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Home Arts and Culture  Turn it Down: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape
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Wednesday, February 2,2011

Turn it Down: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape

by Rich Tupica
Johnnie Bassett

Legendary guitarist Johnnie Bassett hits Leroy’s


After meeting blues master Uncle Jessie White at a record store on Detroit’s Hastings Street — then the hotspot for blues in the Motor City — Johnnie Bassett never looked back. On Friday, he will perform with a full band at Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill.


In the 1950s, he formed the Bluenotes with pianist Joe Weaver, which led to gigs with John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown and Eddie Burns. He also played in the house band for Detroit’s Fortune Records label, where he recorded with Detroit legends Nolan Strong & the Diablos and Andre Williams. Bassett also spent time at Chess Records in Chicago and played on the first sessions by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, resulting in the single “Got a Job,” a response to “Get a Job” by the Silhouettes.


During a stint in the military, Bassett jammed with a young Jimi Hendrix while in Seattle. He also later backed up Ike and Tina Turner and Little Willie John. By the end of the ‘60s he was back in Detroit, recording the blues. Since then he’s been nominated for five W.C. Handy Awards and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Blues Society in 1994.


Today, Bassett continues to record and play frequent gigs. Opening the show is the Powerlight Band, a Lansing funk/pop/soul band with a sound Kool & the Gang and Earth, Wind and Fire fans might appreciate.


Friday, Feb. 4 @ Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill, 1526 S. Cedar St., Lansing, 21 and over, 9:30 p.m., $5




Apocalypse now at Mac’s Bar


The apocalyptic-themed thrash metal of Wastelander hits Mac’s Bar Feb. 10. The Lansing band is known for mixing black metal and punk into one evil sound. Fans of Celtic Frost and Motorhead may want to check out the band’s debut LP, “Wardrive” on Planet Metal Records.


Word is that the band is recording new material over the winter. Opening the show is Borrowed Time (Detroit metal) and Failed.


Thursday, Feb. 10 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, 18 and over, 9 p.m., $5




(SCENE) Folk Fest showcases Michigan songwriters


In celebration of the thriving Michigan folk music community, Earthwork Music and Fox on a Hill will host the 4th Annual (SCENE) Metrospace Folk Festival, a twoday event. The concert will be held at (SCENE) Feb. 12 and 13.


Friday’s performers include The Photographers, Steve Leaf and Ryan Anderson, Nervous But Excited and Jen Sygit & Sam Corbin. Saturday will feature Doug Mains, Gifts or Creatures, Small Houses and Chris Bathgate. Earthwork Music is a local artist collective that promotes original Michigan-made music in hopes of raising both community and self-awareness.


Friday Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12 @ (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., East Lansing. All ages. Doors open at 7 p.m.; music at 8 p.m. $10 each night.




Southern rock, psych-rock and indie folk at The Loft


For those who dig southern rock, Lansing’s Dirt Road Logic, led by Eric Kelly, may be worth looking into. The band is playing Feb. 11 at The Loft. Despite a rotating lineup, the band has continued to pack houses and release albums since releasing its debut album in 2006.


Headlining the show is Nathan Kalish & the Wildfire, a Grand Rapids-based Americana/psychedelic rock band. Also taking the stage is Jack Grendle & the One Armed Bandit (East Lansing indie-folk/country) and Cat Midway (Lansing folk, one-man-band).


Friday, Feb. 11 @ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. 21 and over, 9 p.m., $7 for 21 and over, $10 for 18 and over.


Saxophonist Wessell Anderson stops at Leroy’s


Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson, a Lansing-based jazz saxophonist, is a Professor of Jazz at Michigan State University and has appeared on almost a dozen albums with Wynton Marsalis. On Feb. 12, he will perform live at Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill.


After touring and recording with Marsalis, the Brooklyn native released his debut album, “Warmdaddy in the Garden of Swing,” on Atlantic Records in 1994; Eric Reed and Ben Wolfe were among his sidemen. His 1998 release, “Live at the Village Vanguard,” featured jazz giants Irvin Mayfield, Steve Kirby, Xavier Davis, and Jaz Sawyer.


Saturday, Feb. 12 @ Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill, 1526 S. Cedar St., Lansing, 21 and over, 9:30 p.m., $5


If your band has an upcoming show, post it at www.facebook.com/turnitdown

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