Detroit-Area Live Music
March 14, 2005 5:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm wondering where one can go in the Detroit area to hear live music, specifically jazz, lounge or alt-country. If responses could provide a parking/dress code/vibe snapshot, I'd be grateful.
posted by boombot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
If you consider Ann Arbor the Detroit area, there are a bunch of really good venues. The Blind Pig is famous for blues, jazz and "alt" types of any kind. This is a 'wear an old t-shirt and jeans and drink a lot of Old Grandad' kind of place, but not patronized by frat boys or any of the annoying kinds of college types.
posted by spicynuts at 6:25 PM on March 14, 2005

There are a lot of places in Ann Arbor. Firefly Club for Jazz, the Ark for folk/ alt-country. The only one I have personal experience with is The Blind Pig, mentioned above by spicynuts.
Check their calendar to find what you're looking for. The atmosphere of the place varies w/ who's playing, but generally, yes, an old t-shirt would be completely appropriate. Mainly "hip" bands play there these days, but you'll find everything. I think Mason Jennings is coming soon.
There's a parking ramp across the street that is typically filled on weekend nights, but street parking can be found w/in a couple blocks. You can park in my driveway if you want- just a few blocks away.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:03 PM on March 14, 2005

Baker's Keyboard Lounge on Livernois and Eight Mile in Detroit is America's oldest jazz club. You can also get good soul food there. The dress code? I'd dress reasonably nice. The vibe? People eating, talking, listening to jazz, smoking. Pretty relaxed and not an avant garde audience necessarily.

As for Ann Arbor, by the way, it's infamous around here for having a 'dress down' dress code. I can't think of a restaurant where you'd look really weird in jeans. Maybe the Gandy Dancer on Sunday (I've never been).
posted by Slothrop at 7:25 PM on March 14, 2005

Also, the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti I've heard described as 'the last place in Washtenaw County where you could get in a bar fight.' They have some weird, innovative acts - that guy who sings with a motorcycle helmet on was there a few years ago.
posted by Slothrop at 7:26 PM on March 14, 2005

Sorry to be a bit off-topic, but if Slothrop's talking about Bob Log III (who performs while wearing a motorcycle helmet with a pay-phone receiver attached to it), check him out -- in Michigan or anywhere else. Very high up on the "what the hell is this?" meter.

Can any Michiganders (specifically Ann Arborites) confirm whether or not there was ever a club in A2 called the Orbit Room?
posted by AJaffe at 6:37 AM on March 15, 2005

AJaffe..I've been in AA for about 30 years now, can't recall an "orbit room", but there is evidently a place by that name in Grand Rapids.

And... a word of caution about the Elbow Room... One of my offices is about two blocks away, and I've avoided it (the Elbow Room, but I tend to avoid that office as well) since about 1969... don't be there late...
posted by HuronBob at 7:28 AM on March 15, 2005

Thanks, HuronBob. Disappointing, as it further shoots down the myth of King Uszniewicz and His Uszniewicztones.
posted by AJaffe at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2005

There are some wonderful free music festivals in Detroit. My favourite is the Concert of Colors down in Chene Park every summer. (Info for 2005 isn't on the web page yet.) Technically, they do world music, but one gets a little of everything down there, and it is a really good time.

Taste Fest used to be good for blues, but they got rid of the blues stage. They have a jazz stage, but the bands I've heard there haven't impressed me. The spring art fair in New Center still has some blues sometimes.

The Detroit Blues Society has concert listings. The web page is a bit amateurish, but they are good people, and open to answering questions.

Can't help on other kinds of jazz, alt-country or lounge, sorry.
posted by QIbHom at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2005

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