Started in 2008, (( Images added June 02 ))—
Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch
is a free weekly summer outdoor concert series that takes place at noon on Thursdays in downtown Ann Arbor at the corner of Liberty and Division streets
from June through August.
Sonic Lunch features a live band ranging from regional to national and international acts. Each week, lunch is available on-site from a local vendor.
Last year’s lineup was highlighted by Ann Arbor native Laith Al-Saadi’s performance in front of the largest crowd in Sonic Lunch history on the heels of his top-four finish during season 10 of NBC’s “The Voice.”
Other notable past performers include
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas,
June 1 –
Laith Al-Saadi –
In 2016, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of NBC’s “The Voice.”
Now he’s poised to bring his authentic blend of blues, soul and classic rock to audiences around the nation and the world.
Laith Al-Saadi was honed at the University of Michigan school of music in his hometown of Ann Arbor, and on stages across the country working with legends like
Audiences have , propelled Al-Saadi’s most recent release, “REAL” to the top of the blues chart for five weeks and the top 20 album chart for two weeks.
Laith also had four singles in the top ten iTunes singles charts, and his albums
“In The Round”
“Long Time Coming”
spent time at the top of the rock and album charts.
Guitar World Magazine has called Laith Al-Saadi a cross between “Danny Gatton and Buddy Guy at their best,”
Guitar Center crowned him one of the top four blues guitarists in the United States.
University of Michigan Graduate,
Degree in Jazz Guitar and Bass.
Phillip-Michael Scales (Formerly Briar Rabbit) is a gifted songwriter who happens to be the nephew of BB King.
His sound fits between folk and soul; demonstrating his knack for thoughtful, catchy melodies.
In 2013, he won an International Songwriting Award.
Along with his gift for writing critically acclaimed songs
(Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, American Songwriter)
comes his ability to captivate his audience in a live setting.
Armed only with a guitar, Briar Rabbit uses his strong, soulful tenor, and quick wit to deliver both a musically and emotionally dynamic performance.
“There’s something so great about earning a crowds trust, leading them through an emotional journey and coming out the other side together.”
Briar Rabbit has spent time all over.
He was born in Metro-Detroit, moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, spent four years in Chicago, and settled in Los Angeles.
He is no stranger to touring and has been on the road for the better part of five years opening for such acts as
His music has taken him all the way to the Middle East, as well as festivals across the US and Canada.
June 8 –
L P –
She spent her formative years honing her craft in other bands before releasing her 2001 solo album, Heart-Shaped Scar (produced by David Lowery [Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker]) .
She began to hit her stride in 2004 with her second outing,
Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol,
Her 2006 appearance at the South by Southwest Music Conference resulted in a deal with Island.
With Island, Pergolizzi began writing songs for other artists, including
A 2011 Citibank television commercial, which featured excerpts from LP‘s “Into the Wild,” gained Pergolizzi a huge fan base.
Her Warner Bros. debut EP,
Into the Wild: Live at Eastwest Studios, appeared in April 2012
Her full-length debut album, Forever for Now, saw release in 2014.
In 2016, LP issued her fourth studio long-player, Lost on You, via Vagrant Records.
The album’s opening track, “Muddy Waters,” appeared during the taut closing scene of the season four finale of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. (AllMusic.com)
June 15 –
Before he moved west and became a retro-soul dreamboat, lovers of roller skate disco and electro-funk in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan knew Mayer Hawthorne as DJ Haircut, and his mixtape Shoot the Duck, Vol. 1 was a prized possession.
The disco, post-disco, and boogie tracks on that mix provide the inspiration for Tuxedo, a band formed by Hawthorne and Jake One, a fellow lover of those sweet sounds.
The two had exchanged similarly smooth and funky disco mixtapes in 2006, then years later decided to make their own version.
The duo proves to be masterful at re-creating the feel of the moment in the early ’80s . The duo conjures up visceral memories of the finest artists of the era,
From the drum machines to the synth settings, everything is just right.
“Lost Lover” is pure Gap Band swagger,
“The Right Time” sounds like Billy Ocean getting AM radio funky,
“Two Wrongs” is a lovely quiet storm ballad with a perfect guitar solo.
From beginning to end, the album is a happily reverent trip back to a time that’s too often ignored by both disco and funk fans.
Tuxedo is a fine display of the duo’s love for the electric funk disco sound, and their immense skill at re-creating it. (allmusic.com)
June 22 –
The Accidentals –
Billboard’s Breakout Band at SXSW 2015,
Huffington Post’s Sweet Sixteen of 2016,
Yahoo Music’s Top Ten Bands to Watch 2017…
From 2012-2014, The Accidentals recorded three original albums, were guest artists on fifteen others, scored two films, and landed song placements in commercials, documentaries, and music compilations while playing over seven hundred live shows. THEN they graduated high school.
After graduation from world-renowned Interlochen Arts Academy, The Accidentals added multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter, Michael Dause, as their touring/studio drummer and opened for musical greats such as;
Sixto Rodriguez (Sugar Man),
Ladysmith Black Mambazo,
In 2015, they scored original pieces for a 72-piece orchestra, an opera-dance project with Son Lux, and a smaller 30-piece string ensemble while touring the US extensively.
In June of 2016, they released a brand new, self-produced EP called Parking Lot, of which the single, “Michigan and Again,” went viral.
They’re kicking off 2017 as major label artists, having signed a record deal with Sony Masterworks to release a full-length album in the second quarter of the year.
June 29 –
Theo Katzman –
If you’ve heard the name Theo Katzman recently, you probably know him as the singing drummer and guitarist in the funk band Vulfpeck.
With his 2017 release, Heartbreak Hits, Katzman returns to his roots as a rock and roll inspired singer/songwriter.
A 10-song collection of musings on loss and letdown, Heartbreak Hits blends personal vulnerability with imaginative songcraft, yielding an album that’s somehow a living dichotomy of tragic/comedic, serious/satirical, over-the-top/subtle, and healing/hurting. Katzman writes “songs to soothe your post-Y2K pop culture hangover.”
July 6 –
Michigan Rattlers –
Upholding a time-honored songwriting tradition, Michigan Rattlers recount human stories through a soundtrack of Americana punctuated by countrified rock’n’roll and folk.
The subjects of their 2016 self-titled debut EP practically live and breathe between Graham Young’s rustling guitar and Adam Reed’s percussive upright bass.
Born in Petoskey, MI and based in Los Angeles, the duo’s music plays out like a film. “All of my favorite songs tell stories,” says Graham.
Lifelong friends Graham and Adam began writing music and performing together in their Northern Michigan high school.
Residing in a quiet tourist town of 6,000 located on the banks of Lake Michigan, the pair regularly played every bar, cafe, and stage in town, developing an inimitable musical chemistry informed by the likes of
Creedence Clearwater Revival,
Settling down in Los Angeles, the boys recorded a short demo and began playing locally. The demo found its way into the hands of super producer Johnny K and they cut the bulk of their first EP at NRG Studios in just one day.
July 13 –
Tim Reynolds Trio / TR3 –
Virtuoso guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer, Tim Reynolds formed the first incarnation of TR3 in 1984, playing a wild hybrid of psychedelicized rock, funk, and prog.
The trio featured a constantly revolving cast of musicians other than its guitarist and front man.
After moving to North Carolina’s Outer Banks in the middle aughts, Reynolds met bassist Mick Vaughn and drummer Dan Martier.
Playing and touring together, they eventually gelled into the most visible — and constant — incarnation of TR3.
Their mix of Reynolds‘ quirky originals and unusual versions of cover songs by
and others added breadth and depth to their stage shows.
In early 2014, TR3 signed to ATO Records, and in August the pre-release single “All Over the Place” appeared.
The sophomore studio full-length Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion appeared in October of that year.
July 27 –
NOMO was conceived in 2003 when University of Michigan jazz studies graduate, multi-instrumentalist (tenor sax, keyboards, electric mbiri) Elliot Bergman, and some of his acquaintances began jamming at an Ann Arbor, MI, house where many of them lived. This led to the eventual formation of the group, which recorded its self-titled EP on Ypsilanti Records that same year – after producer Warn Defever dared Bergman to bring as many people as he could to the studio.
In 2004 the band (which, with album and live appearances combined, has had over 60 contributors) issued a full-length record of the same name.
NOMO‘s mix of African beats, avant-garde jazz, and funk caught the attention of California’s Ubiquity Records, who soon signed them.
The founding members of NOMO also currently play in Wild Belle.
August 3 –
The Record Company –
The Record Company write and play raw, sincere rock n’ roll.
Influenced by the rough honesty of their heroes–bluesmen like John Lee Hooker, early punk bands like The Stooges, and rock greats like The Rolling Stones–their sound incorporates slide guitar, distorted bass, a garage-sale Ludwig drum kit and the heartland-hued voice of Chris Vos, who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm.
The three-man group started in late 2011, hanging up some old mics and recording live in the bass player’s living room in Los Feliz, CA.
The Record Company have since played concert halls across North America, opening for acts as diverse as
and Trombone Shorty.
The band toured Europe supporting Blackberry Smoke in Oct-Nov 2015, and their first full-length album is came out on Concord Records on February 12, 2016.
August 10 –
May Erlwine & The Motivations –
Some people might call May Erlewine “Michigan’s darling songbird”, but her songs have traveled far beyond her home state.
One of the most prolific and passionate songwriters of her generation, May’s music has touched the hearts of people all over the world.
Her words have held solace for weary hearts, offered a light in the darkness and held a lot of space for the pain and joy of being alive in these times.
Raised in a family rich with art and music, May began writing songs and playing them for the people at a very young age.
Her journeys have taken her all over the world, from street corners to renowned stages, May has performed for all walks of life.
In her travels, Erlewine came to know the land and the pulse of the people.
Her songs show a very real connection and concern with everyday folk.
May pulls from a wide variety of sounds and influences to create her unique musical landscape.
You’ll hear traditional folk roots, old time country swing, soul, and rock and roll, but mostly, she’s inspired by the hearts of the people and the one in her chest.
This music is about feeling and it’s about telling life’s stories.
August 17 –
The Stellars / Jacob Sigman –
The Stellars are an Ann Arbor-based rock band that bring a refreshing brand of rock’n’roll that harkens back to the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, while retaining a unique modern sound.
Born and raised in the Mid West, Singer/Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist Jacob Sigman combines influences of Motown, Soul, and Contemporary Pop music to create something both new and familiar.
August 24 –
Joshua Davis –
Michigan’s Joshua Davis was raised in the folk tradition: the music, the social movements, the land.
He writes songs that blend the roots of American music with gritty rock n’ roll and vintage soul.
Performing Songwriter Magazine called the result, “Some of the liveliest and most rocking roots music around.
For over 15 years Joshua has made his living sharing his songs, stories and knowledge across the US and Canada at festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses and dives – as a solo act, front man for roots ensemble “Steppin’ In It”, classic swing band “Shout Sister Shout”, songwriter showcase band “The Starlight Six” and frequently as a workshop facilitator, presenter or instructor.
August 31 –
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers –
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone.
With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven.
Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery headdresses and bubbling smiles.
A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and—at last—into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.
“The live show is the purpose of the band.
This is why we make music.
Playing music is a symbiotic process, and without a crowd it is just a bunch of guys jamming,” says Hertler.
“We believe that performance is not a High Art operation, and that you should do anything you can to ensure that the crowd is having a good time.
From piñatas to confetti, to fog, to flowers, to drum solos, to strobe lights, to Thor, to sword battles—literally anything goes.”