This is the first installment of a three-part series profiling Michigan bands hosting a New Year’s Eve show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.
Three Michigan bands will bring an eclectic array of improvisational rock, jazz, funk and electronica to Ann Arbor Monday night.
Stormy Chromer, Chirp and Biomassive will host a turbo-charged, fluid night of live music at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., for New Year’s Eve. It’s the third year Stormy Chromer has organized a New Year’s Eve show in Tree Town, and the second year they’ve held the event at The Blind Pig.
“We’re going with all live bands this year, and it’s a three-band night. Chirp and Stormy Chromer have a long and awesome relationship, and we’re all from Ann Arbor. Biomassive is a band that we just really hit it off with when we played with them two years ago,” said Amin Lanseur, Stormy Chromer’s drummer and vocalist.
“Chirp’s Jay (Frydenlund) and I decided to go with a three-band bill because we want to see how much we’ve grown as far as what we can do. It’s going to be an awesome feeling to look out there and see all these people who are here to see my buddies and me do what we love to do.”
The New Year’s Eve show will include a ball drop set with Stormy Chromer improvising on stage and counting down with the crowd to 2019. Members of Chirp and Biomassive will join the band to ring in the new year.
“We’ll pick a song that has a tendency to have an upbeat, dancy jam, and then I’ll get us as close to 120 beats per minute as possible so that every two beats is a second,” Lanseur said. “Then, we’ll just have a timer up there, and we’ll be doing our thing.”
Stormy Chromer also will share some covers and feature a new song to keep the show fresh well after midnight. “We’re going to be debuting a new song that I’m really excited about and that’s been conceptualized for a really long time now,” Lanseur said. “I think people can look forward to a handful of new material that they’ve never gotten out of us before.”
Formed in 2014 as an accidental nod to the legendary Michigan cap company, Stormy Chromer has been steadily on the rise with an impressive roster of shows and festivals in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New York and Colorado.
Hailing from Ypsilanti, the homegrown progressive jam band features Brendan Collins (guitar, vocals), Spencer Hanson (guitar), Ryan King (bass, vocals) and Lanseur and blends complex songwriting with real-time composition to create a unique live experience that never repeats itself.
Stormy Chromer mixes rock, jazz, heavy metal, classical, ska and hip hop to form a dense super genre of music that’s appealing to a wide fan base. The band has played with Desmond Jones, The Macpodz, Consider the Source, After Funk and other emerging artists.
“The eclecticism of our sound comes out naturally because we all come from different influences. There’s a lot of common denominators between us, but we all have different stuff that some of us like and some of us don’t,” said Lanseur, who grew up playing the tuba and learned the drums while banging on “Rock Band” video game drum kits. “When we’re composing material or as we’re doing a lot of improvisation, those things kind of come out, and I think we’re good at letting people do what they want when it’s their time.”
A Peace of Pizza, A Tale of Two Mouths
In May 2015, Stormy Chromer released their debut six-song EP, “Peace of Pizza,” which was recorded in Syracuse, New York, at the renowned SubCat Music Studios and features three studio arrangements and three live in-studio versions of crowd favorites.
“‘Peace of Pizza’ is a fun album, it’s different, it’s much lighter to the listener,” Lanseur said. “To me, I’m biased because it’s my life, and it’s my trajectory, and when I hear it, I just hear a bunch of kids, and I just feel like we’ve grown so much as musicians since that point. Every now and then, I’ll go back and listen to it, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good it sounds.”
By September 2016, Stormy Chromer released their first full-length album, “A Tale of Two Mouths,” and recorded it with producer and engineer Josh Wiechmann at Solid Sound Recording Company in Ann Arbor. The band started with a catalog of 15-20 original songs and ended up including nine diverse, memorable tracks on the album.
“Nothing was written specifically for the album, and nothing that was on the album was debut material, it had all been played live before,” Lanseur said. “We picked some tunes that we really liked, kind of wrestled with an order, got in the studio and then knocked it out, I’m really happy with how it turned out, I think the production it really good, especially for our first album.”
New Material and Live Shows
They also released two singles, “Stare,” and “Voguemotive,” last December via Bandcamp while a third song will be released soon. Drawing on ‘90s alternative and grunge influences, “Stare” marks the first time Stormy Chromer has written and recorded a song before playing it live. “Voguemotive” is a laid-back, guitar-hazy tune filled a sense of uncertainty, misunderstanding and frustration.
For their next full-length release, Stormy Chromer plans to record next summer and wants to carefully map out the album’s tracking order and include some new songs that haven’t been heard yet. They also hope to continue building an online archive of past live shows on Bandcamp.
“That’s something that always brings me a lot of joy that I have these recordings forever, and I will always be able to look back at what we’ve accomplished,” Lanseur said.
As for upcoming live shows, Stormy Chromer will play Jan. 4 at the Tonic Room in Chicago, Jan. 25 at The Winchester Music Tavern in Lakewood, Ohio, and Feb. 15 at the Ottawa Tavern in Toledo.
“In Ann Arbor, there’s a generation of bands that I grew up looking up to, bands like The Macpodz, and I’m really proud of my friends and what we’ve done, and I feel like we’re approaching this sort of level and I see it popping up here, Grand Rapids, Toledo, all these areas around here, there’s really kick ass bands that you can’t go wrong.”
Stormy Chromer with Chirp and Biomassive
New Year’s Eve at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St. in Ann Arbor
Doors at 8 p.m.