of that also includes four previously unreleased songs for added interest.
 
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

Rock steady

Music Rick Coates If you’re looking to get your summer off to a flying start, two headbanging events will get you there this week, with a run-up to Memorial Day Weekend:

Rock and Roll Circus
“The circus is coming, the circus is coming to town!” -- the four-ring Rock and Roll Circus that is. Ground Zero Nightclub in TC is hosting four nights of rock over the course of six days featuring 13 bands. 
Owner Doug Street came up with idea of packaging four concerts together with one ticket. For $67 and a $3 handling fee hardcore rockers will be able to see over $100 worth concerts. Individual tickets for all shows are available.
Saving Abel kicks it off on Friday, May 20. The Mississippi-based modern rockers roll into town with their number one hit “The Sex Is Good,” off their current “Miss America” CD. Saving Abel took their name from a Bible passage that said “there is no saving Abel.” They burst onto the scene in 2008 with their self-title debut CD that featured three top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Charts, “Addicted,” “18 Days,” and “Drowning (Face Down).”
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

4Play: Amon Tobin, Del and the Funky Homosapien, DJ Quik, Whodini

Music Kristi Kates Amon Tobin - Isam - Ninja Tune
IDM, or “Intelligent Dance Music,” is what producer/DJ Tobin calls the musical arm of his craft, in which he blends South American rhythms with hip-hop, breakbeat, and a dense layer of samples and cuts. More experimental than previous works, these tracks take some listening before the appeal becomes evident, as they’re crafted with a more haphazard overall feel yet with more attention to each element’s detail and placement. The melodic “Lost and Found” and the intriguing “Journeyman” are two of the standouts on this particular set, both rumbled through with heavy bass and Tobin’s distinctive mixes.
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

The Lucas Paul Band

Music Kristi Kates The Lucas Paul Band are Ann Arborites at heart, but often make Traverse City their temporary home away from home, at least on stage.
“We have and always will have plans to come up to Traverse City frequently because we get the best love up here of anywhere,” says the band’s namesake Lucas Paul, “hands down.”
The band is comprised of Pete Birchler on lead guitar, Bobby Streng on sax, Mark Damian on drums, Matt Henninger on bass, and Paul on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, 
In early 2006, Paul explains, he was a “lost soul” - freshly out of college, but with no job prospects and no band.
“I would frequent Goodnite Gracie’s in downtown Ann Arbor every Wednesday and Thursday to watch local blues prodigy Laith Al Saadi,” he explains, “and every night found myself staying until last call because his band was that good.”
After months of persistent begging to Gracie’s manager, Terry Martin, Paul got a shot to perform before one of Al Saadi’s shows.
“Eventually, Laith handed me a few gigs of his own that he couldn’t take,” Paul says, “so I put a band together. After getting our foot in the door, other nightclubs became interested in what we had to offer.”
 
Monday, May 9, 2011

Asia brings continent-shaking prog rock

Music Rick Coates Bass player and vocalist John Wetton’s middle name must be “Supergroup.”
Wetton was on the forefront of the Progressive (prog rock) scene in the
late ’60s and its heyday of the ’70s lending his vocal, songwriting and
musical talents to several “super” groups, including King Crimson, Roxy
Music, Uriah Heep and UK before forming Asia in 1981. 
 
 
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