Crystalized – The xx’s ‘I See You’ Tour Sparkles at Detroit’s Masonic Temple

Romy Madley Croft performs with The xx at Detroit’s Masonic Temple Tuesday night.

Seven mirrored panels rhythmically twisted and turned along to the shimmering sounds of The xx Tuesday night at Detroit’s Masonic Temple.

The pillars served as the reflective backdrop for the London-based indie pop trio’s brilliant 17-song set before nearly 4,000 fans.

Fans enthusiastically welcomed The xx back to Detroit after nearly a four-year absence and grooved to the illuminating, electronic tunes from the band’s current album, “I See You.”

The xx kicked off their 80-minute set with “Say Something Loving,” the latest single from “I See You,” and morphed into “Crystalized” from their 2009 debut, “xx.”

Continue reading “Crystalized – The xx’s ‘I See You’ Tour Sparkles at Detroit’s Masonic Temple”

POWER Surge — Motor City Talent Agency Hosts Launch Party, Prepares for Detroit LIVE Music Festival

POWER co-owners Kelly Adolph, far left, and Donna Kassab, fourth from right, gather with members of SIAS and Quantum Split during the April 20 launch party at CLUBHAUS Detroit. Photo by Brian Stratton

A new talent and events agency is powering up Detroit’s arts and entertainment scene.

Known as POWER Events | Entertainment, the Detroit-based agency hosted a launch party April 20 at CLUBHAUS Detroit to showcase emerging music, modeling, acting and athletic talent in the Motor City.

About 200 guests attended the launch party hosted by POWER co-owners Donna Kassab and Kelly Adolph and watched a fashion show featuring models wearing casual, modern styles with a bohemian flair from UnitedFront. Draped in hues of gold, cream and light blue, models sashayed down the runway to dance and hip-hop tunes spun by Detroit-based DJ Kobra Kinney.

Attendees also munched on appetizers by Detroit Catering Company and JusNCredible Eats and drank Hawthorne Vineyards wine served Brut Detroit and signature cocktails by Top Shelf Bartini.

“We received positive feedback about our plans to bring more events and entertainment to the city,” Kassab said. “I kept hearing, ‘thank you, this is so fun.’ There was a lot of excitement in the room.”

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Local Natives Summon Spirit of Fleetwood Mac in ‘Tusk’ Cover

 

Kelcey Ayer performs with Local Natives at Royal Oak Music Theatre on March 31.

Local Natives know how to properly channel the primal energy of Fleetwood’s Mac “Tusk.”

The Los Angeles-based indie rock band recently covered “Tusk” as part of Spotify’s “Music Happens Here” video series, which highlights how “local culture has inspired music throughout history” and kicks off with an inaugural 26-minute episode about Los Angeles.

“To say Fleetwood Mac has a huge influence on our music is a bit of an understatement,” the band wrote March 21 on their Facebook page. “As part of a new Spotify series called Music Happens Here, we covered Tusk in the same room, same studio as Fleetwood Mac covered it.”

I was elated the moment I read those words on Local Natives’ Facebook page. If you’re a Fleetwood Mac fan, then it’s not stretch to like Local Natives’ music, which features lush harmonies, adventurous percussion and multiple singer-songwriters.

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‘An Evening with Dawes’ – Indie Folk Rockers Play First Headlining Show at Kalamazoo’s State Theatre

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes performs Saturday night at Kalamazoo’s State Theatre.

 

Dawes is quickly becoming one of our favorite bands.

Brian and I made the 90-minute trek to Kalamazoo, Mich. last night to see the Los Angeles-based indie folk rock quartet play two powerhouse sets at the State Theatre for about 1,000 fans.

Called “An Evening with Dawes,” the 2.5-hour show served as the band’s first headlining performance at Kalamazoo’s historic 90-year-old theater and included 25 songs that spanned their eight-year career.

The show is part of Dawes’ current 51-city North American tour and most recent album, “We’re All Gonna Die,” which came out in September.

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Tennis Revives 1970s Dream Pop at March 10 Ferndale Magic Bag Show

Tennis’ Alaina Moore performs at The Magic Bag in Ferndale.

This past Friday, I returned to the 1970s.

My visit was brief – about four and a half hours – but I traveled through the shimmering, dreamy soft rock tunes of Denver-based indie pop band Tennis.

Tennis created a 1970s sonic feel by featuring pre-show music from Hall & Oates, Minnie Riperton, Bob Welch and other artists from my favorite decade.

Led by wife and husband duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, Tennis played a sold-out show to an energetic crowd of 400 at Ferndale, Mich.’s The Magic Bag, one of my favorite music venues in southeast Michigan.

In a sense, Friday’s show also served as an informal release party for Tennis’ fourth album, “Yours Unconditionally,” which dropped that day and features a 1970s-inspired pop sound. The album’s cover includes a faded close-up shot of the duo that’s reminiscent of 1970s era vinyl album covers.

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King Arthur’s Reign — Blind Guardian, Grave Digger Fall Tour Pays Homage to Legendary Ruler

Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his second post for The Stratton Setlist about the Sept. 20 Blind Guardian and Grave Digger show at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Mich.

King Arthur, the Once and Future King, briefly returned to the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Mich. on Sept. 20.

He didn’t come from England, but instead arrived from Germany accompanied by bards singing of his deeds. In this case, the bards were power metal bands Blind Guardian and Grave Digger.

Grave Digger's Axel Ritt, left, and Chris Boltendahl sing about Excalibur at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Mich.
Grave Digger’s Axel Ritt, left, and Chris Boltendahl perform at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Mich.

Together, Blind Guardian and Grave Digger told their mystical King Arthur stories through power metal, a subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by melodies, speed and rousing choruses and lyrics inspired by fantasy, mythology and history.

It’s like taking the music of Iron Maiden or Dio from the early ‘80s and combining it with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Power metal flourished from these musical roots in the mid-1980s and has thrived in Germany and other European countries ever since.

Back in Pontiac, the night opened with Grave Digger, led by the charismatic Chris Boltendahl on vocals. Boltendahl took us through a setlist of songs that celebrated heavy metal culture, the rebellions of the Scots against the English, witches and hangmen.

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The End – Black Sabbath Tour Returns to the Beginning before Bidding Adieu

Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his first Stratton Setlist blog post about Black Sabbath’s final Detroit area show in Clarkston, Mich. Wednesday night.

Black Sabbath displays “The End” tour logo.

“Is it the end, my friend?” sang Ozzy Osbourne during the opening song of Black Sabbath’s final show in metro Detroit.

Sadly, it was the end, but it’s hard to say goodbye, especially to old friends. Six years ago, I had to say goodbye to Ronnie James Dio, and last year, I most likely said goodbye to Rush. And now it was time to say goodbye to Black Sabbath.

I’ve been a fan of Black Sabbath since middle school. My brother had introduced me to Led Zeppelin and Rush, and I loved them both, but Black Sabbath was the first band I had claimed as my own.

They felt like a secret that my friends and I shared, and we had fun exploring and debating the different lineups. Was Ozzy era Sabbath better, or the Dio material? What about the Tony Martin incarnation of the band?

The truth was I loved all the lineups. Black Sabbath was like a saga that kept going on and changing over time, and they never disappointed.

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