While we're waiting for the Kickstand Band to set up, Lo & Behold! proprietor Richie Wolhfiel invites me to the back counter, by his laptop, his record player, his towers of 7"'s, spray paint cans, antique fan, decades old tomes and a few other charms and treasures, ...and he starts playing this song through the sound system...
It bursts. It grooves. It's syrupy but it's barbed, it's heartbroken but it also couldn't give a shit. It's soulful, it's grimy. It sounds 40 years old and yet forever fresh. The guitar solo peaks out of the crackling waves of fuzzed-out bass like something emblazoned, a meteorite with a veil of distortion tailing behind its funky wake. And those drums, I tell Richie, those drums are just how I want almost every drum to sound, hollow, guttural, snapping close right up to the listeners ear, angry yet graceful, something you can feel in your chest. And that bass? That bass is a beast.
But the beauty is in Richie's lead vocals; because of how much heart is heaved into it... This project, The Belle Isles, is something Richie's been wanting to do for years. He'd been utilizing most of his time, these last five years, establishing Lo & Behold! as a local sanctuary and support center for local arts and neighborhood organizations, not just operating as a store (with Richie as its one-man-staff) but as a commons for local culture. Now that he's got Deb Agoli on drums and Connor Dodson on guitar, he's got the opportunity to create his ideal vision of Motown grooves, garage-cacophony, funk smoothness and soulful danceability.
I tell Richie that you could start playing this kind of music subtly in the background at any party, start amplifying the volume ever so subtly, and by the 2nd chorus, they'll all begin, pied-piper style, to start dancing... Not a rave... Just grooving...
The Belle Isles open up an excellent line up of bands tomorrow night, performing inside Lo & Behold!, with Mega Bog (touring in from Seattle), Shells and Stef Chura.
Lo & Behold
10022 Jos Campau, Hamtramck