Save Our Scene

The Annex 11/13/09

Happy belated Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you all stepped on 6 cracks, walked under 12 ladders, and spent your day walking in circles around black cats while saying Macbeth on stage. While you were making a fool of yourself, I was at the Apathetic Critic CD release party at the Annex in Brighton, MI. If your bad luck left you alive, read on to hear about the show!

First up was Ports of Aidia ( I was unaware going into the show, but apparently Ports of Aidia’s singer quit sometime between now and the last time I saw them. The band still played the show in spite of the loss however and did pretty damn well, all things considered. There was a notable drop in energy from there normal show, but splitting the songs up the way they did was actually pretty effective. The bass player is also a very good screamer, which helped. I talked to the band and they are looking for a new singer soon, wish them the best of luck with that. A very strong set from some great guys, I hope all works out for them.

By some cosmic chain of cataclysmic events, I haven’t seen Jeff Pianki ( … still. I went and got food during his set. I am a failure.

Third was Good Weather for Airstrikes ( They play a very cool brand of post rock influenced indie rock that sounds a bit like a blend of Explosions in the Sky and Death Cab for Cutie. Today was another great set for them and being on a big stage like the Annex was very good for them. The sound was much better than what they were used to and it helped. I did feel like they got off time a few times, but it was still very impressive. They are very passionate about their music and that really came out in their last song as guitarists Joe Hillier and James Radick both went nuts at the end of their last song. They always are a solid show, definitely check them out.

Next was Tiger! Tiger! ( I recently had a conversation about how it is hard to come up with bands for Tiger! Tiger! to open for. They play such a unique sound that is so broadly influenced that I find it hard to fit them to a bill really well. In no way is this an insult though. They are another band who is quickly maturing and it’s great to see. They played mostly new songs tonight and the new songwriting is so impressively more dynamic and deep than their previousEP. I can’t wait to hear the new stuff. They played a solid set, even though both the guitarist and bassist broke a string. It did seem that bassist Nick Weigand was a little out of it tonight though; his energy was just a little low. Still, great set from a great band.

And finally, Apathetic Critic ( I don’t even know where to begin, this was easily one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in a long time, bar none. The band brought guitarist Avery Black’s brother onstage as a second drummer/percussionist and played their new album from front to back. And blew everyone away. The started their set by playing the first three songs in rapid succession and then slowed the throttle down to give people a chance to breathe. Those that knew the words were singing along at the top of their lungs and moving and having a great time. But when the band got to the last couple of songs, they really showed just how far they’ve come as musicians.

Before they played Vernon, Apathetic Critic announced that this would be Jeremy, the bassist’s last show. AC has been a big part of the Livingston County scene for a long time, so all were sad to see he was going. The song was very emotional for everyone, especially best friends Avery and Jeremy who came together to sing parts of the song. After that, Avery said that he was dedicating their next song to a friend of his who recently passed away. He was a Brighton High School student and good friend of many in attendance. The song was very emotional and had everyone in tears as Avery quietly played guitar and sang alone. It was an incredibly moving experience and the whole room was very connected to what was going on. They finished their set with two much more upbeat songs and left the song to resounding applause. They were asked to do an encore and played the fan favorite You Don’t Stop and invited the audience on stage to help them sing the song. The tears were all smiles at this point as everyone sang and danced in absolute bliss.

I can’t even begin to do this night justice. Shows like this are why I started this site. All the bands were friends, all the fans were friends, and during Apathetic Critic’s set, we were one big community. It was the tightest I’d seen our scene in a long long time and it was a truly magical experience. There is nothing like that feeling and it only comes around every once in a while. Thanks to Apathetic Critic for playing an incredible set and writing one of the most incredible records I’ve heard in a long time. They’re keeping this scene alive and deserve all the praise in the world. They are definitely one of the best bands in Michigan right now, and I reiterate that they are only 16 years old.

There are a few photos up on Flickr with more to come soon. Please check out all the bands listed above. And have a great day!



Fischer Hall 10/31/09
November 2, 2009, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Show Review | Tags: , , , , , ,

For Halloween this year, I decided to drive out Frankenmuth, MI for an event called Hallowfest. It was a night of music and ridiculous costumes and one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a very long time. The crowd was much more in the Halloween spirit than those at the previous night’s show. But let’s talk music.

First up was a band called Take The City ( They played pretty standard pop music led by keyboards and harmonizing vocals. It reminded me a lot of Beneath the Medicine Tree-era Copeland. I felt like the music was really uninspired though. The artists didn’t seem too terribly invested in what they were singing about and it sounded too much like things I had heard before. I just felt sort of bored the whole set.

Next was the return of Koji ( It was a privilege to be able to see him play two nights in a row, though his set tonight was not as good as the previous night. Much of the crowd was at the back of the venue talking and enjoying the festivities while a small handful of people were up front listening intently. Koji played just as well, but he wasn’t as comfortable with the audience and did a lot less talking, which is a big part of the set for an artist like him, especially with the message he tries to spread. Still a solid set however.

Finding Clyde ( came on stage next dressed as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They started off with trouble as the guitarist couldn’t get his pedals working properly. His set up was very impressive; he had a lot on his pedal board, so I was disappointed that this wouldn’t be their typical set. The band opened with a cover of the classic Beatles song, which was a lot of fun, but I was pretty unimpressed from there. They played soft alternative rock that I just found really boring and again not very original. It put a bit of a damper on the show in my opinion, but the band looked like they were having fun all the same.

La Dispute ( took the stage next still dressed in their Star Wars costumes from the night before. I have never seen the band play on a stage before, so this performance was sure to be interesting. They opened again with their version of the Imperial March and started into their set with New Storms for Old Lovers from their newest album. Right away, the performance was much better than the night before. The band actually had room to play, but Jordan was still close enough to interact with the audience and sing with them as he usually does. The sound was much better than the night before and you could hear all the intricacies of their songs. This band is incredibly impressive and is easily one of the best in Michigan and this set proved that once again.

Finally, hometown heroes Ports of Aidia ( took the stage. They hail from Birch Run, just down the road from Frankenmuth, and brought with them a huge fan base. They also were in costume for in honor of the holiday and they get points for having some of the best I saw all weekend. The whole band was dressed as luchadores, including full masks and underwear outside their spandex. The costumes were no distraction from their playing though. They play a fast paced, heavy mix of metal and progressive rock full of spacey tones and weird instrumentation. They launched into their set at a blistering pace and never slowed down. They had the whole crowd singing, moving, and moshing. It was really refreshing to watch another crowd that just got along great. In the pits, if someone fell, there was a handful of people picking them up right away. It was another one of those nights that make you feel good about the scene that we’re in. Ports played a great set once again and never missed a beat. Now that they finally got their full length out, they will be turning a lot of heads in the music scene and deserve a lot of attention.

Lots of fun to be had on Halloween, hope everyone had fun and was safe. I got a few pictures from this show as well. You can once again find them on my Flickr.