The Raconteurs at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans (Photos, Setlist & Concert Review)

Members: Jack White, Jack Lawrence,Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler

Voodoo Fest was wise to have The Raconteurs close out the main stage, because their performance was the best of the weekend. During the show, Jack White remarked that he had been in Detroit the day before and that his hometown, New Orleans, and Memphis all had the same kind of vibe. After “Rich Kid Blues” Jack silenced the crowd with a dark, dirty, ever-so-slow guitar solo preceding “Blue Veins” that showed the mesmerized crowd that he was indeed a true original. During his solo, his head tilted slightly and a small smile crept across his face as if he was thinking to himself, “Yeah, this is exactly how I wanted this to sound.” It was a spectacular moment. Brendan Benson was another standout of the night because his voice sounded especially strong and earnest. Benson was dressed to the nines in colorful velvet. It’s always a treat to watch Brendan and Jack interact because their long-term friendship brings warmth to their stage show.

Music fans who haven’t visited (Jack’s label) need to head over there and check out the vast amount of musical projects Jack in involved with. The Third Man Records Store has an amazing selection of vinyl from the growing list of artists that Third Man Records is working with such as Black Milk, the Black Belles, and JEFF the Brotherhood.

Consoler of the Lonely
Old Enough
Top Yourself
You Don’t Understand Me
Many Shades of Black
The Switch and the Spur
Intimate Secretary
Broken Boy Soldier
Rich Kid Blues (Terry Reid cover)
Blue Veins
Salute Your Solution
Steady, As She Goes
Carolina Drama

Stage Setup and Soundcheck

For the hardcore La Raconteurs fans: Here are some pictures from MI Fest on September 17th in Brooklyn, MI.

The Raconteurs @ MI Fest 9/17/2011 (Photos)

To put it simply, The Raconteurs shined on the night of the first MI Fest. What a lucky crowd of people we were that night to witness the re-awakening of a band of paramount importance. Enjoy the pictures!


Consoler of the Lonely
Salute Your Solution
You Don’t Understand Me
Top Yourself
Old Enough
Many Shades of Black
Intimate Secretary
The Switch and the Spur
Broken Boy Soldier
Blue Veins

Steady, As She Goes
Carolina Drama

Shooting Notes: (For the photography lovers!) I used a 24-70mm f/2.8. The challenging part of this shoot was that the stage was pretty high up so we were shooting at tricky angles. By “we” I mean I mean approximately 15-20 photogs and the VIP peeps (20) hanging out front and center. It was a crowded pit, but in a strange way it added to the exhilaration of the moment. It was a big performance and it seemed fitting to be surrounded by a lot of people. Although one of my favorite things to do when shooting a show is to block out the audience and pretend I’m at my own personal concert ha! This pit got a lil rough with all the photogs jockeying for their spots with big telephotos. It reminded me a little bit of gentle boxing out during basketball free throws. Again, I liked that element because it added some excitement to the challenge of getting the shot. The lighting was decent.

The Black Belles @ MI Fest (Photos & Review)

The Black Belles could be seen throughout the day checking out different performances at MI Fest. Meanwhile many festival attendees had the Black Belles slated as one of the top new groups that they wanted to see at the festival. Jack White discovered the group and is helping them to make their presence known with the release of an album in November. Smart move Jack! The girls impressed the crowd with their modern blend of grunge and soul. Photographing them was a blast with their striking good looks and strong stage presence. Check out the photos…
The Black Belles

Photos of the Moment: The Third Man Rolling Record Store!

It’s been a week since MI fest and I’m still reflecting on the great mix of music that I heard. The Third Man Records Rolling Record Store was another great part of the MI Fest experience. It’s hard to imagine that one little ‘ol truck can bring about such excitement but it was the first thing I looked for upon entering the MI Fest grounds. One of the cool things that Third Man Records is doing is inviting selected artists that are traveling through Nashville to stop at Third Man Studio and record a single which is then made available on 7″ vinyl. All of these singles and more were available for purchase at the truck. Sure, I could have ordered online from Third Man Records, but there was just something about standing in line with fellow music lovers in order to buy goods transported directly from Jack White’s own label and studio.



Sheryl Crow @ MI Fest (Photos & Review)

Sheryl Crow has won 9 Grammy Awards and has an impressive catalog of songs. Despite all her achievements, sometimes all it takes is one song for an artist to make an impression on a fan. For me that song is “I Shall Believe.” I was ecstatic to hear her play that live at MI Fest. I will even forgive her for teasing us early during her intro to her 4th song with Kid Rock’s name as if he may join her on stage. How mischievous! Regardless, she sang beautifully and warmed up quickly to the MI Fest crowd as they warmly embraced her music.

An Interview with Howling Diablos

Howling Diablos (Photo Credit: Bette Chapelle)

Johnny Evans – sax/harp
Johnny Bee – drums
MO Hollis – bass
Erik Gustafson – guitar
Tino Gross – vocals

Howling Diablos have been a Detroit staple since their origin in the 90’s. The band’s live shows are powerful, gritty, raw and mixed with a blend of rock, funk, and blues. Howling Diablos have collaborated with artists such as Kid Rock and Nathaniel Mayer, and opened for acts including George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, Alice Cooper, Ben Harper, Hank Williams Jr, and Incubus as well as headlining their own shows. The group is getting ready to rock the crowd at MI Fest ’11 in Brooklyn, MI this Saturday. Noize got the chance to ask Tino Gross some questions about the band and what they have been up to…

I was at the Park Bar for the release party for Ultra Sonic Gas Can. The place was packed and everyone was having a great time. As a concert photographer, your show is the only place where people pushed me up front so I could take pictures-usually I have to sneak my way up there and try not to be in the way! That was pretty cool. You have great fans. Where did the name “Ultra Sonic Gas Can” come from?

The CD Release Party was a BASH! and yes, we do have awesome fans…’Ultra Sonic Gas Can’ actually came after several other names were luke-warm, and nobody was feeling them. I wanted something that ‘fit’ the sound of the record, and had a Detroit ‘feel’ to it. The concept of combining high octane fuel, sound, cars, and the Motor-City, all came together perfectly in the title. Plus people’s reaction to it was really good… “Oh I love the title…that’s HOT!’

What was it like working with Uncle Kracker and hip-hop artist Hush? How did they end up making a guest-appearance on your new cd?

Uncle Kracker and Hush are both artists we have worked with over the years…Kracker and I wrote ‘Detroit On My Mind’ a few years back for one of his records, and it never got used… so I had the Diablos cut the track, with Johnny Bee and Jim McCarty from the Detroit Wheels. Jimmie Bones from Kid Rock’s band is on keys. It’s one of my favorites on the new record. Hush is a killer rapper who combines a street sound with a socially conscious intelligence that I love. I used him on the RL Burnside record ‘A Bothered Mind’ for Fat Possum Records.

Are there any Detroit artists that you would like to work with but haven’t gotten the chance yet?

Detroit has more great artists than anywhere I’ve ever been, there’s tons of good ones. I’m working with 2 really good bands right now, Horse Cave Trio and StaggoLee. Just did a track with Sean Forbes where we got a co-write with Bob Dylan. I been doing songs with Eliza Neals and Barrett Strong that are killer…a real sweet track with Danny D and Mark Farner… But, I would love to do something with Eminem, Bette Lavette, Jack White, Peter Wolf, or some unknown blues cats/street musicians.

What does the band have planned for the rest of 2011?

The Diablos are going to bust out another single , ‘House Party’, from the new album, with another video. Mike E. Clark (Insane Clown Posse) helped with this track and it is so fresh! It’s about a heavy metal musician/family-man who’s out of work and in foreclosure. He finds some turntables in the trash and starts throwing house parties, spinning records to pay the mortgage. It’s a real American underdog story, like Rocky! Watch out cuz it’s COMING!

Awesome, can’t wait to see the video-we are big Mike E. Clark fans! What do you think of the current Detroit music scene? How has it changed since Howling Diablos got together?

The Detroit music scene is, and always will be the BEST scene ever. It’s popularity ebbs and flows like the ocean…but it’s deep.

Congratulations on winning an award for “Outstanding Live Performance” at the Detroit Music Awards this year. What was that like?

The Diablos are truly fortunate in that we have been honored at the Detroit Music Awards. Getting the nod for “Outstanding Live Performance’ meant alot to us because that’s what we come from. That same year we got to open 2 shows at The Fillmore for the J. Geils Band, who are super-hot live performers.

Do any of the band members have any interesting routines before a big show? How do you prepare?

The Diablos prepare for a show by stayin loose-as-a-goose, and don’t overthink it, which is the key to being fluid, and is key to being great live. We have a set-list, and have arrangements, but we leave space for magic to happen. We are NOT trying to play perfect recreations of a recording. We like to feel out the crowd and the venue and then blast them with an up-to-the-minute news report of how we feel at that exact moment. This approach is not for every band…you have to be able to tap into the old ‘Deal with the Devil at the Crossroads’ shit to do this.

What’s your favorite venue to play at in Detroit? Favorite hotspots?

Detroit has some real cool historic venues like St. Andrew’s Hall, Cobo Hall, and The Fillmore (State Theatre). We love theaters like The FOX, where alot of energy is coming back in your face. The worst gigs are when they stick the people a long distance from the stage. That might work for The Ice Follies or Les Miserables, but a rock n roll show should have people pressed up near the front, going crazy, like The Apollo Theater when James Brown or Little Willie John played. Our new favorite hotspot will be Michigan Speedway on Sept.17th! Start your engines! Bring the ‘Ultra Sonic Gas Can!

Thanks for the great answers Tino. See you at Mi Fest!

An Interview with Black Milk

Detroit native Black Milk lives for music. As a producer and an emcee he has worked with such names as:  J Dilla, Lloyd Banks, Jack White, Canibus, Pharoahe Monch, Royce da 5’9″, Danny Brown, Slum Village’s Elzi and Bisthop Lamont. His previous albums and most recent endeavor, Album of the Year, have allowed him to tour extensively around  the globe. Black Milk will be performing live on the Third Man Records stage at MI Fest ’11 in Brooklyn, MI on September 17th. Noize was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Black a few questions in preparation for Mi Fest

What are you listening to now?

The Brown EP I did with Danny Brown, and the Fuzz, Freqs, & Colors instrumental series I’ve been working on.

How has your sound and style changed over time?

Sonically it gets better with every project. My engineering skills get better and better over time, and that helps a lot when it comes to producing. Half the battle in producing is working to make certain sounds sound a certain way, and it can change the dynamics and the feel.  That just opens your brain to how far you can take the music, and I’m getting better with that.

Are fans the same everywhere or does it vary according to the city you are in? How do you keep your energy up when touring?

No. The fans are not the same everywhere. Some cities have more energy than others. In certain cities, I get treated like I’m damn near a superstar. In other cities, people might not be familiar so I need to just put on a great show and work harder to win the crowd over.

With regards to how I keep my energy up on the road, I don’t. You’re tired most of the time, so you just try to get as much sleep as you can, every chance you get.

What was it like working with Jack White in Nashville?

It was great.  It was a crazy feeling to be in the presence of an artist that’s accomplished so much in his career.  For him to want to work with me was an honor.  It was also cool to collab with another artist that similar old school standards to recording as I do. I feel like we’re kind of on the same page with the way we record.

Who are your biggest supporters? 

The people that buy my albums and come to the shows: those are the people that allow me the opportunity to live off of just doing music.

Other than music, what hobbies and interests do you have?

Nothing really. It’s hard for me to focus on anything other than music.

One of the perks of your job is that you get to travel A LOT.  Where haven’t you been that you would like to go?

I’m still trying to get to Africa, and I look forward to performing in Japan. Brazil, too.

Do you have a vision for your next album and next stage of your career?

The sound isn’t really fully developed in my head for the next album. As far as the next stage, I’m enjoying being even more hands-on with the business side, and just being in more control of everything creatively–just developing everything independently.

Detroit Questions…

Fave Restaurant?

Thai Cuisine and Pita Cafe

Fave Hangout Spot?

My living room.

Fave Venue to Play at? St. Andrews Hall. They got everything. History. Sound. Whatever.

Great Answers. Thanks so much for your time! See you at MI Fest!


An Interview with Bear Lake

Bear Lake of Rochester-Hills, MI is one of the great bands Noize is looking forward to checking out at MI fest ’11 on September 17th. The band is made up of of Hines (acoustic guitar, vocals), Jon Rice (electric guitar, vocals), Keith May (bass and vocals), Brian Kwasnik (keyboards, vocals), Erik Pederson (percussion, keyboards) and Stephen Stetson (drums). These six guys have been making music together in various projects since middle school which may explain why they work so well together. Their website describes the group as “a gutsy, new wave sound that mirrors the magic of Band of Horses and the pop sensibility of Guster and Snow Patrol.” Their track “Fading Lines” off their new album If You Were Me reminds us a bit of Maroon 5. Whatever the comparison, Bear Lake is a group that is making their presence known. Their songs have been featured in the shows Melrose Place, One Tree Hill, Bones and The Gates. succinctly describes the themes in their music as “Relationships, love, death, addictions, complications and hate all encompass the basic structures of life. All of these factors mesh together somewhat chaotically at times…” Noize wanted to get to know Bear Lake a little bit better and help spread the word about their greatness. Check out Dave’s interview of Bear Lake!

When is your new album expected to drop? How will the album be available?

Our latest album, If You Were Me, released locally September 1st, and it will be released internationally by September 17th.  The album is available in all major media outlets (I-Tunes, Bandcamp, CDBaby, Amazon, etc.) as well as on our website ( and at our live shows. And it is available by request at many physical distributor outlets. Just type “Bear Lake Music” into Google and you’ll find us.

How would you describe the appeal of your music?

Our music covers a lot of ground and emotions which people respond to well. This newest album plays/reads almost like a personal journal of the band, and I think many people enjoy getting to look deeply into what a band was thinking/going through when they created a work of art. We flirt enough with the pop genre to create hooks that people can understand and readily identify with, while maintaining enough of a rock feel to keep it fun, energetic, and edgy. I think a lot of music lovers out there are looking for something that feels new and fresh. That classic rock sound will always be around, and people will always enjoy it to some degree, but I believe there are many of us out there that want music to embrace the technology and tonal capabilities that are available to us currently. We want music to sound different; like the next logical progression. Personally, when I hear a young band that is stuck in some hopelessly retro soundscape, I tend to tune them out pretty quickly.

How did your music get to be featured on Melrose Place, One Tree Hill, and Bones?

Our lawyer, Howard Hertz (Eminem, George Clinton, Brad Paisley), was able to set us up with these opportunities through different publishing companies. It has been great exposure for the band, and there are many more of these opportunities on the forefront for this upcoming season of programming. We’ll let you know when the next placements hit.

What advice would you give to up and coming bands trying to make their way?

Our advice would have to be to set up your team early. The quicker you set up your manager, lawyer, publicist, accountant, booking agent, etc. the better off you will be, and the more you will be able to focus on just making music. This can be difficult, and it will cost a lot of money, but believe it or not, you will have more money/credit in the early days of your band than you will later on, so spend it wisely. Which brings me to my next point: you will never make as much money as you would like by playing music, so make sure everyone in the band is in it purely for the love of the music. If you have members that are constantly focused on the financial end of the spectrum, it takes their focus away from the music, and this can be damaging to the progress of the band. All of us would be doing this if we were dead broke or if we were millionaires, and I think that’s what makes the hard times more endurable and the good times that much better. Your band becomes your family, but it is a family you can choose, so make sure to make the right choices early on to save yourself the anger and frustration later on.

 What effect do you believe writing your music at a cabin in Bear Lake has on the final musical product?

I think writing at Bear Lake has really solidified the communal nature of this band. Their is no one in charge up there; everyone can just throw ideas out freely and equally, and this mindset has stuck with us every time we have written since. It is freeing to be up there away from all the noise and commotion of our daily lives, and it gives us a sense of peace and relaxation that allows us to focus solely on what we love: Music. It was a double-edged sword though because we ended up with the name “Bear Lake.” Don’t get me wrong, we love the name and the meaning behind it, but since we took it, tons of bands have popped up with either Bear or Lake in the title. It has made it difficult to separate ourselves from the Indie Animal Pack, but we liked the meaning it had to us too much to change it.

Where do you see the band in five years?

In five years, I see our band with at least 5-6 more albums under our belt. We will still be touring (Internationally at that time), and we will have been picked up by a major label. We will have been in many more film and television placements, and our name will be one that people know and have heard of from coast to coast. By then, I also see us each branching off a bit and doing some songwriting and collaboration with other acts we have met along the way. That is what we love about songwriting: every time you write with a new person, you encounter new ideas and possibilities that were not previously accessible. We will continue to engage in that with as many new people as possible. Bear Lake will always be our number one priority, but all of us enjoy hearing our songs performed by many different people and in many different mediums, so I am sure we will have delved even more into that by then. Oh yeah, and we will each own a small Lear jet (something modest) and a couple tiny islands in the caribbean. You know, just for when we need to get away from all the fame and glory:)

HAHA! If you could play with any band in the world, who would it be and why?

I would have to say The Flaming Lips. It would be great to have all of us on one stage together: confetti cannons blazing, huge furry animals jumping around, and 100,000 people screaming in the audience, as all of us bust out the most incredible cover of Sade’s Smooth Operator that anyone has ever heard…EVER…It would be epic. Wayne Coyne, if you are reading this…consider it, and give us a call. It could be fun.

In what way is Bear Lake different than other bands?

Our songwriting is something that sets us apart. With so many songwriters in one band, we always have an influx of songs at our fingertips, and we never run out of material (quite the opposite really; we always have way more material than we can realistically deal with at one time). Because of this, every album that we put out explores different places and feelings, and each album takes the listeners through diverse and varied musical landscapes. Also, I think so many bands out there today are extremely guitar-centric. We like the guitar, and Rice does a great job on it, but it is just one instrument, and there are many others we like to experiment with. The music is what’s important, and the guitar is just one way to express ideas. That ideas goes for songs as well; many bands get so caught up in shredding solos and crazy-complex changes, that they forget what’s important: The Hook. You can be the craziest, most talented player in the world, but if you can’t convey your music to people in a way they can understand and remember, you’re lost. We always try to have a more balanced approach to our melody structures. Because we all play lots of different instruments, it allows us to explore more tonal possibilities rather than just guitar riff, guitar solo, guitar outro like many other bands.

Do you have an artistic vision?

The band’s artistic vision has always been to experiment with the possibilities of songwriting, and to create the greatest possible hooks and melodies that we can fathom. We live for that “AH-HA” moment that comes in music; when a song takes a random turn that you never would have planned for or expected; it ends up sounding like something you have never heard, and it makes everyone in the room jump up, bounce their heads, and laugh, knowing that you have just created something great.

How was it shared with Al Sutton and Eric Hoegemeyer?

Eric and Al understood and respected what we were trying to do immediately. When we are in the studio, sometimes it is like mental telepathy. Most times we don’t even have to explain an idea in words; Eric will just automatically pick up on it and add to it in a way that astounds all of us. It’s really amazing to experience; getting in with Rustbelt was probably the best thing that ever happened for our band.

Have current economic conditions have any effect on the band? 

I think it has helped in ways, and hurt in others. It allowed us to get our used band van for an insanely great price, but it has also forced us to spend tremendous amounts of money keeping it gassed up. I think the lack of available jobs out there has made people look at us as being a little less crazy when we tell them we are devoting our lives solely to the pursuit of music; even though if there were millions of jobs out there we still would be doing what we are doing now. All in all though I believe that we are welcoming this economic armageddon, and hoping that it will bring America back to some sense of balance; where people will have the opportunity to pursue what they love because they can no longer get that miserable 9-5 job that they would have otherwise wasted away their lives with. It is exciting, but I think it has also given a more cynical edge to our music. Seeing these Republicans in power that don’t care for anything or anyone outside of their own checkbooks, and would rather see people starving on the street than to give any money to government support programs is so sad in so many ways, and it would be hard for any American citizen to not let that affect their art.

Well said! What do you guys do for fun? Favorite hangout spots?
As much as we all love being together writing songs, outside of “band duties” we all kind of have our own passions. Rice is aspiring to be the next Lance Armstrong; Keith is always figuring out a way to book a west coast snowboard trip; Stets is training to be the world’s fastest man at beating the latest Mario Bros games; EP also enjoys a ride on a bike, however will often stop and draw a replica of his surroundings; Brian finds enjoyment in always being the smallest guy on the basketball court.

 The Bear Lake cabin is for sure the favorite hangout spot. We got it all up there. Nothing better than relaxing on the lake, golfing at Grandview, slalom skiing, jet-skiing, barbecuing, writing and singing songs to ridiculously large bonfires.

What are you currently listening to? What local bands do you like?

National bands we are currently listening to are Foster the People, Radical Face, Bon Iver, Ra Ra Riot, Broken Bells, Portugal The Man, Phoenix, Arcade Fire and tons of others. We are obsessed with new music, so we could go on for days about great bands to check out (and we will if you ever want a list).

As for local bands, there are some great things happening musically in the Detroit area, and it has left us with tons of great bands we love including Brae, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Jessica Hernandez, The American Secrets, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, The Juliets and many others.

Thanks Bear Lake for your great answers! See you at MI Fest.