Before I forget any details, I have to write down my recollection of one of the best shows I’ve been to in years. Thursday, February 16th, 2017 was two days before I moved from Lansing to Madison and I wasn’t going to leave without a proper so long to my favorite venue, Mac’s Bar. For starters, Mac’s isn’t one of those places that pops up in a cool neighborhood serving cheap beer as a novelty to complement their novelty bands. No, Mac’s is a staple of the mid-Michigan music scene; the cool neighborhood was formed around it. When one walks into the dive, you can see the history literally written in sharpies on the walls. Every genre has been featured, I can’t even begin to list off all the bands because there’s so many. On this special Thursday, however, one of my favorite bands at the moment were playing; Twin Peaks.
If you’re not familiar with Twin Peaks, here’s a link to their song, Butterfly. The Chicago-based band started in 2009 and haven’t stopped moving since. With the release of their third album Down in Heaven last year, the guys have cemented themselves in contemporary rock and roll for years to come. Their live show has become notorious for the energy both the band and the fans bring to the table and their sold out date at Mac’s was no exception. We’ll get to that later, because they weren’t the only band playing that night.
Hell Of A Thing co-founder, Kirk, and I showed up a few minutes before the opening act, Michigander, began. About one beer into the night, the five piece from Kalamazoo went on and seemed surprised that some of their own fans were in attendance. If you search online for music by Michigander like I did beforehand, it’s mostly acoustic tracks singer and guitarist, Jason Singer, uploaded. The overall feel of Michigander’s set had a nostalgic vibe like the emo revivalist stuff that was huge a couple years ago. But there was something different to it. A lot less twinkle-finger guitars like his emo influences and more chording; a powerful set for such a soft-spoken sound. The crowd was definitely feeling it too, which is nice to see for an opening band.
Next was the band I wasn’t sure about going into the show. Post Animal from Chicago was the band that had to prove themselves to Lansing because they weren’t the headliners and they weren’t the local heroes opening. After what seemed like a lengthy sound check, probably because Kirk and I were on our third or fourth round at this point, Post Animal opened their set with some riff-driven work that the crowd was entertained by but not sold on quite yet. I think it was the fourth song that got the crowd moving; it had a groove the less interested crowd members could enjoy. Unfortunately, the set list was stolen from the stage by the time I checked so no title on that one. The latter half of Post Animal’s set was blistering. I couldn’t help but compare them to the early King Crimson recordings when I spoke to guitarist, Jake(?), after their set. He let me know that they have a full length in the works that will be out later this year, so look out for that. So while everyone may have come out that night to see the headliners, they left talking about Post Animal. Way to go guys, can’t wait to see you again.
That brings us to Twin Peaks. To preface, it’s been a few years since I’ve seen a sold out show at Mac’s, maybe a packed show but I haven’t stood in line to get in in years. With that said, the whole room shook from the six hundred plus crowd dancing when Twin Peaks played. Playing songs mostly from their recent LP, Twin Peaks rarely stopped to talk or tune instruments, it was pure rock and roll for forty-five minutes and then it was nothing, no encore and not much of a goodbye. It was one of the purest music experiences I’ve had in years since I stopped going out due to pretentiousness show-goers or prima donna rockers. It was exactly the type of show I remember going to in my teen years at Mac’s when I had to act like a roadie to get in.
Not sure what Twin Peaks has next other than the continuation of their relentless tour schedule. Again, look out for Post Animals new recordings coming out, and keep an eye on the promising new talent of Michigander. Thanks for another great show, Mac’s!
Shout out to Cooper Fox for the photos.
– By Mike Metcalf