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Live music scene in Mt. Pleasant

By ELIZABETH SCHAFER, Associate Editor

Live music is a vital part of nightlife when you’re in a college town, and Mt. Pleasant is definitely a college town looking for action. Sometimes you just have to go off the beaten path to find it.

Rubbles is probably the last of the bars from the original live music scene.  Back in the ‘90s it was the number one spot in Mt. Pleasant to hear all the new radical bands from Detroit and Lansing and other big cities. The little bar, located on Michigan Street in the downtown area, is a cramped 700 square feet.  Back in its heyday it hosted mainstream bands Chasing Amy, The Workhorse Movement, Knickleshot, Red Fish Blue Fish, and Big Angry Fish and the band that eventually became The Verve Pipe.

Nowadays, Rubbles is not even close to what it used to be.  However, it is still the only place that a person in Mt. Pleasant can really go to hear live music with a full band from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The genres differ depending on the night and band.

Some incredible indie bands from Detroit play there frequently. Sybaris from Chicago and The Javelins from Detroit always enjoy coming to play at Rubbles. Mt. Pleasant’s own Those Transatlantics, who were once signed to the label Suburban Sprawl out of Detroit, called Rubbles their home base until their break in 2010. Also you can hear “Professors who Rock” Chris McNicol and Anthony Sassin bust some tunes with Brian Koehler in their band, Cloud Strider.  Koehler also plays there acoustically every other Monday at 9 p.m. The Pleasant Ladies, a burlesque troupe from MP will be there Nov. 8 and 15. A DJ starts off those nights at 9:30 p.m.

The thing about Rubbles is you can’t let the atmosphere get you down and keep you from going in to hear a show.  It isn’t exactly what you would call the classiest joint in town. The whole place is dark and shabby. The ceiling above the stage is missing most of its tiles —  the result of many battles lost to microphone stands and lead guitarist freak-outs.  The shabbiness just adds to the “rock `n` roll” aspect.  A hole in the wall, nonetheless, produces some great music.

Another hot spot, The Cabin, offers a variety of local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights. In the past it also has hosted the Girls with Guitars contest, which has drawn quite a crowd. The music usually starts around 9:30 p.m. and goes until the bar closes at 2 a.m.  As far as sound,  it is generally acoustic.  Mark Daisy plays there locally.  On occasion there will be a full band and original songs.  The Cabin, located on the corner of Crawford and Broomfield, is also a very well known establishment, so it can get busy in the later part of the evening.

The Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company on Pickard Street is the brewery and tap room for most of the beer that fuels Mountain Town Station on Broadway.  Every Tuesday they host a blues and jazz session that will make you think you are in some speak-easy during the prohibition. On the second Thursday of every month Dan Bracken hosts a “Singer Songwriter Night” that includes local musicians performing original pieces with other local musicians. “Professors who Rock” Anthony Freds plays there on occasion on blues jam night.  Some incredible music has come out of these evenings.

The setting is very intimate and the beer is fantastic.  They also offer a gruit-style beverage that is like beer, only made without hops.  Add the good music and this place is exactly where you might want to spend an evening.

The Old Forresters frequently play at Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company, what the locals refer to as “the tap room.”  The Old Forresters is a four-man rockabilly combo complete with a stand-up bass.  They bring back old school country and an edgy new funk that makes you bob your head uncontrollably.  One of the founding members is Bob Busch, formerly of the Bob Busch Package. Looking at Bob, a person finds that it’s hard to know what to expect musically.  Then after you hear a couple songs, it’s hard not to listen. The Old Forresters also play at Rubbles as well.

A hidden place to hear live music in town would be what used to be called CoCo Joe’s, now Hunter’s Ale House, on Bluegrass Road. It offers live music on the weekends.

The Water Lily inside the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort offers live entertainment on the weekends; on the first Thursday of every month you can find The Afterhours Experience, which features covers and original songs from John LaCrosse and Craig “Griff” Griffith, the harmonica player for The Verve Pipe.

Whether you are looking for feel-good acoustic music or a hardcore rock show, Mt. Pleasant has it. Sometimes you just need to look a little harder to find it.  Leave the judgment at the door and just listen.

  • Brass Cafe’ – Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6-10 p.m.
  • The Cabin – DJ on Fridays and karaoke on Thursday and Saturday starts at 10 p.m.
  • Hunter’s Ale House – Thursday and weekends starting at 9:30 p.m.
  • Rubbles – Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday starts at 10 p.m. Cover differs.
  • The Water Lily inside the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort – Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting at 9 p.m.

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