SEMI-Live!

I will not be reviewing any of the shows that I post on this website because I've never been good at analyzing beyond a simple "I like it" or "it's not my thing". All I ever really ask of music is that it brings something to the table. I'll leave the critiquing and dissection to others that are better at it than I.

Thanks always to the bands/artists for the great music and for allowing me to do this.
-Wayne

Drunken Barn Dance is Scott Sellwood, also of Saturday Looks Good to Me, often performing solo but occasionally joined by a group of fellow Michigan musicians. The first time I saw Scott back in 2006, I was immediately drawn to his directly honest songwriting that clearly paints the people, places and events of his life, warts and all. The songs generally bear a strong influence from lo-fi indie acts like The Mountain Goats (who he covers twice here) and Guided by Voices, with a folk tinge. In the past I waited for Scott to let me know which recordings he was okay with being released to the wild, but this time when I talked to Scott he told me to go ahead and put up what I liked. Here to make him question that decision are my two three four favorite recordings from Drunken Barn Dance, each one displaying a slightly different facet of his live performances. All of them were recorded at Ypsilanti’s popular Elbow Room.

2007-06-25 – Drunken Barn Dance, Frontier Ruckus, Fred Thomas & Palomar

I really like how this one came out, with Scott played solo acoustic guitar this night. Songs include the debut of “Promises End”, which appeared a year later on the limited The First State, Non-Tour EP., as well as two other songs. The set finished with a suitably noisy version of The Mountain Goats’ “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Third Wheel’s a Charm” from this show.

2008-01-04 – Cheap Girls, A Light in August, Drunken Barn Dance & Matt Jones

Scott’s playing solo again but this time on electric guitar, which was a good thing due to the loud crowd. Notable this night are two fantastic covers, an a cappella version of Liz Phair’s “Perfect World” and The Beatles’ ‘Dig a Pony’, plus an early (first?) performance of “Guilt”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Perfect World” from this show.

2008-02-01 – Brown Bird & Annie Palmer, That’s Him! That’s The Guy!, Matt Jones & Drunken Barn Dance

An early full-band gig, featuring Scott DeRoche (guitar), Joe Scott (bass), Greg McIntosh (banjo) and Ryan Howard (drums). I love the performances of “The Last Desperate Stand of the Last Fair Man” and “Leaving Las Vegas, Reno, Laughlin…” here. Also, Joe Scott’s backing vocals fit in very well, especially on “Fireworks (Never Tell)”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Fireworks (Never Tell)” from this show.

2008-10-04 – A Light in August, Drunken Barn Dance & September On

A full-band set again, This time with Scott DeRoche (guitar), Jim Roll (bass) and Ryan Howard (drums). The band are stretching their legs now and I especially like Scott DeRoche’s guitar work here. Another Mountain Goats cover tonight, “International Small Arms Traffic Blues”, as well as great versions of “The Guest List” and “You Left the Wrong Girl”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Evelyn Wears a Tiara” from this show.


Drunken Barn Dance – MySpace Page
Next show – 2008-12-09 – The Pike Room, Pontiac, MI – 8:00 PM
Make a note – 2008-12-26 through 28 – Mittenfest 2008, The Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI
Download the shows:
2007-06-25 – FLAC or MP3
2008-01-04 – FLAC or MP3
2008-02-01 – FLAC or MP3
2008-10-04 – FLAC or MP3

Wildcatting – 2008-08-08

August 27th, 2008

The Pike Room, Pontiac, MI

Wildcatting has been known as a powerhouse live act ever since they started performing four years ago. Their sets tend to charge at you full throttle with little time for a breather, propelled along by the rhythm section of bassist Nick Jones and drummer Brandon Moss (ex-Bear vs. Shark). The angular guitars of Ben Audette and Scotty Iulianelli weave back and forth through the beat from syncopation to ambient texturalization, often taking songs through long, noisy build-ups that crash back to the original beat (sometimes multiple times in the course of the same song).

This show they were opening for the last performance of Detroit’s Ancourage at the Pike Room, probably the best sounding small-venue in the area. Most of the songs they played this night did not appear on last year’s How to Survive a Sneak Attack, so here’s a bit of a sneak preview of their upcoming second album. The set finished with a blistering 9-minute long version of the fan-favourite ‘Lipping’. Not only did they put on a great set, but after they finished they went and talked to Ann Arbor’s Aleph-1 in the Crofoot Ballroom and scheduled another set later that night. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hang around for that one but I’m sure they killed once again.

In a not-to-be-missed performance, Wildcatting will be performing at the wonderful Park Bar on November 1st as part of a 40th Anniversary celebration of MC5’s seminal album Kick Out the Jams. Now get this – John Sinclair will be singing and reading poetry with the Detroit supergroup Pinkeye, Wildcatting is performing the entire Kick Out the Jams album and DUENDE! are releasing a CD. It promises to be one of those nights that people keep talking about for months after, so don’t miss out!


Wildcatting – MySpace Page
Next show: September 05, 2008 – The Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI – 9:00 PM
Download the show: Download the show: FLAC or MP3

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Muskratting” from this show.

Where the Heather Don’t Grow CD Release Party – The Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI

I love seeing these guys, but sobriety never really seems to be an option at their shows.

Black Jake and The Carnies’ first album, Where the Heather Don’t Grow, had been brewing for a long time before being released upon the world this past spring. The release party was appropriately festive, complete with games and prizes. The band refers to their sound as “Crabgrass”, a unique blend of bluegrass, punk and americana that draws in fans from all across the spectrum – from skeptical hipsters to leather-clad bikers, middle-aged parents to teenage punks. This set here features five songs that didn’t appear on the new CD and their cover of Lita Ford’s 1988 hit ‘Kiss Me Deadly’.

Black Jake and The Carnies features Black Jake on banjo and vocals, Gus Wallace on fiddle, Zach Pollock playing mandolin, Joe Cooter on acoustic bass, B.P. Weatherwax on electric guitar Billy “The Kingpin” LaLonde beatin’ the skins & scrapin’ the washboard and Caleb Lee Johnson handling the various percussive and traditional Appalachian instruments as well as backing vocals. Besides the upcoming shows, listen for them tomorrow night on WCBN Ann Arbor’s Local Music Show (88.3 FM between 9PM and midnight) and September 12th on WDET’s Detroit Today (101.9 FM between 10AM and Noon – expect them to be on starting around 11:30).


Black Jake & The Carnies – Official Site, MySpace Page
Next show: August 23, 2008 – The Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI – 9:00 PM
Download the show: FLAC or MP3

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Happy Easter to Ya” from this show.

Cuckold – 2007-09-14

August 5th, 2008

The Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI

Cuckold was a Detroit (well, North Corktown) band that played dirty, drunken rock and roll with a splash of swamp water, served up with a sneer that’d make Johnny Rotten cross the street. Guitar and vocals were handled by Mike Walker (Gravitar,Detroit City Council, Bogue), drums by Jake Wilson (Mule) and bass by Andrew Wainio. They released one digital single on the local Beehive Recording label, but split up this past spring when Mike moved to the Pacific Northwest.


Cuckold – MySpace Page
Next show: None
Download the show: Download the show: FLAC or MP3

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “Snow Cow” from this show.

Child Bite – 2008-04-12

July 25th, 2008

Fantastic Gusts of Blood CD Release Party – The Pike Room, Pontiac, MI

The guys in Child Bite know how to throw a party.

Although they have been playing songs from their latest album Fantastic Gusts of Blood for over a year now, the CD has just recently been released through the Suburban Sprawl label. Child Bite’s CD release show featured several people dressed in costume to represent the various creatures from the new CD, a hundred foam “#1” fingers, a raffle, and three hot new bands from Detroit and Cleveland.

I got there just into Detroit’s Blasé Splee – one of those bands that you have no problem telling people about how good they are, but have trouble when it comes to actually describing what they sound like. Their keyboard-and-guitar driven pop sometimes takes on a slight psychedelic edge and at other times teeters over the edge, but the sweet three-part harmonies always manage to hold it together. Their debut full-length should be available soon-ish.

Next up were Cleveland’s HotChaCha, a four-piece all-female band that reminded me a bit of Siouxsie and The Banshees or maybe The Long Blondes. Lead singer Jovana made several trips into the crowd, dancing and cavorting with members of the crowd, earning them several enthusiastic fans.

Third in the line-up was Friendly Foes, a side-project featuring Ryan Allen (Thunderbirds Are Now!), Lizzie Wittman (Kiddo) and Brad Elliott (Modernlull and many others). They’ve been receiving considerable notice for their radio-ready pop since their debut last year. Their debut full-length should also be completed sometime later this year.

Before Child Bite took the stage, Kaylan Mitchell (formerly of Canada) and Cassandra Verras (currently of The Silent Years) played a short instrumental intro, with the members of Child Bite joining them one by one before ripping into ‘The Rainbow Churn’. They continued to play all of the songs from the new album (although not in order) interspersed with the old favorites. While they played, the various characters from the album danced in the crowd and joined the band on-stage. At the end, Child Bite played an epic version of ‘Back to the Deep Egg’ as a large balloon “egg” was brought up as the stage was bathed in a green light, giving the whole a rather Lovecraftian vibe. The band brought the song down to a whisper as the crowd was prompted to sit on the floor, then brought it back up to a crescendo at the climax of which the balloon was popped and the show ended. The band, sweaty and smiling, stepped down to an exuberant crowd of friends, family and fans.


Child Bite – Official Site, MySpace Page
Next show – September 12, 2008 – The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI – 9:30 PM
Download the show: FLAC or MP3

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Listen to “I Like Friends” from this show.

Website hosted by Dreamhost and powered by WordPress.
Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright 2007-2008 SEMI-Live!. All rights reserved.
FireStats icon Powered by FireStats