with video: Tonight at Top of the Park: Thornetta Davis, Nervous But Excited, and more
Tonight is Day 20 of Top of the Park, the popular, free (donations welcome) outdoor happening featuring music, movies, kicking back, running into friends, and a variety of other attractions.
Each day in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival—which presents Top of the Park as well as main-stage ticketed events—AnnArbor.com is publishing a rundown of the night's happenings. Here's an overview of tonight's schedule, followed by a more detailed look at the events and attractions:
5-8 p.m. - KidZone - kids activity tent
5-6 p.m. - Retreat: Capoeira
5 p.m. - Jennie DeVoe (folk/pop)
6 p.m. - Nervous But Excited (indie folk)
7 p.m. - Creolization (Americana / Zydeco)
7:30 p.m. - Bacchanal (acrobatics)
9 p.m. - Thornetta Davis (blues / R&B)
11 p.m. - After Dark with DJ Chill Will
Often likened to Janis Joplin and Joss Stone, IJennie DeVoe impresses with powerful, multi-hued vocals, an impressive range, and honest songwriting.
Performing since: Professionally--and actually getting money for performing--since 1999.
Home base: Indianapolis
Style of music: It's ever evolving I hope, so I guess it has become a culmination of styles I love and that influence me. I've been called bluesy, rocky and folky but my favorite that I've read about my style is "hippie soul and bluesy bohemian funk". I love that! I hope it's close to that because it makes me feel so cool! :)
Members: I am performing this festival with my long-time awesome guitarist Brett Lodde. Back home in Indiana I have my drummer John Wittmann, keys Greg McGuirk and Bass player Bill Ritter.
Band name backstory: Well, Jennie DeVoe is my name and also my band name. I named my five piece band after myself because we play the songs I write and we're on my own label, Rubin The Cat Music. I tried to think of another name, but my band thought I should just use my name. They're very smart guys.
Day jobs: For five years I was the singing talking voice for all the Meijer Super Stores. It allowed me to be a legit voice-over talent for people all over the US, and financially able to travel, sing and write as a full-time artist. I had been pouring coffee right after college at a music studio. They'd have me sing demos for clients and I started getting lucky and getting some of the jobs. It was a blast!
Favorite road food: Slim Jims, Combos, Starbucks (a game to find exits that have one!) I eat healthfully otherwise but something about driving makes me think I'm working out and deserve junk food. So I guess I lie to myself on the road, and I'm OK with that.
Favorite stage outfit: Bare feet, jeans and a comfy top.
Musical hero: Bonnie Raitt. She's given me a shout-out on stage a couple of times, which she doesn't have to do. She's just the coolest to give props like that.
Nervous But Excited - 6 p.m. (on the Grove Stage)
Returning for their second year at Top of the Park, multi-instrumentalists Kate Peterson and Sarah Cleaver achieve a uniquely blended harmony through impressive musicianship and quirky, heartfelt songwriting. Their passion and talent has landed them on stages with folks like Ani Difranco, Iron and Wine and Utah Phillips.
Creolization - 7 p.m.
West Michigan’s Creolization plays high energy, improvisational Zydeco-influenced roots, rock, and Americana.
Bacchanal - 7:30 p.m.
Flexible acrobats offer a spectacular display of jumping artistry and gravity-defying skills.
For more than 15 years, Thornetta Davis has proved herself to be Motor City blues royalty, winning dozens of awards for outstanding blues vocalist alongside her broadly talented band.
Performing since: Professionally since 1987.
Home base: Detroit
Style of music: "Detroit's funky rockin' blues diva"
Members: I work with a lot of great Detroit musicians.
Favorite stage outfit: I love to shine.
Musical hero: Phyllis Hyman, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Big Maybelle, Luther Vandross, James Taylor, Beyonce. I could keep going.
After Dark with DJ Chill Will - 11 p.m.
Every Friday and Saturday night, The Grove at Top of the Park hosts a late-night chill lounge after the stage bands stop playing. An exclusive showcase of guest DJs will be spinning tunes, and drink specials will be offered until midnight in this cozy outdoor lounge. Ages 21+.
The Roots Lounge, presented by AnnArbor.com
Stop by The Roots Lounge, a new feature at the festival this year, presented by AnnArbor.com. With free public WiFi available through 20/20 Communications, it’s a place where you can post, share, tweet, read or just relax, listen and enjoy. And if your smartphone or tablet runs out of juice, stop by and use the free charging station.
Tonight visit with Ann Arbor 107one’s Matthew Altruda, in The Roots Lounge, as he emcees the stage performances in the adjacent Grove from 5-7 p.m. After 11 p.m., stop by After Dark as DJ Chill Will turns up the heat in The Grove and get your complimentary AnnArbor.com glow bracelet in The Roots Lounge.
Retreat: Capoeira - 5 p.m.
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art that combines music, acrobatics, and martial arts in an exciting and community building format. With CDO Michigan instructor Professor Manhoso.
KidZone - 5-8 p.m.
As described by the festival, "An interactive area for our youngest concert-goers, the Kidzone tent provides a fun and safe area for children and their parents to discover and explore a wide variety of hands-on activities with different community partners. From getting temporary tattoos, creating homemade instruments, or jamming out rock band style, KidZone offers different nightly activities for families at Top of the Park."
Top of the Park takes place in front of the Rackham Building on East Washington Street. In addition to the daily entertainment, a variety of local food vendors will also be on hand each night. For more information, see the Summer Festival website, and watch AnnArbor.com for complete coverage of festival events.
View Summer Festival Top of The Park 2012 in a larger map