Adventure: Ann Arbor Summer Fest, II

The adventuring has been going great guns this summer-so much so that I’m way behind in adventure reporting. I’ll try and catch you up on what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks.

We opened the Ann Arbor Summer Fest so it seemed appropriate that we should help close it. After our paddle down the Huron River, we got cleaned up and celebrated Canada Day with poutine and Labatt at the newly opened Smoke’s Poutinerie on South University in Ann Arbor. The beer was cheap and cold, the poutine was pretty good with generous serving sizes, and the place was decked out in the maple leaf. (try the pulled pork version, it’s yummy). What more do you need?IMG_2375

The Singer and I made our way over to Rackham Stage and spread a blanket out on the lawn for the first of the two bands we would see. The Outer Vibe was setting up, and they are front-runners for Band with Best Hair this summer. Beautiful flowing locks, used to their advantage especially by guitarist, but also by the drummer and lead singer. Also tied for band with the highest voices. I really liked that the band had a female trumpet player who also took a turn on the drum set, not something you see often. Yay for gender stereotype breaking! The Outer Vibe was pretty cool, although they seemed to be in search of a musical identity. They started off with this surfer hippie vibe but then meandered around genres a bit too much, in my opinion. Still, an enjoyable show.

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After much changing of set and the longest soundcheck in history, Red Baraat took the stage. If you had to call out a genre, World Music seems most apt, but it’s inadequate for the blend of bhangra, funk, hip-hop and jazz this Brooklyn-based band of eight puts out. Check out some live footage of Shruggy Ji and see if you can resist dancing.

It’s high-energy party music led by Sunny Jain on the Indian double-headed drum called a dhol. Who doesn’t like a man with a dhol strapped around his chest? An eclectic mix of horns and percussion contribute to the sound, including a trombone, trumpet, sax, sousaphone, electric guitar, drum kit, and other percussion. It was mind blowing. And if the sound wasn’t enough, the Indian wedding party coming down the street and the on-stage dance off between audience members put the whole thing over the top.

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Red Baraat was an awesome band to close out Summer Festival. They had people on their feet and dancing all night. Check them out on NPR’s Tiny Desk.

It was a beautiful night in Ann Arbor and a great end to summer festival. Even the moon was cooperating. Thank you, Ann Arbor Summer Festival. I look forward to the 2018 offerings.

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