Fantastic Four — Adventures with Vultures, 3 Other Motor City Acts Showcase Musical Prowess at The Blind Pig

Adventures with Vultures, aka Matt Sauter, headlines his first show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Mich.

A new “Fantastic Four” demonstrated their musical prowess Jan. 20 at The Blind Pig.

The “Fantastic Four” – Adventures with Vultures, Brother Elsey, Great Expectations and Honey Monsoon – represented some of southeast Michigan’s emerging musical talent during a 3.5-hour show filled with folk, roots, pop and jazz rock at the iconic Ann Arbor, Mich., 400-person venue.

It also served as the first headlining show for Plymouth, Mich.-based folk rocker Adventures with Vultures, also known as Matt Sauter, who released his debut EP, “Junction,” in October on Original 1265 Recordings.

Sauter’s down-home and fun-loving stage presence instantly connected with the crowd during his 45-minute set, which included the folk rock gems “Okay Guy,” “Skies of Gold” and “I Found a Dreamer” as well as a new track, “Hell or High Water.”

“So many of you f*ckers came to the show tonight. I can’t believe it,” said Sauter, who’s also a student at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “We used to play at coffee shops in Plymouth, Michigan, and all you guys came here, and we really appreciate it.”

Sauter jammed along with guitarist and vocalist Elise McCoy, who’s head of DIME recruitment and admissions and “Junction” EP producer. At one point during the show, the crowd affectionately and collectively flipped off Sauter in honor of his 26th birthday.

That appreciation is a strong sign of great things to come from Sauter, who’s starting to musically soar as Adventures with Vultures.

Brady Stablein of Brother Elsey

Before Adventures with Vultures closed out the show, Brother Elsey (formerly Fifth and Main) played an energetic, rootsy set filled with folk, rock and country tunes.

The Detroit-based band features brothers Jack Stablein (harmonies and guitar), Brady Stablein (vocals and guitar) and Beau Stablein (bass), who cite Ryan Adams as one of their influences.

Brother Elsey setlist favorites included “Sarah,” “Wildfire” and “Notice.” Hearing their music in January conjures up images of taking a road trip on a calm sunny summer evening – it would serve as the perfect soundtrack.

The band will release their new EP “Matador” soon and play a headlining show Feb. 9 at The Magic Stick in Detroit with Beta Camp, Caleb Kopta and Signature Mistakes.

Brandon McDole of Great Expectations

The Blind Pig show also introduced concertgoers to Trenton, Mich., trio Great Expectations, who shared their emo indie folk sound that’s influenced by Death Cab for Cutie and Gomez.

Great Expectations soothed the crowd with songs from their self-titled and “Take What You Give Me” EPs. The band includes Brandon McDole (vocals and guitar), Billy Pompey (drums and guitar) and Austin Stawowczyk (bass). During their set, someone in the crowd jokingly asked if the band had a Myspace page.

“We don’t have Myspace, but maybe once upon a time,” said McDole, who’s also a high school teacher. “Myspace was the best place for bands. Myspace was the golden age.”

A Great Expectations setlist highlight included “A Reason,” a feel-good song McDole described about “being with somebody that you like, more than a little bit.”

A feel-good sensation previously permeated the venue when Honey Monsoon started playing jazz-inspired rock tracks with hints of neo soul and funk from their debut album, “Rose Gold.”

The band features Ana Gomulka (vocals and guitar), Taylor Greenshields (drums and percussion), Ian Griffiths (bass and vocals), Emory Kimball (tenor sax) and Andrea Cruz (keys and vocals).

Ana Gomulka of Honey Monsoon

Gomulka’s sultry vocals on “Daybreak,” “Surface Tension” and “Dear Alice” readied the crowd for the musical adventure that awaited them. During the band’s performance, artist Leo James Willer created a painting live on stage, and his brushstrokes moved in unison with the music.

A sweet, creative start to a fun-filled evening with four of the Motor City’s best new artists.

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