Kesha Sparkles for Glitter-covered Fans at Sold-out Detroit Fillmore Show

Kesha sings about hope, authenticity and growth at The Fillmore Detroit.

Kesha’s latest album cover for “Rainbow” is reminiscent of ‘70s prog rock artwork.

The bejeweled flying saucers, pink-tinged planets and Kesha’s naked backside are quintessential images for a modern-day interpretation of a prog rock-inspired album cover for a pop singer-songwriter.

That’s what I love about Kesha. She takes a cool album art concept from the past and reimagines it for the present. It’s her vision for what truly lies on the other side of the rainbow.

Her colorful album cover nicely houses 14 raw, transformational songs that fall inside and out of the typical pop spectrum with rock and country influences.

Kesha performed 10 of her album gems – including “Learn to Let Go,” “Hymn,” “Godzilla,” “Bastards” (my favorite) and others – from “Rainbow” during a sold-out show at The Fillmore Detroit on Sunday.

Tons of fans (both male and female) dressed in colorful tops, dresses, leggings and tutus and drenched in glitter lined up in downtown Detroit to see their “Rainbow” hero. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much glitter in one place.

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5 Reasons to See Phoenix’s ‘Ti Amo’ Tour

Phoenix light up The Fillmore in Detroit on Oct. 11.

The first time I saw Phoenix live was during a snowstorm in December 2009 at the now defunct Clutch Cargo’s club in Pontiac, Mich.

Thomas Mars and his three bandmates – Deck d’Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai – captivated the sold-out crowd with songs from their 2009 smash, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” and officially established their reputation as a must-see live act.

They also reigned supreme as a coveted festival act with memorable appearances at Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza in 2009 and 2010.

By 2013, they had played the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center for their “Bankrupt!” tour, which didn’t feel like the right venue for the French indie pop band. Their sound and stage presence is much better suited for mid-size theater (2,000 or less) rather than a mini arena (9,500).

Last week, Phoenix recaptured the same magic of the “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” tour at The Fillmore in Detroit on Oct. 11 while promoting their latest album, “Ti Amo.”

I have to admit Phoenix’s performance was by far one of their best I’ve seen in years. Here are the five best parts I took away from last week’s show:

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Taking Career Advice from Father John Misty

Father John Misty reflects on his professional journey to becoming a musician at Royal Oak Music Theatre.
Toward the end of his two-hour set Tuesday night, Father John Misty hosted a mini Q&A session with more than 1,000 fans at Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, Mich.

He took one question from a woman crammed in the pit with other fans near the stage. She shouted, “How did you first get into doing this?”

Father John Misty paused for a moment and then answered matter-of-factly: “I started doing this because I was not good at anything else.”

His answer resonated with fans because it was honest and authentic. Unlike other artists, Father John Misty, a.k.a. Josh Tillman, is known for being real and direct.

Father John Misty, a.k.a. Josh Tillman
With a sardonic sense of humor, Father John Misty provides colorful commentary about life, politics, human connection and music through his latest album, “Pure Comedy.” I can’t help but laugh every time he gives a serious answer behind his sarcastic grin. His musings are just as entertaining as his indie folk rock.

Father John Misty continued to share his unconventional career path with fans: “I started as a dishwasher and then donated plasma for a long time, became estranged from my parents, played drums for a bunch of bands and then started taking psychedelic drugs, stopped doing psychedelic drugs, bought some really tight pants, so if you follow those steps in that order …”

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Sylvan Esso Owns the Night with Sunday’s Sold-out Show at The Crofoot

 

Amelia Meath, left, and Nick Sanborn electrify the Crofoot crowd Sunday night as Sylvan Esso.

Surrounded by thick smoke and neon lights, Sylvan Esso’s pulsating beats electrified a sold-out crowd at The Crofoot Sunday night in Pontiac, Mich.

The Durham, N.C. indie synthpop duo played a 75-minute danceable set featuring 16 songs from their 2014 eponymous self-titled debut and their latest album, “What Now.”

After opening with “Sound,” Nick Sanborn addressed the duo’s overdue stop in the Detroit area.

“Sometimes, when you’re in a band this thing happens where you put up any dates at all, and then inevitably, someone is like, ‘Come to Brazil,’ and you’re like, ‘It’s so hard to go to Brazil,’ so it’s a common band thing,” he said. “And the one place every time somebody says ‘Come to Detroit,’ you guys are like the only ones that get to complain. We’re so sorry, this has been a long time coming.”

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First Detroit LIVE at The Heidelberg Spotlights Growing Motor City Music, Art Scene

Rahbi Hammond, aka Rah the Son, pumps up the crowd at Detroit LIVE.

A blend of Motor City sunshine, art and music formed a new creative and collaborative vibe during the inaugural Detroit LIVE at the Heidelberg.

That vibe pulsated throughout Heidelberg Street as more than 2,000 attendees enjoyed family, friends, festivities, food and fun at the free Aug. 26 block party near the city’s iconic art installation.

“This Detroit LIVE event at the Heidelberg is a collaboration,” said Jenenne Whitfield, CEO for The Heidelberg Project. “It’s a celebration of all the cultures in the city of Detroit and of all the grassroots initiatives. I want a party in the middle of the street. I want to show Detroit how it’s really done.”

Donna Kassab, POWER Entertainment owner and Detroit LIVE creator, joined Whitfield to reflect on the event’s strong creative community.

“Everyone’s here to celebrate each other as well as music and art,” she said. “Let’s have some fun.”

Nine artists continued to spread that vibe musically as they showcased Detroit’s best hip-hop, techno, R&B, classical and indie rock before curious and engaged attendees.

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Saturday’s Detroit LIVE at The Heidelberg Celebrates Motor City Music

For three Detroit-based artists, the Motor City brings a promising musical future backed by a powerful legacy.

Clear Soul Forces, John Jammin Collins and Rah the Son will represent some of the city’s best musical talent and lead the inaugural Detroit LIVE at The Heidelberg Project Saturday.

Together, they’ll showcase emerging and established hip-hop, techno and other music during the free block party hosted by POWER Entertainment and The Heidelberg Project.

From noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at 3600 Heidelberg St. in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt community, attendees will hear seven other rising musical acts as part of the Detroit LIVE. There also will be an open mic session for other performers interested in demonstrating their talents.

“We want to build a sense of community while featuring Detroit talent and celebrating The Heidelberg Project’s 30th anniversary,” said Donna Kassab, a POWER Entertainment owner and Detroit LIVE creator.

Kassab is hosting the event in conjunction with Jenenne Whitfield, CEO of The Heidelberg Project, near the city’s iconic outdoor art installation. Detroit LIVE is part of Thirty Months of Heidelberg, a series of special programming in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of The Heidelberg Project.

The Stratton Setlist recently spoke with Clear Soul Forces, John Jammin Collins and Rah the Son to learn more about their music and upcoming performances at Detroit LIVE.

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Detroit LIVE to Showcase Local Music, Art at The Heidelberg Project on Aug. 26

A new block party will spotlight established and emerging local music at The Heidelberg Project in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt community on Aug 26.

The inaugural Detroit LIVE will feature performances by hip-hop artist Clear Soul Forces; DJ, producer and historian John Collins (Underground Resistance); rapper, DJ and visual artist Sheefy McFly; hip-hop artist Rah the Son and six other local acts.

Sound will be provided by the Audio Rescue Team. Detroit LIVE also will feature open mic sessions for other interested artists to showcase their talent.

Donna Kassab, POWER Entertainment owner and Detroit LIVE creator, has joined forces with Jenenne Whitfield, CEO of The Heidelberg Project, to host the free event near the city’s iconic outdoor art installation from noon to 8 p.m. at 3600 Heidelberg Street.

“The Heidelberg Project is one of the most visited cultural destinations in Detroit, so we wanted to bring a lot of people together around art to build a sense of community,” Kassab said. “Detroit LIVE is all about the spirit of collaboration through arts and entertainment.”

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