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Wednesday, May 2,2012

Turn it down

by Rich Tupica

Alternative Tentacles' band Thrall plays Mac's

Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles record label has released stacks of great albums from the likes of the Dead Kennedys (Biafra´s band), The Butthole Surfers, The Dicks, The Melvins, even Noam Chomsky.

Another band on that impressive roster, Thrall, takes the stage Thursday at Mac’s Bar, along with local openers Racket Ghost, Chaz Brackx & The Big Bucks and The Hunky Newcomers. Thrall, a Detroit-area band, is led by vocalist Mike Hard, a wild and eccentric frontman who’s also known for his previous work in God Bullies and Hand Over Head. God Bullies formed in the mid-1980s and released material with Alternative Tentacles, Sympathy for the Record Industry, and Amphetamine Reptile Records. Since the mid-1990s Hard has primarily focused on Thrall, releasing albums on Reptilian Records and Alternative Tentacles. This Mac’s Bar show also marks the debut of Racket Ghost, a Lansing-based lo-fi rock trio featuring vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Assaff, a former member of defunct area bands Dead Stream Corners and Space Brains Have Landed. Completing the Racket Ghost line-up are drummer Sarah Koliboski and bassist Corey Kellicut. 

Thursday, May 3 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 and over. $10, 9 p.m.

Never Shout Never at the Loft

Never Shout Never is an American rock band that initially started in 2007 as a one-man project from songwriter Christofer Drew (vocals/guitar), a native of Joplin, Miss. Drew rose to fame by posting songs on MySpace (back when people still used it). Drew’s original sound for the project had an emo/acoustic vibe, but the band’s most recent Sire Records album, “Time Travel,” went in a more experimental/psychedelic direction, complete with swirling synthesizers and some reverb. It was also the first album Drew recorded with a full band. Never Shout Never, which includes Taylor MacFee (bass), and Hayden Kaiser (drums, guitar), has released three albums and six EPs to date. The band’s fourth album, “Good Times,” is set to be released this fall. The band plays The Loft Tuesday, along with openers Koji (indie/punk from Harrisburg, Pa.), and Kurt Travis, the current singer of A Lot Like Birds and the ex-singer of Dance Gavin Dance. Rounding out the line-up is Bearcat, a Grand Rapids-based electro-rock band. Tuesday May, 8 @ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, $20 advance, $25 at door, doors 6 p.m.

Kings of Leon-approved Indie-pop

Whether The Features are opening shows for their pals in Kings of Leon, taking the stage at Bonnaroo or going on an indie DIY tour, the Nashville-based band hasn’t slowed down since it formed in 1994. Fans of the Manchester Orchestra may dig the band’s indie-pop-rock sound. On May 9, the band stops at Mac’s Bar. Opening the gig is local rockers The Hat Madder. The Features’ latest LP, “Wilderness,” includes tunes like “Another One” and “Fats Domino,” showcasing the band’s ability to mix pop ingenuity with vivid lyrics, catchy hooks, and experimental soul. “I feel like we walk this fine line,” said singer/guitarist Matt Pelham. “We’re not weird enough for a certain crowd and we’re a little bit too out there for the other crowd.” Nevertheless, the band caught the attention of the members of Kings of Leon; they signed The Features to its own label, Serpents & Snakes, back in 2009.

Wednesday, May 9 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, all ages. $10 advance, $12 at door, 7 p.m.

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