Five Alive – After Hours Radio Reflects on Band Anniversary, Hosts Show Tonight at Club Above

Five years ago, the University of Michigan’s co-op scene led to the formation of an emerging Ypsilanti band.

U-M’s Nakamura and Luther Buchele co-ops introduced Greg Hughes and Nate Erickson, co-founders of After Hours Radio, to a burgeoning underground, do-it-yourself (DIY) music community in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.

Together, Hughes and Erickson cut their growing musical teeth performing at co-op open mic nights and formed After Hours Radio, a progressive, groove-heavy indie rock band, in 2014.

“The high energy and large crowds at co-op parties drove the band to write catchy grooves and riffs that co-oppers could dance to,” said Hughes, bassist for After Hours Radio. “This funk-inspired element flavored our initial indie-alternative style, which was influenced by open mic nights during the band’s infancy.”

Hughes also sought inspiration for the band while working as a late-night college DJ at WCBN-FM (88.3), a U-M student-run radio station. He used a “freeform” approach for the station’s programming and believed a similar philosophy could be applied to After Hours Radio’s musical approach.

After Hours Radio co-founders Greg Hughes (left) and Nate Erickson (center)

“‘Freeform’ describes a perspective that doesn’t conform to a traditional setlist structure restricted by genre and embraces mixing different musical styles,” he said. “We’ve gained a strong sense of improvisation that has translated to the way we find influences for our original songs.”

That fluid musical approach resulted in the band’s self-titled debut EP in 2015 and the “What Happened?” EP in 2017. With Hughes and Erickson (vocals, guitar) at the helm, After Hours Radio went through several lineup changes, including several drummers, and expanded their sound to encompass keys, synths and other electronic effects.

Last year, the band launched their own DIY music venue, The Late Station, in Ypsilanti to showcase local emerging artists and musicians across a variety of genres. Bandmates and friends help promote events, run the door and assist with gear at The Late Station.

“I got acquainted with the whole DIY culture in Chicago, and I was so enamored with the scene there that I wanted to become more involved in it,” Hughes said. “That’s where the direct inspiration for The Late Station came, and we all decided we were going to move to the same location and start our own space.”

Today, Hughes and Erickson will celebrate the band’s evolution with a five-year anniversary show at Club Above, 215 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, and feature special guests Stop Watch, Approachable Minorities and Summer Like The Season.

“We decided to celebrate the band’s anniversary with a special show because we thought five years for any band was a big milestone,” Hughes said. “Almost none of the local bands existing when we started are around anymore, and most lasted just one or two years.”

For the show, After Hours Radio will play an extended setlist that encompasses the band’s entire career and feature visuals from GSW Art & Design, a southeast Michigan-based visual art, web and graphic design firm. It’s also a valuable opportunity for After Hours Radio fans to embrace the artistry and musicianship of the show’s three special guests.

Continue reading “Five Alive – After Hours Radio Reflects on Band Anniversary, Hosts Show Tonight at Club Above”

Friday Night Live – Dave Boutette, Kristi Lynn Davis Kick Off Farmington Civic Theater Winter Concert Series Jan. 11

Kristi Lynn Davis and Dave Boutette will play Friday night at the Farmington Civic Theater.

Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis will share their get-up-and-go tunes and folk-inspired harmonies with Farmington concertgoers Friday night.

The Dexter singer-songwriters will kick off the four-part “Friday Night Live” concert series at the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand River Ave. in Farmington, at 8 p.m. Friday with special guest Scott Martin.

A husband-and-wife folk music duo, Boutette and Davis will perform catchy acoustic anthems from “Easy as Pie,” their 2018 album, along with a slew of old favorites during their 90-minute set.

“We have a couple of new songs and one new cover,” Boutette said. “As it’s become a tradition, Kristi goes into my back catalog to find things we haven’t done before.”

Boutette’s celebrated songwriting paired with Davis’ lush harmonies is where attendees will find onstage magic at the Farmington Civic Theater.

Close, comforting and warm, Davis’ voice slips in easily beside Boutette’s creating a beautiful sound. Her stage presence and quick wit are a perfect match for Boutette’s songs.

Boutette and Davis discovered their musical magic while singing together on their back porch six years ago. Those at-home singing sessions quickly turned into a growing series of shows and festival dates.

Coincidentally, their musical partnership dates back 35 years when the pair starred in musicals together while attending high school in metro Detroit.

After graduation, they went their separate ways while Boutette played in the Detroit alternative rock band The Junk Monkeys and later became a folk music solo artist.

Davis became a singer-dancer, Radio City Rockette and author of the 2015 comic memoir, “Long Legs and Tall Tales.” She reunited with Boutette in 2012, and they married the following year.

Today, Boutette and Davis continue to perform as part of a strong singer-songwriter movement locally, statewide and throughout the Midwest at a variety of venues, especially listening rooms like the Farmington Civic Theater.

“I think it’s nice to have more of a listening room environment where people can really focus in on Dave’s lyrics, which are so clever, meaningful and heartfelt,” Davis said. “They make you feel good if you really listen to them. I’m glad that we get a chance to do that.”

Continue reading “Friday Night Live – Dave Boutette, Kristi Lynn Davis Kick Off Farmington Civic Theater Winter Concert Series Jan. 11”

Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today

The Sneeks have released their fun-filled “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” EP today.

For The Sneeks, opportunity knocks with a new five-song EP.

The East Lansing alt rock quartet has delivered their latest release, “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” today via streaming services as a fun, breezy follow-up to their eight-track 2017 debut album, “Sneek Attack.”

Through “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” Niko Matsamakis (vocals, guitar), Kevin Neumann (vocals, bass), Alex Olivero (vocals, guitar) and Houston Smith (drums) create a laid-back summer sound filled with shimmery Mac DeMarco-inspired guitars and wrapped in personal tales of fleeting relationships.

It’s the musical alter ego to “Sneek Attack,” which follows a “rad rock and troll” sound born out of the band’s Michigan State University (MSU) party days and garage punk rock shows with Twin Peaks at The Loft in Lansing.

“The different approach for ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely the songwriting and recording style,” Matsamakis said. “We recorded it in my house upstairs in four different rooms at the same time, and we tracked it all together. Houston was in one bedroom, I was in another, Kevin was in the other bedroom and Alex was in the bathroom.”

Neumann and Olivero also contributed tracks to the “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” while Matsamakis wrote the material for “Sneek Attack” – his personal journey through post-breakup single life.

“We used some different effects on our guitars that we don’t normally use, and some of those ‘Sneek Attack’ sounds are harder in general, but ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely a softer sound,” Matsamakis said. “I wrote a few of the songs, showed them to Kevin, and Kevin put his touch on them, and then vice versa. I would say Kevin’s songs are definitely the softer ones.”

Continue reading “Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today”

Electronic Orbit – Biomassive Brings Celestial Beats to New Year’s Eve Show with Stormy Chromer, Chirp at The Blind Pig

Biomassive will play a New Year’s Eve show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor tonight with Stormy Chromer and Chirp.

This is the third installment in a three-part series profiling Michigan bands for a New Year’s Eve show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.

Biomassive will share their deep, intelligent beats with an energetic New Year’s Eve crowd in Ann Arbor tonight.

The Traverse City rock electronica sextet will join Stormy Chromer and Chirp for a night filled with guitar-driven funk and jazz tunes fused with improvisational jams at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St.

“We’re definitely going to be bringing our new stuff as well as some of the songs we’ve been playing for a while,” said Chris Burhop, a guitarist for Biomassive. “We’re also going to be unleashing a cover we’ve only done once in the past.”

New Year’s Eve show poster

This isn’t the first time Biomassive has played with Stormy Chromer, a Ypsilanti-based homegrown progressive jam band. However, it will be the first time they’ve shared the stage with Chirp, a Tree Town progressive rock, funk and jazz fusion quartet.

“Stormy Chromer definitely brings a rockier side. They bring a lot of energy, and we’ve always considered them to be our closest band buddies as far as mentality goes and stylistically,” Burhop said. “We played at the same Sacred Vibrations festival as Chirp earlier this year, but not at an actual personal show with them until now.”

Formed in 2012, Biomassive blends catchy electronic beats with ground-shaking, sub-bass mechanics and features the talented musicianship of Connor Lindsay (synth, keys), Randall Erno (bass), Ben Wyler (synth, keys), Shandon Williams (percussion), Matt Zimmerman (drums) and Burhop.

Reminiscent of their Umphrey’s McGee and Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) influence, Biomassive fuses funk and progressive rock to arrive at an unparalleled sound. This anomalous Northern Michigan band redefines the sound of the electronic genre and plays distinctive covers and mash-ups ranging from The Grateful Dead to Gorillaz.

“The different guitar players that we’ve had have definitely influenced different sounds that are incorporated with songs like that,” said Burhop, who grew up in Petoskey and started playing guitar in middle school. “Now that I’m playing the guitar instead of bass, we’re trying to go back to our roots and get back into the electronic side of music more.”

Biomassive’s latest single, “Earth Girls Are Easy,” brings ethereal elements of rock, electronica and hip hop together into a mesmerizing musical orbit. Named after the 1989 Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum romantic comedy, science fiction film, it’s the perfect tune for an out-of-this-world sonic escape.

Burhop credits Lindsay’s fascination with bizarre ‘80s pop culture for inspiring the tune’s musical direction. “We’ve been playing that song for the past four or five years now, and it was always just one of those songs that we never really finalized and put into a recording,” Burhop said. “The recording that you hear now is going to be off our new album, which is about to be released.”

While Biomassive’s upcoming album will be released this spring, Burhop and his bandmates are already writing and recording more material for the next project. The band has previously released several other albums and EPs, including “Biomassive” (2013), “Instinct” (2013), “Certified Organic” (2013) and “Spiritbound” (2014).

“We’re going to focus on writing some more new material and getting myself and our new member, Randall, up to speed on the parts on the songs that we already have in our repertoire,” Burhop said. “We also have some of our biggest festival announcements that we’re sitting on right now.”

Show details:

Stormy Chromer with Chirp and Biomassive

Tonight at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St. in Ann Arbor

Doors at 8 p.m.

Tickets $15 and event info

 

Cap Off – Stormy Chromer Hosts New Year’s Eve Show with Chirp, Biomassive at The Blind Pig  

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.”

Continue reading “Cap Off – Stormy Chromer Hosts New Year’s Eve Show with Chirp, Biomassive at The Blind Pig  “

Jam Session – Desmond Jones Promises Unique Set for Thursday’s Headlining Show at The Blind Pig

Grand Rapids funk-rock-jazz fusion quintet Desmond Jones will perform at The Blind Pig Thursday night with Pajamas.

For Desmond Jones, no two setlists or shows are alike.

The Grand Rapids funk-rock-jazz fusion quintet relies on skillful improvisation, sophisticated musicianship and scintillating compositions to capture a crowd’s attention. Each show brings a unique vibe and sonic quality depending the band, audience and venue.

“The more cut and dry structured songs we don’t take out at all in terms of improvisation and jams,” Even if we write a setlist out before a show, which we don’t always do, a lot of times on stage we’ll pick what songs feel right or naturally transition into them,” said John Nowak, Desmond Jones’ drummer, vocalist and guitarist.

“Lately, we’ve been mixing in a sense of humor in terms of making weird or spacey noises. We’re deliberately trying to shock the audience, be as weird as we possibly can and see how they react.”

That ingenious live approach has connected Desmond Jones to thousands of fans at more than 500 shows over five years nationwide. The band also has a sprawling online archive of 300-plus shows available for streaming on their website.

Luckily, Ann Arbor fans will be able to visit the Desmond Jones online live archive after Thursday’s show at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., with Pajamas, a Tree Town rock-funk fusion trio.

“When you get a good opening act, I think that vibe is strong with the crowd because it gets people moving and ready to go. Then, we’ll come on, and we’ll rock out,” Nowak said. “We love playing The Blind Pig. I think that venue offers a certain one-of-a-kind dirty, grungy, fun atmosphere, which is where we’re also at with our music.”

Nowak and his Desmond Jones bandmates – Isaac Berkowitz (guitar, vocals, drums), Chris Bota (guitar, vocals), George Falk (saxophone, vocals) and John Loria (bass, vocals) – will play new material and older improvisational jams from their extensive catalog of 50-plus tunes.

“We’ll be playing a wider range of things, some new songs that aren’t on any of the albums. It’s always fun because unless you’re listening to the archives or have gone to a lot of shows, then a lot of the songs will be new to your ears,” Nowak said. “Expect a lot of different feels, but definitely some improvisational jams and opportunities for dancing.”

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A Shore Thing – Greg Hurley Makes Tidal Impact with Blues-drenched Debut Album ‘Seafoam’

Greg Hurley

For Greg Hurley, a little “Seafoam” can make big waves in established musical waters.

The Jackson singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer has turned the blues rock tide with his debut album, “Seafoam,” a beautiful, introspective sonic journey filled with hope, gratitude and self-reflection. Think Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Steely Dan and The Beatles crashing together into a clean, organic sound wave of oceanic proportions.

“This is my debut, and it’s late in life, but I wanted the first one to be good. The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ was so clean and pristine, while Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan were very careful and meticulous in their work,” Hurley said. “That’s kind of what I’ve done here with ‘Seafoam.’ I intentionally keep things simple because I want my music to have a good groove.”

Behind Hurley’s simple musical approach is complex creative vision filled with eight years of writing, recording, producing, mixing and mastering 10 insightful tracks for “Seafoam” in his home studio. On his debut, Hurley played most of the instruments himself, but partnered with musicians Derek Cornett, David Friend and Chris Yochens for exquisite guitar leads on “Be With You,” “Wiggle Room,” “Where You’re At” and “You’re You.”

“I could have played all the lead parts, but I wanted a little bit of a different flavor,” Hurley said. “I wanted the songs to have all the same consistency and quality similar to the way Jeff Lynne collaborates with other musicians.”

Continue reading “A Shore Thing – Greg Hurley Makes Tidal Impact with Blues-drenched Debut Album ‘Seafoam’”