Rather than closing shop at 7pm last Friday, The Record Lounge once again opened its doors for a night of live local bands, continuing their tradition of all-ages, donation-based, in-store shows.
Tidal, a three-piece indie rock group hailing from Lansing, booked the bands themselves after confirming the date with store owner Heather Frarey, who makes The Record Lounge an accessible space for local artists to put on independent shows.
For Heather, the live music scene is not quite what it used to be, and “as it is now there is no live music in East Lansing, when back in the day there used to be huge artists coming to campus. The Small Planet was a huge place for bands like Black Flag, Necro, and more, but then it all died. I just enjoy being able to give people a place to play in the city that all ages can come to and enjoy.”
When The Record Lounge first opened eight years ago, the all-vinyl music shop was located above Urban Outfitters. At the time, Heather was still showcasing local talent with in-store events, but the 350 square foot space could only accommodate acoustic acts. It’s still a cozy fit, but their current location on Division Street suffices for full electric bands and a decent crowd.
LVRS, Tidal, girlband, and Sumarah made up Friday night’s lineup. Tidal guitarist Mariette Heubel’s goal in booking the show was “to just have a big ol’ show with a bunch of our friends and see what happened.” Bassist Nicole Geller shared a similar sentiment, adding that “putting it together, it was really just a show that I wanted to see.” The band chuckled at this remark, but the success of the show was definitely, to some degree, due to their genuine and infectious enthusiasm for every band on the bill. “There was not a single moment that I didn’t want to be here.”
Though it was Tidal’s first performance at The Record Lounge, Mariette played at the store once before in Lansing-based band So Long Naota. Drummer Cody Kuuttila also recalled his first time playing at The Record Lounge, when he played bass in hardcore punk band Brought Up in 2013. That same year, Tidal played their first show at the Lansing house venue Church of the Three Cats. At the time, Tidal was only a duo consisting of Mariette and Cody, and the latest recordings on their Bandcamp were released nearly two years ago when the band still operated as a duo.
“It was definitely what we were going for at the time,” remembers Mariette. “I think we’ve just changed our mind a lot since then.” Now a trio, the band has a lot to show for changing their mind. Their sound has evolved tremendously since their November 2014 release With Love.
I primed myself for the show by checking out the stripped down acoustic guitar tracks on With Love before heading over, but I was taken aback by the distorted electric guitar hooks and driven rock sound prevalent in their live performance. Cody contrasted their performance at Record Lounge to their debut at Church of the Three Cats, where “we just had a snare drum with a t-shirt over it, and she had an acoustic guitar.” Tidal recently finished recording with Jason Roedel of Reo Town Recording and plan to release their full length album, Here Goes Nothing, sometime in August.
Lansing’s Garage rock band Sumarah made their Record Lounge debut last Friday. They were the first band to go on, and took a seat outside on the Record Lounge’s window ledge to cool off after loading their equipment out of the store in the summer heat.
The band’s guitarist Lindsey Taylor has a similar outlook to Heather Frarey on East Lansing’s local music scene, commenting that, as a music community, “we need somebody to invest in a real venue in East Lansing. Or maybe we just need to utilize what’s already here more, and talk to more people. I guess there is SCENE Metrospace.” However, no one we were sitting with outside The Record Lounge could remember the last time they heard about SCENE Metrospace putting on a concert.
While Lindsey appreciates the house venues in the local area, the lack of diversity in performing spaces makes it hard to reach a diverse crowd. “People like venues more than house shows because I feel like with house shows you have to know somebody to be there, whereas when you’re promoting a venue show, you’re able to reach out to people you don’t even know.”