I can’t remember the first show I saw at the Ark, but as a budding teenage songwriter, the Ann Arbor folk venue became an influential place for me. When I was 15, my parents would drive me from Brighton to go and play at the Ark’s Wednesday open mic nights. My songs were awful and I was usually the only one there who had to go to high school in the morning, but the other musicians were always kind to me and I ended up meeting several friends I’ve kept to this day.
Many open mics later, they rewarded me with a couple of opening slots during my senior year of high school. My songs were still pretty awful, but I’d learned a bit more about stagecraft at that point and was regularly playing my own shows at local coffeehouses nearly every weekend. Eventually, the Ark moved to its current location in the heart of Main Street and I became more immersed in the rock scene. Over the years, I still made occasional Ark appearances on tribute nights, sat in with other acts, and played there at least once with Great Lakes Myth Society.
Last month, out of the blue, I picked up a random mid-week opening slot at the Ark and was then offered my own headlining show on Friday, March 14th. It came as a surprise to me and my mind wandered back to the excitement I used to feel trying out new songs in the Ark’s receptive environment. Many career twists and turns later, I’m proud to be playing my first headlining show there. Supporting me on this bill are my friends Gifts or Creatures, a wonderful duo from Lansing I met a few years ago.
My talented colleagues State Park will be backing me up for about half the show and much like the old open mic nights, I’ve got a handful of new solo songs to try out as well. Thanks once again to the ever-creative Jenny Harley for her wonderful concert poster.
Here’s one from the vaults. Great Lakes Myth Society, 2008, the Chat Room Pub in Fort Worth, TX. The photo was taken by our friend, tour mate, and occasional driver Doug Coombe.
It’s been two years since our last show and it was almost two years before that one. Tonight, we celebrate 10 years of spirited rock and camaraderie with a rare anniversary appearance at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit.
Three top-shelf bands that we know and love will acts as headliners 1-3, then we’ll take our turn at what is presumed to be a sweaty, beer-soaked, throat-shredding, sold-out Friday night gig.
Happy birthday, Jen Harley and thank you for making this gig happen!
There are many rules," said Gilbert. "On Christmas Day, wear a gray sweater with a red tie and drink Bloody Marys. On Easter Sunday, wear a blue suit with an ochre tie, again drinking Bloody Marys, but interestingly, omitting the celery. If after visiting your mistress you feel remorse, and your mistress asks what’s on your mind, say ‘You are on my mind.’ When you answer the phone and the call is for someone else, do not clamp your hand over the mouthpiece while summoning the intended party. Look everyone in the eye at all times, and don’t look first into the right eye, then the left, and so on, for this is disconcerting. On Arbor Day, drink gin. Keep an orderly toolbox, and do as much of the work around your home as possible, and when you hit your thumb with the hammer, it is perfectly acceptable to say ‘Goddamn it all to hell,’ but beyond this you must not go. If your thumbnail proceeds to turn dark blue, wear a houndstooth suit and switch your wristwatch to the other hand, thus preventing your injury from calling immodest attention to your wristwatch.
Like John Steinbeck said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Come to Trinity House Theatre on Friday, January 1oth and together we can appreciate the epic crest of snow that has settled on Southeast Michigan in this new year. I’ll be joined on stage by piano baron Patrick Herek. Muskegon native and New York settler Ian Link will open the show.
Another great festival supporting 826 Michigan and another classy poster from artist Jenny Harley. I’m glad to be a part of this one. State Park… we play at 7pm right in the middle of a bunch of other great bands.