The Musical Side of Hell’s Half Mile

    icon Sep 11, 2014
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As Kenny Loggins will tell you when he wrote Caddyshack and The Verve Pipe’s Brian VanderArk will confirm after writing the song Colorful for the film Rock Star, the intersection between music & movies can be a lucrative one.  Apart from their workshop pulling together filmmakers and musicians on Saturday, Sept. 27th at the Delta College Planetarium at 2 PM, this year’s HHM Film & Music Festival continues a long-standing tradition of bringing cutting-edge musical talent from around the globe to the shores of the Great Lakes Bay.

On Thursday, Sept. 25 the music kicks off at Old City Hall with Jamaican Queens from Detroit. This sensory-stimulating trio deals in nuanced and trippy electro pop that is both catchy and experimental. Meanwhile, Friday, Sept. 26th the Rusty Saw on Washington Avenue will feature Hamtramck band Tart (if The Smiths, Daft Punk and Marilyn Monroe conceived a child and delivered it on the east side of Detroit with the Kills acting as midwife, that child might grow up to be TART) along with Toledo’s Silent Lions – a two-man outfit crafting together both a large and atmospheric sound that is decidedly distinctive.

Rounding out the bill is George Morris & the Gypsy Chorus along with headliners The HandGrenades. Since first playing an HHM Indie Music Showcase in July 2013, this group of melody-making ruffians has become something of a festival house band. They played the main music night of the fest last September and two more dates under the banner since then.

Saturday, Sept. 27th will witness The Masonic Temple Blue Room at Madison & 6th Street rocking from the rafters with groups like The Mud Suns from Chesaning, who claim they’re “raw, nasty and dirty, but with a glow that shines through the grime, as their name implies.’ Next on the line-up is Detroit’s Ponyshow, featuring the Von Bondles reincarnated progeny, composing three of the previous outfit’s members in a tweaked reconfiguration; followed in turn by Hollow & Akimbo – an Ann Arbor group that is getting raves for being both lyrically and sonically compelling in equal doses.

As for The High Strung, this is a band difficult to qualify, as they don’t snuggly fit into any subgenre. They just flat-out rock in punchy fashion, all crunchy guitars and rapid fire drums. Josh Malerman’s debut novel Bird Box was published by Ecco in May and they once went on tour performing exclusively in Michigan libraries. But don’t get the wrong impression that these guys are pretentious; on the contrary, they imbue their shows with a contagious sense of ramshackle fun. A staple of the Detroit scene for years, the band has a litany of albums to their credit, once infamously left their tour van on the steps of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is probably best known to area audiences for their ramshackle anthem “The Luck You Got”, used as the theme song for Showtime’s Shameless. To get a feel for them beforehand, check out albums Moxie Bravo and Get the Guests, great starting points for the uninitiated.

Also on the bill is Flint’s Tunde Olaniran, who brings a full-fledged interactive performance art exhibition to all of his performances combining a mélange of R&B, hip-hop, indie pop and electronica along with elaborate costumes, female backup dancers and synchronized moves.

Music Festival tickets for Music Night at the Masonic Temple on Saturday, Sept. 27th are $12 through Sept. 20th and $15.00 from Sept. 21 onward. Doors open at 7 PM for this event. For more information along with the schedule for Free Live Music happening both Friday & Saturday at The Populace Café and Electric Kitsch, see for times.

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