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5/5/09

The Nolan Factor - Tuesday May 5th 2009

JeffNolan - one of MCB's longtime contributors will be dropping a few posts from time to time about music / art / state of the economy / women / food / car repair / laundry tips

"The Nolan Factor"

I don't know if there is anyone left to read my column here on Motorcityblog.net now that the population has been ravaged by the Swine Flu epidemic. I have yet to get it, but its probably just a matter of time. Oh, wait- that's right, as of the time of this writing there have been around 300 people in the US of A (population 300 million) who have actually gotten it.
If my math is correct, and it is, that works out to about one in a fucking million people. It is difficult to find any consistent numbers of deaths contributed to the Swine Flu epidemic, but here in the states it seems to be under a dozen. Assuming ten people stateside have died from it thus far, thats something like 1 in 30 million people.
In the time that it has taken you to read this I'm sure hundreds of people have died, been born, fortunes lost and gained, eaten by sharks, monster truck rallies, state fairs, dogs with funny hats- nothing could be less interesting than the Swine Flu, yet for some reason you cannot escape it. Turn on the TV, the radio, log into Facespace, read my column- and there it is- Swine Flu, everywhere.

My mother is a middle school teacher and evidently a student in the high school was diagnosed with flu like symptoms- everyone panic, it could be the Swine Flu! The student is at home while s/he is under the weather, so no big deal, right? WRONG- all students sent home, entire district closed for a week, school grounds quarantined and disinfected by guys in haz-mat suits. Has the whole world gone crazy!? You can make up your own mind, but I would say yes.

SATURDAY
MAY 2 2009
Jesus Chainsaw Massacre wsg the Electric Lions
@ Izzy's Raw Art Gallery

Perhaps I could seek some refuge from the Swine Flu Terror with a nice peaceful rock and roll show at Izzy's in Corktown, so far off the beaten path that you almost need binoculars on a rooftop to see the psychotic flashing lights on the side of the Motorcity Casino.
Wrong again- but I'll get to that in a minute.

Congratulations to the guy who won the one-of-a-kind original mixtape (a $500 value!), an avid reader of the blog. I had a brief conversation with this magnificent specimen of blog readership about Prodigy while being eyeballed by two scary looking dudes wearing Black Label Society (blacklabelsociety.com) jackets who kept talking about Black Label Beer (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/447/1325 ). I was confused too.

There were several thirty packs carted into the basement of Izzy's before the show began. The space was littered with empties by the time that DJ Johnny Retro stopped his tables for the Electric Lions' set. The Electric Lions (myspace.com/theelectriclions) are a five-piece jam band with a sound that was something between the Mars Volta and local rockers the Muggs. Lead guitars in stereo (heavily distored, wah-wahed, phased, flanged, pitch-shifted, you name it) cried back and forth over a heavy bass line and spacey keyboard lines. A mohawked blonde drummer who told a number of extremely offensive jokes outside before the set put down a steady yet generic drum line that held the noise together. The set meandered from one heavy mood to another before ending in a crescendo of absolutely deafening feedback.

At this point I took over as DJ while JR and Brian Metro plugged in. Evidently I am a DJ now. The show began with an electronic beat accompanied by a long squeal from the guitar. Then it struck- the Swine Flu! The singer emerged from the shadows wearing what could only be described as a nurses' outfit, complete with a particle mask. Over the beat and a dirty blues riff he shouted out a long monologue about the word of the day. The small crowd circled right up around the band as they sloshed through their *Detroit Music Award Winning* set. Brian Metro removed his shirt as per usual, then his pants as per usual. Along the elastic band of his underwear was strung about a pound of raw bacon strips, in honor of Swine Flu. The show ended with Mr. Metro playing air/bacon guitar from his crotch, slapping the bacon strips on an unused guitar and knocking over half full cans of beer.


The Greycoats
Setting Fire to the Great Unknown
*** 1/2 out of 5
www.greycoats.net

The Greycoats first full length LP is an alt-pop medley in the vein of U2, Coldplay, and Radiohead. This Minneapolis band present an aptly titled album that seems to be channelling the endless grey skies and piles of cold wet stuff that the citizens of Minneapolis are all too familiar with. A stormy backdrop of shimmering guitars and a stomping rhythm section accompanied by a tinkling Rhodes organ sets the restless mood for the crooning vocals. While this has a definite feel of nostalgia, or rather 'I think I've heard this already' to this listener, it is surely a polished and competent work. It is at times so similar to brit rockers Radiohead that it feels more like B-sides from OK Computer or the Bends than some band from the midwest. That similarity aside, it is a very listenable album, good for a long drive through the rain or waiting out the long Michigan winter.

Cage the Elephant
self titled release
**** out of 5
www.cagetheelephant.com

An uber catchy LP with a unique mix of blues hooks, hard-hitting slide guitars, and raw howls over beats that beg to be danced to. It picks up about where the Whitestripes left off in terms of their heavy sound and well crafted songs. Its not quite fair to categorize this group so narrowly though, their new album uses an eclectic blend of sounds that are inspired from several genres and groups, oft changing drums that run the gamut from dance beats to fast paced african rhythms. The energetic vocals take queues from the seldom remembered one-hit-wonders JET, obnoxious rockers Buckcherry, and something similar to of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis. The whole CD is unpredictable from one track to the next, overflowing with infectious hooks, sticky distorted guitar riffs, and clever songwriting.

"The Nolan Factor IS DETROIT"
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