Unique Venues in Detroit

As a music lover, Detroit Rock City was a great place to grow up. The city is filled with music history, local bands, and venues fit for any artist. Each musical venue that the city has to offer is unique. The artists that play there, the vibes, and the historical significance combine to create thrilling concert experiences that are exclusive to the motor city. Here are some of the most unique concert venues you should check out when you are in Detroit.

 Saint Andrew’s Hall

Built in 1907, Saint Andrew’s Hall was used as the meeting place for the Saint Andrew’s Scottish Society of Detroit. During World War II the membership dwindled and other groups began renting the building for concerts and events. In the 80s, Saint Andrew’s became highly regarded as a trendsetting music club. Breakthrough artists such as Iggy Pop, NirvanaPearl Jam, and Bob Dylan have graced the stage at Saint Andrew’s. More recently, the hall has become a launching pad for up and coming artists. Pierce the Veil, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and more have played here before moving to larger venues. With a 1,000-person capacity, Saint Andrew’s is a mid-size venue that allows for personal interaction between artists and fans. With a full-service bar, ADA seating, and Greektown right down the street, Saint Andrew’s Hall is a great venue for every concert goer.

The Shelter

Located beneath Saint Andrew’s Hall, The Shelter is one of the more intimate venues in Detroit. While it is connected to Saint Andrew’s, a show at The Shelter is unlike any other. It’s an intimate venue with capacity at 400 people. Visitors can get as close to the stage as humanly possible without being up there with the performers. Something interesting about The Shelter is its role in Eminem’s musical career. While the venue was featured in “8 Mile” Eminem actually rapped there in the early years of his career. More recently the rapper hosted a “Mom’s Spaghetti” pop-up event at The Shelter to promote his latest album “Revival” and he went back to his roots to film some freestyle rap in 2018. Eminem’s unique relationship with The Shelter makes it one of the most fascinating venues in Detroit. While you may not find Slim Shady at The Shelter on a random night, there’s no denying the energy that the venue holds in its bones.

The Masonic Temple

The Detroit Masonic Temple is one of the most beautiful and historic music venues in Southeastern Michigan. Architectural firm, George Mason and Company completed construction in 1926. The first performers at The Masonic were Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The building itself is full of interesting rooms. There are three theaters in the venue, but one is currently used by film production. Other rooms include a chapel, two ballrooms, office spaces, a cafeteria, a dining room, a barber shop, and sixteen bowling lanes. Today, the venue hosts countless concerts, building tours, private events, and weddings. Artists that frequent The Masonic are Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, and The Killers. With a diverse range of music that rolls through, the venue offers something for every concertgoer. The venue sits on the corner of Temple and Cass which is now a part of “The District Detroit” which offers countless trendy restaurants, breweries, and small businesses to check out before a show.

Little Caesars Arena

The opening of Little Caesars Arena is one of the most exciting things to happen in Detroit recently. During its inaugural year (2017/18) LCA easily became a staple of Detroit by hosting a myriad of exciting events. The arena is home to Red Wings hockey, and Pistons basketball, but it also hosts the hottest artists that come to town. Superstars from every genre and generation including Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, and Janet Jackson have brought their shows to town. The eight-story, bowl-shaped arena’s floor is 40 feet below street level. There are no bad seats in the house! Around 20,000 fans can fit into the stands and there is innovative “gondola” seating that is suspended above the stands. LCA also offers ADA accessible seating and parking as well as first aid stations. There are countless restaurants, bars, and VIP sections throughout the arena, making it a full-blown destination.

Historically, Detroit has been overlooked by the rest of America. People seem to think that its heyday was in the past and that the city is crime-ridden and somber. In recent years, Detroit has been anything but! Its interesting history combines with the influx of new residents and businesses to create an exciting downtown area.

One of the most special things about Detroit is its music scene. Growing up just fifteen miles from downtown, I got to experience all that the city has to offer. The music history, the bands, and the venues. My exposure to the rich music history of the city and love for live music inspired me to pursue a career in the music industry. I have been frequenting The Shelter since I was in High School and I was fortunate enough to work at Little Caesars Arena over the summer. While the venues I have detailed above are certainly not the only concert spaces the city has to offer, they are unique places to begin falling in love with the sounds of Detroit.

 

 

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Seasaw, Canceled Plans, Young Ritual Local Show at Mac’s Bar

If you’re having summer concert withdrawals and are looking for the perfect fall show, look no further! As soon as I heard the news that Seasaw, Canceled Plans (solo set), and Young Ritual would hit the stage at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on October 3rd I’ve been buzzing with excitement! I spoke with Michaela Stock of Canceled Plans and Dylan Grantham of Young Ritual to get the scoop on the upcoming show.

Both Stock and Grantham are excited about the gig and are eager to share the stage with some new faces. “I’ve never shared the stage with seasaw or Young Ritual, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been gigging since April of 2017, and I’ve never gotten to share the stage with another girl who runs the show. I’m a big fan of seasaw and their work, so it’s an honor to have this first and this show alongside two talented and beautiful women.” Stock writes. It’s remarkable to see such genuine support for other female artists in a male-driven industry. One of the things I love most about supporting my local music scene is seeing the interactions and friendships forming between artists that share the stage whether it’s for a single gig or for a tour.

IMG_3108Not only are Stock and Grantham ready to play with some new faces, but they are also thrilled to get back to Mac’s Bar. For Grantham, this is his first time in performing in Michigan’s capital. “This will actually be my first show in Lansing, so I can’t wait for that part. I definitely have some tricks up my sleeve to make a good first impression.” I’m eager to see what kind of tricks he has to make this show a memorable one. Grantham has been working on finishing up his first EP, and released the first single “Prime” last month! He’ll definitely be playing some new music at the upcoming show along with old favorites.

Stock, on the other hand, is a Lansing native and she’s pumped to get back to her hometown and play at one of her favorite venues. “The last time I played at Mac’s was in September of 2017. It was my first full-band show, and I was opening for Michigander, a band I had followed as a fan since high school. That was for sure a night I’ll never forget. Every time I walk through the doors at Mac’s I’m hit with gratitude and nostalgia for the space. I have so much more to say, but I’m going to leave some stories for the show!” I’ve never seen

IMG_7791While remembering Mac’s Bar and what the venue means to her, Michaela lights up and goes into every detail of the venue and how much she loves it. “I spent the latter half of my teenage years studying the scribbled walls in Mac’s Bar at shows. It was my first “dream venue” to play a show in because I had some of my first experiences with live music in that space. I even met my best friend at Mac’s at a concert. We screamed all the words to the headlining band’s set, and it’s been history ever since. Mac’s Bar did, in fact, end up being the first place I’d ever played a billed gig with tickets, a sound-check, and other artists back in April of 2017. I remember wearing a black dress, carrying my guitar case and pushing open the big wooden door thinking, “What the HECK has my life come to?” (For the record, I’m still figuring that question out.) It was so special.”

Do not sleep on this concert! Each of the acts has a different energy to bring to the stage and it’s sure to be a good night. Get tickets to the show here!

-Swaggie Maggie

Seeing Artists More Than Once

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is why we see artists and bands more than once. As a working college student, I’m always trying to save money. This can be difficult when there are so many concerts I want to make it to. The price of concerts tickets adds up, even when they are held at smaller venues that don’t cost as much per ticket as concerts held in stadiums would. However, as hard as I try to save money, if one of my favorite bands is coming to town I’ll go see them, no matter how many times I’ve seen them before.

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Recently, I bought tickets to see All Time Low with a few of my friends. The concert is being provided by the residential services of my college, so the tickets were relatively inexpensive, and I was able to get great seats! After purchasing the tickets, I started thinking about why we want to see bands or artists more than once. Take All Time Low for example. I have seen them once before, but that was back in 2015 before the release of their latest album. Often times we see bands more than once because we want to experience their new music live.

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There are some bands that I’ve seen more times than I can remember off the top of my head. I’ve seen both Mayday Parade and Sleeping With Sirens 6 times each, and in multiple settings. I’ve seen them at festivals, at headlining tours, and in intimate venues. A few times, I saw the bands when they hadn’t released any new music. The setlist sounded similar to the one at the previous show, but I still had the time of my life!

My personal philosophy when it comes to buying concert tickets is simple. I ask myself three questions before purchasing. 1. Can you afford it?  2. Will you have fun? And 3. Will you be sad if you don’t go? If I can answer yes to those, I know that buying the ticket will be worth it.

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Album Excitement 2018

We are less than a month into the new year and we already have new music to be excited about! 2017 was a great year for music, but I’m betting 2018 can top it. As of now, there are already a few albums that have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to hear them in full when they are released! Here are a few albums I’m most excited to listen to in 2018.

  • IMG_6684Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows February 9

    • I’ve been a casual fan of Dashboard Confessional for years, but once I saw them live this past summer I became obsessed! As soon asI got home I decided to listen to their entire discography and began wishing for new music. They have released two singles from the album, “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here” and fans are more than ready for the album todrop tomorrow!
  • MGMT – Little Dark Age – February 9

    • Again, as a casual fan, I learned about MGMT’s new album in one of my classes this semester. I was a huge fan of their song “Kids” and when I heard about their upcoming album I got excited! Catch MGMT performing at a slew of festivals this summer.
  • Moose Blood – I Don’t Think I Can do This Anymore – March 9

    • I love Moose Blood and listen to them anytime I feel like I need a good cry. Their emotional expertise comes through in their lyrics, and their instrumental ability is amazing. I can’t wait for this album to come out!!
  • Jack White – Boarding House Ranch – March 23

    • Jack White is a Michigan Native, so I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid. He recently announced his upcoming album and accompanying tour, which always brings excitement to residents of our state. I always feel a sort of pride for all Michigan Made musicians. There is some conversation surrounding his tour, seeing as he’s pushing for fans to check their phones at the door and go technology free.
  • The Vaccines – Combat Sports – March 30

    • The Vaccines have made their way into every single one of my playlists since I was a senior in high school, so I was obviously excited when they announced new music. So excited that I actually chose to study the release of Combat Sports for my music production course!
  • The 1975 – Music for Cars – 2018img_3403

    • While we don’t have a confirmed date for the album, The 1975 have been teasing Music for Cars on their social media accounts for the past year. The third, and final installment of The 1975 era is sure to be their greatest yet! While I’m definitely sad that this final album marks the end of one of my favorite bands of all time, I’m happy that I’ll at least have one more record to play on repeat.
  • Kanye West – Turbo Grafx16 – TBA

    • Okay, so nobody actually knows when Kanye’s newest album will drop, and it may not even come out in 2018, but I’m still excited about it!

So there are the albums I’m most excited for this year! Are there any that I should check out before these drop? Let me know in the comments!

-Swaggie Maggie

Top 10 Swaggiest Albums of 2017

It’s undeniable. Parts of 2017 were definitely messy, but, when you think about it, it was an amazing year for music. Every time I heard something new this year I’d think “Okay, they’ve done it. It can’t get better than this.” and then somehow it got better and better each time an artist released something new! Trying to pick the best albums of 2017 is a difficult task, but I’ve ranked the top ten so you can start the new year by remembering the best tunes.

10. Wonderful Wonderful – The KillersWonderful Wonderful

This highly anticipated rock album was released in late September and is The Killer’s 5th studio album. Fans had to wait 5 long years for Wonderful Wonderful and it didn’t disappoint. The album is mostly upbeat with synth-pop influences and fast tracks, but the lyrics are littered with edgy motifs. Catch the Killers on tour this winter!

9. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life – Japandroids

Near to the Wild Heart of LifeI’ve been a fan of the Japandroids for a few years now, and I absolutely love their sound! Their edginess and angsty vibes are perfect for when you want to scream sing in your car, and they are so unique. Their latest album was released last January, and it is really beautiful. My favorite track is I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner), so make sure to go check it out!

 

8. Last Young Renegade – All Time Low

Last Young Renegade

All Time Low built the hype for Last Young Renegade last spring and its release in June was huge! The album is kind of haunting, but still has the energy that makes All Time Low so appealing to fans. The songs and themes are a lot more mature than their previous albums, and I love that you can see that growth!

7. Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator

Flower Boy

The first time I ever heard anything by Tyler, The Creator was this summer when I saw him live at Mo Pop Music Festival in Detroit. I had heard of him, but I’d never heard any of his music. As soon as he took the stage I was instantly hooked, and began listening to Flower Boy constantly! The album seems like Tyler, The Creator’s diary where he navigates his emotions in a brutally honest fashion as he takes turns from angsty to soulful. I recommend seeing Tyler, The Creator live to get the full effect of his music.

6. Heaven – The Band CAMINO

Heaven

I stumbled upon this band through one of my Spotify Discover Weekly playlists and I am obsessed! The Band CAMINO is definitely one to watch in 2018, and they have potential to take over the music scene. Their sound falls perfectly between The 1975 and LANY, and their EP Heaven is exceptionally executed. The songs are upbeat and energetic with lyrics that cut you to the core. Catch The Band CAMINO on tour this winter with The Dangerous Summer!

5. Harry Styles – Harry Styles

Harry Styles

If you weren’t excited for Harry Styles to finally release a solo album you’re lying to yourself. Former One Direction singer took notes from his bandmates and tried his hand at a solo career. His self-titled album was the perfect way to transition from boy band heartthrob to emotional young man and I’m here for it. Every song on the album is unique and shows a different layer of Harry’s vocal, lyrical ability as well as vulnerability. If you can score tickets to his tour this summer, you’re in for a treat.

4. Lust For Life – Lana Del ReyLust For Life

I’ll be honest, I did not like Lana Del Rey’s last album very much, so Lust For Life was on my radar since Lana announced its release in February. I knew from the first single, Love, that the album was going to be amazing. Lana stays true to her retro image and even features some of the greats including Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. My favorite track from the album is Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind because it perfectly displays every aspect of Lana that appeals to her fans. Her vocal ability is unmatched as she seamlessly marries old Hollywood glamour and new indie rock. Lust for Life has the type of music you just have to experience live, so catch Lana Del Rey on tour this winter!

3. Sleep Well Beast – The National

Sleep Well Beast

I’ve been a fan of The National since I was in high school and my English teacher assigned a comparative essay of the band’s Don’t Swallow The Cap and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The National is an alternative rock band that uses folk and punk influences to create a unique sound that can’t be replicated. The band takes a different approach to songwriting by building the lyrics onto the melody of a song that they are in the process of writing. Each song on the album floats through dreamy instrumental sequences that are elevated by cryptic lyrics. Sleep Well Beast is totally different than anything else that was released this year, and the passion that The National put into the album is obvious.

2. Lovely Little Lonely – The Maine

Lovely Little LonelyYou all know how much I love The Maine, but it’s hard not to when their music is just so good! Lovely Little Lonely is the band’s 6th studio album and it was definitely a passion project. The Maine initially began writing the album in Fall of 2016 in Brooklyn but took production to an Airbnb in the mountains in California where they were able to find inspiration and explore everything that the album had the potential of becoming. Lovely Little Lonely is a cohesive, experience album that travels through the mysteries that life throws at us. With tracks actually named LovelyLittle, and Lonely that are instrumental interludes and songs that range from vulnerable revelations to good spirited anthems. One of my favorite songs from the album is How Do You Feel?, so take a listen and find your favorite!

1. Melodrama – Lorde

Melodrama

I’m not going to lie. It took me a while to bring myself to listen to Melodrama, but I’m so glad I finally did! Lorde’s heartfelt songwriting created a masterpiece of an album that is truly beautiful. Every single second of the album gives me goosebumps. This labor of love is a journey through her life as she experiences the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Before hearing Melodrama I had never heard something that so accurately depicts being a young woman and it was liberating to hear something that is so relevant and relatable to my life. As you listen to the album, it’s obvious that everything is deliberate and meaningful. That’s how music is supposed to be. It’s supposed to mean something and it’s supposed to affect people and help them through the tough times while elevating the good ones. If you don’t have tickets to see Lorde live this spring, get on that now!

So there are my top 10 swaggiest albums of 2017! Did your favorites make the cut? I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for music, but for now, I’ll just play these on repeat.

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Maze – Lorne

On November 23 English artist, Lorne released Maze, his debut EP, and I’ve had it playing on a constant loop since then. The four-track is incredibly unique, seeing as Lorne is a classically trained pianist who is using his talents to create beautiful songs that incorporate both his classical roots and modern sounds.

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For an EP that is so short, the diversity between each track is astonishing. The songs go from deep and brooding to uplifting and poppy with ease. Not only are the instrumentals stunning, but Lorne’s vocal ability is impeccable. His voice is pristine and filled with emotion through each track. Lorne obviously puts every ounce of energy and passion into his music, and all that hard work definitely pays off!

Check out Maze by listening above, and follow Lorne on Instagram @lornemusic!

-Swaggie Maggie

I Can Dig It: Co-Headlining Tours

Two great bands for the price of one? You can count me in! Over the past few years, I’ve been to quite a few co-headlining tours and I seriously dig them. The idea of two similar bands getting together and sharing their music in the same place is not only appealing to me, but to plenty of fans. Here are a few of my favorites!

The American Lines Tour: Mayday Parade and The Maine

In Spring 2016 Mayday Parade and The Maine set off on a 17 city tour to promote each of their new albums. The Maine had released “American Candy” in March 2015 as their fifthIMG_0017 studio album while Mayday Parade put “Black Lines” out in October 2015. The two bands do a great job of combining their unique sounds to create a concert environment that is unlike any other. The emotional ballads and rock anthems of Mayday Parade paired with the goofiness and realness of The Maine’s stage presence combine to make concertgoers feel comfortable and accepted while having a great time!

Summer Tour: The All American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional

This past summer The All American Rejects paired up with Dashboard Confessional to fulfill every former emo kid’s dream lineup. As soon as the tour was announced I knew it was a concert I absIMG_6685olutely had to attend. The Rejects took the stage with an insane energy  that made the crowd go absolutely wild while we screamed the lyrics to Dirty Little Secret like it was 2005. Dashboard closed out the show in my city, and the band was sharing some seriously great vibes with the audience. Lead singer, Chris Carrabba, shared memories of being accepted as an artist in Detroit when he was starting out, so it was obviously a special show for him. Carrabba closed the show with Dashboard’s hit Hands Down and it lives on in my memory as one of the most intimate concert moments I have ever experienced.

Co-headlining tours are great ways for fans to see two of their favorite bands on the same night, and lose themselves in a unique concert experience. Whenever I see a co-headliner announced I get excited! I’m always down to knock out two concerts in one night, especially when each band builds off of each other’s energy and makes the show a memorable one!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Every Nite is Emo Nite

It’s not a band. It’s not a DJ. It’s a party to celebrate the music they love. Emo Nite LA was founded in December 2014 and they’ve been taking the scene by storm ever since.  By bringing fans both young and old together to revel in the nostalgia of emo classics, Emo Nite has become a nation-wide force, recognized by artists of all genres, music publications, and, of course, fans.

Emo Nite LogoThis fall, Emo Nite LA has been touring across the United States, bringing the party to fans who can’t make it out to Los Angeles to participate. With dates continuing through December, emo devotees across the country can come together and have a great time.

For those who aren’t quite sure what Emo actually is, it’s a genre of rock music that is created through melodic, and often intricate musicianship. The lyrics are meaningful, confessional, and obviously emotional. Emo artists include Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, Mayday Parade and Taking Back Sunday.

October 20th, The Loft in Lansing will be hosting Emo Nite, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the vibes! Emo Nite promotes an inclusive community where the only requirement is a love for music and good times. Tickets can be purchased for $10.00 here, and you can keep up with Emo Nite by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify!

See you there!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Photo and Video courtesy of Emo Nite LA

Bucket List Concerts: Paul McCartney

 

I’ve given myself a few days to calm down and I’m still riding my concert high. On Monday I got to see Paul McCartney, my idol, in concert. McCIMG_7967artney had permanent residency on the “number one person to see live” as number one for as long as I can remember. For a Beatles superfan and music lover in general, Paul McCartney is as good as it gets.

My dad and I have a tradition of seeing classic artists together. We’ve seen The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and more. For my birthday this summer he bought tickets for McCartney’s second Detroit date in the brand new Little Caesars Arena. We had been holding onto the tickets since June, and in the months between my birthday and the show, my excitement had built immensely. Every time I even thought about seeing my idol, I got teary-eyed.

The day had finally arrived and I was freaking out. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before thanks to the butterflies in my stomach. I was actually nervous to see him. Even though I knew he’d be beyond fantastic, there are always nerves that come with checking something off your bucket list. My dad and I drove downtown, parked, and approached the new stadium. The place was packed with fans both young and old, all ready for the show to begin. Once we found our seats, it was only a matter of minutes before Paul and his band took the stage.

Our tickets weren’t anywhere near the stage, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to be in the same room as him. As soon as the lights went down my heart felt like it stopped-the show was starting. When I say I cried through the whole show, believe me. I cried through the whole concert. I still can’t actually believe that I got to see my idol, the number one person on my list, live in concert! I got to see an original Beatle singing and performing the songs that he’d written so many years ago. Songs that transcend time and touch people’s souls to this day.

Paul McCartney was an amazing performer. He ran around that huge stage playing guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, and singing. He sang close to 40 songs and kept his energy high throughout the night. Between songs, he’d stop to tell a story about how he’d written the next song or something funny or sentimental about it. I’d love to sit with him and hear all of the stories he has about his days with The Beatles.

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment from the night, so I’ll mention two. The first was when he played “Here Today”. The song was written for John Lennon after he’d passed away, and McCartney explained that the song was in the form of a conversation they never got to have. His performance was truly a beautiful tribute to Lennon. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the crowd of 20,000 people.

 

 

My other favorite moment of the concert was when McCartney sat down at his piano to play “Hey Jude”. As my favorite Beatles songs, and one of the most powerful and beautiful songs of all time it was something I’d been waiting to see live for a long time. I sobbed, sang along, and will never forget how it felt to witness my idol sing my favorite song in person.

 

If I ever have the chance to see Paul McCartney again, I will 100% take it! He’s an amazing performer who has reached across generations of music lovers to spread his message of love and acceptance.

-Swaggie Maggie

What to Expect from a Michigander Show

If you don’t know who Michigander is, you need to. Jason Singer has been putting all he’s got into the solo project since 2015, and if you ask me it’s definitely paying off. The indie rocker from western Michigan does not have any full-length records yet, but every single Singer has recorded so far is seriously beautiful. I had the opportunity to see Singer perform live this past week, and I’m going to let you know what to expect from a Michigander Show.

Seriously Talented Openers

Something I’ve noticed when I go toshows is that I’m always wary of opening acts. I’ve been to enough concerts to know that there are plenty of great openers but there are aIMG_7791 select few who are not up to par. I’m always skeptical when an opening act takes the stage, but both of the bands who played before Michigander were killer! Both Michaela Stock and Young Pioneer werefantastically talented groups. Stock reminded me of a young, gritty, Alanis Morissette while Young Pioneer played some heavy rock. I loved being so pleasantly surprised by both groups!

Quirky Charm

I love musicians with personality, and there’s no shortage of unique disposition. Michigander’s personality was very evident within every aspect of his performance. The way Singer interacted with fans between songs, the faces he made while concentrating on the music, and his humble attitude all contributed to his charm. I always prefer seeing artists live rather than just listening to their catalogs on Spotify for this specific reason. You’re able to see exactly who they are and what they stand for.

No Frills – Real Talent

Michigander’s show last week was hosted at one of the tiniest venues I’ve ever been to, but that’s what made it special. Small shows like that are the most accurate representation of an artist because there’s nothing to hide behind. There isn’t any special lighting or costume changes. It’s all real talent. Michigander definitely left it all out there on the stage, and it was so refreshing. My favorite moment of the concert was during the song Mexico when Singer literally silenced the entire room with his beautiful song. It was really special.

If you get a chance to see Michigander live, you need to take that opportunity! I promise you’ll be so impressed.

-Swaggie Maggie