‘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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Thanks, Mom and Dad – My Parents’ Early Appreciation of The Beatles Finally Rubs Off

I used to think The Beatles were overrated.

While growing up, their name popped every time I read about my favorite artists’ musical influences, listened to “best of” musical countdowns on the radio or watched a documentary about the history of rock and roll on TV.

My parents raved about The Beatles during their early college days at Ohio University in 1964-1965. The songs “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Eight Days a Week” served as the soundtrack of their transition from youth to adulthood.

Anytime The Beatles were mentioned, my parents fondly recalled dancing to their songs at college mixers, watching them play on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and getting excited about the British Invasion.

Over the years, my dad and I would have this recurring conversation:

“Dad, Were The Beatles really that big of a deal?”  I asked.

 “L, They were a big deal. Everything changed overnight here when they played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ Before The Beatles came here, all that boring folk music was popular. That stuff put me to sleep,” he said.

 “I still don’t get it,” I said while shaking my head in disbelief. “I guess I had to be there.”

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‘Magnificent (She Says)’ – Elbow ‘Little Fictions’ Opening Track Fuels New Personal Journey

There’s something “magnificent” about Guy Garvey’s voice.

It soothes my musical soul and provides a lush sonic backdrop on a warm Saturday afternoon in mid-February.

Garvey’s voice quickly transports me to a faraway land with purple majestic mountains stacked against the horizon and an azure blue sea crashing up against the beige sand that’s massaging my toes.

This is the mental image I conjure in my mind while hearing “Magnificent (She Says)” by British alternative progressive rock band Elbow.

The first single from Elbow’s seventh album, “Little Fictions,” sets the scene for a 4.5-minute “head-trip” filled with love, hope and personal growth.

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‘Troix’ – Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner Announce Eclectic Lineup for Third Installment of Eaux Claires

Justin Vernon, left, and Aaron Dessner perform during a Day of the Dead celebration at the second Eaux Claires festival in August 2016.

It’s time to return to the river in June.

The Stratton Setlist will attend the third installment of Eaux Claires, a two-day music festival curated by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner.

Known as “Troix,” the Eau Claire, Wisc.-based music festival announced its eclectic lineup of musical legends, indie rockers and emerging artists Thursday for the June 16-17 event at Foster Farms along the Chippewa River.

The lineup includes Bon Iver presenting John Prine & The American Songbook, which will feature several special guests paying tribute to country/folk singer-songwriter.

Another festival highlight will include Paul Simon collaborating with chamber ensemble yMusic to reinterpret his iconic songs with contemporary classical music.

The lineup also features Feist, Sylvan Esso, Wilco, Tweedy, Chance The Rapper, Danny Brown, Perfume Genius, This Is The Kit and more.

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‘Rumours’ – Fleetwood Mac’s Blockbuster Album Doesn’t Stop 40 Years Later

Fleetwood Mac's 2013 reissue of "Rumours."
Fleetwood Mac’s 2013 reissue of “Rumours.”

My mom retreated to her bedroom to unearth a classic rock album from her 1970s era vinyl collection.

She flipped through the dusty Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon and Eagles albums to locate Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours.”

There it was. The original copy she had purchased when I was a baby.

She quickly grabbed the album and brought it downstairs to play during a family listening party one night in April 1987. She plopped the album down on my grandma’s large wooden stereo system, which featured a 1972 era record player inside and was adorned with large golden knobs.

My brother, Steve, and I requested the listening party after picking up a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango in the Night.” We wanted to hear the band’s mega hit album from a decade earlier in its entirety.

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‘Sainthood’ – Tegan and Sara Indie Pop Gem Still Sparkles 7 Years Later

Tegan and Sara perform on Oct. 26 at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Mich. during the “Love You to Death” tour.

Editor’s Note: Brian Stratton writes about one of his favorite Tegan and Sara albums from the Canadian sisters’ catalog.

We all have a certain song or album that we associate with a band. It might not be the artist’s biggest hit or a critically acclaimed release, but nonetheless it strongly resonates with you.

That is the joy of music, finding a way to personally connect with the art and discovering your own meaning behind it.

For me, I can’t think about Canadian sister duo Tegan and Sara without their 2009 album “Sainthood” crossing my mind.

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