Lansing Parks & Rec Rocks

Lansing Parks and Recreation is hosting its free summer-long “Concerts in the Park” series at parks across the city. On Wednesday, The Hoopties play Quentin Park on the south side. The band dabbles in blues, country, zydeco, reggae and old soul. The Hoopties’ debut CD, “It Ain´t Never Been Easy,” dropped last September. The band includes veteran vocalist Twyla Birdsong, Jason Strotheide (bass), Aaron Holland (guitar), Andy Callis (piano, organ, accordion, sax), Eric Payne (drums) and James “Mocha” Waller (sax, harmonica, percussion). Organizers of the concert series encourage guests to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. All concerts are held Wednesday evenings. A couple of the other upcoming park shows include the Lansing Concert Band at Riverfront Park on July 4, and The Sea Cruisers at the Turner Dodge on July 18. For more information visit

Wednesday, June 27 @ Quentin Park, 1500 Pattengill Ave., Lansing, all ages, FREE, 7 p.m. 

East Lansing concert series kicks off

The City of East Lansing is also getting ready to rock with its free outdoor Summer Concert Series, featuring six weekends of live music at the East Plaza at University Place on the corner of Charles Street and Albert Avenue. On Friday, local blues troupers Root Doctor rip through a set of classic soul and R&B, along with traditional blues and some original tunes. Back in September the band released “Joy” its latest album. Root Doctor’s previous CD, “Change Our Ways,” was nominated for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) for Soul/Blues Album of the Year in 2007. The following night, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys performs a set of soulful bluegrass at the East Plaza. The entire Summer Concert Series runs on Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 4. Visit 

Friday, June 29 & Saturday, June 30 @ East Plaza, corner of Charles St. & Albert Ave., East Lansing, all ages, FREE, 7 to 9 p.m.

Spiral mixes it up 

Ryan Kramer (a.k.a. Dr. Sketch) hosts a monthly electronic music event at Spiral called Pulse. This Friday´s party features DJ Sammy spinning Top 40, dance and hip-hop all night in the bar room.  Meanwhile, the “dance room” will bump some electro, house, breaks, dubstep and more. Set to hit the decks are Juan Trevino & Craig “Paradisio” Doepker (house/funk/electro) and Dr. Sketch & Mr. Needles (variety of styles and scratching). For those looking for specials, there will be three-for-$10 Jager Bombs, $3 well drinks, $4 Long Islands until midnight and $6 Filthy-Tinis.

Friday, June 29 @ Spiral Video & Dance, 1247 Center St., Lansing. 18 and over, $8 for 18 and up, $5 for 21 and up.

Small Houses returns to Mac’s

While Lansing may not be Jeremy Quentin’s home turf, his indie-folk project Small Houses might as well be considered local. The Kalamazoo-based singer/songwriter has deep roots in the Lansing music scene and has released a number of albums via Good Time Gang, an area indie label. On Saturday, he plays Mac’s Bar, along with headliners Those Willows, Nathan K, Wavvy Hands and Vagrant Symphony. Quentin describes “North,” his latest Small Houses album, as “a great expression of young Midwestern songwriting with hints of folk, country, as well as modern indie music.” Quentin tours the country rigorously, which he talks about on his tune “Tired and Twenty Cities.” “I wrote it after a 20-city tour,” Quentin recalled. “I was so dirty that I could look at my clothing and find some particular discoloration from some sun-stained day and know exactly what town it was from. Then I met someone with a similar story. So, in my mind, when we held hands, we shared all of the towns we carried with us.” Quentin said developing as a songwriter means becoming exceedingly genuine. “It’s about becoming more honest to yourself and others. ‘Read Me May’ (his 2009 EP) was a solid collection of songs, but when I look back at it I see it as less accessible to the listener, due to the dishonesty I was constantly attempting to portray. ‘North’ is my most honest attempt so far, and I think people will be able to relate with it.” Quentin plans to get started on a new disc next month.

Saturday, June 30 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 and over, $5, 9 p.m.

Sir Pizza serves some rock

Velocity Shift, a Lansing-based cover band, plays a free show Saturday at Sir Pizza Grand Café in Old Town. Velocity Shift plays everything from hard rock to ballads, even some British invasion and modern rock. The band features John McEvers (drums, vocals), Bruce Ignatowski (guitar, bass, synth, vocals) and Mark Gastambide (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals).

Saturday, June 30 @ Sir Pizza Grand Café, 201 East Grand River Ave., Old Town Lansing, 18 and over, free, 8 p.m. to midnight.