July 19, 2019

Mix It Up With Some ’80s Babies

Modern Rock
By Kristi Kates | Feb. 9, 2019

A massive 53-city schedule has been announced for The Mixtape Tour, an ambitious retro-music tour set to launch a little later this year. The tour will focus on ’80s music via headliners New Kids on the Block, who will share the trek with Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Naughty By Nature; NKOTB got together with their tour mates to record a special tune for the tour called “’80s Baby” that you can dig up online. Tickets for The Mixtape Tour are available now, including those for the tour’s stop at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena on June 18 …

A biopic of legendary Motown singer Aretha Franklin has long been discussed and long kept on hold, but that’s changing with the team-up of stage director Liesl Tommy and Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri, who will collaborate on Respect, the upcoming new movie about Franklin set to star Jennifer Hudson as the singer herself. Grammy-nominated music producer Harvey Mason Jr. and Straight Outta Compton producer Scott Bernstein will handle the producer roles for MGM. No release date has been announced, but in the meantime, you can watch theaters for the upcoming re-release of the 1972 concert film Amazing Grace, which centers around Franklin’s work …

Fellow native Detroiter (and vintage classic rocker) Bob Seger is set to be honored with his very own street right here in Michigan. Classic rock radio station 94.7 WCSX-FM held a five-month-long street naming campaign last year; the result is “Bob Seger Boulevard,” which now runs between Southfield Road and Philomene Boulevard in Allen Park. The street was named after Seger in a special ceremony held right before he kicked off his 26-show farewell tour, which he’s currently in the middle of, with his longtime Silver Bullet Band

And in more specifically modern music news, EDM producer Calvin Harris has brought in soulful English crooner Rag N’ Bone Man to take over lead vocal duties on Harris’ new single “Giant.” Over driving synths, a wide range of instrumental seasonings — strings, brass, and chanted backing vocals —and a phat house beat, RNBM sings about redemption. “Giant” is Harris’ first single of the year, carrying on his tradition of collaborative tunes with musicians like Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Benny Blanco, and Miguel

President’s Day is next Monday, and what better way to celebrate than with a Hamildrop, actor/singer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s remixes of the acclaimed tracks from his Broadway musical Hamilton? Check them all out (including one featuring former President Barack Obama) at www.hamildrops.com … 

Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y will make a stop in Detroit next week as part of their 2009 Tour (yes, you read that correctly — the tour is named after 2009, Khalifa and Curren$y’s collaborative mixtape of the same name). They’ll hit the stage at Saint Andrew’s Hall on Feb. 20 …

Spiritualized has announced a show in the Detroit area; expect the band to play Apr. 10 at the Royal Oak Music Theater …

Ariana Grande will arrive in the Motor City a few days earlier, for a performance at the Little Caesars Arena on Apr. 5 …

Michigan punk band Werewolf Jones has released its first album, a self-titled cassette set that’s available on Rare Plant Tapes, a Madison, Wisconsin record label … and that’s the buzz for this week’s Modern Rock.


Comments, questions, rants, raves, suggestions on this column? Send ’em to Kristi at modernrocker@gmail.com.


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