|More Local Music Stories|
Cocked & loaded (9/1/2010)
For whom the Belle tolls (9/1/2010)
What's the frequency? (8/18/2010)
|More from Meghana Keshavan|
Top Rahman (6/16/2010)
Night and Day (5/28/2008)
Night and Day (5/21/2008)
The Bosco Thumbs its Nose at Recession
Yep, that's the actual name of the New Year's bash. The Bosco is boasting a classy affair for little cash, charging a mere ten bucks for cover. The pros? Swanky atmo, lotsa eye candy, stupid plastic hats and confetti. The cons? Unlike operations that charge $100 and up, there's no open bar. But as long as you avoid entering the double digits when knocking back those $8 glasses of vino, you're golden. DJ Brian Gillespie will be spinning hip hop, funk and soul. At the Bosco, 22930 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-8818.
Bowling with Benny
Best way to start the new year with a perfect 10! (Hyuck, hyuck.) Like any other NYE party, the necessities are there — Champagne toast, balloon drop, karaoke, secondhand smoke — but, dude: You can bowl too! Perfect. Benny and the Jets, playing together since the '70s, will perform. So slip on those bowling shoes and swing some hips to old-man tunes as you bowl at the Thunderbowl, 4200 Allen Rd., Allen Park; 313-928-4688. $20 for admission.
Josephine Creperie New Year's Dinner
Not for the calorie-conscious. If a sedentary, gustatory New Year's is what you had in mind, try five-course dining at Josephine's Creperie. The menu is diverse and mouthwatering, with dishes like coq au vin, wild mushroom gratin, crème brûlée and, of course, crepes decorating the decadent menu. In any case, this could be a satisfying alternative to discoing the night away — just go home, sit in front of the telly, and digest the last of 2007's offerings in peace. From 4:30 p.m. onward at Josephine Creperie and Bistro, 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366.
Caribbean-style New Year's at Trenchtown
The only place in town where a limbo contest won't make you look like a "bumbaclot." DJs Killaface and Vybz Movement will provide ample reggae beats, so shake yer ass and pretend you're in the beautiful, balmy, not-so-frickin-cold-you-can-snap-your-frostbitten-Michigan-fingers-off Caribbean. Dinner's included, with an authentic Jamaican buffet catered from Tropical Taste restaurant. But, yeah, FYI: Don't call anyone a bumbaclot. From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. at Trenchtown, 3919 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-8552.
New Year's Nation
The event clearly caters to investment bankers, faux-celeb-types and those in love with their own reflection. Because it's perfect for a) those who take networking to Olympian levels and b) those who like to pose for up-skirt shots. To clarify, upon entrance attendees will walk a red carpet, complete with paparazzi and spotlights. (So, don't pull a Britney; make sure your clothes are opaque.) And, once within, projection screens will connect Detroiters to partiers in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas and Seattle. See? Networking. "With such a mobile young professional crowd — moving across the country due to jobs, relationships and family reasons — this is a fun, easy way to experience the biggest night of the year together," says Jann Yogman, president of New Year's Nation. Depending on the amount of green forked over, partiers are privy to lavish hors d'oeuvres, a midnight buffet, Champagne and an open bar. Perfect for the Donalds and Parises in training. Tickets $135-$250. From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5450.
The all-star cast behind the opulent riverfront eatery includes flutist and one-man smooth-jazz consortium Alexander Zonjic. So it's no surprise the flutist will be on hand with his band for the occasion. Sharing the bill are the Motor City Horns, who individually hit the stage with everyone from the DSO to Justin Timberlake and collectively have backed Clarence Clemons among others. One of the other all-stars behind the place is exec chef Jerry Nottage, whose specials for the night include lobster-and-lump-crabmeat-stuffed Salmon Wellington. $375 per couple; Tower 400, Level 1 of the GM Renaissance Center (next to the Marriott); 313-567-7301 (ext. 112) for reservations.
Cabaret-style New Year's Eve
Having turned 50 this year, the Detroit Repertory Theatre — or, "the Rep" as it has come to be known — has been hosting New Year's Eve galas now for more than a decade. The unusual, elegant, friendly gatherings are a pleasant mix of thought-provoking entertainment, appetizing food and, of course, spirit-raising bubbly at the lobby's 30-foot cocktail bar. The event begins at 8 p.m. with Champagne and appetizers, followed by a 9 p.m. performance of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt. The award-winning 2004 drama is set in a Catholic school in the Bronx during the fall of 1964, and follows school principal Sister Aloysius' suspicion that the young Father Flynn has had "improper relations" with one of the male students. At the Detroit Repertory Theatre, 13103 Woodrow Wilson Ave., Detroit; 313-868-1347; $75 in advance.
Crud's New Year's Freak
There's little to be left to the imagination. Self-described as a "super-charged sex rock band, complete with gas masks, bikinis and blood," Crud's fueled by wicked guitar riffs and snide vocals that will pound your brain as mercilessly as the hangover the morning after. But wait, there's more! Try the industrial sounds of Cybertrybe, the rock puppet show antics of the Gepetto Files and the punk rock tunes of They Never Sleep — along with DJ Top Kat and Baby New Year. Presented by Mad Coffee and Blender magazine at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665.
This time last year, swank sushi joint and nightclub Oslo had shuttered the windows and locked the doors — seemingly for good. Area audiophiles were at a loss. What venue could possibly compare? This year, however, the place is back in (almost — the music's there, but no sushi yet) full swing. They have a promising, hip hop-filled lineup for New Year's: Following gigs in Zurich and Marseilles, Filipino-American DJ Babu will perform, along with local DJs Bet and Dez. Starts at 9 p.m. at Oslo, 1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-963-0300.
The Mega '80s Retro Party
Wang the night away, or chung it if you're so inclined — the '80s have long passed passé, so blush not as you ring in the New Year with local cover band the Mega '80s. Pull on your jelly bracelets, crimp that coif, squeeze into the neon mesh shirt you bought at Wet Seal — err, a sweet thrift shop — and bop the night away to Tiffany and Duran and always, always Michael J. At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-1991.
Cedric the Entertainer
He's come a long way since making his television debut on It's Showtime at the Apollo in 1992, before winning the Richard Pryor Comic of the Year award from the BET TV network two years later. These days, however, Cedric the Entertainer (better known to his mother as Cedric Antonio Kyles) is probably most recognizable to American audiences as a bona fide movie and TV star, most recently seen in Code Name: The Cleaner with Lucy Liu. His biggest claim to fame, however, still may be as one of the Original Kings of Comedy, touring the country with D.L. Hughley, Bernie Mac and Steve Harvey, before director Spike Lee immortalized the comedy marathon on celluloid. To this day, many still consider Cedric the most mainstream and accessible of that bunch. The funnyman returns to his standup roots with this latest tour, which brings him to D-town's Fox Theatre for a gala New Year's Eve show, before he heads to the nation's capital next month to host the first annual BET Honors, spotlighting singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. At the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611. Show at 9 p.m.
It's like a French bistro up in there, with coffee drinkers and boozers and smokers actually chatting impassionedly instead of acting like zombies, typing in isolation on their Macs (which, begrudgingly, can be found everywhere — even at Avalon). That's why Cass Cafe is a sure bet for a good time on New Year's Eve. With their waitstaff of artists and musicians, they take their request of "dress to impress" seriously, so get all glam and dance to Motown, Afrobeat and funk by DJ Milieu, DJ Bouget and DJ Disapproval. Champagne is free and there's no cover. The party starts at 10 p.m. at Cass Cafe, 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400.
Hot House New Year's Eve
Interested in house music? Well, then head a mile or so west on Michigan Avenue to take in Border Patrol (Jason Hodges and Chuck Daniels) performing a four-turntable set at Corktown Tavern (1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit). Also on the bill: Tim Nobody, Big Joe Hix vs. Christos and others. It'll be $10 before 11 p.m., $15 after. At the Corktown Tavern, 1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5103. For more tips on holiday outlets for electronic music, go online and eyeball Walter Wasacz's Subterraneans column this week at metrotimes.com.
Suburban Sprawl Showcase
Your eyes ain't deceivin' you — yep, they're everywhere. The gents of the local label Suburban Sprawl have whipped together yet another showcase of their pop-leaning combos. Pop Project, Child Bite and the suddenly yakked-up Friendly Foes perform, followed by Revolutionary Politics of a Dance Party spinning afterwards. From 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington, Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374. No cover.
Michigan Star Clipper Dinner Train
Want to put the new year on the right track? Keep the metaphor smooth by jumping aboard the Star Clipper "dinner train." The romantic train ride will feature a freshly prepared five-course meal, giving you a rare chance to chew while you choo-choo. Enjoy the romantic jazz stylings of the "Saxman," or sidle down to the dancing car, where a DJ will spin tunes till 3 a.m. Any top-notch sleuths among you can try to solve a New Year's murder mystery, while those who dig show tunes can relive the nostalgia of Motown with a tribute to Motown show. The Star Clipper Train has New Year's Eve packages to bring out the best in everyone. Tickets $135-$200, starts at 7 p.m.
They're Playing Our Song
The Jewish Ensemble Theatre has a night of entertainment planned at its Bloomfield Hills roost, with two performances of Neil Simon's 1979 play, They're Playing Our Song. Based on the real-life collaboration of songwriting team Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager, this play centers on a smart-aleck composer toughing out a difficult relationship with an offbeat lyricist. Will the rancor end in true love? Expect a dancing, singing show with a live band. The performances begin at 5 p.m. ($50 per person) and 8:30 p.m. ($75 per person). Both performances include a light meal with wine. There will be a Champagne toast at zero hour, followed by a "midnight breakfast." At the Aaron DeRoy Theatre, 6600 W. Maple Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-788-2900.
The Chenille Sisters
The trio of Grace, Cheryl and Connie look like they'd make for a perfectly-pitched Canadian comedy sketch, two of them sitting on the davenport while the other pulls martinis out of the crisper, before they chat about what young hunks their sons are. But the best part about the campy Chenille Sisters routine is that it's actually for real, and totally worth it: Their vocal harmonies sound like church bells in a clock tower ringing clear, powerful and true (each of them chimes in with quips, too!) What better way to celebrate the new year than with some Andrews Sisters-era frolic? Tickets are $35 and doors are at 9 p.m. at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451.
Bump New Year's Eve
Leave your ballroom dancing moves back in 2007 and come bump in the New Year at the swanky Atheneum Hotel Grand Ballroom in Greektown. Detroit's sci-fi rockers Bump drop on the stage with indie rockers (and Spin.com Underground Artist of the Year) the Silent Years. Other bands will include the Edit Concern and the Envy Corps and DJ SirReal will spin dance. Expect a balloon drop, a Champagne toast, lots of hors d'oeuvres and the sounds of Detroit. From 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. at the Atheneum Hotel, 1000 Brush St., Detroit; 1-800-772-2323; bumpnewyearseve.com; $50 general admission, $150 for VIP admission and open bar privileges.
As her national profile rises and her road schedule gets more hectic, vocalist Kathy Kosins has virtually disappeared in her hometown. Sure, she's gotten nods for a repertoire that includes jazz standards, unexpected pop covers ("Foxy Lady" and "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"), classy originals and little-known wonders ("Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast" from the Julie London songbook). Nodders include Will Friedwald, who literally wrote the book on jazz singing. "Grabbed me and fairly quickly," Friedwald expounded on Kosins' recent discs. Stuck home with the flu? We suggest curling up with Friedwald's Jazz Singing. Headed out? Consider Kosins with pianist Cliff Monear at the Hill (with its recently renovated bar). At 123 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-886-8101. Prix fixe menu, $95; seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.
What's not to love about a power trio whose bass player is christened "j" (single letter, lower case) and who once did time in the wonderfully monikered Steel Neil and the Memphis Skullfuckers? What's not to love about a band whose songs actually have — gasp! — bridges? What's not to love about a band whose poppy power-chord din has enough fortitude to ping-pong between the ears for hours while recalling the primordial days of SoCal punk? What's not to love about a band whose following includes chicks who could've stepped from a Burning Angel alt-porn set? Also on the bill: Rick Nease Band, Most Beautiful Losers, the Sheeny Men and Trembling Earth, and maybe the club's owner's band, Spiel of Hate. Booze it up, pool it up, munch it up, or smoke your lungs out, Jim. The Old Miami makes Detroit seem like the last civilized place on earth. We adore it. 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830.
Digging New Digs
After a headache-ridden transition to new digs this year, Susan Chastain and her crew at the Firefly are finishing off with 24 hours of fanfare. The Easy Street Jazz Ensemble anchors an early dinner show ($25 per person, $10 for 12 and under; Southern buffet; 4-6:30 p.m.). The main event features another buffet, dancing and the music of the Ellen Rowe Trio plus special guests ($75 per person; doors at 7:45 p.m., through 12:30 a.m.). DJ Graffiti and his troops handle a late-late show that includes a gourmet breakfast ($15 per person; 1-4 a.m.). At the Firefly Club, 637 S. Main, Ann Arbor; 734-665-9090.
Colton Weatherston Trio
Although his involvement with Django Fest and groups like The Hot Club of Detroit has pigeonholed Colton Weatherston in the "gypsy jazz" genre, he's a guitarist who can shine in variety of jazz settings. As adept at standards and historic jazz styles as he is at post-bop modernity, Weatherston has great technique and a voice ideally suited to the ballads and bossa novas (with which he lures in the neophytes). For New Year's Eve, he leads a sextet of musicians in the rarefied air of Cliff Bell's, most likely in a set of music that'll raise some ghosts in the speakeasy-era watering hole. The ticket is $100, but the bar is open at Cliff Bell's, with the Bob Mervak Trio, at 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543.
When one thinks of Detroit's musical legacy, rockabilly — one of the musical forces that led to the birth of rock 'n' roll — isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, those in the know can tell you it wasn't all about Memphis and the American South. Detroit's own transplanted Canadian Jack Scott made some of the greatest recordings of the genre, and it was one of those records that inspired Johnny Powers (born Leon Joseph Pavlik in East Detroit in 1938) to make his own music. Powers eventually became the only artist in history to record for both Sun Records (signed by Sam Phillips in 1959) and Motown, probably the two most important independent labels in pop music history. He also worked as a producer behind the boards, cutting tracks for Tim Tam & the Turn-Ons as well as Jack Kittel's creepy country cult hit "Psycho" (later covered by Elvis Costello, among others). Powers' own Elvis-influenced music remains explosive — and he's still a huge star in Europe and Japan, where he regularly tours. Hometown shows are rare as hell, so this promises to be a great way to spend New Year's Eve for cats and kittens alike. At the Painted Lady, 2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck; 313-874-2991.
Garrison Keillor on Michigan Radio
So that terrible Robert Altman take (we never thought it was possible) on A Prairie Home Companion may have soured you on the radio show for a while, as it did us, but if there's anybody with a face for radio who can sweeten you with charm back into his old-timer's arms, it's Garrison Keillor. This year, Michigan Radio's 91.7 FM replays 2006's celebration featuring performances by Suzy Bogguss, Sam Bush, Cowboy Jack Clement, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Buddy Emmons, Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jon Randall, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, and Robin & Linda Williams. Cozy up with a hot toddy in a rocking chair for this broadcast from Nashville's Historic Ryman Auditorium, starting at 10 p.m.
If a midnight make-out party appeals more to your prurient tastes, then jump over to the Blind Pig for the annual NYE debauchery presented by that gang known as The Bang! Who's DJing? Who cares? It's a free-for-all that begins at 9:30 p.m. and ends up on somebody's couch sometime early in the next year. $15 cover. At the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555.
89X Rock 'n' Roll Ball
Suffering from Dick Clark fatigue? Then ring in the new (and out with the "old") with a bash presented by Detroit's "only new rock alternative" — aka 89X. Windor's One Man's Opinion and Royal Oak's the Delivery will hit the stage to strangle the night. Things, uh, heat up when the Northlanders of Hot Hot Heat arrive and kick in a few minor radio hits, likely to include "Middle of Nowhere" and "Goodnight Goodnight." For those who'd rather give it up to quantized rhythm, a dude called DJ Gabe Real spins in the dance room. At the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, 600 Town Center Dr., Dearborn; 313-593-1234. With Hot Hot Heat and DJ Gabe Real. At the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, 600 Town Center Dr., Dearborn; 313-593-1234.
Check out a Detroit Paranormal Society and Detroit Underground co-production featuring former Rochester Hills teenage dream Jimmy Edgar, now all grown up (at 24) and currently slinging his big beats in NYC, in addition to both Chicago's the Flashbulb and Toronto's Teste. Also appearing: Windsor audio-visual breakcore raconteur Kero, along with Vacuum and Jeremy Nida, among others. At Detroit Beer Company, 1529 Broadway, Detroit; 313-962-1529; $10 before 11 p.m.; $15 after that.
Alternative New Year's Eve Bash
Sick of the same ol' (bump and) grind? There's always the alternative New Year's bash at Luna. Be it goth, industrial or meth-tinged rock 'n' roll, the music matches the decor — a little fringe, a lot dark. It's actually one of the sweeter deals around town — tickets, at presale, are $5, and $7 at the door. For that, there are complimentary party favors, Champagne and free food at 9 p.m. and midnight. DJ Paul spins. At Luna, 1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344.
Three Swinging Rings
This year's addition to the list of heavy-hitting jazz venues caps off 2007 with an extravaganza. Arturo's Jazz Theatre & Restaurant highlights shows in the theater area for trumpeter extraordinaire Rayse Biggs (9:30 p.m.) and bassist Ralphe Armstrong (11 p.m.). The set by Armstrong promises surprise guests, in addition to Biggs, who'll join in the action. Meanwhile, keyboardist Bam Davis (Gap Band, Anita Baker, etc.) leads his group in the dining room, and there's piano music over in the martini bar. The $150 ticket covers a wine tasting, appetizers, dinner and a 1 a.m. breakfast. They'll even push back some tables to make room for some celebratory dancing. Reservations recommended; 25333 W. 12 Mile Rd., just west of Telegraph Rd. (in the Star Theatre Complex); 248-357-6009.
Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues
First, there's pride: When Detroit scores, you score, baby. Score! Then, envy: You know you want to be Henrik Zetterberg, that Tasmanian devil on ice. Wrath: That guy's wearing a Blues jersey! Fuck him up. Sloth: Well, you're not whizzing around the rink, are you? Avarice: Tickets are expensive these days. See that guy in the Blues jersey? Fuck him up, then jack his wallet. Gluttony: Beer 'n' dog, Jack. Times infinity. Lust: Hockey players, however toothless, are sexy. One can indulge each of the Seven Deadly Sins through the NHL, so live it up if you plan to err on the saintly side come Jan. 1. This game's gonna be good. At 7 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; 313-471-6606
New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball
Hundred dollar bills floating down from above — if only life offered such each day! That is, if the scenario didn't include scads of boozed-up partygoers clawing to snatch up the Benjamins as a deafening bass thuds Top-40 pop. Indeed, the popular and oft sold-out Masquerade Ball at Clutch Cargo's will have cash giveaways (that is, throwaways — bills are being dropped from the ceiling), which is incentive enough beyond the obvious fact that, at a masked ball, no potential paramour is judging you on your looks. Brush up on your droll one-liners before heading down to Clutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac; 248-333-2362.
2500 drinks in the gut!
The punk bar provided a full night's entertainment for two or three bucks back in the dinosaur days. (That is, uh, the early '80s, according to an MT proofreader.) So, in essence, the 2500 Club is celebrating the birth of 2008 in style, charging $35 — which could very well be an all-time high? Worth it, however, as it's an all-you-can-eat-and-drink kinda deal. What you should know is this little watering hole just off downtown is giant. It's like walking into some drinker's bar in some other town, like, say, Show Low, Ariz. But the bookings slant to punk rock essence — that is the non-corporate stuff that draws big crowds from word-of-mouth. We love it, New Year's or no. Kicking in '08 are the ever-shivery Amino Acids, Calvinball and the Slain Husseins, among others, playing all night. At the 2500 Club, 2500 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-496-1232.