George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus… New Year’s Eve (video)

George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus at The New Way Bar New Year’s EveDDAsample01 (video)

(Jeff Milo, Dec. 30, 2013)

It’s got a ring to it, doesn’t it? New Year at the New Way?

The modest-sized bar just north of Cambourne, with new management taking over last May, has since been regularly hosting a revolving roster of line ups featuring exciting and up-and-coming music groups from around the area, spanning indie-rock, electro and experimental R&B.

They continue this welcomed uptick of concert-hosting on the last day of 2013. George Morris currently calls Royal Oak home, but he’s been playing around Detroit venues for eight years (or longer) with Street-Eatzz-Adpsych-pop outfit The Satin Peaches and, more briefly, an indie-rock quartet called The Vatican.

Last year, Morris experimented with the route of “solo-singer/songwriter” and sat down with his organ to craft a debut album under his own name (George Morris’ Organ Solos). Over the last year, Morris gathered a trio of talented local musicians (drummer Zack Pliska, keyboardist Helena Kirby and bassist Aaron Nelson, the latter being a fellow-former Satin Peach, himself) and together they formed The Gypsy Chorus.

You’ll witness a band transitioning back into more of a rock incarnation – filling out Morris’ initialmoderntax batch of songs that were more like minimalist dream-pop, a whirl of acoustic guitar under atmospheric synth effects and a fuzzy organ’s traipsing melody. Morris will no longer be solo, will no longer have drum-machines backing him and will no longer have to do everything all himself… He’s got a chorus to back him up.

And some HandGrenades, too! I mean, the group, rather…not any kind of explosives (though, there should be plenty of noise ‘round about midnight). The HandGrenades are pop-songwriting whizzes, having cut their teeth as a lauded Beatles cover band, and matured together over the last half-decade into a formidable live act with two album’s worth of original songs.

Just as Morris is opening his initially-solitary experimentations to other collaborators, local songwriter nicholas-schrock-allstateJoel Sanders has enlisted a quartet of musicians to help bring his more meticulously arranged songs to the stage for live recitals. Sanders crafted an album’s worth of ambitiously orchestral post-rock, meditative melds of electro-jazz and abstract baroque-pop, for an album titled Regeneration (which will be out in March). Pliska (from the Gypsy Chorus) also plays drums in Le Voyage – along with Danny Kahn on bass, Ryan Wood on guitar, Sanders on vocals and guitar and Alex Norris on keys and back-up vocals.

So there you have it – three exceptional indie-pop outfits each in aesthetically transitional phases – inside a Ferndale-based venue that is, itself, starting to realize its potential to be a significant hub for live music in this ever burgeoning scene.

Happy New Year.



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