Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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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. 
 
Monday, May 9, 2011

Dan Hicks

Music Robert Downes When you ask Dan Hicks what to expect from his upcoming show in Traverse
City, he counters by asking if the concert hall is big enough to
accommodate his band’s elephant. “We travel with a live elephant and I’ll
be riding him out onto the stage,” he says.
One can assume that this master of funny, thoughtful songs dredged up
from the muddy currents of Americana, swing jazz and cowboy music is
kidding. But elephant or not, at the very least you can expect to hear
some choice pickin’ and vocals clickin’ when Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks
perform at the InsideOut Gallery in TC this Monday, May 16.
 
Monday, May 9, 2011

4Play: The Cars, Stevie Nicks, Matthew Morrison, Jennifer Lopez

Music Kristi Kates The Cars - Move Like This - Hear Music
Back after nearly a quarter-century out of the loop as a band, ‘80s hipsters The Cars reconfigure their jittery, poppy brand of new wave into a slightly more modernized set that’s still just retro enough to bring back their old fans while most likely snagging a few new ones, as well. The synths, jagged guitars, and distinctive Ric Ocasek vocals are all present and ready to be called to order within a series of well-constructed pop songs reminiscent of Devo, Talking Heads, and, well, The Cars of yesteryear. “Sad Song” debuts first with its accompanying Rene-Magritte-meets-the-’80s video; production by Jacknife Lee adds consistancy.
 
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Interlochen 2011 lineup

Music Interlochen’s Summer Concert Series caters to every interest
Interlochen’s most happenin’ season in years brings several new cultural
icons to the Arts Festival this summer, along with some old favorites.
The former includes the likes of revered songwriter Elvis Costello, the
indie acoustic pop of The Decemberists, alt-country chanteuse Lucinda
Williams, and country rocker Dierks Bentley.
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Rothbury returns as Electric Forest Festival

Music Summer Surprises
Barring some last-minute upheaval, the Electric Forest Festival is charged
up and ready to go as the replacement for the former Rothbury Music
Festival.
Located in the small town of Rothbury in western Michigan between Muskegon
and Ludington, the Rothbury Music Festival made national news and had a
two-year run before tanking and sitting out last year.
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Mexican pop rocks

Music Kristi Kates Mexican Pop Rocks! Rock your Cinco de Mayo with these South of the Border bands
By Kristi Kates
Mexico isn’t necessarily the first country you might think to look into while searching for up and coming new indie pop and rock bands. But in recent years, and especially with the ever-growing influence of the internet, Mexico’s been fertilizing its own burgeoning crop of Mexican indie-rockers, and there are plenty of them cool enough for school - so, for our Cinco de Mayo issue, we’ve rounded up a few of the best for you to take a listen to, complete with a starting suggested single. Disfrutar de la msica!
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

4Play: Beastie Boys, Friendly Fires, Panda Bear, Fleet Foxes

Music Kristi Kates Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 - Capitol
Not since the late ‘90s have the Beasties made such a festive, sassy racket. Opening with first single “Make Some Noise,” the Beasties are back in grand form, modernizing their production values while (thankfully) sticking masterfully to their own brand of retro hip-hop sound - no need to conform when you’re this cool. That aforementioned opening track has synths and knows how to use ‘em, while other influences surface, too, just for texture, such as the punky rhythms on “Lee Majors…,” the shoutouts to classic rap on “Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” and the intergalactic funk of “Here’s a Little Something For Ya.”
 
Monday, April 25, 2011

A mission for Bliss

Music Kristi Kates A Mission for Bliss: New recreation center will energize Blissfest farm
By Kristi Kates
The Mission: To build and launch the Blissfest Arts Recreation Center, a
facility for cultural, recreational, and sustainable living experiences,
to be enjoyed in a quiet natural setting.
 
Monday, April 25, 2011

4Play: TV on the Radio, Telekinesis, PJ Harvey, Low

Music Kristi Kates TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light - InterscopeBrooklynites
TV on the Radio offer up their latest and fourth album complete with production by David Sitek, who offered up his Los Angeles home studio for the recording proceedings. A bright record than previous efforts, Nine… weaves in more human musicians and less electronic samples, with frontman Tunde Adebimpe in solid form, buoyed up by plenty of groove-based elements from the syncopated horn lines to the galloping bass, layered high-pitched chorus parts, and funky beats. Top highlights include the uber-catchy “Second Song” and the undiluted jam-stream the band calls “Caffeinated Consciousness.”
 
Monday, April 18, 2011

Goin‘ Dutch

Music Kristi Kates Goin’ Dutch: Band offers a blend of power pop & alt-country
By Kristi Kates
Musicians John Merchant and Greg Miller met while working at a music store in Muskegon and teaching guitar. They formed the band known as Dutch Henry “basically to have an outlet for our songwriting,” Miller says.
Focusing at first on being what Miller calls “a dyed-in-the-wool alt-country band,” the group’s first album was compared to Steve Earl and Jason and the Scorchers, and made a decent dent on college and XM radio; but changes were on the way.
 
 
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