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Home Arts and Culture  Turn it down: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape
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Wednesday, May 11,2011

Turn it down: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica

You don’t need to leave Lansing to get into the Aloha spirit


Mighty Uke Day is a celebration of the joyful Aloha spirit
of the ukulele. The free event, taking place indoors and outdoors at
various locations in the heart of Old Town, will be hosted by organizer
and local musician Ben Hassenger Sr., who said he hopes to make this an
annual event. 


“I expect to have a couple of hundred ukulele players in
Old Town strumming their ukes and having a great time meeting and
playing with other ukulele enthusiasts,” Hassenger said.


The Uke fest will feature live music at Sir Pizza from The
Fabulous Heftones, Rachael Davis and more. Not to mention free ukulele
lessons at Elderly Instruments and multiple group strums with the
Lansing Area Ukulele Group (L.A.U.G.H.) and the Ann Arbor Uke Group.
Other activities include an open mic at Sir Pizza.


 A main focus
of the day is two showings of the acclaimed documentary “Mighty Uke: The
Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog.” Tickets to the film are $10.
Screenings will hosted by director Tony Coleman and producer Margaret
Meagher. Showings of the film are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the MICA
Gallery.


The full-length documentary details the recent revival of the ukulele worldwide. 


Hassenger said the cheerful vibe of the ukulele is what often draws musicians to the instrument.


“What I really love about it is the community spirit it
engenders,” Hassenger said. “You rarely see one person alone in a corner
playing a uke, it’s usually a group of people strumming along and
having a great time. That spirit is what the ’Mighty Uke’ movie
celebrates, and is a significant reason why the instrument has become so
popular lately.


"Times are tough for a lot of people right now, and the uke can help people rediscover the joy of life.” 

Mighty Uke Day schedule
Saturday, May 14
Old Town locations
10:30 a.m. - Noon — L.A.U.G.H. meeting, Sir Pizza, 201 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing
Noon - 3 p.m. — Open mic, Sir Pizza
Noon - 12:45 p.m. — Free beginning uke lesson, Elderly Instruments, 1100 N. Washington Ave., Lansing
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.  — "Mighty Uke" movie and commentary, MICA Gallery, 1210 Turner St.
4 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. — Rachel Davis, and many more, Sir Pizza
6:15 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. — Fabulous Heftones, Sir Pizza
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. "Mighty Uke" movie and commentary, MICA Gallery
Tickets to showings of "Mighty Uke" are $10; all other events are free.



One-man-band mixes punk and country at Mac’s


Joe Buck is a one-man-band who blasts through country-tinged punk-rock songs.


Playing drums with his feet, and holding a worn acoustic
in his hands, Buck’s primitive style captures the rawness of early
hillbilly music while delivering the ferociousness of punk.


Buck is the former guitar player for the Legendary Shack Shakers. He’s also recorded and performed with Hank Williams III.


Also set to perform is The Sawyer Family, a psychobilly
band from Eugene, Ore. The band melds rockabilly, metal, pop and blues
into one creepy package.


Viva La Fox will open the show. 


Saturday, May 14 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 and over, $10, 9 p.m.



Hordes of experimental bands at (SCENE)


Fans of Throbbing Gristle, Sonic Youth and Earth may want
to check out Hordes, a Lansing-based experimental/ industrial band
playing (SCENE) Metrospace Friday. The band has released a pile of
demented lo-fi cassettes and CD-Rs. Word is a new full-length may be
released on vinyl soon.


Also performing is Lansing-native Seagrass Diov. Now
living in New York, Diov will perform a homecoming set of his
synthesized pop gems.


Opening the show is Loop Goat, Jessica Arnold’s experimental solo project that blasts loops and oddball sounds. 


Friday, May 13 @ (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., East Lansing. $5, all ages, doors at 8 p.m.; music at 9 p.m.



Nadir brings progressive funky soul to Leroy’s


Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill will host Detroit area guitarist and vocalist Nadir (Jonah Nadir Omowale) and his band Saturday.


Nadir has received rave reviews for his high-energy
progressive songs since 2004, when he released his solo debut “Distorted
Soul 2.0.” The neo-soul album seamlessly blended elements of rock and
funk, which led to American, European and Canadian tours.  In 2001, a remix of his track “Slave” was a breakout track on Billboard’s Club Play charts.


Nadir’s second full-length, 2008’s “Workin’ For the Man” combined live and studio tracks. 


Saturday, May 14 @ Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill, 1526 S. Cedar St., Lansing, 21 and over, $5, 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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