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Home Arts and Culture  TURN IT DOWN: A Survey of Lansing's musical landscape
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Wednesday, August 19,2009

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

Punk rock stimulus: BMP keeps Lansing moving through hard times

by Rich Tupica

Lansing may have a dark economic cloud hanging over its abandoned industrial buildings, but Skotty Bell, 23, says that won’t stop Bermuda Mohawk Productions (BMP) from showing the city a good time.


Bermuda Mohawk is a local record label and booking company Bell helps operate along with fellow label head Cale Sauter (a sometimes City Pulse contributor). Since forming five years ago, the pair has worked tirelessly to host rock shows.



Saturday, Aug. 22, will be no different
when the label mates host the second annual Bermuda Mohawk Fest, an
all-ages rock show featuring a handful of carefully selected bands.

“There is an extremely eclectic lineup this year,” Bell said. “The Phenomenauts (Oakland,
Calif.) are a space-rockabilly band; they are all about space and being
astronauts. Their van looks like a space station. They have matching
uniforms and helmets. Even their microphone stands look like space
station parts. Last time they played in Lansing, they had a big planet,
and it blew up and shot confetti everywhere. There was a lot of fog.
It’s an amazing show.”


On the other end of the spectrum is Austin Lucas, a true Americana-folk and country artist also playing BMP Fest. Jon Snodgrass (vocalist for Drag the River), Empty Orchestra (Flint), La Mono and The Revolt (members of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) and local favorites the Cartridge Family, Cheap Girls and To Fear the Wolf round out the lineup.

Bell
said the label started booking shows out of necessity.


“No one else was
doing it, so we went out and created it ourselves,” he said. “As far as
the shows are concerned, it gives a voice to kids and bands in the Mid-
Michigan area; it fills a void.”


While Bell and Sauter may handle the
bulk of the business matters, a supporting cast of contributors to the
label, such as local artist Craig Horky (poster/ sleeve designs) and an
array of local band members help bring shows and records to fruition.

Thanks to support and hard work, the label has independently released nearly 40 albums and singles on CD and vinyl.

Hosting late shows and early, all-ages shows, BMP has steadily grown a grassroots following of local punks and music lovers.

“They
are surprised at how it’s such a viable and vibrant music scene here in
Lansing,” Bell said of concert-goers. “Kids are pretty loyal to what we
do, because they know exactly what we do, and why we do it. They know
every band we book has the same punk rock aesthetics they do.”


Originality and quality is also what Bell attributes to the success of
the label.

“The people that come to our shows are forced to
listen to something brand new and interesting,” he said. “It’s about
uncompromising integrity in what’s being said, played and conveyed to
the audience.”


Mac’s Bar, 2700 E Michigan Ave. Doors at 4 p.m. $12. All-ages. For more information Visit: http://bermudamohawkproductions.com/

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