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11 Great Michigan Songs to Listen to Instead of the Nickelback Halftime Show

November 12, 2011  |  7:59am
11 Great Michigan Songs to Listen to Instead of the Nickelback Halftime Show

When it was announced that Nickelback would be the entertainers for the Detroit Lions’ halftime show, some people were upset. Well, that’s an understatement—over 50,000 expressed their revulsion.

A petition was started to replace the arena alt-rockers in the show, and tons of people eagerly signed it hoping that they might actually be able to enjoy half time. As of right now the Chad Kroeger-led collective of Canadians are here to stay.

So, what’s the alternative? We know there are already plenty of great acts from the Great Lakes State—why not take a listen to some of those instead? We’ve assembled more than a few recent acts from Michigan that will make great background music for you to play over your muted TV.

11. Bars of Gold – “The Hustle”
Featuring former members of Bear Vs. Shark and Wildcatting, this energetic live band fuses punk energy with instruments like banjo and mandolin.

10. The Dirtbombs – “Chains of Love”
The Dirtbombs are one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets. Blending punk, soul and dirty garage rock, the band has an awesome, unlikely lineup that includes two drummers and two bass players. Check out “Chains of Love” from the mostly cover LP Ultraglide In Black.

9. Mason Proper – “100 Yrs”
Although the band hasn’t been heard from since touring behind 2009’s Olly Oxen Free wrapped up, Mason Proper is always good for intelligent bursts of Pixies and Radiohead-inspired pop.

8. Mayer Hawthorne – “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out”
Mayer Hawthorne, who originally offered to step in for Nickelback at the Lions’ Thanksgiving Halftime show, embraces where he’s from. His songwriting and production recall a mid-’70s Detroit when the city was still Hitsville USA.

7. Nomo – “Nu Tones”
The nine-member, Elliot Bergman-led group often gets tagged as afro-beat, but they mix and blend jazz and rock into the catchy and ridiculously danceable tunes.

6. Saturday Looks Good to Me – “Money In The Afterlife”
Fronted by the ever-busy Fred Thomas, Saturday Looks Good To Me has built a huge fanbase with a fresh take on old sounds.

5. Chris Bathgate – “Poor Eliza”
Chris Bathgate is a huge staple in the deceptively large Ypsilanti folk scene. The singer/songwriter was named a PasteBest of What’s Next; artist with his latest album, Salt Year and he’s only gathering steam.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “We Almost Lost Detroit”
Michigan’s current darling band, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. turned heads with a rock-solid debut filled with hooks and a new, cool approach to pop music. Here’s a track that’s a favorite among locals.

3. The Stooges – “1970”
Yeah, they aren’t a recent act, but the Stooges still represent a lot of things about Michigan—and more specifically, Detroit. Maybe they weren’t always pretty, but Iggy and the guys always had a solid work ethic and raw energy.

2. White Stripes – “Hello Operator”
Sure, they’re not together, and they’re no longer in Michigan. But the White Stripes made their name in Detroit’s club circuit and will always remain one of the biggest and best things to come out of Michigan.

1. Sufjan Stevens – “Say Yes! To Michigan”
Although he now makes his home in Brooklyn, Sufjan Stevens’ first huge record was based around the Great Lake State. You can take a listen to “Say Yes! to Michigan” below.


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