Tag Archives: Kalamazoo

Fortune and Maltese: Live in Kalamazoo, 1995!

Video: Fortune & Maltese & The Phabulous Pallbearers Live at the State Theatre

Hot damn, I loved this band! And here is some fantastic newly discovered live footage of them at the peak of their powers. Thirty minutes of amped-up garage rock remastered in “Trash-o-Phonic stereo sound.” Live in Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 5, 1995.

I can’t remember if I was at this show, but I might’ve been. I used to go see them whenever I could. Freddy Fortune and Michael Maltese with Nat Cromlech, J.C. Graves, and the greatest drummer of all time: Dusty Sexton.

Check out the video and if you’re not familiar with Fortune & Maltese, you owe it to yourself to dig into them. Unfortunately, none of their stuff is available for streaming yet. So go find their records! They’re out there. Actually, the studio recordings of most of this set are collected on Get Hip’s Fortune & Maltese and the Phabulous Pallbearers compilation.

Fortune and Maltese: fb, amazon, wiki.

Continue reading Fortune and Maltese: Live in Kalamazoo, 1995!

Old Gibson Plant in Kalamazoo Getting Facelift

I was lucky enough to have spent some of my formative music years in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Not only was it a tour stop for national bands (Kalamazoo being exactly half-way between Chicago and Detroit), but it also had a banging local scene comprised of bands that I still count among my favorites. All of this was built on the foundation of a guitar company that stands as one of the pillars of American musical instruments: Gibson Guitars.

Founded in 1902 as “The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.” in Kalamazoo to make mandolins and guitars, the main plant was at 225 Parsons St. when Gibson left for Nashville in 1984. Heritage Guitars moved in shortly thereafter and while they made fine guitars, the small company kinda let the building go to pot.

But now new owners Archie Leach and Jeff Nicholson, who bought Heritage Guitars in 2016, are bringing the old girl back to life. Local Spins reports that the company is investing in their history and…ahem…heritage with a $12 million renovation of the plant to “turn the factory into a destination for tourists and local residents, while keeping the legacy of Gibson and Heritage alive and well in Kalamazoo.”

And because this is Michigan, there are plans to include a beer garden and restaurant as part of the renovations, which are expected to be complete by the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

Continue reading Old Gibson Plant in Kalamazoo Getting Facelift

Ticketstubs: The Pixies in Kalamazoo, 1992

I had recently gotten home from a semester abroad in Scotland. While I was there the Pixies had released Trompe Le Monde, and I bought the cassette at the Aberdeen HMV the week it came out. The Pixies were one of my favorite bands, and the Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim two-fer had been the soundtrack of my sophomore year of college. “She’s a real left winger ’cause she’s been down south and held peasants in her arms.” Yep, that pretty much nails it. Bossanova got me through some tough times. “Is she over me, like the stars and the sun?” Yes, she was.

To this day listening to the Pixies conjures up those intense conflicted emotions of college: liberated but sheltered, idealistic but cynical, innocent but itchy, that desire to push it too far. “We’re not just kids… We got ideas!”

I loved Trompe Le Monde with all its abrasive guitar and spacey lyrics, but I remember being concerned about the lack of obvious Kim Deal input. There were rumors… Trouble in paradise?

The week before the show I picked up a brand new pair of wire-rimmed glasses from one of those places in a strip mall with the warranty where if anything went wrong they’d replace them for free. Something went wrong.

When the Pixies came onstage at the State Theatre they all seemed to be in a nasty mood. They were in the middle of a huge arena tour with U2 and this was a one-off show in between dates. They didn’t look at each other or say anything to the crowd; they all stared straight ahead and ripped into their set. Nevertheless, they sounded tight and great and the Kalamazoo crowd went nuts. A mosh pit formed immediately, and before the end of the first song my brand new glasses got knocked off my face and disappeared into the abyss. I’m not totally blind, but I can’t really see.

So I guess I can’t actually say that I saw the Pixies live in 1992. I heard them. And that was still impressive.

The setlist for this show isn’t available online, and I can no longer recall the details, but other setlists from that era reveal they played a lot of newer stuff mixed with a bunch of older classics. Nothing quite like the summer of 1989 when they played their songs in alphabetical order. Wish I would have seen that!

They didn’t say a word between the songs. After their final song, Black Francis dryly quipped, “Thank you very much we’re the Pixies U2’s up next,” and they exited the stage. No encore.

Continue reading Ticketstubs: The Pixies in Kalamazoo, 1992

Port Wine Lads – Live in Kalamazoo, 1991

I went to college with most of the Port Wine Lads. In fact, I sold them my barely used bass guitar after I gave up on it. Twenty seconds into this, you see the 19-year-old me pointing and declaring, “Yeah, that’s my bass.” Later, I dance like a hippy.

But enough about me. The Port Wine Lads had some good songs (and a few silly ones).

Video: Port Wine Lads – “Tragedy” (Live at Kalamazoo College’s Quadstock, 1991)

Two more songs (plus even more great early 90s college fashion and dancing!) after the jump…

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Photos: Question Mark and the Mysterians

?Question Mark & the Mysterians at Kraftbrau Brewery

Kalamazoo, May 5, 2007

What better way to spend Cinco de Mayo than with the greatest Mexican-American garage band of all time? They put on a hell of a show, and if you ever get the chance to see them in action, you might never be the same afterwards. I know I’m not.

What a show! After a painful drive crammed and hunched in the practically non-existent backseat of car that should not legally call itself a “four-person” vehicle, we arrived just as GLONO faves, the Sinatras took the stage. Their set was perfect. Broken bass strings, special guests, rarely played songs, what more could a fan want? I didn’t think there would be any chance that a bunch of old guys could follow up such a great set.

But I was wrong.

Continue reading Photos: Question Mark and the Mysterians

Question Mark Benefit in Kalamazoo

? FlyerEverybody who’s within driving distance from Kalamazoo, Michigan, should head out to Kraftbrau Brewery on Saturday night for a fantastic fundraising event for Detroit 60s punk, Question Mark, who lost his home, his dogs, and all of his possessions in a terrible fire in January.

Not feeling particularly charitable? No problem: you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth out of this show. ? & the Mysterians still put on a hell of a show. Doubt it? Come out and see for yourself that there’s more to this band than their classic stomper, “96 Tears.” Seriously, if you’re not impressed, find me and I’ll personally refund your ten bucks.

And as if seeing a legendary garage band (with all the original members!) isn’t enough, GLONO faves the Sinatras are opening up. These guys rarely play out these days, so seize this opportunity!

Details and more info after the jump, or here

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Quick! It’s Not Too Late!

The Mayfest organizers are requesting that bands submit one or two songs and contact info to the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center for consideration to play at the 7th Annual MAYFEST. This always turns out to be one of those great cross cultural and generational events that just makes everyone feel good.

Send to: MAYFEST 2002, c/o KAMSC Cheryl Hach, 600 W. Vine Street, Kalamazoo MI 49008.

Where: MAYFEST 2002 will be at the Portage, Michigan band shell Sunday May 19th, 12-6pm.

MAYFEST 2002Background: 7th Annual MAYFEST is an outdoor all ages music festival. Six bands will play. Organized as a fund raiser for the student senate of the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, Mayfest is by and for young people. It’s always great time for all. Organized to fill the need for “big name” bands to play for all ages crowds and give local budding high school bands a chance to play to a big audience along with real bands and with a real sound system! Past Mayfest performers have been The Jah Kings, Knee Deep Shag, Pound and Beers, Nobody’s Favorite, The Sinatras, The Tonies, Big Sam, The Mad Butchers, Packaged Bliss, Triplemint, Twister, and The Vantrells to name a few. The organizers pick a great sampling of styles, so there will be something for everyone.

For information contact:

Mark Peeters (616) 553-9327 – [email protected]

Chery Hach (616) 337-0019 – [email protected]

KAMSC Phone (616) 337-0004

KAMSC Fax (616) 337-0049