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Home Arts and Culture  TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape
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Wednesday, August 5,2009

TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

Tiger Beat

by Rich Tupica
Tiger beat


Lansing’s Ambush of Tigers is playing one final local show before permanently relocating to a virtual Mecca of indie music.

The band will play its CD release show at The Small Planet on Thursday, Aug. 6, along with Theme & Variation (Lansing) and The Captain’s Daughter (Michigan folk-rock). The new album is called “Amen, the Thunder Bolt and the Dark Void,” and will later be released on vinyl with an extra track.

Soon after the show, the band members will begin packing for their new home in the Pacific Northwest. “We wanted to move to a place that’s more conducive to live music,” said guitarist Zach Dilday. “We started looking into Portland, Ore., and really liked it. I went out there to visit for a week and fell in love with it.”


Acting as home to such acts as Modest Mouse, The Shins and The Decemberists was motivation enough for the six-piece band to pack up and head out to where its niche genre is plentiful.

Before Ambush of Tigers (who have been playing shows since March), Dilday, along with band mates Stephen Loomis and Chris Hall, played together in a Lansing folk band, The Hallows. While living together, the three started talking about getting out of mid-Michigan. “We all really wanted to move, and we have some connections out there, so we decided to do it.”


While the details are still to be determined, the band is confident things will fall into place. “We have a house to crash at once we get out there; that’s just kind of how we work,” Dilday said. “We’re not worried. We’re just packing up our things and going.”

Dilday said what attracted him the most to Portland is the city’s documented support of music and art. “Portland is very supportive of the local arts,” he said. “I mean, the city’s motto is ‘Keep Portland Weird.’ Once a month they have an art fair that takes over half the city. Also, people there go to shows to see new bands, even if they’ve never heard them.”


Ambush of Tigers music is a perfect fit for the Sub Pop-inspired sound that inhabits that part of the country.

It’s a style that requires a group effort.


Loomis, who plays bass, co-writes many of the U2 and Radiohead-inspired songs heard on the band’s upcoming CD. “Brandon and I both write lyrics,“ Loomis said. “One line might be his, one might be mine. It’s a two-headed monster.”


Writing as a team has lead to many of the band’s off-kilter lyrics coming from rhythms and chords structures. “The music inspires the lyrics,” Loomis said. “Whatever is happening in the room, that kind of brings it out. Overall, we write about things that mean something personal to us, but [it] isn’t obvious to those hearing it.”


16800 Chandler Road, East Lansing. 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 for 21 , $8 for 18 , www.thesmallplanet.info.
To hear the band, visit: http://www. myspace.com/ambushoftigers


For all of you vinyl record hounds, The Record Lounge recently merged with Scavenger Hunt, a hip vintage clothing store at 503 E. Grand River Ave., in downtown East Lansing. Now folks can buy trendy threads and a pile of LPs in one stop. Read next week’s Turn It Down for the full story.

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