It’s cool when you’ve watched a band play small little bars and work their way up to a headlining sold-out show at St. Andrews Hall. Even better, it’s in their hometown of Detroit on Black Friday. Now known as Mac Friday. The day Mac Saturn took over the world.
Having just gotten off the road with Dirty Honey and Dorothy, Mac Saturn has put in a lot of miles over this past year. With tons of growth and many friends made along the way, it was time to showcase all that hard work for their hometown fans and friends.
St. Andrews Hall was packed as they opened the Shelter an hour early just to accommodate all their early arrivals. Checking on their fan site, you will quickly realize this is a movement, as people from far and away were starting to make the trek to Detroit for this once in a lifetime experience. Dads driving their daughters, and groups of friends packing in cars and driving hours just to get a glimpse of the magic that was about to go down. I remember feeling this exact vibe years earlier with another young rock band from Frankenmuth, Michigan called Greta Van Fleet.
There are no brothers in this band, but you would think there was as to how tight they all were with each other. I was lucky enough to see them on the road in Edmonton earlier in the year and seeing them grow has been amazing to watch from the side.
Carson is the ultimate frontman; the swagger, the vocal chops, and the command he has over a room is hypnotizing. Drummer Angelo Coppola might be at the back of the stage, but his presence is felt right up front. His smiley personality shines through, his rhythm is the heartbeat, and he keeps it kicking all night long, singing and jumping around like Animal from the Muppets.
Rhythm guitar player Nick Barone is the life of the party up there on that stage – he’s always bringing it full throttle all the time. His guitar playing and vocals are the blood that runs through their music.
Mister Jive himself is the soul of everything they all do. It all plays off his bass. Jive is always in the pocket and the sound that comes out is so smooth. The guy only has one hat, I swear, and he’s the coolest MFer out there. Not a lot of movement as he uses it all for running up and down that fret board.
Kicking out the coolest solos and always playing like he’s jamming in his bedroom; Mike Moody is all party in the front and all business on that guitar. All the little runs and licks within their songs play perfect to Mikes presence and style. His movement on stage is captivating to watch because he is always having a good time.
Finishing out this gang is the man on the ivory keys, Evan Mercer, filling out their sound with this his full-bodied warmth. It feels like he was the final piece to the puzzle. Having the time of his life, he dances, sings backup, and just crushes in on those keys.
These guys all have their own style, feel and look, but at the same time they are all the same. They remind me of The Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses, Parliament, and Primal Scream. I know that’s a lot to take in, but they are a bit of everything, plus it all has a Motown feel sprinkled all over it. Recording out of Rustbelt Studios where Greta made their bones, these boys are well on their way to the big stages everywhere.
From that father that drove his daughter up from Wisconsin to the girls in the front row that drove hours away and got there early just to make sure they had their spots picked out, everyone one was waiting feverishly for the lights to drop and for Mac Saturn to come running out and blow our minds.
This was all being filmed as well. You could really feel that we were all part of something big that we will talk about years later.
Family and friends were scattered all over the building. The Drink of the night was called Mr. Cadillac, which contained double Tully’s Whiskey and Vernors, and they were flying out of the bar.
As the lights drop and we all get in our place to take photos, I notice its packed with media now. It was very cool to see so many people so interested in covering this show. We were about to watch something for the ages.
The band walks out to deafening screams and chaos as people right out the gun were freaking out. I witnessed this in Edmonton as well and it’s happening everywhere. Diamonds is the perfect lead in song as it breaks at the perfect time, and everyone just sat back and got into a grove quick. Even with the first song just getting rolling you can see how locked in, and road worn they have been. They all blend so quick – the sound, the lights, and the look, it’s all flowing out so effortlessly. One song in and the roof feels like it’s going to pop – and they just fixed this place up.
As Jive stands there laying down some mad licks, they all play off him as they flow into Paradiso. With Carson in his long fur coat just bringing me back to a young Mick Jagger, he has it all. He’s a straight up born rock star. As they get halfway into this jam, Mike rips out a killer solo and the crowd lets him know they are eating it up. At the end of this song, Carson sets the jacket aside and gives praise to Mike Moody.
Next up was my favorite song off their debut album Until the Money Runs Out, Ain’t Like You. This song has a tribal sense of getting inside of you and making you bop around and jam; it has a great hook, and everyone always sings along.
After chilling us out with the soft landing of Ain’t Like You we run right into Get on The Phone. With a vintage rotary style phone in one hand, Carson asks us all to get on the phone. I love the dirt and grit of this song. It’s one of their newer songs and it’s nice to see them unleashing it here in Detroit. It has a nice delta blues stomp/disco thing to it that makes me feel like I’m a train chugging down the tracks late at night.
All warmed up and firing on all cylinders, they level us with another new jam, Boxcutter, as Carson throws fake money all around. To me this is their next big single because every time I hear it live, people go nuts for it. Foolin’ Me was up next and it’s another newbie, but it came across well.
Another killer jam off their album is Persian Rugs. As this song starts, Carson asks the crowd if they want some rock and roll, with a big Hell Yeah!!! This song hits on all sides of who they are. It’s got a bit of everything in it. It has a vintage late 70s Stones feel to it and is the perfect storm of rock, pop, a bit of funk, with that perfect splash of Motown.
Carson is shirtless by this point and rocking Shakers in both hands. Everyone in the crowd was jumping back and forth singing note for note till the end – and that’s when drummer Angelo went into a fiery solo that lasted about two minutes before the band came back in and finished off Persian Rugs.
Hitting us hard, they dropped in another new song called Junkie that I thought was amazing. I hear these kids have over 50 new songs in their back pocket, and if they are all like this, they need to start making double albums again.
You couldn’t get more Detroit then playing a cover of Bob Seger’s 1976 song Sunspot Baby. When I say they nailed it, I mean that in the strongest sense of the word. Bob would have been proud to be in that room.
Speaking of people in the room, I noticed that Danny Wagner form Greta Van Fleet popped in to hear what all the fuss was about. Danny and Carson seem to have a fun relationship.
As another new song starts off called Five Long Minutes, Cason takes a few minutes to introduce the band. The screams from the girls in the audience for each guy was just wild. For their final song of the set, they broke it down with just drum and bass on That’s Business with Nick, Mike and Evan filling it out, as Carson jumps out and tells us “They are going to get your money. Get them before they get you and give it away.”
Mac Saturn is echoed everywhere until they finally regroup on stage. Their top single Mr. Cadillac is a showstopper – it’s so good. For this song, they brought out Drey Skonie from The Klouds halfway through. Drey also plays Mr. Cadillac in their video for the song. Jumping around and singing together was a great way to cap the night off. With two songs left, they gave us an instant classic in Law Machine, a bluesy throwback that’s a testament to who they are, who they grew up listening to and where they are about to go.
Finishing off the night was everyone’s favorite, Plain Cloth Gentleman. This song has great build, and the hook has everyone, including the bar staff, singing along.
These gentlemen gave us the night of our lives. Walking away from the night, I felt like a proud parent watching your kids grow and build into themselves. These guys know who they are and what it takes to get there. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Check them out soon because you won’t be disappointed.
Starting off the night was Mr. Cadillac himself Drey Skonie and the Klouds Band. These cats are something special and exactly right for this hometown crowd.
The band is Denzel Person on keys, Terrell Beane on bass and second keys, the incredible Mathew Jones on saxophone, Grant Gabriel on guitar and Gerald Whitman on drums. Backing up Drey on vocals was the lovely Jen Cole and the beautiful Orna Spencer.
As anticipation built, Drey Scone just poured out swagger as he struts on stage with his bad ass cane. They broke into some Motown funk and the whole place erupted. All that build up for the night and waiting for the live music to fill the air had everyone on Kloud nine.
Starting off they crushed it hard and fast with Still Fly, before getting into my fav, Rolling Skone. These guys take old school funk and smooth it out and give it new life. I loved what they were doing and so did this crowd.
There was so much to watch as just Drey on his own has the power to command a room, but you also had Mathew flying around that stage blasting away on that sax. In between breaths you could see the pure joy on his face with that electric smile. Rounding out the excitement on the stage were both Jen and Orna in their stunning red dresses. The pipes on these ladies is insane.
Smooth jazz and funk were the common theme as they rocked through Bad Bad News, Better Days and See The Sine. In the middle of their sizzling set, they brought it home with David Allan Coe’s Tennessee Whiskey. Just an exquisite version of this song. They had the whole room singing to this one.
Next up, Drey dedicated Eastside Baby to the east side ladies. This slow blues number hit hot and on point. Bringing their set to a close, they dropped in a little medley with Don’t Stop Believing dripped into it; finishing up with Get That Bag and Don’t Stop.
Drey Skonie and the Klouds Band get inside you and make you dance with them. I know they made a lot of fans Friday night. Even though Thanksgiving was over, there was still lots to be thankful for.
Mac Saturn / Drey Skonie and the Klouds Band
St. Andrew’s Hall
November 25, 2022
All photos by Maximus Reid
Drey Skonie and the Klouds Band