Friday, October 24, 2008

Michigan at CMJ

Last night I went to see some of my favorite Michigan bands at Union Pool. First up was Canada, who I hadn't seen before and had been wanting to see for a while. It seemed like a majority of the audience was also from Michigan, which was great because people were belting along to Canada's songs, which really emphasized the collaborative feeling of the band. It also helps that they rotate instruments and roles fairly frequently, so there isn't really a frontman or anything. I really enjoyed their performance and was glad I finally got to see them.

Next up was Chris Bathgate with an incredibly large band behind him, which was very different from the time I saw him play solo. I have to say I like him a great deal more with a band behind him. The fullness of his music really comes out when he has a band to play with, as opposed to just a looping pedal (as good as he was at utilizing that, it's just not the same as having 8 people on stage with you playing live).

Lastly (or well, lastly for me because I had to work in the morning so I left before the last band) was Frontier Ruckus, who came with their new album in tow. They were wonderful as usual. Gotta love any band that has a banjo and a saw. I'm very pleased with their new album, "The Orion Songbook," which has most of the songs from their old self-released EP, plus many new songs and a record label behind them (no longer does the album come in a DIY paper packet but in a real CD case). The setting felt a little less intimate than when I saw them at Living Room, but I still enjoyed their performance immensely and this time I could even sing along because I knew some of the songs.

The other great thing about the night was that the same faces came off and on stage all night - everyone was collaborating with each other and rotating roles. It's really great how everyone seems to really care about each other and about their music.

More photos here.

Look to the Trees [mp3] - Canada - "This Cursed House" (iTunes)
Every Wall You Own [mp3] - Chris Bathgate - "A Cork Tale Wake" (iTunes)
Adirondack Amish Holler [mp3] - Frontier Ruckus - "The Orion Songbook" (

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