Milo Minute: Hamtramck Music Fest, The Air Up There, and Second Saturdays at POP + Offworld Arcade

Brian Rozman

Click the audio player above to hear the full conversation. CultureShift airs weekdays 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit Public Radio.

Longtime Detroit music journalist Jeff Milo’s byline appears in publications locally and globally. He’s been plugging ears into the Detroit scene for years with his prolific Deep Cutz blog and his YouTube series, The Milo Show.

Each week, Milo gives us a rundown of can’t-miss shows in and around the Detroit area. 

Friday, March 8th

Hamtramck Music Fest Edition!

Learn more about the sixth annual all-volunteer run multi-day marathon of music here. With so many amazing bands to see, here are just a few to get you started:

Pancho Villa’s Skull at Small’s Bar

Singer/guitarist Tino Ybarra started performing his blend of punk-rock’s confrontational DNA with traditional Mariachi music back in 2011. Ybarra grew up in Pontiac, developing an appreciation for Mariachi through his maternal grandfather, who sang and played the trumpet. He then spent time in south Texas, where his paternal grandfather took him across the border into Mexico. He spent time in some punk and ska bands, but took particular inspiration from groups like The Pogues (Celtic Punk) and Gogol Bordello (Ukrainian-punk) and decided to similarly infuse his traditional music from his own roots. After five-years as a solo singer, Tino’s brother Rolando joined on percussion and backing vocals in 2016, adding to the energy and urgency on the stage and the passion in their performances, but still keeping things minimal. You can find Diversidad Ahora, released in May of last year, on Bandcamp.

True Blue at Ant Hall

Singer/songwriter Alexandria Berry made a dynamic debut in the local music community with her guitar-centric, 90’s-tinged indie-rock EP Solitary Queen, last year. She’s name-checked Liz Phair and the Courtney Love-led band Hole as touchstone influences. There’s a twinge of cathartic coarseness to the tones of Berry’s guitar, and grunge-pop angst and urgency to her signature style of jangly strums. Her emotive singing voice can be a sweetly blunt force to be reckoned with, tugging the heart out onto the proverbial sleeve with her lyrics along with all the complex feelings and frayed encounters that come with that. The electric guitar can be both an elegant and primal thing, and no one blends both of those potentials better than Berry.

Saturday, March 9th

Zilched at Ghost Light

Chloe Drallos is the lead singer/guitarist of this post-punk trio. Reverb and distortion coat her graceful and furious guitar phrasings while a buoyant and propulsive rhythm section rolls under her coiled melodies. Zilched put out an album called Pulling Teeth that’s infinitely more enjoyable to listen to than the provocative imagery that its title suggests. For fans of a sleek kind of indie-rock that’s heavy on fuzz, cathartic distortion and existential angst, look no further.

The Air Up There at UFO Factory

Renaissance man Tashif Turner is a brilliant muralist, but also a rapper, DJ, event-coordinator, and more! Turner performs as Sheefy McFly, and he’s been making music under that moniker for about a decade. Included with his vibrant, polychromatic painting and murals is a long-running monthly hip-hop showcase called “The Air Up There”. This is a DIY night of music, dancing, and culture that McFly started hosting back in 2010. Featured for this “Air Up There” lineup is veteran rapper and producer Phat Kat, a favorite collaborator of the late great J-Dilla. Also performing is powerhouse R&B vocalist Bevlove, hip-hop/techno producer Nick Speed, and many more. 

Second Saturdays at Offworld Arcade

When’s the last time you’ve gone to an arcade? POP + Offworld Arcade, is a renovated upper-level space above Checkers, with dozens of vintage arcade machines, from Galaga to Mortal Kombat, Pinball and NBA Jam. The “Second Saturdays” series is coordinated by online music zine Sound & Silence, which often pairs artists from the realms of electro, soul, R&B and hip-hop with vibe-heavy DJs—that’s the case here, with rapper Aztek the Barfly joining the soulful singing voice of Sara Marie Barron. Joining Second Saturdays at Offworld are DJs Eddie Logix and Max Moross.

Image credit: Hamtramck Music Fest

Aired on: CultureShift
About the Author

Jeff Milo

Freelance Writer

Longtime music journalist Jeff Milo has been documenting the Detroit and Michigan scene for 15 years, and began contributing to WDET’s Culture Shift in 2016, running down can’t-miss live shows featuring regional artists.

We want to hear from you.
Share your thoughts and opinions: