Rock scene veteran celebrates birthday with garage jam

The Sights, the Payback, Danny Kroha, the Witches and more are set to play for longtime club promoter Stirling

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

He’s been a record store owner, band manager, club promoter and lead singer. This weekend local bar star Stirling will be the guest of honor at his own, carefully curated birthday party.

The bash, Saturday night at the Tangent Gallery and Hastings Street Ballroom, features the cream of the crop in regards to the Detroit rock scene over the past two decades.

Show promoter and local music mainstay Stirling celebrates his 65th birthday Saturday with performances by some of his favorite bands.

“It’s my 65th birthday and I’ve been in this biz since I was 19,” says the single-monikered Stirling, who created club nights at bars like Todd’s, the Leidernacht (which became City Club) and the Majestic Theatre, and later helmed the rock ‘n’ roll bar upstairs from Jacoby’s, named 313.jac.

“This particular lineup, these are my favorite bands in the city, hands down, of all time, for the garage era. They’re all very good friends of mine and I think they’re fantastic. It’s a rare lineup.”

Among the performances is a reunion of sorts for the Sights. The band’s one constant — songwriter and frontman Eddie Baranek — will be joined by former members Bobby Emmett on organ and drummer Dave Shelter.

The Paybacks, another beloved band from the height of Detroit’s garage rock fever days a decade ago, will play a few songs following a set by the band’s front woman and songwriter Wendy Case. Before that she’ll debut her new band the Royal Sweets.

Detroit band the Paybacks reunite to perform Saturday at Stirling’s birthday bash in Tangent Gallery and Hastings Street Ballroom.

Rock band the Witches and Third Man Records recording artist Danny Kroha (Gories, Demolition Dollrods) will also play. Kroha’s Dollrod band mate, Margaret Dollrod will entertain with her new group Heartthrob Chassis. The bill is rounded out by power pop group Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms and an acoustic set by Laura Mendoza and Jorge Cortez of rock trio White Shag.

Acclaimed folk songwriter Audra Kubat, who has been managed by Stirling for several years, will also take the stage.

Expect to see Stirling — who recently recorded a yet-to-be-released album “Twin Wolves” with Baranek — on stage periodically throughout the night, guesting with the other bands.

In spite of the album, Stirling says he’s not really in a band.

“I don’t want to commit to being in a band,” he said, admitting that remembering lyrics is a problem for him. “I really enjoy performing.”


(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Stirling’s Rock n’ Roll Birthday Bash

The Sights, the Witches, the Royal Sweets, the Paybacks, Heartthrob Chassis, Danny Kroha, White Shag, Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms and Audra Kubat

8 p.m. Sat.

Tangent Gallery & Hastings Street Ballroom

715 E. Milwaukee, Detroit

$10 at the door

(313) 873-2955