Alex Mendenall

Music Manor Presents the Michigan Made Concert Series

Alex Mendenall

Watching for foxes, American Opera, Monte Pride

Thu, July 20, 2017

7:00 pm

$8.00 - $10.00

This event is 18 and over

Alex Mendenall
Alex Mendenall
ALEX MENDENALL is a nationally touring soul/folk songwriter based in Lansing, MI. Drawing from soul, folk, funk, and jazz, Mendenall's songs feature carefully crafted wordplay, rich chord progressions, and dynamic arrangements of foot percussion. His expressive melodies and heartfelt storytelling reflect universal ideas of life, death, love, and what it means to be human.
Watching for foxes
Watching for foxes
Watching for Foxes is an indie/folk rock band from Grand Rapids, MI. Forged through raw emotion and incessant gigging, supporting the likes of Langhorne Slim, Larry and His Flask, Joseph, The Trews, Saintseneca, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Penny & Sparrow, The Soil and The Sun, Mike Mains, Jaymay and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, Watching for Foxes creates a passionate and striking sound that you won’t forget.

John Sinkevics, Local Spins: "Few bands can replicate the lugubrious beauty of folk-rock’s Watching for Foxes. The mournful -yet-somehow-sanguine tracks constructed by frontman Joey Frendo and his Grand Rapids ensemble build to dynamic, emotion-infused crescendos marked by moody sound effects, gorgeous harmonies and rich, diverse instrumentation. As a result, there’s almost a cinematic quality to significant portions of 'Undone Bird,' with the single-worthy, catchy crowd favorite 'Two Lovers' balanced against epic-sounding gems such as 'The Watchmen' and 'The Hunt/The Kill.'"

Eric Mitts, Revue Magazine: "Sad, flannel-clad indie-rock, accompanied by cello, banjo and piano has never sounded so bewitching and beguiling. This six-piece folk-rock ensemble out of Grand Rapids has crafted a cinematic showcase of emotion packed with as many memorable hooks as it has moving, existential passages. The collision of roots music’s rich tradition and modern rock’s unquenchable angst allows the band to move stealthily in whichever direction it chooses. Be on the lookout for where this group is heading next."

Jeff Milo, Paste Magazine/ Detroit Free Press: "Watching for Foxes make every song feel like it's that half-triumphant, half-weary, all-around cathartic march up the hilly knoll towards the unknowable-yet-still-hope-splashed horizon, as if every song were the build up to the closing credits of the indie-arthouse film of the story to your life. And Undone Bird is very much an aural anthology of soundtracks to a life, a life dented and sweetened by moments of soul-searching, of sacrifice and loss, of refreshed perspectives and outlook-altering questions...of, above all, resoluteness. The music, like the motives and moxie of the band, churns on, onward... I also enjoy the ambient wooziness, the half-in-a-dream stagger, of some of the more atmospheric sounds captured on this production. I love how succinct and profound the percussive elements can be, providing just the right amount of propulsion. I love how the lead vocals and the guitars can be so uniquely expressive, and yet sound as though they were both comparable lost souls propping each other up in arms in this undeterred forging forth. Blues and rootsy country vibes meet space-orbiting avant-garde shreds; heart-on-the-sleeve folk with the American Underground, nostalgic troubador ballads for the quiet twilight wanders and cinematic glides into the mind-blowing wide open empyrean. Be ready to have it pared back for some minimal banjo odes, or some slower-building tempos under some star lyrical fair. Be ready for, above all, emotion, the heavy evocations, the kinds of moments in your life that can't be put into words yet can be excellently encapsulated by a song, by its notes, by its tones, by its tempo. Watching for Foxes really forged something here; one can feel the fire."

Nate Dorough, Fusion Shows: "One of the hardest working and most ambitious bunch of dudes writing sad music in the state of Michigan."
American Opera
American Opera
Incremental progress. Monumental setbacks. Small victories. This is the story of American Opera.

After eight years of nonstop touring, Brooklyn-via-Michigan singer-songwriter John Bee found himself alone in a once-crowded van, wandering through the circulatory roads of America. It was during these long months, with a handful of newly-inspired songs, that American Opera was born — an unrepressed light emerging from a sea of misery.

"The never-ending road of try, fail, try, fail, try again, fail again — all of that is miserable," says Bee, "but there are moments, and I think this is true in life, that make every little piece of the puzzle worth it. Tiny glimmers of hope that tell you to keep pushing and keep going."

Fast-forward to 2017. That tiny glimmer has grown to a burning sun. With over 300 North American shows in the books (direct support for the likes of The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, and Cursive) and multiple Warped Tour appearances, American Opera is no longer wandering — the band is at full tilt. 2017 will also mark the arrival of the final missing piece of the puzzle — a debut record, aptly titled Small Victories.

More than a record, Small Victories is a collection of moments, both devastating and victorious. Ominous nostalgia confronting hopeful reemergence. Sonically, think Manchester Orchestra meets Ryan Adams, Brand New meets Langhorne Slim — polished stones in a bed of gravel and grit.

"The idea behind Small Victories is that the world is going to grow fists and start swinging at you, but you need to find reasons to get back up," says Bee. "Lyrically, there are common threads in the songs that explore heartbreak, hope, loss, religion, mental health, and more. Some of the songs are about failure — I lovingly refer to them as 'pep talks to myself.' Maybe if I sing them over and over, something will change?"

Small Victories was self-produced and almost fully-performed by Bee in Atlanta, GA with the engineering assistance of Matt Goldman (Underoath, Anberlin). The result is a stunning eleven-song rollercoaster exploring a complete spectrum of emotion and experiences. It is an album of dynamics — a perfect balance of the fragile and explosive.

"Musically, I wanted to honor the ups and downs that the lyrics represent. I wanted big celebratory parts with horns and all the bells and whistles that would make you think you’re at a parade placed right next to a sobering nightmare where you’re having a conversation with the devil," says Bee. "I wanted to take beautiful strings and quietly picked guitars and place them next to full-fledged rock songs. I wanted to show triumph and failure, the good and the evil, and the wins and losses."

In the end, however, it may be that the small victories are all we remember and were all mattered in the first place. The silver linings were not just that after all, but rather small glimpses of a larger hope that can sustain us through even the most miserable of seas.

"There are signs of hope in each song that are pushing me forward," says Bee. "They’re holding me up, so I need to keep going."

While American Opera focuses on the going, on June 30th, listeners will experience the band's true arrival, and the beginning of a journey that both collective parties will embark on together.

Please visit for updates on American Opera.
Monte Pride
Monte Pride
Monte Pride is a Michigan-born, Michigan-based singer-songwriter & fingerstyle guitarist whose songs recall the delicate & stirring vocals of Simon & Garfunkel, with guitar-work reminiscent of Nick Drake and The Tallest Man on Earth. He blends haunting melodies with vivid lyricism, bringing stories of love, loss, and longing to life.

Monte Pride’s rich tenor voice and accomplished fingerstyle picking make him sound older than his years, but the enthusiasm he brings to the music and performance is all youthful, impassioned energy. That energy and appreciation shine through in his writing, every phrase weaving and winding to form a complex array of song. Monte draws inspiration from long-time trailblazing musicians such as Paul Simon and Bob Dylan as well as those who have left the path to find new ways like The Tallest Man On Earth, Iron and Wine, The Avett Brothers, and Frontier Ruckus.
Venue Information:
The Loft.
414 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI, 48933