Save Our Scene


Hartland PAC 11/14/09

The second half of my weekend of awesome shows brought me to the Hartland Performing Arts Center once again. Originally, The Morning Of was supposed to headline, but they had to drop due to illness in the band. The show was still a lot of fun though.

Unfortunately, I was running late and missed the first two acts, Paper Wings (myspace.com/paperwingsacoustic) and Giraffe Attack (myspace.com/giraffeattackmi), but I heard both were a lot of fun.

The first band I caught was Audrey (myspace.com/audreymichigan). Again, the band played a really great set. They had a lot more space then the last time I caught them at Mac’s Bar and it allowed them to move around a lot more. The energy was super high on everyone’s part; they are always a treat to watch. They did have a few flubs, notably Shawn having some problems with his bass, but the set was altogether solid and as always a lot of fun for both band and audience.

Next was Ender (myspace.com/endermi), one of my favorite Michigan acts and one of the ones that got me into going to shows on a regular basis. The three-piece plays surprisingly fast paced indie rock. The highlight of their show for me is always their drummer, Schyler Binkley. He has more energy and raw talent than most drummers I’ve ever seen and uses every aspect of his set, including a lot of playing on the rims. It’s very cool and very unique. I like that they have started doing more harmonizing between their bassist and guitarist which is giving their sound a really mature, dynamic sound. This band has all the talent to make it; they just need to catch a break. Be sure to check them out first chance you get.

A Letter to You (myspace.com/alettertoyou) was next. Coming off their recent EP release, the band is really riding a high right now. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from this group. Everything I’ve heard told me that they were just generic pop music, but they really blew me away. They are all very talented musicians and lead singer Drew has a very strong voice, even though he said he was feeling really ill. They had some trouble with their samples, but that was largely due to the fact that they weren’t using their normal drummer as he was out of town. They still played a really great set though and did a nice job of getting the crowd into it. Definitely worth seeing again.

Then it was Drawback to Discourse, a relatively new pop punk band in the Livingston County scene. They were unfortunately without a singer as he apparently bailed on them to go out to Pennsylvania at the last minute. They didn’t have time to organize how to do the vocal parts, so instead the band just played instrumentally. They had a ton of energy and were all having a great time which helped the crowd to as well. They mixed in elements of hardcore for a more unique sound. I can’t wait to see what this band will do once they get their lineup and organization together. Stay tuned on them for sure.

And finally, Tiger! Tiger! (myspace.com/tigertiger) played a surprise set. The show they had booked apparently got canceled, so the band was added onto the bill last minute. Their set was much the same to the one they played the night before, but they didn’t have any major problems this time, so it ran much smoother. Nick also seemed to have a lot higher energy. Unfortunately, he announced this would be his last show though. Not much else to say besides another solid set from a solid band. They’re slowing down for the rest of the year as they search for a new bassist and are going to be having a lot going on in the new year, so be excited.

That’s it for this weekend. Saturday’s show had much of the same community feel as the Apathetic Critic show from the night before and it was really good to see how the scene came together this weekend. Lots of fun was had by everyone in attendance and there were good vibes abound. Everyone seems really tight in the area right now, and I’m really glad.

Lots of great bands to check out, make sure you take the time to look them up this week!

-Matt



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 (myspace.com/portsofaidia). 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 (myspace.com/jeffpiankimusic) … still. I went and got food during his set. I am a failure.

Third was Good Weather for Airstrikes (myspace.com/gwfaband). 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! (myspace.com/tigertiger). 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 (myspace.com/apatheticcritic). 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!

-Matt