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The Leon Loft concert series is Ann Arbor's intimate hideout for great music

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 9:00am

Spoon at The Leon Loft

Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel from Spoon played The Leon Loft on Aug. 1, 2017. Photo courtesy of The Leon Loft.

Although it's far more polished than your average basement club, The Leon Loft still boasts the same hush-hush cool that surrounds a good underground venue. You likely won't just buy a ticket to see a show at the venue on the second floor of Leon Speakers' custom audio business adjacent the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport. In addition to hosting various private events, the Loft's signature offering is its ongoing free concert series hosted by Acoustic Café's Rob Reinhart. The series has presented an eclectic mix of over 30 artists including Michael Franti, Fitz and the Tantrums, and City and Colour. The concerts are broadcast live on 107.1 FM and archived online in video form, but to catch one live you'll have to win tickets on 107.1. 

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Natural Process: Hydropark expands on its hypnotic sound for a new EP

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 9:00am

Hydropark band photo

Hydropark blurs the lines between hypnotic 1970s German rock and 1980s British post-punk. Photo by Elliot Bergman.

Evolution is real, but it's usually something that's out of view, the process hidden over the course of many years. But the Ann Arbor group Hydropark evolved before our ears -- and quickly.

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Art & Performance: Joseph Keckler returns to Ann Arbor as a multifaceted star

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:15am

Joseph Keckler

Joseph Keckler in Alyssa Taylor Wendt's feature film/video installation HAINT.

Joseph Keckler is a writer, artist, actor, musician, and singer with a three-octave range, and he often blends all those talents while creating his art. Because of his multidimensional skills, Keckler is frequently called a performance artist, which is fine by him.

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Synthcity: U-M professor Anıl Çamcı creates a virtual universe with sound

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:00am

Anıl Camcı

Anıl Çamcı is a builder, but the materials he uses aren't wood and nails. The assistant professor of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan creates worlds from soundwaves, constructing sonic cities with software and synthesizers.

This is Çamcı's first year teaching at U-M, coming from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Laboratory and, previous to that, Istanbul Technical University's Center for Advanced Studies in Music. But he's already managed to rework some of his compositions to take full advantage of the Chip Davis Technology Studio, a multimedia lab funded by the U-M grad and Mannheim Steamroller founder.

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Nairobi Nyatiti: Kamba Nane at Ziggy's in Ypsilanti

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 10:30am

Kamba Nane

Ziggy's is a cafe, performance space, and arcade in downtown Ypsilanti that has hosted an appealing wide range of concerts ever since it opened in August 2017, from experimental jazz to hip-hop and indie rock. Most of the performers have been local, but on Friday, Feb. 2, Ziggy's goes international with Kenyan musician Kamba Nane.

Nane plays an eight-string nyatiti, a plucked lyre associated with the Luo people of Kenya. Traditionally the nyatiti is played alone, accompanied only by the player's singing and percussion items attached to his feet. But the Nairobi-raised Nane takes a modern approach to the instrument, playing in groups of all sorts, from jazz to electronica. At Ziggy's, Nane will be accompanied by the RAKA Ensemble, featuring Dave Sharp on bass and percussionists Abbas Camara and Lamine Souma.

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Tangled Dreams: Jim Cherewick exhibition at Ferndale Library

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:00am

Jim Cherewick, two paintings

Some art exhibitions are carefully curated to represent a theme or mark a period of time in an artist's working life. Other exhibitions are based on practicalities, such as Ypsilanti artist Jim Cherewick's show at the Ferndale Area District Library.

The paintings there are "whatever I haven’t sold yet or to show before the owner buys it," he said via email. "Mostly watercolor and ink drawings I’ve been painting lately."

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John Prine, Aimee Mann & more shine at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 9:00am

Aimee Mann

The day after playing the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Aimee Mann's album Mental Illness won the Grammy for Best Folk Album.

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Lift Every Voice: "Out of the Silence" honors African-American classical artists

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 10:00am

Out of the Silence collage

Clockwise from top left: William Grant Still's music will be played by pianist Leah Claiborne, Ivalas Quartet, and harpist Patricia Terry-Ross.

William Grant Still didn't write his three-part suite "Ennanga" in 1956 to be performed on the Ugandan harp for which it's named. But it's telling that Grant, one of the most important African-American classical composers of the 20th century, chose to name this gorgeous piece after an instrument from the motherland but have it performed on the more common European harp, alongside piano and a string quartet. He was blending musical inspirations from two far-away continents into a uniquely American sound.

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Surreal Songs Say So Much: Platonic Boyfriends

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 12:00pm

Platonic Boyfriends

Left to right: Isaac Levine, Noor, and Klayton Dawson are Platonic Boyfriends.

Have you ever heard a band and just been confused?

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Live Review: Best Exes and Human Skull at Mittenfest

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:00pm

Human Skull and Best Exes

Human Skull (left) and Best Exes were two of 21 bands who helped raise money for 826Michigan last month at the three-day Mittenfest.

Dec. 29, 2016