Detroit is Motown hometown. It's got a solid rock bone. Symphony and opera lovers hang their hats at the Detroit Opera House. But if you go to the D only for those genres, you're missing out. Detroit boasts a music scene that rivals Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans and New York City.
And sometimes the best shows aren't headliner concerts. If you were poking around the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) last Friday, Jan. 2, you may have caught Planet D Nonet. Planet D (for Detroit) is a nine-member band ("nonet" means "group of nine" like quartet, sextet...you get it). Genres? Many. Planet D plays swing-alicious jazz, booty-shaking big band, funk-atrocious fusion and some tribal-y tunes. And everything served Detroit-flavored. So sexy.
Think Bela Fleck with sides of Benny Goodman, John Boutte and Rebirth Brass and you'll have the PD9 vibe. They play tributes to experimental jazzist Sun Ra and Billy Straythorn. A Planet D Nonet concert is the best hootenanny north of the Big Easy and east of Monterey.
Now what would you expect to pay for a such a concert? Whatever you guess, it was more than DIA patrons paid, which was nothing. Yep, your $8 ticket got a free pass to enjoy Planet D in the glorious renaissance theatre. There's a concert every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
But wait, don't go away. There's more. The entire shebang is free for locals. Seriously, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties pay zilch to hang out with the art, make art, take classes, attend lectures and hear great tunes.
The museum is open till 10 p.m. on Fridays, so take in a show. Here's the DIA music line-up, featuring world, roots, soul, classical, blues, jazz, reggae and more. Need some post-concert edibles? Try Cass Cafe in nearby Cass Corridor. You can extend your art quest at the on-site gallery/wine bar and restaurant.