“Foot on the pedal, never ever false metal/ Engine running hotter than a boiling kettle/ My job ain’t a job/ It’s a damn good time ...”—“No Sleep till Brooklyn” by Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz aka Beastie Boys
For a few more weeks anyway, the nights will get longer. Sleep is always an option as December takes hold of the Duke City, but readers are cautioned that such activities may ultimately leave one at a loss.
A possible solution: During the Middle Ages as winter crept across the Northern Hemisphere, folks developed sleep habits we might find peculiar. They broke their sleep into two parts. In between, they got up for a couple hours, put a kettle on the fire and talked or ate or made love. It was a damn good time. Then they went back to sleep. Just imagine if they'd had live music concerts back then. It would have made for a wonderful option.
With that ancient ritual in mind, here are some concerts that make staying up positively productive as the inevitable solstice approaches. So yeah, wake up for the night.
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Route 66 Casino has a venue worth checking, yo. It’s called Envy (14500 Central SW-I40, Exit 140), and on Thursday, Dec. 4, the club-within-a-casino hosts artsy post-grunge Houston maniacs Blue October. It’s angsty, rocked-out stuff from America’s heartland, but frontman Justin Furstenfeld does a damn good job of it. Along with brother Jeremy beating the life out of some Ludwig brand skins and violinist/keyboardist Ryan Delahoussaye adding a yearning zip to the proceedings, Blue October has a noticeably stimulant effect on listeners. Producer Steve Lillywhite helped define their sound on 2009’s Approaching Normal, an album that effectively demonstrated that grunge can still be great, albeit sans the gravitas lent it by a certain North Woods gnome.
Austin-based rap artist Zeale opens a show that pretty much proves the casino circuit caters to much more than merely second acts. Tickets for this 21-plus Texas-style love fest are a mere $23. The doors to Envy open at 8pm, and the show begins at 9pm.
This Friday, Dec. 5, brings us one day closer to dark, old Mr. Winter. An icy cool encounter with West Coast left-field hip-hop all-stars Dilated Peoples at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) adds some irony to the celestial process. Noted for their rich tapestry of flow and instrumental experimentalism, City of Angels royalty Dilated Peoples features DJ Babu, Evidence and Rakaa Iriscience making music that’s sure to blunt any sleepytime dreams you may be considering in lieu of a hypnotic hip-hop experience.
Reggae/hip-hop hybrid Sense & Change brings their evocative irie impressions to the bill, and Burque indie MC Solar One opens. It’s an all-ages gig too, with doors disappearing at 7:30pm and fantastic flows fomenting at 8pm. Admission is $20.
Talk about dark and cold ... and rocking. The Winter Warriors Tour, featuring Detroit thrashers Battlecross, crashes into Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Sunday, Dec. 7. Battlecross’ sound tends toward technical complexity offset by screaming admonitions by lead singer Kyle “Gumby” Gunther. Word has it guitarist/founder Hiran Deraniyagala has the fastest hands in Michigan, and their rhythm section is deeper and more forboding than the lake of the same name.
Eerie Erie, Pa., metalcore foursome War of Ages shares the program’s bloody midsection with death metal advocates Wretched. They’re from North Carolina where the winters are milder, but the metal is still plenty sharp. Local metal heroes Illumina A.D.—featuring the insane guitar stylings of Alexander Bane and the pure, provocative vocalizations of Jeska A.D. and Otto Von Rado—open. This show sounds like it will be the most, serio. It’s a 13-plus, atramentous affair with tickets going for only $13. Launchpad opens at 7pm, and war will be declared at 7:30pm.
Spaced-out, multilayered and hailing from a transdimensional garage somewhere in the Bay Area, psych outfit Creepers plays a show at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Monday, Dec. 8. With trebly, plangent guitar gyrations augmented by drifting, echoed vocals and occasional references to other worlds, Creepers consists of Dan Tracy, Shiv and Varun Mehra and Chris Natividad.
Experimental Austin soloist Shmu—who’s originally from Canada, where it was 30 below the other day and is mostly nighttime until like May or something—makes a far-flung psychedelic appearance too. Opening for this journey into unknown realms of what lies beyond earthly seasonal concerns are local tripsters YOU. There’s no cover at Burt’s for this 21-plus gig, and it all begins at 10pm.
Detroit multi-genre masterminds Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas perform at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Tuesday, Dec. 9. The ensemble’s debut effort Secret Evil shows off a Motor City rock sensibility imbued with jazzy, rockabilly influences that are by turns soulful and plaintive. And Hernandez has vocal cred that’s blisteringly kind yet hauntingly hot.
Contributing to the rockin’ sense of soul of the evening, Burque’s Red Light Cameras—including powerful pop singer Amanda Machon—will also play a concert opened by the wildly wide-ranging, funky sounds of The Dirty Shades, fronted by visionary vocalist Amanda Morales. Tickets for this awesome reason to stay up late (if you’re over 21) are only $8. Doors are at 8pm, and the music begins drifting through the night at 9pm.
No fooling! Humans really used to divide their wintertime sleep into two distinct intervals, but they didn’t have shows to attend in the before time. So try a three-to-four-hour nap after work, when dusk hangs over the city. Then get up and rock out until 2am. If you’re back in bed by 3am and snooze until 7am ... well there’s eight hours right there. Or you can take the Beastie Boys’ advice referenced above and not sleep at all—until Brooklyn or springtime, whichever comes first.