City Slang: Hamtramck Music Festival is Go!

March 7, 2014
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It should come as no surprise that the Metro Times had a presence at the Hamtramck Music Festival on Thursday night. This is significant event, perhaps the most significant music event in March. We’re delighted that it’s happening, delighted that March has a festival to celebrate the end of hibernation, and delighted that the first night, at Small’s, went off without a hitch.

In fact, we managed to navigate our way around the place without being spat on once (to our knowledge), and with no insults aimed in our direction. Result.

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The music was entertaining. Pupils has former Marco Polio & the New Vaccine man Steve Puwalski in its ranks, and he’s pretty much picked up where he’s left off, performance-wise. Musically, the electronic noises have been replaced by a full band, including a violist who makes some truly beautiful, terrifying noises. Puwalski claimed that the band wrote the songs a week before the show. It’s probably true too – the man is a non-conformist machine.

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Kickstand Band played next, a band that has sounded great on record for a while. The live performances are catching up. They still look a little stunned, like they’re surprised to be up there at all. Like, somebody told them they were going out for a curry, and they found themselves on stage at Small’s. But they’re fast finding their feet, and the vibe of mild naivety is actually quite refreshing. They don’t really want to do anything, no agenda, other than play these great songs to some people. Job done, and done well.

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Atoms + Ease is a great addition to the night because the band is so different to what preceded it. Funky R&B with a hard rock edge, the three musicians in the band are all killer (the guitarist was particularly cool), and the female singer, while maybe not gifted with the best voice in the world, is enthusiastic enough to make it all more than a little enjoyable. Yeah, she grabs lyrics from other songs a LOT (“Annie are you ok, are you ok Annie,” and “Shake it like a Polaroid picture”), but the band has so much with it, who cares?

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Cosmic Light Shapes took an eternity to get ready, and by the time they got started the main room had nearly cleared. Not to worry – people gradually made their way back in while the trio got warmed up. They were alright too – a slightly psychedelic edge on straight forward rock ’n’ roll anthems. Although, not nearly as psychedelic as the name suggests, despite all the red lights.

So there you go. We went to the HMF opening night, and had fun. Good job, fellas.


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  • Disquis

    better than blowout will ever be…