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Ex-Verve Pipe Frontman Launches New Record at SPIN Presents in Detroit


While he might not have been showered with underwear — that honor belonged to supporting act Jamie McCarthy — former Verve Pipe frontman Brian Vander Ark certainly earned a warm embrace at the Magic Bag in suburban Detroit, launching his new solo record at the latest installment of SPIN Presents.

After raising cash to produce his self-titled release by touring fans’ backyards and living rooms, Vander Ark traded that chill setting for the bright lights of the Magic Bag, where he chose to unveil the new video for “You’ll Be the Death of Me.” Bittersweet symphonies are what he loves and does best — at one point during the show, he stopped in the middle of an older song with a solo and said “I don’t play solos.”

Vander Ark played plenty of newer material such as “I Went With The Road” and the aforementioned “You’ll Be the Death Of Me.” But the highlights came when Vander Ark’s band left the stage, leaving the singer with nothing more than his acoustic guitar to play a stripped-down version of his former band’s MTV staple, “The Freshmen,” which brought the house down.

Detroit indie band Crashing Cairo got things started with a brand of indie rock punctuated by soaring guitars and hypnotizing piano. The four-piece not only churned out distorted guitars but also slower-paced tracks such as the sad-sounding “Luxury,” off their debut Monday Changed Everything.

Jamie McCarthy, son of Detroit radio legend J.P. McCarthy, and his funky bunch hit the stage feting the release of McCarthy’s album, Salvation. McCarthy’s infectious party vibe got the diverse crowd shaking their rumps as McCarthy brought the funk. Looking for a little love, McCarthy asked for panties and he got ’em: a hot red thong and some not so hot knickers that were either boxer-briefs or granny panties.

Highlights included “Call Me Crazy,” a deliciously evil song where McCarthy encourages a campfire-style sing-along to the refrain: “Call me crazy, but now I just wish you were dead.” Politics seeped into McCarthy’s set too: He addressed the political state of America with a new tune called “America Get Well Soon,” then closed his ferocious set by channeling Rage Against the Machine, repeating, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

McCarthy has even provided SPIN with an exclusive track off of his upcoming album, “Into the Mellow.” Lay your ears on “America (Get Well)”

Now Hear This: “America (Get Well)”

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Go to the next page for more photos!

Brian Vander Ark in the spotlight / Photo byJuel Zamplas

Jamie McCarthy and band charm the crowd / Photo byJuel Zamplas

The band hangs out post-show / Photo byJuel Zamplas

Crashing Cairo opening the party / Photo byJuel Zamplas

Crashing Cairo set the mood / Photo byJuel Zamplas

Front and center at the Magic Bag / Photo byJuel Zamplas