Thursday night, the line for the bar wrapped around the corner. Bouncers checked IDs as strums of a guitar and bursts of neon and disco ball light slipped through the cracks of the door. It was another Thursday night in a college town, but just a little different.
MUSIC Matters, (MUSIC doubling as an acronym for Michigan Undergrads Serving In the Community) is a campus organization in constant pursuit of community spirit, loud music and philanthropy. The massive student organization highlights Ann Arbor’s talent and uplifts its community through music events supporting student nonprofit organizations, scholarship funds and youth leadership events. On Thursday, they hosted a “Battle of the Bands” fundraiser at Ann Arbor institution The Blind Pig. The event provided students with a much-needed break from a usual Thursday night: one filled with excitement, a sense of purpose and incredible music (rather than usual parties’ somewhat listenable assortment).
The lineup included five locally founded indie bands: Big Chemical, Luna Pier, Electric Chic, Anytime and Gravytrain. They all perform and collaborate in the tight-knit, local music scene of parties, co-op events and concerts at venues like The Blind Pig. But tonight was the chance for a change: a big break within the student body and, with support of concertgoer votes, a first and second-place cash prize.
Luna Pier took the stage in Jamaican bobsledding jerseys, and the drummer in a bloodstained dress shirt (of course). They captured the audience with killer confidence that almost made you forget that the musicians were University of Michigan and Wayne State students with marks on their hands to show they are “under 21.” Their original style and songs had hints of 1970s garage rock, indie surf rock, 2010s screamo and even early honky-tonk country.