5 essential things to know about Common Ground 2014

Common Ground Music Festival
, which is entering its 15th year, will take place July 8 — 13 at Lansing's Adado Riverfront Park.

Alternative rock band Brand New, country singer-songwriter Justin Moore and '90s alternative rocker 311 are the currently announced headliners for Common Ground 2014, with more on the way.

The festival is still months away, but here are 5 things to know right now to get you ready for mid-Michigan's biggest music experience.

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Giving Back: Homeless Angels Benefit Part 2

BildeRemember the Homeless Angeles benefit concert that happened in March? Well, the show was such a success that they're doing it again.

The March show raised multiple boxes of food, clothes and $300 for Homeless Angeles, a non-profit organization in Lansing that helps people in need of food, shelter, closing, jobs and more.

The latest benefit concert takes place Saturday (April 19) at Think Live Music at 1200 Marquette Street in Lansing.

The Green Union, Really Cinematic Productions and Think Live Music will present the latest run. Expect performances from Modem Static, Mr Denton on Doomsday, Darling Down, Stepfather Gets Mohawk, DCR Experience, The Hot Mess, Amy Jo Roberts, Tyler Love and more. 

For more on the show, visit the event's Facebook page.

For more on the Homeless Angels organization, head to www.homelessangels.org.

Courtesy photo by Andrew Tebeau.


Breaking: Middle of the Mitten Festival Canceled

Middle of the mittenThe sixth annual Middle of the Mitten Festival has been canceled. The event, which was slated to take place this weekend, was canceled earlier this week "due to extenuating circumstances."

In a statement on the festival's official Facebook page, organizers say, “We want to thank The Record Lounge, The Pump House, and all the bands and volunteers for their support. Circumstances beyond our control played a large role in this difficult decision. Thank you again to everyone who has supported MOTM in the past. We are hoping for a bright future.”

For more information, visit the event's Facebook.



Middle of the Mitten Has Evolved into Three-Day Music Festival

14876_715081458536055_1133583000_nMiddle of the Mitten music festival takes place this weekend, offering three days of live jams straight out of Michigan.

The festival, which kicks off Thursday, April 18, features Michigan rock and folk bands, plus singer/songwriters, performing throughout Lansing East Lansing. Thursday’s show took place at the Record Lounge in East Lansing; Friday and Saturday's shows take place at the East Lansing Pump House.

This year’s lineup includes Nathan Allan, The Whiskey Pickers, The Hand Grenades, Off the Ledge, Brother Apollo, the Accidentals, Mike Vial and Life Size Ghost, to name a few.

Now in its sixth year, Middle of the Mitten has evolved from a small, one-night showcase to a three-day festival thanks to organizer and Michigan State University graduate Joel Heckaman. The festival has also contributed to the greater good with several charity events, including Jamming for Japan, a fundraiser for tsunami victims in 2011, and Rock for Relief: Dexter, a benefit for victims of the Dexter tornado in 2012.

For the full scoop, visit www.facebook.com/MiddleOfTheMitten.


Listening Party: Capital City Film Festival Offers Variety of Live Music

Music and movies? Sounds like a win to me!

The Capital City Film Festival happens this Thursday, April 10, through Sunday, offering just that: independent films, plus a string of great live shows are at Mac's Bar and the Loft in Lansing.

Fusion Shows has booked a wide variety of bands. Headliners include the Hard Lessons, Break Science, Dessa, Skaters, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Flint Eastwood (pictured above), Jucifer and Dan Croll.

Festival passes include entry to all concerts and films, so after you get your movie on, remember to keep the entertainment going with live music.

Stream a selection of Capital City Film Festival headliners below, and see you there!

How to go:

Capital City Film Festival concerts with Fusion Shows. Festival passes run $50 in advance plus charges via www.brownpapertickets.com and include entry to all concerts and films. Single day concert tickets are also available at the costs below via www.fusionshows.com.

Mac’s Bar shows at 2700 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing:

7 p.m. Thursday with the Hard Lessons, the Legal Immigrants and Goat Machine, tickets start at $10; 7 p.m. Friday with Skaters, Buddy & Bike and Dogs in Winter, tickets start at $9.41; 7 p.m. Saturday with Flint Eastwood, Decades, Squirrel Shaped Fish and the MS80, tickets start at $10; 7 p.m. Sunday with Jucifer, Cavalcade, Hordes and Failed, tickets start at $10.

The Loft shows (above Harem Urban Lounge) at 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing:

8 p.m. Thursday with Break Science and Geovybe, tickets start at $16; 7 p.m. Friday with Dessa, James Gardin and Quinn, tickets start at $15; 7 p.m. Saturday with Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, That Freak Quincy and Big Sherb, tickets start at $12; 7 p.m. Sunday with Dan Croll, Panama Wedding and Wayne Szalinski, tickets start at $12.

Courtesy photo.


Local Lounge: WKAR-TV's 'BackStage Pass' Airs Live Performances Every Friday

Phil Denny 2

“BackStage Pass” has new shows scheduled every week now through the season-ending  "Having a Ball: Best of Season 5" show on May 15. Other upcoming  performers include Simien the Whale, Phil Denny, Big Llou, Lowdown Brass Band, Kevin Nichols, Funktion and Someday, Someway.

This Friday's show (April 4) features Grand Rapids-based indie-pop duo Simien the Whale, featuring Tory Peterson and Zach Guy. Expect to hear cuts from their upcoming EP and songs from their 2012 self-titled debut release, recorded live at Albert White Auditorium in East Lansing. For this show, Rob Jordan will perform on guitar and Greg Liceraga on drums.

Smooth urban jazz favorite Phil Denny will take the stage on April 11. The Lansing-based saxophone player is climbing the jazz charts with his latest album, "Crossover." The "BackStage Pass" performance was recorded live at Lansing JazzFest in Oldtown, Lansing, in August of 2013.

The show airs 9 p.m. Fridays on WKAR-HD, 1 a.m. Saturdays on WKAR-HD and 8 p.m. Saturdays on WKAR World. The show features Michigan musicains performing live, in front of a studio audience.

For more on BackStage Pass, visit www.wkar.org/programs/backstage-pass.


Mayhem Festival: Avenged Sevenfold, Korn to Headline DTE Energy Music Theatre

Mayhem fest posterEveryone knows that Mayhem Festival is the summer tour to hit if hard rock and metal is your taste. Since I fit that bill, I always look forward to Mayhem Festival and find that the lineup is usually packed with both radio rock bands and niche acts that make for one intense show.

The 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival lineup is out, and this year’s festival will feature co-headliners Korn and Avenged Sevenfold, as well as performances from Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Miss May I, Emmure, Mushroomhead, King 810, Erimha Veil of Maya, Texas Hippie Coalition, Darkest Hour, Ill Nino, Body Count, Upon a Burning Body, Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Wretched and Islander.

Mayhem Festival’s Michigan date is July 17 at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich., by Detroit. Tickets for Mayhem go on sale starting at 10 a.m. local time Friday (April 4).

For more on the festival, visit Mayhem Fest’s official website.

2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Roster:

07/05 -- San Bernardino, Calif. -- San Manuel Amphitheater
07/06 -- Mountain View, Calif. -- Shoreline Amphitheater
07/08 -- Auburn, Wash. -- White River Amphitheatre
07/11 -- Phoenix, Ariz. -- Ak-Chin Pavilion
07/12 -- Albuquerque, N.M. -- Isleta Amphitheatre
07/13 -- Denver, Colo. -- TBA
07/16 -- Maryland Heights, Mo. -- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
07/17 -- Clarkston, Mich. -- DTE Energy Music Theatre
07/19 -- Noblesville, Ind. -- Klipsch Music Center
07/20 -- Tinley Park, Ill. -- First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre
07/23 -- Saratoga, N.Y. -- Saratoga Performing Arts Center
07/24 -- Mansfield, Mass. -- Xfinity Center
07/26 -- Burgettstown, Pa. -- First Niagara Pavilion
07/27 -- Hartford, Conn. -- Xfinity Theatre
07/29 -- Darien Center, N.Y. -- Darien Lake
07/30 -- Wantagh, N.Y. -- Nikon Theater at Jones Beach
08/01 -- Scranton, Pa. -- The Pavilion At Montage Mountain
08/02 -- Camden, N.J. -- Susquehanna Bank Center
08/03 -- Bristow, Va. -- Jiffy Lube Live
08/05 -- Atlanta, Ga. -- Lakewood Amphitheatre
08/07 -- Oklahoma City, Okla. -- Oklahoma Zoo Amphitheatre
08/09 -- Dallas, Texas -- Gexa Energy Pavilion
08/10 -- The Woodlands, Texas -- Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion


Twitter Find: Matt Guntrip, 'First Cut'

Image (2)When I first joined Twitter, I didn't ever think I would be meeting great people from all over the world on a social network known for 140-character messages. In fact, I was just trying to get my friends to join, so I knew someone else on Twitter!

Fast-forward a few years, and it's amazing how many great people – including many musicians and music fans – I've had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter.

Matt Guntrip, a singer-songwriter based out of the United Kingdom, is one of the music makers I've met on Twitter (@MG_7_9). Imagine my surprise when I opened up my mail a few weeks ago and found a package from Guntrip, sent right from the U.K., with a copy of his new album, “First Cut.” The album features laid-back rock tunes with a distinct '80s alternative flavor.

Stream the full album via www.cdbaby.com/cd/mattguntrip. The album is also available digitally and in CD format at CD Baby.

For more on Matt, visit hit website at www.mattguntrip.com.

If you're on Twitter, follow me at @AnneErickson and tweet your music to me!


Weekend Riff: Rock Warrior Bobaflex Back in Michigan

BOBAFLEX Press Photo 1 (high res)
Bobaflex might as well call Michigan their home away from home.

The West Virginia-based modern rock band have played pretty much every club venue in Michigan, including the Machine Shop in Flint, Planet Rock in Battle Creek and the Shelter at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit.

Their last show was in January at the Shelter, and already, the guys are back in Michigan, this time in Lansing for a gig Friday at the Loft. Openers include adrenachrome., St8 of Mine and Faultered Step.

Bobaflex is out in support of its latest full-length, “Charlatan’s Web.” The album's current single, "I'm Glad You're Dead," is gaining major traction on rock radio and current sits inside the Top 35.

“It's always a growing process when going into a new record. This was no different,” Bobaflex bass player Jerod Mankin recently told the LSJ. “We have played and made albums together for so long we can almost finish each other's thoughts. I think that came out on this one. It's a very complete and hook-filled monster. We swung for the fences on this one and I believe we achieved our goal.”

Online: www.theofficialbobaflex.com



Yeah Yeah Yeahs Drummer Brian Chase at Broad Art Museum with Thollem/Chase

Thollem-chase-dub-narcotic-session-na-cd-016_mainHave you heard of garage punk darling Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Yeah you have. The New York-based rock trio broke out in the early 2000s and is still super hot, with its current album, 2013's "Mosquito," landing at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Brian Chase, drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is in town for a show Friday (March 28) at the education wing of the Broad Art Museum. Chase, who is also a member of the New York City improvisation and experimental scene, will perform with pianist and composer Thollem McDonas as Thollem/Chase. Expect to hear songs off the duo’s upcoming album “Dub Narcotic Session,” which features a blend of punk rock and vintage free jazz.

Show details: Thollem/Chase, piano and drums, 7:30 p.m. Friday (March 28), Broad Art Museum, 547 E Circle Drive, East Lansing, 884-3900. The show is free and open to the public.

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