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.”

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Folk Implosion — Adventures with Vultures’ Matt Sauter Gets Introspective on New ‘Junction’ EP

Matt Sauter, aka Adventures with Vultures

Matt Sauter found his folk after a painful breakup.

The 25-year-old folk rock singer-songwriter, who’s known as Adventures with Vultures, switched from making hip-hop music after his then girlfriend told family and friends that he played guitar and sang.

“She wasn’t a big fan of me making rap music,” Sauter said. “She would always tell her family and parents that ‘He’s a singer, he plays guitar and sings.’ When she broke up with me, it really hurt, so I said if she wants to tell everybody that I play guitar and sing, then I’m going to play guitar and sing.”

Two years later, Sauter officially entered the folk rock world with the release of his new Adventures with Vultures EP, “Junction,” in October on Original 1265 Recordings. Named after a street in Plymouth, Mich., “Junction” represents a rite of passage for Sauter as an individual and a musician.

“There’s like a handful of us, me and my buddies, we all actually have JCT tattooed on us, so there’s a little brotherhood with these kids that I grew up with, and they’re still my great friends,” he said. “I wanted to make this project for these kids who had been around me since we were 6.”

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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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Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie Prove Musical Bonds Never Break at Detroit’s Fox Theatre

Christine McVie, left, and Lindsey Buckingham perform at Detroit’s Fox Theatre on July 2.

It was time to leave, but something kept me there.

I turned around to catch a final glimpse of Mick Fleetwood. He saw me, smiled and blurted out, “Lindsey and Christine are going to tour this year. You should go see them!”

“I will!” I said. My emphatic response was my way of promising Fleetwood.

Fleetwood shared the perfect parting words as Brian and I left the reception room at the Hilton Austin Hotel on March 15. We had traveled to Austin to see Fleetwood discuss his upcoming book, “Love That Burns – A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac,” at SXSW.

After the session, we attended a private reception hosted by Genesis Publications to meet Fleetwood and receive his autograph. It was a true honor to meet one of my five musical heroes.

Fleetwood’s comments were in reference to a recent announcement about Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie teaming up for a new album and tour as a duo.

I left the room smiling because my musical hero had ended the conversation on the right note — encouraging me to see the other members of Fleetwood Mac in concert was utterly perfect. For years, it felt like I had known Fleetwood. In that final moment, it felt like he knew me.

Four months later, I was ready to attend not one, but two Buckingham McVie shows – July 2 at Detroit’s Fox Theatre and July 6 at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

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