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BMG @ the Blind Pig (concert review by Zach N.)

Seeing BMG perform at the Blind Pig last Friday night was one of the most quintessentially “Ann Arbor” musical experiences I have had. BMG has been a part of the Ann Arbor and Detroit electronic scenes for decades. Once a student at the University, he was deeply involved in WCBN, serving as program director for years and transforming our Crush Collision show into what it is today. He is also the founder of local electronic label Interdimensional Transmissions, which has been releasing techno and electro records for decades and puts on a number of shows in Detroit, including the Return to the Source series of parties at Tangent Gallery surrounding the Movement festival weekend.


The set was a part of the weekend-long festival around Ann Arbor highlighting the work of photographer Doug Coombe, and it included multiple other musical events around town. It was initially billed to be a performance by Ectomorph, the long-running project now comprised of BMG and Erika, but was changed at last minute to be a solo BMG performance.


The show was incredibly intimate. There was a very small crowd, which included native Ann Arbor DJ and electronic musician Shigeto; the whole crowd could not have been more than a couple dozen people. There was a wealth of awareness and intention in the small crowd: it was clear that the audience members were all deeply cognizant of the significance of the show and its context. 


The 90 minute set was entirely DJed, as opposed to the live sets BMG sometimes performs. It was made up mostly of his brand of somewhat minimal and very rhythmically complex electro and techno. There was a bit of 80’s alt rock type stuff mixed in towards the beginning and end of the set (I think I heard a Bowie track in there at some point if I’m remembering correctly), perhaps a choice made to reflect the venue; the Blind Pig not being a particularly orthodox venue for techno or electronic music of any sort. I caught a bit of the opener, which was a band playing something along the lines of soft post punk, making for a funny transition of moods in the room.


BMG was wearing a sort of futuristic outfit, black pants and jacket with black gloves and an angular, techy looking mask. The stage was mostly undecorated except for a string of led lights which would each strobe randomly with the music, presumably made by Amber Gillen who often does art and installations for the Interdimensional Transmission shows. 


The sense of community was very powerful in the space. BMG came right off stage after the show to meet the audience members, which included a number of current WCBN and local artists and DJs. There was a deep sense that this show and the presence around it was an important reflection of Ann Arbor’s musical history, as well as its future.


Review by Zach N.


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