Turn it down!

Rockin’ Robin

REO Town venue turns up the volume


While Michigan Avenue is Lansing’s hotspot for live music, it’s important to remember the smaller listening rooms in other neighborhoods. One of those, the Robin Theatre, has been a fixture in REO Town since 2015. The 90-seat space hosts an eclectic mix of performances, from folk and hip-hop music to sketch comedy, poetry, book signings, plays and more.

Here are a few upcoming shows on the venue and bookstore’s schedule.

May 25: Roochie Toochie and  the Ragtime Shepherd Kings

7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show

$20 in advance, $25 at the door

Based in Abita Springs, Louisiana, the dynamic Roochie Toochie and Ragtime Shepherd Kings doesn’t stick to the typical guitar/bass/drums setup. The outfit delivers fancy fiddling, dueling Hawaiian guitars, ukelele wizardry and flashy lap-steel guitar. Topping it off is a menagerie of toy instruments, vocal harmonies and other sonic surprises. In 2013, the band formed in a joint effort to fulfill the members’ shared dream of recording an entire album on a wax cylinder, and they never looked back. From there, Roochie Toochie transformed its recorded discography of antique novelty tunes into a whimsical, nationally touring stage show centered on dynamic showmanship. All of this will be on display Thursday (May 25) at the Robin Theatre.

June 4: Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet

2:30 p.m. doors, 3 p.m. show

$15 to $21

Recognized by critics in JazzTimes magazine, the Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet mines the globe for infectious world-music rhythms and textures. The group’s energetic batch of original compositions and progressive jazz sounds are executed with instruments like the oud, a fretless stringed instrument; violin; electric bass; synthesizer; and world percussion. Led by bassist and composer Dave Sharp, the Worlds Quartet explores musical traditions from Turkey, Egypt, Ukraine, India, Bulgaria and Greece. Luckily, on June 4, locals can witness a matinee performance in REO Town.

June 8: Rachael Davis solo show

7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show


Multi-instrumentalist Rachael Davis is renowned for her expressive, explosive voice, backed by her folk-blues-country-pop hybrid music. As a member of several groups, like The Sweet Water Warblers, Davis is a beloved figure in Michigan’s folk-music scene. Still, her upcoming show at the Robin will be an intimate solo gig that spotlights her longtime passion for the craft of folk music and performance — which started at age 8. 

“I was learning everything I could get my hands on,” Davis recalled. “And when I was 17, my father gave me his Bart Reiter banjo and taught me to play clawhammer style. I like to joke that cursed me for life.” 

Today, Davis lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, critically acclaimed bassist Dominic John Davis, who performs with the likes of Jack White. The harmonious couple performs together as The Davis Duo.

June 14: Joshua Davis solo show

7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show


In 2015, millions of viewers fell in love with Joshua Davis after he placed third on NBC’s “The Voice,” but Lansing folks had been loving the troubadour for years before that. With the band Steppin’ In It, Davis performed every Monday at The Green Door. The group ended that popular, decade-long stint in 2014, but Davis didn’t slow down. He’s since kept busy recording and touring solo and with a trio. In 2019, he issued his “Live at the Robin” album, which pares his songs down to their emotional, musical and lyrical roots. In between are scattered stories and banter that further unveil his stellar songbook. If you’d like to see him back on that same stage, grab advance tickets for the June 14 show because this one is expected to sell out.


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