Lillie Mae & Pokey LaFarge at The Magic Stick Detroit, June 17th 2017
The Magic Stick in Detroit is a cool place to catch a show. Located above a bowling alley, you wouldn’t think much of it but it has seen the likes of The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was my first time seeing a show here on Saturday evening when Lillie Mae and Pokey LaFarge took to the stage and what a perfect first time it was.
Lillie Mae is a spitfire musician. Popping onto stage with shy waves and smiles, her fierce haircut and shredding fiddle contradict her off stage bashfulness. Behind the microphone, instrument in hand, Lillie is anything but shy. Leading a band made up of her brother, sister and two other male members, she acted as an excellent band director, leading her fellow members into the next songs, showcasing her talent in solos and backing off to let other members shine. With more typical country songs like "Honkey Tonks and Taverns" to edgier songs like, "Over the Hill and Through the Woods", Lillie Mae’s music was a pleasure for the ears. I can’t wait to see where her career goes next.
A 24-song setlist left no doubt in my mind that I will be a Pokey fan for life. Although I don’t listen to Pokey’s music a lot in my spare time, nothing quite compares to a live performance from this loveable, old-timey, hard-to-put-your-finger-on musician. Pokey’s set ranged the emotions of fun and mischievous to serious and romantic. There were times when I had a smile ear to ear and others where my mouth most likely went slack-jawed in awe of some great instrumental feat.
You can’t talk about Pokey with out the South City Three, (part of) his back up band and the brass instrumentalists that join him on stage. A bit of a male pissing contest at times, it’s impossible not to enjoy. From raging guitar solos and impressive standup bass lines to a trumpet that rips through the air, Pokey’s unique vocals and the best harmonica you’ve ever heard, there’s no shortage of talent on stage.
If you’re looking to catch a fun performance with impressive songwriting, instrumental pluck and authentic sound all rolled into one, Pokey is your guy.
Peace, love & history.