The Coup to play small show in Ypsilanti's Woodruff's Bar
The Epitaph recording artists formed in 1990 and have developed a following with their “uncompromising” brand of politically charged, communist-leaning hip hop.
They’re touring to support their sixth full-length release over a 22-year span, and are playing Ypsilanti—the smallest town on their tour—for less money than they will earn elsewhere.
Originally, their tour route took them to Grand Rapids on Dec. 1 and Cleveland on Dec. 3.
Dec. 2 was scheduled for a night off, with the geographically obvious and large market of Detroit left off the schedule. On a whim, Ypsilanti-based herbalist Jeff Clark e-mailed The Coup’s booking agent and asked if the band would consider playing Ypsilanti.
Clark was told to make an offer, but he had no experience in promoting or booking bands. So he contacted a friend who manages a popular indie rock band, got some advice and made an offer.
The band agreed to play for half of their usual guarantee, leaving Clark, with help from the Washtenaw County Eviction and Foreclosure Defense, with the task of finding those funds plus costs for paying other bands and a sound engineer to make the show happen.
Clark turned to Kickstarter, where the group quickly raised $2,000. Different level pledges got a pledger a slik-screened poster, an advance ticket or an advance ticket plus ticket for a disadvantaged youth.
Clark said the Kickstarter campaign received a high degree interest, especially for the level that helped provide a ticket for an area youth.
Any left over money will benefit Ozone House, which provides a wide range of services and support to Washtenaw County youths.
Clark said he believes the band and group working to bring them to Ypsilanti “share their aesthetic and values", and that was ultimately why they decided to play a small town for less money.
“Bands of that size don’t stop in a town the size of Ypsi. Your average band wouldn’t come off its national tour and jaunt off to play a small, cozy venue for a reduced fare,” Clark said. “What we’ve learned is you can have unusual events happen in places if the people who work together share a sort of communitarian set of values.”
Lead singer Boots Riley will also be in the studio at the AM 1700 radio station in Ypsilanti at noon on Sunday.