with jukebox: 'WTF' shows at Blind Pig hope to bridge gap between university, local music scenes
Students (and others) seeking a musical welcome to Ann Arbor need look no further than the first-ever WTF (Welcome The Festival), two nights of live jams by several alt-rock bands Friday and Saturday at the Blind Pig.
The event, presented by Ann Arbor’s Quack! Media, is an effort to connect students with the local music scene as well as to expose a new audience to the bands associated with Quack!, explained founder Al McWilliams.
“We just wanted to throw a big party when school got back in. This kind of thing used to happen a lot there was a lot of interaction between students and the local music scene, and I feel that’s kind of died down,” he explained.
The Hard Lessons are on the bill Friday, along with Pop Project. Saturday’s lineup includes Secret Twins, Javelins, Minutes and Heavy Times.
Detroit/Ann Arbor-based The Hard Lessons (husband-wife team Augie and Korin Louise Visocchi) are familiar to Ann Arbor audiences, with several Pig gigs under their belt. This is one of two local shows that band will be doing this fall, said McWilliams; they released the CD “Arms Forest” in 2009. Pop Project (Zach Curd, Adam Kempa, Dave Lawson and Will Yates) open the show, playing their unashamedly Carpenters-influenced pop tunes. Curd has also been involved in setting up WTF.
Secret Twins is the Ann Arbor folk-punk duo of Dina Bankole and Tim Thomas, recently signed to Quack! The new CD they are releasing at the show is titled “Ill Fit.” Javelins are a Detroit-based indie-rock trio. Also on the Saturday bill (but not under the Quack! umbrella) are Minutes (Kalamazoo punk rock) and Heavy Times (grunge pop from Chicago).
“There are a few student kind of bands that are still around but it’s not what it was 10 years ago, or even five years ago,” McWilliams said. “We had a bunch of events going on ourselves that would have to happen in the fall — the Secret Twins, one of our new bands, has a record coming out, Hard Lessons had been in Africa and they were coming back, so we figured let’s do it all in one weekend and we’ll try to get this atmosphere of interaction between students and the university and our awesome music scene here revved up again like it used to be.”
If this WTF proves successful, he’d like to make it an annual event. “This year we just booked our own bands. If it works out, we’ll try to expand it,” McWilliams said.
“The Hard Lessons show — that’s a big deal. Korin had a Fulbright grant to go to Africa for the summer in Senegal. The Javelins have been a longtime music staple; they’ve been easing back on their shows because they are writing. Secret Twins are a two-piece from Ann Arbor, a very kind of lo-fi folk-punk sound, their songs are sort of rambly and cool,” McWilliams added. “This will be their big hurrah.”