After Laith’s sold out show last December at the Franke Center, we couldn’t resist having him back again for another night of Rock and Roll music to close out 2017! This time there will be two different shows the same night – each show will be approximately 90 minutes long, with the early show at 7:00 and the late show starting at 9:30. An additional attraction for the evening will be a VIP Meet and Greet session at 6:00 PM, giving Laith’s fans a chance to meet him face to face before the first show. These shows will feature Laith with his three-piece band, and is sure to be a great night of Rock/Blues music in the Franke’s intimate concert setting.
After years of live performances on the local scene in Ann Arbor, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of the 2016 season of NBC’s The Voice. His love of classic Rock and searing guitar work brought a different genre of music and performance to the show which typically features modern pop music, featuring Blues/Rock classics such as “Born Under a Bad Sign”, “The Thrill Is Gone”, “White Room”, and the classic Dylan tune “All Along the Watchtower”. Laith is well known for his ability to make a Telecaster sing, filling every performance with stunning improvisations woven into a wide range of music including classic rock covers, jazz standards, soul, blues, and original compositions.
A graduate of the University of Michigan school of music with degrees in Jazz and Bass guitar, Laith spent years on local stages in Ann Arbor and across the country working with legends like Taj Mahal, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Gregg Allman and B.B. King. One of the hardest working musicians in Michigan, he played upwards of 300 gigs a year and endeared himself to legions of local fans. Adam Levine described Laith as “the best show of musicianship I’ve ever seen on The Voice.”
Talking about the show, Franke Center Events Manager Dave Deppe said “The opportunity to see a talent of this level right here in Marshall in our intimate venue is something that should not be missed, and we are thrilled to be the only venue in Michigan where Laith is playing during December. If you enjoyed his performance on “The Voice”, you really must see him live!”
Check out his website at: https://laithalsaadi.comTICKETS
Featuring The Celtic Band
In the Downstage Club
One of the Franke Center’s favorite events, the Irish Pub Night, returns in January for another evening of music, dance, and fun! This year we will be featuring The Moxie Strings, a leading edge Celtic band based right here in Michigan. This show is part of The Franke’s “Music On Tap” Series partnership with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and highlights the relaxed atmosphere and fine acoustics of our Downstage Club. Note that all tickets are general admission, with a club style chair and table seating arrangement.
Hailed by The Grand Rapids Press as “top-notch, instrumental wizardry,” The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best-known instruments through a young, progressive lens. Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn, often joined by percussionist, Fritz McGirr, all hold Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance, which have given each the technical foundation to explore the limits of his/her instrument and helped the group build a reputation for musical excellence. The Moxie Strings compose the majority of their pieces and arrange melodies from many traditions, resulting in a genre-blurring blend of ear-catching melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms. Alison performs on a newly-invented, electric cello, and Diana on a contemporary 5-string violin, both through a variety of audio effects pedals. Fritz performs on a mix of world percussionist instruments and drum kit. Their polished, high-energy show and unique sound are redefining strings’ role in contemporary music, and have quickly made the band one of the country’s most promising instrumental acts.
This will be a great way to spend a cold January night with your friends – get your tickets early, this show sold out quickly last year!
Check out The Moxie String website at: http://www.themoxiestrings.comTICKETS
Winners of the 2014 Lansing Capital Area Blues Society “Blues Competition”, The Big Boss Band promises to lay down some powerhouse roots blues, rock and R&B during our dinner hours. This versatile band from Kalamazoo features Bill LaValley on bass, Joe Ferguson with vocals and harmonica, Max Brown on guitar, and Eric Busch on drums. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and a BBQ dinner will be available for purchase from 5 to 7 PM.
Opening the evening on the Main Stage will be the Jake Kershaw Band. Jake Kershaw is the 16 year old guitar slinging, blues/rock singing teenager that everyone in Michigan is talking about! This is a high energy group that plays their own original blues rock as well as their versions of classic blues with a rock edge. When not on stage or preparing for a show, Jake is a junior at Marshall High School. Jake holds down a 4.0 GPA which includes honors classes and was inducted into the National Honor Society this past spring. He also performs with the high school marching band and the symphonic band playing the euphonium (which he has played for the past 6 years). Jake performs for many charitable events to help those less fortunate with health issues or just down on their luck.
Headlining the evening will be Harper and Midwest Kind. An amalgamation of blues, soul and world music, multi award winning Australian singer/ songwriter “Peter D. Harper” creates a heady mix of roots music through his creative use of the harmonica, and the haunting drone of the didgeridoo. By combining traditional and modern influences, borrowing from Western and World music, Harper has created a highly original take on the roots genre which many have labeled “World Blues”. Harper has received an amazing 14 x Music Awards in four different countries. His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonics and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, somehow sounding primal and contemporary at the same time. No Depression Magazine,’s (USA) Rod Ames, adds that Harper ” has written and arranged some of the most soulful blues rock filled music I have ever heard”. Harper is backed by his very talented Detroit based band “Midwest Kind”.
Check out Harper and Midwest kind website at:http://www.harper.biz
Check out Jake Kershaw Band website at:http://jakekershaw.com
Check out Big Boss Band Facebook.TICKETS
“Heywood’s act is a visual bombardment. Heywood Banks is a geek. One part science lab, one part ‘The Day After’. The man is a walking, talking computer error.” Laughtrackq Magazine
Heywood Banks is simply one-of-a-kind, almost impossible to describe, with a style his very own. Equal parts genius and buffoon, this songwriter-comic-singer-poet-musician has become a cult hero and a pop icon, with a show that appeals to college students, stoners, businessmen, yuppies, rednecks, punks, kids or your grandmother. Heywood intersperses his humorous observations of life with twisted, inventive, bizarre songs, sung and played in a variety of styles, from folk, to country to rock to pop, and way beyond.
“His comedy is musical. He’s in the tradition of Weird Al, I suppose. But he’s more insane and funnier. He writes and plays full-band full-on crazy songs about absolutely everything. “Wiper Blades” is playing right now. He has a great Michigan attitude—and I can only blame his genius on growing up around here, among the vacant lots, drainage ditches and minimalls. Lots of songs about “if I only had a bulldozer then everyone would be polite” or “be friendly to the crabby little old lady because you never know…who’s got a gun”…or “She’s the one-eye love”—the puns start picking up speed, like the one that says “I want to get you a loan.” There’s a song about “It’s Just the Television” about a guy overlooking scary sounds until it’s too late.”
An internationally known veteran of the comedy circuit, Heywood Banks has appeared on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv,” MTV’s “1/2 Hour Comedy Hour,” CNN’s “Hollywood Minute,” “Caroline’s Comedy Hour,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Showtime Comedy Club Network,” “Dr. Demento Show,” “12th Annual HBO Young Comedians Special with Paul Rodriguez” and is a frequent guest on the national Bob and Tom radio sh
Visit Heywood Banks Website :http://heywoodbanks.com
Tinsley Ellis returns to the main stage of The Franke Center to perform a special show celebrating his 40 year career as a touring musician. “Guitars Along the Blues Highway” explores Ellis’s numerous experiences on the road including shows with Blues masters B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Bo Diddley, and Freddie King, and celebrates the music of these artists as he and his band play selections from each, plus selections from Ellis’s 18 albums.
Ellis easily ranks as one of today’s most electrifying blues-rock guitarists and vocalists. He approaches his music with rock power and blues feeling, in the same tradition as his Deep South musical heroes Duane Allman and Freddie King, and his old friends Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Since first hitting the national scene in 1988, Ellis has toured non-stop and has released numerous critically acclaimed albums. Rolling Stone writes that his guitar skills ”rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.”
Born in Atlanta in 1957, he grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age eight. He soon was immersed in the music of the British Invasion bands The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, and The Rolling Stones, and especially loved the Kings — Freddie, B.B. and Albert. Ellis’s live performances have become legendary for their unique blend of blistering guitar licks and soulful vocals.
Acoustic Blues featuring Kalamazoo’s Doug Beckman starts in the Downstage Club at 7 PM with beer and wine available. The main stage show starts at 8:00 PM.
Visit Tinsley Ellis Website at http://www.tinsleyellis.com/index.htmlTICKETS