Hamtramck Labor Day Festival 2015 in Hamtramck, MI
Spanning three days and across two stages, the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival takes place in Detroit's city within a city, Hamtramck. I guess that the city seceded from Detroit a hundred years ago in a bloody revolution with Polish immigrants and Native Americans or something. I don't know, I'm sure that there's a story behind it but I think that mine is probably more interesting if completely untrue.
The fact that this is free, kid friendly, has several bands that I enjoy, and was free led us to the decision of going to this for two of the three days. I dig on the laid back, down to Earth vibe of Hamtramck. There is zero pretense in this town, everyone seems to love Rock and Roll, and things are cheap. Plus I am a sucker for old stuff, and this town was built before the advent of things like automobiles or driveways. Parking can be a trick, although an enterprising business packed 'em in like sardines for five bucks a head which was fine by me, as I used them both days.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Our former next door neighbors Duende! were taking the South Stage at 4PM and we made it there with minutes to spare due to parking issues. My cheap ass tried to find a free spot on the street but gave up after a few blocks, since this city is a maze of one way streets. This was my son and daughter's first Rock show. We gave them earplugs to wear as a precaution since these things tend to get a little loud. My kids couldn't believe that Jeff and Laura, our former neighbors, were on stage in front of them. It was interesting watching the kids' reactions to the live show experience.
The band played a few off of their latest release, the Mezcal EP, a couple from their excellent Murder Doesn't Hide The Truth album, and a handful that I did not know over the course of their 40 or so minute set. It was hot outside, with temperatures in the high 80s and the sun on high beam at that time of day. What's a little sweat for Rock and Roll? The kids were thrilled and asked for autographs after the show.
We ventured over to the North Stage and caught the last half of Colorwheel's set. This is Stephen Nawara of John Krautner's band, Rocket 455, Electric Six, and probably some other bands that I am forgetting, new thing. They are working on an album which will be out on Burger Records. This seems kind of psychedelic to me and I dig it. I look forward to hearing the album.
We bumped into John Krautner after the set and we ended up walking to the carnival ride side of the festival. He treated my kids to cotton candy and took them on a few rides, which was unbelievably cool. My kids are huge fans and it were a bit starstruck by the whole thing. It was hilarious!
On the way out I caught a few minutes of The Ill Itches set and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The wife and kids were done but I wanted to stay. Being in your forties with kids means that you are really not down with everything going on in the scene. I have heard their name bandied about but hadn't run across any of their music yet. That will have to change...
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Once a year we take the kids to see a Detroit Tigers game. While I am not really into sports I believe that it is good to expose my children to as many different ideas and experiences as possible. It was hot outside, hitting 94 degrees and my cheap ass of course got us the nosebleed seats out in the open, the better to be closer to the sun and absorb the sunlight before it hits the Earth. They were complaining about being hot and were ready to go so we pulled the plug as the Seventh Inning Stretch started. The Cleveland Indians handed the Tigers their ass 4-0. The Tigers should hire me to play, as I would lose for less money.
That night was round two of the festival. I have seen John Krautner's band play many times as they play around town fairly often but this was my kids' first time seeing him live since they usually play at clubs that are 18+/21+. They love the Fun With Gum Vol. 1 album as well as his work with The Go and Conspiracy Of Owls.
My family was surprised and delighted that John gave my kids a shout out and threw them a couple of buttons before opening with I Need Sugar. They did the entire album and ended with their cover of Crazy Elephant's Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'. My son stood there against the stage with me mesmerized while my daughter danced like there was no tomorrow. At the end of the show drummer Ben Luckett handed each of my kids a drumstick, which was incredibly cool. Everyone was really nice to my kids, posing for pictures and stuff. My kids will never forget this weekend and neither will I.
There were other bands that I wanted to catch playing both here and at other festivals around town but I can only do so much. Oh well. Back to work and reality tomorrow...