The Ann Arbor Chronicle » Sonic Lunch it's like being there Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Liberty & Division Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:02:35 +0000 HD Rhonda Foxworth and Matt Altruda setting up Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch at Liberty Plaza. Great day for last of this season’s series. Today’s show: The Alternate Routes.

]]> 0
Liberty & Division Thu, 05 Jun 2014 18:05:32 +0000 Mary Morgan Gorgeous day for the kickoff of Sonic Lunch at Liberty Plaza, with Stepdad performing for a large crowd. [photo] Long line at General’s Mobile Coney food truck, parked on Liberty. [photo]

]]> 0
Division & Liberty Thu, 29 Aug 2013 16:30:17 +0000 Drew Montag Last Sonic Lunch of the season. George Bedard & The Kingpins. [photo]

]]> 0
Washington & State Thu, 13 Jun 2013 17:37:32 +0000 peter honeyman Darren Criss sighting [photo]

]]> 0
Maynard & Liberty Thu, 13 Jun 2013 12:51:59 +0000 HD Fans of Darren Criss, some a bit soggy from the rain, are lined up from Michigan Theater east to State, north to Washington, west to the Liberty Square parking garage. Roadies unloading bus on Washington. It’s part of Sonic Lunch series. Currently not raining. [photo]

]]> 0
A2: Theo Katzman Fri, 07 Jun 2013 21:22:34 +0000 Chronicle Staff Billboard magazine published a day-in-the-life column that followed Theo Katzman, a former member of the popular Ann Arbor band My Dear Disco, during his current tour with Darren Criss: “Katzman is joined by the majority of Vulfpeck, his instrumental group formed in 2011 after the members met in a 19th-century German literature class at the University of Michigan. After they filled out with more members of the Michigan music scene, the group began breakneck rehearsals to get ready for the tour, figuring out how to integrate Criss’ back catalog of music in with new tracks he’d be testing on the road.” Criss and Katzman will be playing at the June 13 Sonic Lunch concert in Ann Arbor. [Source]

]]> 0
Liberty & Division Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:55:58 +0000 Drew Montag Good crowd for Martha and the Vandellas. [photo]

]]> 0
Street Closings Approved for Sonic Lunch Tue, 05 Jun 2012 03:28:59 +0000 Chronicle Staff At its June 4, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized a street closure in connection with two dates for Sonic Lunch – a summer music series held on Thursdays in Liberty Plaza at Liberty and Division streets, organized by the Bank of Ann Arbor. The street closure is for the block of Liberty Street between Fifth and Division on June 21, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and July 26, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those dates coincide with the appearances of Mitch Ryder (June 21) and Mayer Hawthorne & The County (July 26), who are expected to draw large crowds.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]

]]> 0
Photos: Scenes from Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch Thu, 30 Jun 2011 21:10:11 +0000 Chronicle Staff If you’re in downtown Ann Arbor around noon on Thursdays, there’s a good chance you’ll at least stroll by Liberty Plaza for Sonic Lunch, a free summer concert series featuring local musicians.

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful at the June 30, 2011 Sonic Lunch in downtown Ann Arbor.

This week, Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful – including Jim Roll on bass, Matt Jones on drums, Carol Gray on fiddle and tambourine, and Ryan Gimpert on guitar – filled the plaza with a soulful, folk-rock sound.

But part of the show for these lunchtime events is always the crowd itself. The Chronicle was there taking photos, and spotted many familiar faces – how many people do you know, too? We’ve supplied fake quotes in some of the captions to help with the challenge.

Cracked slab segue alert: Readers who attended the Sonic Lunch on Thursday will probably have arrived there by foot, more specifically by walking along a sidewalk. Sidewalks are one focus of a very short survey being conducted by the city of Ann Arbor. Take it here: Sidewalk survey.

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful, from left: Ryan Gimpert, Misty Lyn, Matt Jones, Carol Gray, Jim Roll.

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

Jim Roll on bass.

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

1. "Why yes, one of the prices paid for celebrity is being stalked by paparazzi – and there'll be more of them at Top of the Park when I play tonight."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

2. "The color on that guy's T-shirt back there reminds me: Need to revise maps indicating concentration levels for the spread of the Pall dioxane plume."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

3. "I'm pretty sure we're not sitting in a brownfield ... but you can't be too careful."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

4. "I don't think this plaza is zoned for balloons – they probably need a special use permit." "I dunno, they look like they're filled with helium ... my specialty is more water balloons."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

5. "If this lettuce were grown on my farm, it wouldn't look so mushy."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

6. "My job is to be hard-headed about parks. I don't need no stinkin' hard hat on top of that." "Sorry, gotta go ... cement mixers are music to my ears."

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch 2011

7. "Mmm, tastes like frozen art!"

Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch June 30 2011

8. "If I grow up to be a lawyer, I'll have to wear a tie when I go to work. If I grow up to be a journalist, there won't be any work to go to. Either way, my neck feels itchy."

Purely a plug: The Chronicle relies in part on regular voluntary subscriptions to support our coverage of local government and civic affairs – and the occasional playful photo essay. Click this link for details:Subscribe to The Chronicle. And if you’re already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to help support The Chronicle, too!

]]> 11
Sonic Lunch Rocks Liberty Plaza Mon, 08 Jun 2009 08:22:59 +0000 Helen Nevius A group of girls dance to Enter the Haggis' playing.

A group of girls dance to the music of Enter the Haggis at Thursday's Sonic Lunch, a free weekly concert series in Liberty Plaza.

Balloons, bubbles and the sound of bagpipes filled Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor last Thursday, as the Celtic rock band Enter the Haggis drew a crowd of people with soup and sandwiches in tow for the season’s first Sonic Lunch, a free, weekly outdoor concert series.

As the band warmed up – playing practice notes on their guitars and bagpipes – people filled the seats along the perimeter of the plaza, located at the corner of Liberty and Division. Some came wheeling their bikes, carrying helmets and water bottles. Many pushed strollers or strolled in holding the hands of small children (hands that soon grasped ribbons tied to blue and green balloons – signature colors of the Bank of Ann Arbor, the event’s main sponsor). When the built-in seats filled up, people rested in folding chairs or sat directly on the cement ground.

Enter the Haggis, a Toronto band, consists of Trevor Lewington (vocals, guitar), Brian Buchanan (vocals, fiddle, keyboards, guitar), Craig Downie (bagpipes, harmonica, whistle, vocals), Mark Abraham (bass vocals) and James Campbell (drums). They played songs from their new album “Gutter Anthems,” which was released in March, as well as some older tunes. The crowd clapped and tapped their feet along to “Minstrel Boy,” “Gasoline,” “Noseworthy and Piercy” and “Cameos” –  songs ranging in topic from lost fishermen to the environmental impact of fossil fuels.

The band members performed with energy and humor, bantering with each other between songs. Introducing one piece, Downie took on a somber tone and announced, “Here’s a song about ghosts.”

“It’s not really the right atmosphere here, Craig,” Buchanan said.

Downie paused to study the tree branches swaying above his head. “The ghosts of squirrels,” he continued. “That once occupied these beautiful trees many years ago.”

As the band played, their mix of rock and Celtic string and wind instruments reverberating through the plaza and out onto the street, people passing by paused to listen. Soon, the concrete wall surrounding the plaza was full of onlookers, their sandwiches and fruit salads on their laps, their heads bobbing in time with the bass.

Although most of the people there at least tapped their feet to the music, the children danced full out. A giggling group of kids grasped each other’s hands and skipped in circles in front of the band, the ribbons holding their balloons winding together with the motion. Someone took out a bubble bottle and wand, and soon the children were chasing after the translucent orbs, reaching out to pop them.


19-month-old Ada Stoica is captivated by the bubbles that Leah Pillars is blowing, during Thursday's Sonic Lunch at Liberty Plaza.

The woman with the bubble solution, Leah Pillars, noticed 19-month-old Ada Stoica sitting with her mother and crouched near the girl to blow bubbles specifically for her. Stoica watched, looking transfixed, and eventually broke out into a grin.

Ada’s mother, Dana Stoica, said she came because she wanted to entertain her daughter with cultural activities. “These guys, I like them a lot,” she said of Enter the Haggis. “So much variety in their music, and the pipe was the cherry on the top.”

Bob Miller, a Plymouth resident and friend of the band, also identified the diversity of sound in their songs as part of their appeal.

“Their music is such a mix of different sounds from song to song,” Miller said. “There’s something for everybody.”

Tracy Unger and her sister Janice sat in the sun near the band. Tracy Unger explained that the two of them lived near Detroit and came because they’re fans of Enter the Haggis.

“It’s nice being outside for once,” she said. “Not in a dark club or a bar.”

“It’s really nice seeing the people walking by just stop and listen,” Janice Unger said.


Balloons in the colors of the Sonic Lunch sponor, the Bank of Ann Arbor, festooned Liberty Plaza on Thursday.

In addition to the Bank of Ann Arbor, other Sonic Lunch sponsors include 107one FM, the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce and Perich Advertising + Design. The radio station had a booth set up selling T-shirts and CDs and distributing Bank of Ann Arbor balloons.

Rhonda Foxworth, Bank of Ann Arbor’s assistant vice president and marketing manager, said this is the third year the bank has held the outdoor concert series (although it’s only the second year it’s had the name Sonic Lunch). Sonic Lunch begins at 11: 30 a.m. and will run every Thursday (except for the week of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in mid-July) until the end of August.

Foxworth said it started as a movement to “bring music back to downtown Ann Arbor.”

“Our president, Tim Marshall, loves music,” Foxworth said.

The Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce handles the logistics with the city, while 107one FM contributes the media needed and Perich Advertising + Design takes care of the posters, signs and other promotional materials, Foxworth explained.

“It’s a good thing for the bank,” Foxworth said. “We’ll keep doing it bigger and bigger every year if we can.”

Matthew Altruda, who manages the band The Macpodz, helped book the bands for the event. The lineup for future Sonic Lunch Thursdays includes Laith Al-Saadi, The Ragbirds, and Altruda’s Macpodz, along with many others. The next concert on June 11 will feature Jill Jack. (Get the complete listing of bands on the event’s MySpace page.)

“I absolutely loved putting it together,” Altruda said of the lineup. “I hope we really have a good turnout.”

He added that the concert series offers “wellness through dance” for kids. He explained that some of the children dancing in the plaza earlier were Ann Arbor first graders on a field trip.

As for Enter the Haggis’ performance, Altruda said he loved it. “They were incredible,” he said. “I really hope the Ann Arbor community responds to people working so hard to get good music here.”

About the writer: Helen Nevius, a student at Eastern Michigan University, is an intern with The Ann Arbor Chronicle.  

]]> 1