The Hard Lessons and My Dear Disco
At the Blind Pig
9:30 p.m. Tonight and Saturday
$15 at the door

If you pay any attention to the local Ann Arbor music scene, you already know about this concert. But if you don’t frequent the Blind Pig, this weekend’s gigs will make for the perfect introduction to one of Ann Arbor’s most famous venues. The Pig’s double bill presents two Ann Arbor favorites, My Dear Disco and The Hard Lessons, in what is sure to be a standout weekend of shows.

My Dear Disco is a solid staple of the local music scene, well-recognized around campus for playing at student events like the Groove show. The band’s energetic performances and unique sound make it a crowd-pleaser for fans of all genres. And don’t be put off by the name; this Disco is less Travolta in tight white bell-bottoms and more indie rockstar in a spacesuit.

Front woman Michelle Chamuel’s smooth vocals blend seamlessly with endless layers of electric guitar and keyboards atop perfectly orchestrated dance beats that make it hard to resist hitting the dance floor. The nod to retro disco style gives MDD’s sound an ironically modern feel. And while it’s hard to serve up disco sans cheesiness, through MDD’s synth and percussion shines a soul that only the passion of real musicians could pull out of electronic dance tunes.

2008 brought MDD’s Dancethink LP which included fleshed-out tracks from the band’s earlier, shorter EP. The fresh material bodes well for the upcoming concert and should allow the band to serve up a good mix of old and new.

The Hard Lessons is a band worth braving the cold for in its own right. Though sporting decidedly different sounds, the two bands share one thing in common: glossy, high-energy live performances that transcend the power of the music itself.

The Hard Lessons also pull from the past, blending classic rock structure with a post-punk edge and an indie mindset. Similar in sound to fellow Detroiters The White Stripes, The Hard Lessons maintain melody at a hard-rocking level. Offering both male and female leads, the strong, brazen vocals match aggressive guitar and throbbing drums on the band’s standout songs like “Wicked Man.” Others, like “It Bleeds,” break the madness for glimpses into the band’s softer side. The chemistry between newlyweds Augie Visocchi and Korin Cox is obvious from the beginning to the end of any gig they play.

After its 2005 debut Gasoline, the band followed with Wise Up! in 2006 (any band that uses punctuation in its album title is bound for greatness). Last year, the Lessons dropped B&G Sides, a four-disc set. Because the band’s repertoire is so varied, its live performances are not only exhilarating, but also consistently interesting.

Whether you’re into the glitz and glam of MDD, the gritty substance of The Hard Lessons or just looking for some quality entertainment the first weekend after classes started, check into the Blind Pig to catch this double dose of local flavor.

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