Wow! What a terrific couple weeks of SeMiBluegrass! (Like us on Facebook or follow us by email!). On a whim, I headed out Tuesday night to the Wolverine State Brewing Company in Ann Arbor. Literally right around the corner from my Dad's place, I'd walked by there a million times and never noticed it before. Who knew a pretty good microbrewery and great live music venue was so close at hand? Live music that night was supplied by Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, playing their weekly gig at the brewery. Both the bar and the band were MUCH more than expected.
|The "Sampler"--always a good idea (but pretty big here!)|
Having never tasted their beer, I ordered the "sampler"--10 small beers for $13.50 (this is usually the best value at a microbrewery). However, I am used to the "normal" 4oz sample of each beer, and the Wolverine pours a 6oz (or is it 8!) glass of each of their hand-crafted beers. I'd definitely recommend splitting the sampler with a friend if you want to walk/drive home (as opposed to crawl/crash). Based on my brother-in-law's theory that "there are two kinds of microbreweries--those that make 10 colors of Bud Light and those that loose money, I prepared to be disappointed and dove right in. The first three beers (an American, dark and amber lager) were definitely "type 1" beers. Happily, the rest of the rack proved to be pretty good, with the "Green Thumb IPL" really standing out. Friendly bartenders, an impecibably clean facility, and a diverse, mellow crowd combine to make for an enjoyable evening. My only negative observation was is that there's only two "single seat" bathrooms (one male, one female) so there was usually a line for the restroom.
|Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys|
Lindsay Lou has a complex and powerful voice that easily cuts through the murmur and babble of a bar setting and really sets off the sound of the band. The whole band was tight, rides an upbeat, driving groove and has obviously come together during their busy tour season. They've apparently also worked out the intricacies of making their PA sound good inside a cement block building (can anyone say "locker room"?). All the instruments could be heard and the overall mix was rich and melodic--without being overpowering (I hate being in a bar where you either can't hear the band, or have to shout to hear the guy next to you). The vocals were crystal clear, and the harmonies spot on. I loved their mix of original tunes and bluegrass standards done with an old time / swing / jazzy feel to them. The standout song (to me) was their cover of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out's My Angeline--an updated version of the classic Angelina Baker. Not a pure cover (who could ever approach the perfection of Wayne Benson's Mandola part on that song), the Flatbelly's mix of darker, low vocals with a touch of swing in the chorus is really, really, really superb!
|Nothing better than "With Special Guests...."|