The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Like a comet, Dirty Three shows in Detroit are few and far between, but arguably worth the wait. Taking the stage for the first big preview concert at Trinosophes, Dirty Three wasted all of 10 seconds before bringing the energy onstage to a fever pitch. In their first Detroit performance since 2003, the trio from Melbourne, Australia found the local crowd enthused and receptive, with longtime fans requesting favorite songs and demanding stories from charismatic frontman Warren Ellis.
The event marks forward progress for Trinosophes, a new project by Bohemian-in-exile Joel Peterson. The space, at 1464 Gratiot near Russel St., will serve a trifold purpose, as a “multi-discipline, music-centric art space,” housing a café, a concert venue and extension of the existing People’s Record space off Woodward Ave. Trinosophes is part of a growing art district coming to fruition on Gratiot at the foot of the Eastern Market, a trend which represents encouraging growth and greater formalization for the city’s art scene. One piece of the People’s Records aspect of the space will be a Detroit Music Museum, showcasing a collection of music and memorabilia, and chronicling some of the great history of Detroit sound being amassed by People’s Records.
Currently, Trinosophes is still a work in progress, with unfinished walls and the bare minimum of amenities. Dirty Three — rounded out by Mick Turner on bass and Jim White on drums — were bothered not one jot by the stripped-down aesthetics, turning in a lethally effective performance, with Ellis launching from the base of a rocksteady rhythm section in a tornado of onstage antics, including demonic violin playing and vocal stylings that were equal parts battle cry, rebel yell and backwoods holler.
A rollicking, outstanding preview and magnificent portent of the things we can expect as Trinosophes unfolds over the coming months.