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Saturday, August 30,2014

Turn it down: Cheap Girls play free concert at Broad

Cheap Girls, DJ Ruckus, Hat Madder play free, outdoor show

by Rich Tupica

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Get ready for the second annual End of Summer Concert, a free outdoor show hosted by City Pulse, The Impact 89FM and the Broad Art Museum on the campus of Michigan State University.

The show’s headliner is Cheap Girls, a local group enjoying a little national acclaim. Other performers are DJ Ruckus and the Hat Madder, both fixtures in the Lansing music scene. The event which is on the lawn of the Broad Museum, is sponsored by Music Manor, Flat Black & Circular, Crunchy’s, Splash of Color and Goomba’s Pizza.

Cheap Girls released its fourth full-length LP, “Famous Graves,” in May. Since then the local power-pop band has been busy touring the country with the Hold Steady and Against Me!, as well as headlining its own gigs.

With a short break between tour dates, the trio finally gets a chance to play a release show on its home turf. Band members Ian Graham (bass, vocals), Ben Graham (drums) and Adam Aymor (guitar) graced the cover of City Pulse last month; Ian Graham, the band’s chief songwriter, talked about the new LP.

“The first record was recorded in four 17-hour days in a cabin,” he said. “The second record was done over a couple weeks on and off. The third one, ‘Giant Orange,’ we had about three weeks of studio time. On ‘Famous Graves,’ we spent 30 full days in the studio. It’s common, especially with rock bands, to just double things to make things full. This doesn’t have as many repeated sounds. There’s different instrumentation. There are more dynamics.”

Opening the show, and spinning music between bands, is DJ Ruckus, a veteran of the Lansing hip-hop scene. His trademark blond dreadlocks have been seen nodding to the beat behind the decks since the ‘90s.

“I started DJing around 1994,” Ruckus said. “I had been buying records and wanting to DJ since elementary school. I was mainly influenced by early b-boy electro and the Wu-Tang Clan.”

He’s performed across Michigan, New York and Chicago.

“I’m trying to not play too much locally,” he said. “It's very easy to play more than you should in such a small market. I'm trying to focus on more random stuff. I've been playing electronic bass/house/techno at Spiral and Mac’s Bar. I also play a couple times a month at the Nuthouse.”

For his set at the End of Summer Concert, organizers told Ruckus to go wild.

“This set is going to be a surprise,” he said. “I have some ideas, but it will be several genres. I appreciate the chance to do what I like with no expectations.”

The Hat Madder is a synthesizer-inspired rock band on the GTG Records imprint. The five-piece group, which is working on its fourth LP, echoes its classic alt-rock influences.

“We’re inspired by books and synthesizers,” said front man Isaac

Vander Schuur. “Everyone brings their own influences, but we meet in the middle with bands like the Pixies, Archers of Loaf, Afghan Whigs, Mission of Burma and Devo.”

Vander Schuur said to come prepared for a loud and ambitious show.

“We try to have a lot of fun with the audience and attempt a bit of face-melting,” he said.


The End of Summer Concert w/ Cheap Girls

Hosted by City Pulse, Impact 89FM and the Broad Art Museum 

5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 

@ Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (northeast lawn) 

547 E. Circle Drive, East Lansing

FREE broad.msu.edu

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