Fri., Jan. 25, Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove St., East Lansing, all ages, 8 p.m., $15 public, $12 Fiddle members, $5 students.
The Steel Wheels, a Virginia-based four-piece folk band, returns to The Ten Pound Fiddle on Friday. The Steel Wheels tap into Americana traditions, but add a fresh-sounding acoustic fervor. The band´s latest album, “Lay Down Lay Low,” captures the band’s live energy while also blending in carefully crafted lyrics, often celebrating what the band calls “the good struggle.” The band features lead vocalist Trent Wagler, mandolin player Jay Lapp, bassist Brian Dickel and fiddler Eric Brubaker. Larry Groce of Mountain Stage called the band “Americana music at its very best.” “Lay Down Lay Low” is the anticipated follow-up to “Red Wing,” which ranked in the Americana Music Association´s Top 100 Albums of the Year in 2010 and spent 13 weeks on the Top 40 Americana radio charts.
Catalina Wine Mixer at Mac's
Fri., Jan. 25, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, all ages, $8, 5 p.m.
The guys in Catalina Wine Mixer grew up on a heavy dose of Blink 182 and Coheed and Cambria and, since the Holt-based band’s formation in 2007, that poppy punk sound has been mirrored in their tunes. Friday the band releases an EP at Mac’s Bar. Opening the show are Doctor Jones, Lights Out and The Tumors. Over the past six years Catalina Wine Mixer has played high-energy pop shows from Lansing to Chicago. They’ve also opened for bands like Mustard Plug and Laura Stevenson. The band, which includes lead vocalist/guitarist John Bradford, bassist Jonathan Andrews, rhythm guitarist David Robb and drummer Mike Bologna, was originally a cover band, but after a handful of shows they began penning their own songs.
Off the Ledge at Homegrown battle
Fri., Jan. 25, The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, all ages, $6 advance, $8 door, 6 p.m.
The annual Homegrown Throwdown is an old-school style battle of the bands hosted by The Loft and Q106 each year. This time around, the series is spread across five nights and will host 24 Michigan-based bands. Friday will feature Off the Ledge, Memories For Tomorrow, Fatal Tattoo, Forever There After, Six String Bully and The Getout. Off the Ledge, previously known as Hair of the Dog, includes Matt Shannon (vocals, guitar, melodica), Tab Wakley (guitar), Ian Wallace (bass) and drummer Chip Herbert. The band plays a mix of covers and originals and describes its sound as “one part alternative rock, two parts blues, a bit of funk, topped with a little jazz, a dash of folk and a pinch of pop.” They cite Dave Mathews and Jack White as influences.
Chevy Woods at Fahrenheit
Fri., Jan. 25, Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge, 6810 S. Cedar St., Lansing, 18 $10, $20 advance VIP, 9 p.m. (989) 392-3063.
As a member of the Taylor Gang, a varied crew of emcees led by rap superstar Wiz Khalifa, Chevy Woods has been steadily moving up the ranks in the world of hip-hop. Friday he performs at Fahrenheit, an event hosted by Peezy Promotions and MIC Club. Sharing the bill are other local Taylor Gang members, including the Blat! Pack, Green Skeem, C-Will, Cho City, Ahmad and DJ Eclipse. Chevy Woods made his mark on a number of early Wiz mixtapes like “Grow Season” and “Prince of the City Pt. 2.” The two rappers met in Pittsburgh and were soon recording tracks and touring the country. Last year Woods released his landmark tape, “Red Cup Music,” a project with guests like Juicy J and French Montana.
Elliot St. at Middle of the Mitten
Sat., Jan. 26, The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 , $10 advance, doors 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Returning for its fifth year, the annual Middle of the Mitten local showcase, hosted by The Record Lounge, happens over three days: Thursday at the Record Lounge, Friday at (SCENE) Metrospace and Saturday at The Loft. Saturday features Elliot Street Lunatic, Life Sized Ghost, Calcaska, Royal Hoax, Simien the Whale, Midwest, Bicylce Sunday and The HandGrenades. Headliner Elliot Street Lunatic released its first 7-inch vinyl in December. The release includes spots from local hip-hop artists Philthy and The Amature. The Middle of the Mitten showcase was founded by Joel Heckman, who started the event when he was an employee at Record Lounge. Today the event lives on as a celebration of each Record Lounge anniversary.