Middle of the Mitten is an event celebrating the anniversary of The Record Lounge and its commitment to local and independent music and businesses.

Email middlemitten@gmail.com to volunteer, get involved, or ask questions

 

Important announcement:

Unfortunately, MOTM 6 has been canceled. Due to extenuating circumstances that came to light during the past week, we are unable to put on the festival this year. We want to thank The Record Lounge, The Pump House, and all the bands and volunteers for their support. Circumstances beyond our control played a large role in this difficult decision. Thank you again to everyone who has supported Middle of the Mitten in the past. We are hoping for a bright future.
Sincerely,
The Middle of the Mitten 6 Team

Off The LedgeFunky blues rock band Off The Ledge is playing Day 3 of Middle of the Mitten 6. Read our interview and make to come out and support local music!1. Q: I saw you guys were in other bands previous to Off the Ledge. What brought you all together? A: Matthew and Tab are veteran rockers having played in alternative, blues, punk, ska and metal bands. Matthew and Tab were working together teaching a children’s music class when a discussion about music theory led to Matthew saying “we should start a band” meanwhile Ian Wallace had been talking to Tab about wanting to learn to play bass. The 3 of us ended up getting together and jamming one day and it sounded good so we kept doing it. We found Chip on Craigslist by posting a drummer wanted add and he was instantly a good fit for the band 2. Q: What does it mean to you to be a Michigan band? A: Hard work! Today’s music industry is all about hard work and Michigan is no exception. The michigan music scene has its ups and downs but one thing is certain there are gobs of talented musicians in Michigan. I think people forget about Motown and what all michigan has done for music. 3. Q: What’s one thing or place that has inspired your music? A: Our music is inspired by all of our individual creativity. We are all very creative artistic people but all in totally different ways that all compliment each other. 4. Q: What has been your favorite place in Michigan to perform? A: The MSU Planetarium was super fun and sticks out… macs bar is a whole in the wall that we hate to love but the truth is we always have awesome shows there. 5. Q: Do any of you have “lucky charms” that you keep on you/with you during a performance? A: Matt wears eyeshadow a lot to tap into his inner ziggy stardust… Ian always wheres a different hat at every show… Tab tries to break something at every show and chip re arranges his set all the time… But we’re not really superstitious… 6. Q: DC or Marvel? GO! A: Honestly Marvel and DC are pretty evenly matched. DC seems to have grittier and often complex story telling but Marvel has the better characters. They’re just more relatable and believable. If DC can ever get some decent films out, they would probably pass Marvel but since it doesn’t seem like Marvel is going to stop pumping out good flicks, DC is going to fall way behind.

Off The Ledge
Funky blues rock band Off The Ledge is playing Day 3 of Middle of the Mitten 6. Read our interview and make to come out and support local music!

1. 

Q: I saw you guys were in other bands previous to Off the Ledge. What brought you all together? 
A: Matthew and Tab are veteran rockers having played in alternative, blues, punk, ska and metal bands. Matthew and Tab were working together teaching a children’s music class when a discussion about music theory led to Matthew saying “we should start a band” meanwhile Ian Wallace had been talking to Tab about wanting to learn to play bass. The 3 of us ended up getting together and jamming one day and it sounded good so we kept doing it. We found Chip on Craigslist by posting a drummer wanted add and he was instantly a good fit for the band 

2. 
Q: What does it mean to you to be a Michigan band? 
A: Hard work! Today’s music industry is all about hard work and Michigan is no exception. The michigan music scene has its ups and downs but one thing is certain there are gobs of talented musicians in Michigan. I think people forget about Motown and what all michigan has done for music. 

3. 
Q: What’s one thing or place that has inspired your music? 
A: Our music is inspired by all of our individual creativity. We are all very creative artistic people but all in totally different ways that all compliment each other. 

4. 
Q: What has been your favorite place in Michigan to perform? 
A: The MSU Planetarium was super fun and sticks out… macs bar is a whole in the wall that we hate to love but the truth is we always have awesome shows there. 

5. 
Q: Do any of you have “lucky charms” that you keep on you/with you during a performance? 
A: Matt wears eyeshadow a lot to tap into his inner ziggy stardust… Ian always wheres a different hat at every show… Tab tries to break something at every show and chip re arranges his set all the time… But we’re not really superstitious… 

6. 
Q: DC or Marvel? GO! 
A: Honestly Marvel and DC are pretty evenly matched. DC seems to have grittier and often complex story telling but Marvel has the better characters. They’re just more relatable and believable. If DC can ever get some decent films out, they would probably pass Marvel but since it doesn’t seem like Marvel is going to stop pumping out good flicks, DC is going to fall way behind.

Eric FultonWe interviewed Michigan native and MOTM festival veteran Eric Fulton, who will be playing Day 1 of Middle of the Mitten 6. He’s got spunk, guys, check it out.
1. Where are you from and how did you start playing music? 
I’m from Saint Charles, MI; a village near Saginaw. I learned guitar when I was little and started writing songs just out of high school. I was definitely more badass as a kid. I was playing punk rock at around 11 until I accidentally started playing folk music around 18 or so. 



2. How would you describe your musical sound? Any influences?


it’s folk/rock. definitely pop music at times. the songs mainly live on just an acoustic guitar. my songs are all lyrics, so you’ll hear a lot of simple chords. having just one instrument lets me play the songs in different ways if it feels right; I like that freedom. 
tons of influences: ryan adams, cory branan, the killers, john prine, kevin devine, conor oberst, brand new. the list goes on&on. 


3. Tell us one important reason to come see you at MOTM6!

you should come out to MOTM because it’s going to be an amazing time! we’re going to have a party. and okay, if you don’t like the weird things I play/say, I’ll help you clean out your car or something after the show. I just want you to be happy.

4. If this isn’t your first MOTM, what’s your favorite thing about performing at this festival?

my favorite part of MOTM last year was definitely the crowd. I opened Day 1 of the festival last year at the Record Lounge, and everyone in the place was super kind and receptive. The people who run this festival do amazing things for local music, and my favorite thing about last year was seeing the audience support it the same way.


5. Last but not least…what’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?

yes! MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION. this is tough. it’s “All Apologies” - Nirvana, for sure. but it’s really “If It Makes You Happy” - S. Crow.

Eric Fulton

We interviewed Michigan native and MOTM festival veteran Eric Fulton, who will be playing Day 1 of Middle of the Mitten 6. He’s got spunk, guys, check it out.

1. Where are you from and how did you start playing music? 

I’m from Saint Charles, MI; a village near Saginaw. I learned guitar when I was little and started writing songs just out of high school. I was definitely more badass as a kid. I was playing punk rock at around 11 until I accidentally started playing folk music around 18 or so. 
2. How would you describe your musical sound? Any influences?
it’s folk/rock. definitely pop music at times. the songs mainly live on just an acoustic guitar. my songs are all lyrics, so you’ll hear a lot of simple chords. having just one instrument lets me play the songs in different ways if it feels right; I like that freedom. 

tons of influences: ryan adams, cory branan, the killers, john prine, kevin devine, conor oberst, brand new. the list goes on&on. 
3. Tell us one important reason to come see you at MOTM6!

you should come out to MOTM because it’s going to be an amazing time! we’re going to have a party. and okay, if you don’t like the weird things I play/say, I’ll help you clean out your car or something after the show. I just want you to be happy.

4. If this isn’t your first MOTM, what’s your favorite thing about performing at this festival?

my favorite part of MOTM last year was definitely the crowd. I opened Day 1 of the festival last year at the Record Lounge, and everyone in the place was super kind and receptive. The people who run this festival do amazing things for local music, and my favorite thing about last year was seeing the audience support it the same way.
5. Last but not least…what’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?

yes! MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION. this is tough. it’s “All Apologies” - Nirvana, for sure. but it’s really “If It Makes You Happy” - S. Crow.

Mike Vial is a singer/songwriter from Ann Arbor who has been pursuing music full-time for three years. He describes his sound as “guitar focused, caffeinated pop/folk” that sounds like “James Taylor meets John Mayer.” Love Birds is a sugary sweet adorable folksy love song he wrote for his wife. Want to hear him perform live? He’ll be playing along with several other Michigan folk/acoustic artists, at Day 2 of the Middle of the Michigan festival. Come check it out!

The Hand In The OceanDetroit native band, The Hand In The Ocean, are returning this year and playing day two of Middle of the Mitten 6 Music Festival. Get to know them a little better and read our interview!1. What most highly influences your music?The fork in the road. It’s always there. Our friends, other musicians we love. 
2. What are your favorite bands/albums?It’s always impossible to choose favorites when it comes to most things, so here are a few things I’v been listening to recently. La Dispute’s latest album Rooms of the House continues to get better with each listen, Animals as Leaders’ The Joy of Motion, Elis Regina’s Elis & Tom has been sneaking up on me as well.
 
3. How did your band first form?Nate fell out of the sky from the spirit realm using his testicles as a parachute. When Jay and Jeremy heard the whistling from his body buzzing through the atmosphere, they waited for nightfall and followed the brightest star in the sky until they found Nate. In three part harmony, they cried together until morning and dropped out of college. A bystander heard what was happening and recorded it on GarageBand. The Hand in the Ocean doesn’t technically exist. They’ve been locked up in legal litigation trying to win the rights to the .wav files of those original recordings since then. 

4. What’s your favorite aspect of music festivals or concerts?A music festival is still something I’ve yet to go to. For some reason the first thing I think of is sweaty overpopulation with overpriced everything and occasionally you’ll see a band that you kind of like or read about on some music blog on the internet, but i’m sure this is mostly exaggerated and I hate fun. Once again favorites are tough, but besides playing/listening to other bands play, it would be interacting with the other musicians or people attending and noticing all these little connections between everyone.
5. What are some of your hobbies?We all have hobbies outside of music that keep us busy besides work and shows and sometimes showers. J sometimes plays in another band Jacque Rocques, reads words in books, sometimes even all of them and makes 1st grade level water colors.6. What would be your band’s spirit animal?Our band’s spirit animal would have to be the Southern Shelled Padka for many reasons. Not only do I feel that we as a band all really represent one of it’s three infamous moods, but there is a staggering amount of history with this animal and I am absolutely intrigued with each article I read about them.

The Hand In The Ocean

Detroit native band, The Hand In The Ocean, are returning this year and playing day two of Middle of the Mitten 6 Music Festival. Get to know them a little better and read our interview!

1. What most highly influences your music?
The fork in the road. It’s always there. Our friends, other musicians we love. 

2. What are your favorite bands/albums?
It’s always impossible to choose favorites when it comes to most things, so here are a few things I’v been listening to recently. La Dispute’s latest album Rooms of the House continues to get better with each listen, Animals as Leaders’ The Joy of Motion, Elis Regina’s Elis & Tom has been sneaking up on me as well.
 
3. How did your band first form?
Nate fell out of the sky from the spirit realm using his testicles as a parachute. When Jay and Jeremy heard the whistling from his body buzzing through the atmosphere, they waited for nightfall and followed the brightest star in the sky until they found Nate. In three part harmony, they cried together until morning and dropped out of college. A bystander heard what was happening and recorded it on GarageBand. The Hand in the Ocean doesn’t technically exist. They’ve been locked up in legal litigation trying to win the rights to the .wav files of those original recordings since then. 
4. What’s your favorite aspect of music festivals or concerts?
A music festival is still something I’ve yet to go to. For some reason the first thing I think of is sweaty overpopulation with overpriced everything and occasionally you’ll see a band that you kind of like or read about on some music blog on the internet, but i’m sure this is mostly exaggerated and I hate fun. Once again favorites are tough, but besides playing/listening to other bands play, it would be interacting with the other musicians or people attending and noticing all these little connections between everyone.

5. What are some of your hobbies?
We all have hobbies outside of music that keep us busy besides work and shows and sometimes showers. J sometimes plays in another band Jacque Rocques, reads words in books, sometimes even all of them and makes 1st grade level water colors.

6. What would be your band’s spirit animal?
Our band’s spirit animal would have to be the Southern Shelled Padka for many reasons. Not only do I feel that we as a band all really represent one of it’s three infamous moods, but there is a staggering amount of history with this animal and I am absolutely intrigued with each article I read about them.

Nathan Alan is a Northern Michigan native currently residing in the Lansing area. His music is calming indie-folk, with acoustic guitars, wistful harmonicas, poetic lyrics, and ethereal vocals that expertly evoke the nature of the Michigan landscape. Come hear him live April 18th at Middle of the Mitten Day 2 — you won’t regret it!

King MedianMeet King Median, five fellas playing for you on Day 1 of MOTM6. Want to know more about these gentlemen? We snagged an interview; check it out!
1. Where are you from and how did you start playing music?King Median is from Kalamazoo and all 5 members are currently students at the small liberal arts school Kalamazoo College. The band members have either met through the college’s music and arts magazine or through a jazz improvisation class. Ultimately, the band started as a group of friends who happened to pursue the same goals.

2. How would you describe your musical sound? Any influences?King Median aims to bridge the sounds of the ’60s to the modern ear. While comparisons to early Pink Floyd or to The Beatles remain inevitable, it’s the studio engineers from George Martin to Brian Wilson to Phil Spektor that inspire the band to create a cohesive sound and vision.

3. Tell us one important reason to come see you at MOTM6!The one reason why you should see King Median play at Middle of the Mitten this year is because we don’t sound like any other band you can see in the region. From ’60s psychedelic to jazz influences, we’ll create an intimate wall of sound to bathe your ears in.

4. Is this your first time playing MOTM? If so, what are you most looking forward to?
East Lansing is a vibrant city full of energetic young people that separates it from our living experience in the much quainter Kalamazoo. We live in a smaller bubble here in Kalamazoo, especially at a liberal arts school, so we’re looking to spend time in a busier downtown area and have a chance for old friends to see us.

5. Last but not least…what’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" by the Beatles. Because I’m hopeful.

King Median

Meet King Median, five fellas playing for you on Day 1 of MOTM6. Want to know more about these gentlemen? We snagged an interview; check it out!

1. Where are you from and how did you start playing music?
King Median is from Kalamazoo and all 5 members are currently students at the small liberal arts school Kalamazoo College. The band members have either met through the college’s music and arts magazine or through a jazz improvisation class. Ultimately, the band started as a group of friends who happened to pursue the same goals.
2. How would you describe your musical sound? Any influences?
King Median aims to bridge the sounds of the ’60s to the modern ear. While comparisons to early Pink Floyd or to The Beatles remain inevitable, it’s the studio engineers from George Martin to Brian Wilson to Phil Spektor that inspire the band to create a cohesive sound and vision.
3. Tell us one important reason to come see you at MOTM6!
The one reason why you should see King Median play at Middle of the Mitten this year is because we don’t sound like any other band you can see in the region. From ’60s psychedelic to jazz influences, we’ll create an intimate wall of sound to bathe your ears in.
4. Is this your first time playing MOTM? If so, what are you most looking forward to?
East Lansing is a vibrant city full of energetic young people that separates it from our living experience in the much quainter Kalamazoo. We live in a smaller bubble here in Kalamazoo, especially at a liberal arts school, so we’re looking to spend time in a busier downtown area and have a chance for old friends to see us.
5. Last but not least…what’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?
"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" by the Beatles. Because I’m hopeful.

The Tops - King Median 

King Median is a five-piece rock group from Kalamazoo that was founded in 2013. Their music ranges from a chill, shoegaze-y vibe on their EP The Carousel Demo, to more upbeat pop with great vocal harmonies and fun jazzy keyboards on their single The Tops. Interested? Make sure to check out their bandcamp and come see them live (and fo’ free!) on Day 1 of Middle of the Mitten 6!

Easier - The HandGrenades

The HandGrenades are bringing the “good looking rock” to MOTM Day 3 this year! These Detroit natives are made up of three songwriters, who each take the role of the lead singer in the songs that they’ve written. Take a few minutes to let their lovely three part harmonies ring in your ears, and then come see them live with us.

It’s really an easy conclusion: The HandGrenades will rock your socks off.

The Hand in the Ocean are “just three boys” who produce fantastically folky tunes that you can’t help but tap your foot or bob your head to. The limber banjo-and-guitar-playing fingers make no mistakes in playing your heartstrings; let them take you on the journey of their lyrics. Don’t miss on MOTM Day 2—an evening of indie folk jams such as this.

And don’t let your friends miss out on this opportunity to have another laugh! Invite them along!

Mind Over Matter - My Pal Val

My Pal Val is comprised of three spectacular artists that create a unique, edgy sound—utilizing their female vocals to their advantage. The trio is based out of Detroit, and have been playing together since 2009. If you come to MOTM Day 3, you will hear and feel for yourself their interesting and dynamic vibe.

Off The Ledge is a band that impeccably combines elements of blues, funk, rock, jazz, and folk into their songs for your listening pleasure. The band is originally from Lansing, and will be representing at MOTM Day 3.
Be there or be square.

Off The Ledge is a band that impeccably combines elements of blues, funk, rock, jazz, and folk into their songs for your listening pleasure. The band is originally from Lansing, and will be representing at MOTM Day 3.

Be there or be square.

Peels and Feels - Andy Klingensmith

When you press play, Andy Klingensmith will make you feel all of the happy feels. With a Beatles-reminiscent style and harmonies for days, AK has opened up his music for all ears to download. Don’t miss out on MOTM Day 1; come experience his chill vibes for yourself.

Peace, love, and (local) music.

Join the Middle of the Mitten 6 crew!

UPDATE: The first planning meeting for the 6th annual Middle of the Mitten local music festival is Tuesday, Jan. 14 in 214 Bessey Hall (MSU) at 7:30pm, and you should join us.

Here’s a list of all the reasons that’s a great idea:

  • You’ll get to be involved in something recognized and awesome.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to learn, practice, or hone your professional skills outside the classroom.
  • You’ll work with a wide range of people, including fellow MSU students, faculty, staff and alumni, business owners, communications professionals, media contacts, managers, musicians, community members, and on and on.

And here’s a sample of the projects we’ll be tackling:

  • Creating and implementing a graphics and branding strategy for social media, web, print, and written materials.
  • Designing and building a band application, Wordpress website, and other marketing communications.
  • Finding and vetting 100+ bands and choosing a festival lineup.
  • Requesting, scheduling, coordinating, and participating in appearances on radio stations across lower Michigan, usually featuring live performances by festival bands.

Click the link for more information about the festival and how to get involved, or email middlemitten@gmail.com (or send an Ask) if you have questions!