School of Rock
|By Rich Tupica|
Where to go for shows and recordsIf you’re new to the Lansing area or just haven’t bothered checking out the local music scene yet, here are a few venues and record shops worth looking into. Some may be off of the beaten path, but they’re well worth the trip across town, or just across the street.
This art gallery/music venue has become a go-to place for under-the-radar music. From experimental, to loud and crazy punk, this place is host to most odd, and often talented, acts in the area. The huge venue, located at the end of the Jay Street alley (behind the Nuthouse Sports Grill), recently started an open-mic night. Check out the “‘90s Festival” Friday, Sept. 4-5, where a ton of local bands are booked to play. 414 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing (enter through alley) or visit http://b414.org/
For those about to rock, I suggest Mac’s Bar, the heart of Lansing’s metal, hip-hop, alt-country, punk and electronic music. The bar has been a local fixture since the 1940s and continues to be a hot spot for local shows, mid-level touring acts and just hanging out and rocking the juke box on an off night. The bar also hosts a comedy and electro night during the week.
2700 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing or visit www.macsbar.com.
Back in the ’90s this family-owned venue booked the best alternative bands around (including Weezer, The Verve Pipe, etc). Now at a new location near Chandler’s Crossing, Small Planet is a spacious venue that triples as a family restaurant and sports bar that is known to draw some national acts (such as alt-rock legends Dinosaur Jr., which stopped through last April). Upcoming highlights include appearances by D-12 and Skid Row.
1600 Chandler Road, East Lansing or visit: http://www.thesmallplanet.info/
This art gallery doubles as East Lansing’s most chill music venue. If you enjoy browsing art and watching local and touring acts play in a smokefree environment, this is your spot. From indie and folk, to singer/songwriters and rockers, this place has steadily kept original music alive in East Lansing for the last several years.
Flat, Black & Circular
This CD/vinyl shop has been a vital part of East Lansing’s music scene for more than 30 years. Located in the Campus Town Mall (near MSU Credit Union), this shop stocks new and used vinyl, including rare rock, punk, soul and hundreds of 45s. It also features the city’s largest vinyl selection of hip-hop and country. The store’s variety of music DVDs alone is worth the trip. Between owners Dick Rosemont and Dave Bernath and long-time employee Jon Howard, these guys have knowledge of nearly every record in existence.
541 E. Grand River, East Lansing (upstairs). http://www.flatblackandcircular.com/
The Record Lounge
This all-vinyl shop recently merged with Scavenger Hunt, a hip vintage clothing store in the heart of East Lansing. The store is owned by Heather Frarey, a longtime record store clerk who digs everything from The Stooges to current indie greats. If you dig vinyl, and the clothes your parents wore back in the ‘70s, stop in and browse this unique shop.
503 E. Grand River Ave, East Lansing or visit: http://www.myspace.com/therecordlounge
Replay Entertainment Exchange
This music lover and gamer haven not only stocks tons of used vinyl and video games, but also gaming consoles dating back to the Nintendo Entertainment System. While you’re there, you can also have a personalized T-shirt printed up and browse the used DVDs.
319 E. Grand River, East Lansing or visit: http://www.ireplay.net/
Uncle Sam’s Record Emporium
This indie-punk store in Lansing’s Old Town stocks tons of indie CDs, 7-inches and LPs. And if you feel like digging, there are hundreds of bargain LPs begging to be picked up at a low cost. This store also hosts a lot of in-store rock shows, making it the perfect place to connect with area punks.
100 E. Grand River or visit: http://www. myspace.com unclesamsrecordemporium
Schuler Books & Music
For the record geek/book worm, this could be a nice get away. Located in the East Wood Towne Center (off Lake Lansing Road), this huge book store has a growing selection of shiny new vinyl records and a large selection of CDs, DVDs and box sets. The Meridian Mall location doesn’t stock any vinyl, but you can still find CDs and music DVDs.
2820 Towne Center, Lansing (off Lake Lansing RD) and 1982 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos or visit: http://www.schulerbooks.com/
Next outdoor music festival in Lansing:
The banks of the Grand River will be filled with loud music at Lansing’s River Fest, where a huge roster of bands and hip-hop artists will take the stage. At 3 p.m. Saturday, Sep. 19, the show will start, featuring The Hard Lessons, My Favorite Highway, The Dirty Americans, P.H.I.L.T.H.Y., Narc Out the Reds, The Elms and more. Aside from loud music, you can enjoy contests, prizes, break dancing, skateboarding and a tailgate for the MSU vs. Notre Dame game. Enjoy what’s left of the warm weather at this outdoor event.