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Wednesday, December 11,2013

Turn it Down

A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica
Verve Pipe at Charlotte Performing Arts - Sat. Dec 14

Not many Lansing bands have scored international hits and sold millions of records. The Verve Pipe scored now classic alt-rock hits, including 1996’s “The Freshman,” a No. 5 Billboard hit single on RCA Records. The single “Photograph” also scored heavy airplay and hit #10 on the charts. The band, which formed in East Lansing in 1992, performs Saturday at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center. In recent years the band has switched gears and focused on recording children’s albums. “A Family Album” was released in 2009 and “Are We There Yet?” dropped this year. Since 2003, Verve Pipe front man Brian Vander Ark (vocals/guitar) has also recorded a handful of solo albums, including the 2011 record, “Magazine.”

Saturday, Dec. 14 @ Charlotte Performing Arts Center, 378 State St, Charlotte. All ages, $37, $5 students, 7:30 p.m. (517) 541-5690, cpacpresents.com.


Jason Alarm reunion - Fri. Dec 13

Jason Alarm, a high-energy Grand Ledge pop-rock band, plays a reunion gig Friday at Mac’s Bar. The band, led by vocalist/guitarist Matt Waterman, played its farewell gig two years ago. Since then Waterman, the band’s chief songwriter, has concentrated on his current band, Decades. In its prime, Jason Alarm was known for its packed, fisting-pumping shows at local venues. The band, which also includes Kirk Mason, Pat Hogan, David Birdsall, Alex Rosendall, and Dave Hendrickson, had a distinct sound, heavy on shredding guitars and synthdriven rock. Its debut EP “Engage” earned fans far beyond the Lansing area, allowing the band to tour the Midwest three times. Opening the show are Wayne Szalinski, Smashing Blumkins.

Friday, Dec. 13 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave. All ages, $8, 8 p.m.


Frontier Ruckus at The Loft - Fri. Dec 13

Frontier Ruckus had a busy 2013. “It was the year of our double-album of 20 songs, ‘Eternity of Dimming,’” said Matthew Milia, the band’s songwriter. “It was a dense and indulgent work that I am incredibly proud of having made. We toured a good bit — went to Europe twice this year.” The band returns Friday to The Loft. Vocalist Anna Burch will perform with the band for the first time in four years. Opening are The Crane Wives and Gifts or Creatures. So what’s next for Frontier Ruckus? “We are currently in the midst of recording our fourth record," Milia said. "(It) directly opposes the context that ‘Eternity of Dimming’ established — shorter, hookier songs.”

Friday, Dec. 13 @ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $14. $12 adv., 7 p.m.


Dave Hardin at (SCENE) Metrospace - Fri. Dec 13

West Michigan roots-rocker Dave Hardin, the Grand Rapids-based songwriter, plays a mix of twangy country and bluegrass, with nods to the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll. Hardin spent years in the Navy; in his off time he’d strum his guitar at bars, bus stations and street corners. After his military days he worked a 9-to-5 job and helped raise his family. In recent years he’s focused heavily on playing shows, recording, and developing his storytelling songs. His 2012 album, “Miles of Nowhere,” was released via Ride Records. Opening the (SCENE) show is LeRoy Harvey and the Grand River Band, a local Americana group.

(SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., East Lansing. All ages, $5, 7:30 p.m.


Snap Johnson at Macīs Bar - Fri. Dec 19

Marcus Baldori, aka Snap Johnson, a local hip-hop producer, has a familiar name in the Lansing music scene – his father is “Boogie” Bob Baldori of The Woolies and director of the award-winning film, “Boogie Stomp.” Marcus Baldori writes, mixes and masters all of his recordings. In 2010 he delved into music with the defunct rap group Na Style Jaa, a “history-based rap group” with lyrics about the Civil War and other notable moments in America’s timeline. In 2013, he started the solo project, Snap Johnson, taking influence from hits songs by The Temptations and a variety of ‘90s acts. Opening the Mac’s Bar show are Goat Machine, The Funk Munks, 5th Wall Concept.

Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $8 adv., 9 p.m.

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