The Chenille Sisters visit The Ark


The lovely Chenille Sisters bring their musical act back to The Ark in Ann Arbor on Saturday, May 31 at 8pm. This local trio keeps audiences toe tapping with contemporary folk and jazz sets featuring their lush and ever-popular vocal harmonies. The AADL has several of their CD releases in our local artists collection. They will be joined by The Royal Garden Trio.

Check out The Chenille Sisters’ website for more info on the ladies and visit The Ark’s website for ticket information.

Weapons of Musical Diversity

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The last in the series Weapons of Musical Diversity at the Neutral Zone is this Friday, May 16 at 7:00 pm. You’ve got to hear the hot Cuban combo Tambao Bravo as they explore the authentic rhythms of Mambos, Cha chas, Rumbas and Boleros. After Tumbao Bravo’s set there’s a Reggaeton DJ Dance Party. OMG. It’s all ages and free, too! The Neutral Zone Rocks and Rumbas! Check out Afro Cuban Roots and have your own house party after the show.

First there was Woodstock and then....


Folk guitarist Richie Havens burst onto the scene at the famous Woodstock Folk Festival of 1969. Since then, he has been wowing audiences with his high energy guitar playing, powerful voice and stirring lyrics. Havens comes to The Ark this Sunday, May 11. You can buy tickets online at Ticketmaster or in person at the Ark ticket office, the Michigan Union or at the Herb David Guitar Studio.

Can I Just Say The Red Hot Chili Peppers Are Awesome?

When people talk about 90s bands, the conversation always begins and ends with Nirvana, but frankly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are my idea of the prototypical 90s band. Granted they started in the 80s, though they didn’t really fit in with the sounds at the time (try and compare the Chilis’ idea of Heavy Metal with… I don’t know, Skid Row’s idea of heavy metal.) But once the 90s “alternative scene” rolled around, they sounded right at home: a funky guitar, a lead singer that doesn’t really have a great voice, but he sang about those dark early 90s LA themes, not to mention heavy drums and absolutely mind-blowing bass (Flea can go from Entwistle-esque “lead bass” to soulful or melodic bass in the vein of Stax or Motown.) And now that they’ve entered a new decade, they haven’t tried to mainstream their sound, and still stand out from their peers.

Stadium Arcadium a few years ago, for all its flaws, still contained that great Chili Peppers sound, a mix of melody, funk, metal, and immaturity that was present on Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik and all their other records. When promoting Stadium, they popped up on SNL and did a mind-blowing rendition of "Give It Away,” which, I think, is lyrically about the virtues of charity, but I could be wrong. Oh, and I’m really warming up to By The Way.

Music & Motion

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Join us downtown in the Multi-Purpose Room from 9:30-10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 25, for Music & Motion. Babies and kids to age 5 will learn about the violin and piano, hear a story from Gari Stein, and dance to music from members of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. The program will be repeated from 10:30-11:00 a.m.

The Darjeeling Ltd.

About three minutes into The Darjeeling Limited, we watch a close up of a businessman running to the titular train pulling out of the station. All of a sudden, Adrien Brody’s character pops into frame and overtakes the man to the crunching opening chords of The Kinks’This Time Tomorrow,” and is able to throw himself aboard while the businessman falls into the distance, all in slow motion no less, and I knew I was going to love this movie already.

No one makes a film quite like Wes Anderson does. Bottle Rocket showed promise, Rushmore fulfilled said promise, and his unique filmmaking style culminated in The Royal Tenenbaums. And even though I actually liked The Life Aquatic (so much so that its cool reception actually surprised me,) I will admit it didn’t offer anything particularly new, and when a director releases a movie only every three years or so, especially a director so unconventional, one so-so movie will raise the questions, “Does he still have it in him, or is he just rehashing a formula?” making this next movie much more important.

A Reason To Believe

Few people realize Rod Stewart retired in 1974, at which point he was replaced by a dyed-blonde doppelgänger (much like what happened to Elvis,) but up to that point, Rod had one towering career. As the front man of the quintessential bar band The Faces, they played perfect, rough blues, with occasional hits like “Stay With Me” and “Ooh La La” (which actually features Ronnie Wood on vocals.) Rod Stewart’s gritty, hoarse, and whiskied vocals (along with Jeff Beck’s guitar) powered the heavy metal defining 60s band, The Jeff Beck Group. They were so influential in fact, Led Zeppelin used Beck’s debut Truth as their—ahem—blueprint for Led Zeppelin I, lifting a few riffs as well as Beck’s version of “You Shook Me,” forever causing a rift between Beck and Jimmy Page, who also appeared on Truth. At this same time, Roderick had a solo career with music as hard driving as everything else he did, but with an acoustic, country/folk base, with his classics like Gasoline Alley and Every Picture Tells A Story.

Rod’s box set Storyteller might be the best for seeing the big picture of this guy’s career. But, if you do check it out, be sure to stop after disc two of the four disc set. Like I said, the guy retired in ’74. Look at the mole. I’m telling you; it’s different.

Happy 323rd, Johann

Today, March 21st, is the birthday of composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany. He came from a family of musicians, learned the violin at an early age and was a member of his church choir. The organ, however, was always his favorite instrument. Bach moved from church to church as either choir director or organist. Sometimes his passion for music interfered with fulfilling expectations of his employers. While employed at Arnstadt, he asked for a month off to visit the famous organist, Dietrich Buxtehude who lived 200 miles away. Bach decided to stay another 3 months without letting anyone at Arnstadt know.

He married twice and from these two marriages produced twenty children. As a court organist for Duke Wilhelm Ernst, he produced some of his famous works including Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. His work matured and developed new tonal elements like counterpoint in which two melodies were played at the same time. While a choirmaster in Leipzig, he produced most of his choral music including The Passion According to Saint Matthew which is being performed tonight at Hill Auditorium.

Alan Rich said of Bach: "No composer in history...has been so widely jazzed up, watered down, electrified and otherwise transmogrified, debated and admired as this German provincial.

Attend a rock concert (of sorts)

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The University of Michigan's Basement Arts program is a hidden gem of their theater department. Begun in 1987 in a space no larger than a storage room, the idea was to offer free quality performances produced by U of M theater students. The performances now take place in Studio One at the new Walgreen Drama Center. Their current production, "Mock Rock," is a "riotous evening of song parodies" by members of this U-M student theater troupe. Time is 11 p.m., this Saturday, March 22 at the Walgreen Drama Center, 1226 Murfin, North Campus. Call 764-6800 for more information.

Mitch Ryder is around town this week!

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Local author and reporter James A. Mitchell will be discussing his new (soon-to-be-released) book, It was All Right: Mitch Ryder’s Life in Music, on Wednesday, March 19 at 7:00pm at the Downtown Library. Mitchell will be discussing the life and times of the music legend as presented in the biography. Mitch Ryder has been in the music business most of his life and has had many hit songs, most notably the ones from the 1960s, such as “Devil With a Blue Dress On.”

The music doesn’t stop there! On Saturday, March 22 Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels will be performing live at the Michigan Theater at 8:00pm as part of the Legends of Rock & Roll Series. In lieu of an opening act Ryder will be interviewed by rock journalist Gary Graff. Visit the theater’s website for stats and ticket info. Mitchell's book will be available for purchse at the show.

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