Preview: Music-Con: The Comic-Con of Michigan Music

Music-Con is an event sponsored by The Center for Campus Involvement, The Ark and the University of Michigan’s own, student-run, musical performance organization: New Beat Happening.
Sunday, October 21st, 12:00pm-4:00pm (FREEEEEE!!!!)

This event is for students who are interested in learning more about the music world through workshops on Demo Listening, Talent Buyer and Agent Forum, How to Get and Promote Gigs, a Song Writing Workshop, Street Marketing and Social Media as well as a Panel of local arts talking on “Being the Artist.”
Active members of the Michigan music scene lead all of the workshops. The keynote speaker for this event is Eric Morgeson; founder, producer and engineer at Studio A (
Other workshop leaders hail from The Blind Pig (, The Ark (, Radio hosts, iSPY magazine (, and others.

This event takes place on Sunday October 21st 2012 from 12-4pm in the Michigan Union.

Registration is open to all students until Tuesday October 16th.

Register at:

(if it is after Tuesday the 16th and you are still interested in registering go to: to find updates on registration)

Please come and absorb the wisdom of these incredible human beings for the furthering of your musical and personal success!

11:30am-12:00pm Registration Check In – Michigan Union, 2nd Floor

12:00pm-12:45pm Keynote Speech: Eric Morgeson, Founder, Producer and
Engineer at Studio A
Eric tells us how he got to where he is today owning and operating a recording studio, and the lessons he learned along the way.

1:00pm-1:45pm How to Get and Promote Gigs: Get insider tips on forging through
the local scene to book successful gigs. These experts have worked
in many areas of the industry and offer up-to-date advice.
w. Susie Giang, Vice President and Agent at Fleming Artists and Joe Choma, Owner and Talent Buyer for Grand Circus Media

Talent Buyer and Agent Forum: Have questions about the talent buyer vs. agent relationship? Want to know more about this as a career? This panel discussion will give you the chance to ask questions.
w. Mike Green, Agent for TG2Artists, Adam Bauer, President and Agent at Fleming Artists, Anya Siglin, Programing Director at The Ark, and Jason Berry, Talent Buyer for The Blind Pig

Demo Listening: Demos submitted at the session are listened to, and then our experts provide a to-the-point discussion on what they are hearing and what music execs listen for in a demo.
w. David Siglin, Former Director of The Ark, and Rob Reinhart, radio host at WDET and Acoustic Café

2:00pm-2:45pm Street Marketing and Social Media: From flyering to Facebook,
this meeting explores the trends in marketing and social media.
w. Tim Adkins, Bro-Founder of Pakmode Media + Marketing, and Publisher of iSPY, and Matthew Altruda, Radio Host for Ann Arbor’s 107.1FM Treetown Sound and Marketing Event Coordinator for Sonic Lunch

Songwriting Workshop: Get creative and start writing some songs. This workshop provides guidance in getting your music on paper.
(speaker TBA)

Being the Artist: A discussion with local artists about making a name for yourself, creating albums, being a role model and more.
w. Dante LaSalle, Hip Hop Musician and Deejay
(other artists TBA)

2:45pm-4:00pm Trade Show: Featuring live music, a raffle for Ark tickets and local
vendors offering information about their music related products
and services.

All sessions will be located in the Michigan Union.

Here’s how to have your best conference experience:
· – Make sure you arrive to register between 11:30am-12:00pm so you don’t miss any of the keynote speech by Eric Morgeson!
· – You can choose 1 session to attend from 1:00pm-1:45pm and 1 session to attend from 2:00pm-2:45pm.
· – There will be a 15 minute break between each session to go to the rest room, check your cell phone, grab a snack or ask the speaker a one on one question.
· – The sessions will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. So go to your desired session first, and if it is at capacity, we will ask you to choose another session.
· – Planning to attend the demo listening workshop? Bring your personal demo in on CD for the chance to have your demo critiqued by the experts.
· – Planning to attend the songwriting workshop? Bring a pen and paper.
· – This conference is for you to build your knowledge about the music industry, so make sure you ask questions of the speakers during the Q&A portions of the sessions.
· – Don’t miss out on the trade show at the end of the conference. There’ll be more time to mingle with the speakers, check out local vendors who offer music related products and services, live music and a raffle for a chance to win tickets to The Ark!

PREVIEW: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Several years ago, Alex Ebert was lost and confused; previously a hard-partying member of the band Ima Robot, he left the band, broke up with his girlfriend, moved from his house and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. That was when Edward Sharpe, a messianic figure sent down to earth to heal mankind, was born.
The band was created by Ebert after he sketched out the character of Edward Sharpe and met Jade Castrinos in downtown L.A. Shortly after, they began touring the country in a giant white bus, meeting fellow musicians and having them join for the adventure. Besides for singing songs about 40 day dreams, setting your spirit free, and celebrating life, the band also loves charismatically dancing around stage, creating a cinematic experience while belting out gospel-like vocals. Their most popular song, “Home,” is often performed while Ebert and Castrinos joyfully jump up and down – Ebert usually clad in all-white.
After a cancellation of their May 29 show, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will be playing September 25 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. The small venue will not only showcase their fun, quirky, and hippie-esque performances, but the theatre is perfect for their exuberant and layered sound.
Tickets can be purchased through the following link:

PREVIEW: F.O.K.U.S Vanguards

F.O.K.U.S Vanguards

If you are strolling through the Diag this Saturday, April 14th, you will see something like a circus taking place. A velcro wall, a bicycling, skateboarding, and bedazzling stations, throwback food, live music, live artwork, and, of course, lots of dancing. The student group F.O.K.U.S (Fight Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success) is holding its 8th Annual Vanguards Event. Music by Maimounna Yousef and other fabulous performers will be sounding from the Diag from noon to 5pm, so be sure to walk by and add a little flavor to your Saturday. I attended last year and had a celebratory time being creative and collaborating with other students who were excited about creativity and social justice through the arts.

F.O.K.U.S. strives to create and foster a diverse community by using the arts as a common medium.
We encourages artists, art enthusiasts, and other communities to work together and expand their comfort zones
through arts-related events and dialogues; we provide inspiration for artists to follow their dreams,
for perspective artists to attempt an art and for audiences to enjoy it all through our productions. F.O.K.U.S. events
attract artists and audiences from all walks of life as we see this inclusive nature as the only way to truly grow and
develop as a community. Since 2003, F.O.K.U.S. has been creating exciting spaces for people to explore themselves
and widen their appreciation for the arts.

art is…what unites us.

For more information, check out their website and Facebook event. See you there!

Photos from last year’s Vanguards

REVIEW: Ann Arbor Folk Festival Ryan Adams

Friday, January 27th was the first night of the 35th annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival. The Hill Auditorium was sold out, but many people didn’t arrive until about half-way through the night, as there were 7 performers total, not including Heywood Banks, the MC who entertained the crowd in-between bands with comical songs and cheesy jokes. My favorite was the “Toast” song, where he banged on a toaster like a drum and sang about how great toast it! Sometimes really silly humor is fun and refreshing.

The first performer to take the stage was Sunny War, a beautiful African American woman with incredible skills in her clawhammer, banjo playing style of playing the guitar. Her sound was delicate and airy, with a bluesy tone. Her voice was very girly and pretty, with an element of old-hollywood simplicity and elegance. Her songs were very calming, and I really enjoyed listening to her.

Second to perform was the band Elephant Revival, who reminded me a bit of the contemporary bluegrass group Nickel Creek. They had a very full-sounding band, and often sounded very rustic and traditional. I loved the strings, and that their songs often built in intensity over time. The vocals were beautiful and breathy, a nice contrast to the full-sounding band. They performed an a capella song as the last in their set, about a raven, that was absolutely beautiful and breath-taking.

The David Wax Museum was next to perform. The band members wore much more modern dress than Elephant Revival, and had a much tinnier, less full sound. The band has a Mexican-folk sound, and they used a unique addition, a saxophone, in some of their songs, unusual in my conception of folk music. I felt that some of their songs were a bit too loud–not one of my favorite bands being showcased that night. But one of the great benefits of attending the folk festival is having the opportunity to be exposed to artists that you are unfamiliar with, so nonetheless I enjoyed experiencing their music for the first time.

Next to take the stage was a band called Carbon Leaf, a group of older men who reminded me a bit of a folk barbershop quartet, as they all stood in a tight circle throughout their performance, beginning their set with an a capella piece, in which their voices were beautifully in unison. Aside from the beautiful opening piece, however, I can’t say their music was my cup of tea.

A band called Dawes was next to perform, the last band to perform before the intermission. They were a bit too rock n’ roll for the folk fest, in my opinion. They had a full band with electric guitars, drums, and a piano. Their songs were quite repetitive and the droning drum beat made me sleepy!

After the intermission, Devotchka took the stage, a Denver band with a Russian name. This band was very unique, with each song having a much different sound. At times it reminded me of Fiddler on the Roof, others I felt like I was being serenaded by a Mexican band–I also wrote down that their sound sometimes reminded me of a Jewish wedding, that song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and sometimes even of bands like The Boxer Rebellion or Coldplay. Despite the variety that caused a bit of confusion for me, their sound really began to grow on me and I found myself looking up their music online after the concert. The band did seem to play for a bit too long, however. The other bands that were not headlining only played for about 30 minutes each, while Devotchka played for over an hour, which seemed to be a bit unfair. By the time RyanAdams, the headliner for the evening, took the stage, I was pretty worn out.

Finally, Ryan Adams ended the evening with an incredible acoustic performance. He was not what I expected–his songs are so beautiful and sensitive, but in person he dressed like a rocker with medium-length dark hair that falls in front of his face, hiding his face throughout the performance, and skinny jeans with Converse shoes… Not what I expected. His humor was also a bit different and weird at times–he joked about dinosaurs and smoking weed. But his music was beautiful! He played a lot of his hits, switching between acoustic guitar and piano on several occasions. He sounds just perfect live–I was very impressed. His performance was far too short–it seemed that most of the crowd was there to see him, but we all had to sit through four hours of other bands’ sets in anticipation. By the time Ryan Adams took the stage, unfortunately I felt quite restless and tired from sitting for so long.

This was my first folk festival experience, and I have to admit I’m not sure that I would go again… I would certainly recommend that you go and experience it once, because it really is a unique opportunity to see a lot of great bands in one night, and it is the biggest music event of the year here in Ann Arbor. But the Hill Auditorium was not the most conducive setting for something like a folk festival. I imagined the festival being a very laid-back event where you come and go as you please, and it’s loud, and exciting, and people get up and dance and enjoy the music, take pictures and sing along. But none of this happened. The Hill imposed a lot of rules on the event, like no getting up to come or go during a song, no photography, no standing in the aisles… We were forced to sit in our incredibly cramped seats for five hours. No one took pictures, (except quickly and secretly so no one notices!) no one sang along or got up to dance the entire time. And in the end, the audience clapped and cheered for an encore to no avail. Then we all went home. It really was much too quiet and boring, really stuffy for a music festival. I would love to see the folk festival move to a different location that is freer, possibly even outdoors during the summer. I think the atmosphere would have made a big difference in improving my overall experience of the festival.

REVIEW: Bang, Click, and Falala

Last night, I went to an outstanding benefit show for Appreciate + Reciprocate, a group of scholarship students who work to raise money to provide more scholarships to those in disadvantaged positions. The performance involved four groups and lasted a very appropriately-designated hour. GROOVE, RhythM Tap ensemble, 58 Greene, and the Harmonettes joined forces to put on a truly awesome display of passion, music, and energy that was well worth my $7.

First of all, let me just say I am the biggest fan of GROOVE there is. Okay, no, I’m sure there are greater fanatics than I, but seriously, GROOVE is the best thing ever. And I’ve seen STOMP, a similar world-renown group that makes instruments out of garbage cans and broom sticks, but GROOVE brings that youthful energy I think STOMP greatly lacks. They left me on the edge of my seat, wanting more after their three or four songs were over. I’m so there for their spring concert.

I’d never seen and/or heard of the group RhythM Tap ensemble, so seeing them for the first time was really awesome. They’re synchronization and athletic abilities were a marvel. I’m totally going to keep an eye out for their future performances.

58 Greene. Why did you choose those songs? Some oldies mixed with who knows what; honestly, I love the a cappella groups on campus and I am a huge fan, over all, of 58 Green and they’re work. However, this performance was simply not their best. I’m sure their concert will be better, and maybe it was just a weird staging, but I was not a big fan of their work last night.

The Harmonettes, on the other hand, were a huge success. I would say that it was one of their best performances I’ve seen. The soloists were talented, but not overbearing, and the song choices were fun, upbeat, and varied enough to hold my attention.

Wintry Mix was a huge success and I’m so proud of my friend who worked diligently to put on the show. The LSA Emergency Student Aid Fund is such an outstanding cause, working to “pay forward” the due respects they’ve earned through their scholarships to attend the University of Michigan. I’ll be sure to look out for any other future events of theirs.

PREVIEW: Wintry Mix by Appreciate and Reciprocate

Hello friends, nothing to do this Friday night? At 8pm, come support a wonderfully musical presentation featuring multiple groups on campus sponsored by the group Appreciate and Reciprocate. Appreciate and Reciprocate is “a community of Michigan scholarship students devoted to enriching the cycle of giving from which they’ve benefitted” ( With a sort of “pay it forward” mentality, they work to raise money for the LSA Emergency Student Aid Fund to help Michigan students stay enrolled after experiencing unexpected and difficult circumstances. One of my close friends is part of Appreciate and Reciprocate, and she ensures me that this event is going to be a ton of fun. So come out, enjoy, and support a great cause helping out your fellow students.

Tickets are between $7/$8 and its 8pm-9pm on January 27th. Location TBA – see website later in the week.