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Archive for January 27th, 2008

The Motor City Sidestrokers!

Sunday, January 27th, 2008


On Friday, Brian and I (The Fabulous Heftones) played a shared show with The Motor City Sidestrokers. We did not know about this band before Ben Hassenger of Stage 1210 paired us. Wow, what a perfect combination it was!


I was quite complimented by hearing that the members of this band had heard of us… we have only once played in the metro Detroit area, and that was for a Banjo festival. Yet musicians move around the state relatively freely and these folks had heard of us from musicians I regard highly… and have not yet met personally. Cool.


Why is it that folks thought we should meet? Why should it feel like a great match? Well, we really do music that is of the same era, the same country, but with different focus. Our music is the pop music from mostly the mid-to-late 1920’s, which came mostly from New York City. It was the music on the radio during that timeframe.

They play a lot of music that our other band (now mostly defunct), Abbott Brothers, played. It’s mostly jug band, speakeasy, back room sort of music. Also the late 1920s and also into the 30’s a bit. Of course, I’m generalizing here in a big way but this gives the general idea of how our two bands fit on stage.


It was fun to be in the audience during their set… the crowd really loved every minute. At one point toward the end of the set they sang “Minnie the Moocher” and the crowd stood up and did their “hidey-hidey-hidey-ho” response in total enthusiasm. It was a spectacular example of total entertainment.

They are great musicians… one particular thing I noticed was that Doc/Bob the fiddle player has the sweetest tone quality out of that violin… yet he was totally into the swing, losing no soul underneath that beautiful sound. There are 5 musicians total, all dressed in garb reminiscent of the 30’s. They interact with the audience, they engage fully rather than being distant from the crowd. They sing with expression and excellent harmonies. Several play multiple instruments. And the songs they chose were just right for them.

We have determined that we would like to play some more shows together. At this point we are not sure where that will be… if anyone reading this has good ideas in that realm, somewhere approximately in the lower half of lower Michigan, we are all ears. Fun this big must be repeated.

Oh, and if you folks within driving distance of Lansing have not tried Stage 1210 yet, do check it out. By day it is Banyan Gallery at 1210 Turner Street, not far from the corner of Grand River Ave. in Old Town Lansing.

Ben Hassenger is the guy who makes this concert series happen. He is a member of the band Mystic Shake, and the duo Blue Jell-O which will have a CD release party there I think next month. He is a great guy to do a bit of business with (we have played for him before at his “Music in the Pines” outdoor house concert series, and his duo plays for Altu’s restaurant. If Ben is involved, it will go well and it’s worth checking out.

Photos: I took the shots of the Sidestrokers, Hanno M. took the photo of us as The Fab Heftones. Aaaah, the fun comes back when I view these shots.