Pizzapalooza brings pizza, beer, and live music together into a delicious gathering of friends and families at Palmer Commons in Chelsea.
You could not have asked for better weather at the first Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Pizzapalooza held at Palmer Commons in Chelsea. By 5 pm, when the gates opened, it was 80 degrees and sunny. We all know April is unpredictable in Michigan, so this slice of summer was fantastic.
The idea behind Pizzapalooza is simply awesome: gather up great local pizza, tallboys of Michigan beers, and a diverse line-up of Michigan music. The staff and volunteers did an amazing job setting up the event. The big tent and rows of tables meant you could sit down to enjoy a beer and pizza while the bands played on the stage. More chairs and tables were set up behind the stage with cornhole boards to give you the option to play a game and enjoy the festivities.
Grateful Crow and The Rumpus Room sponsored Pizzapalooza. Gate proceeds were all donated to Project 418, which provides education and development opportunities for people in Haiti. With all the devastation incurred over the years due to hurricanes and ongoing struggles with poverty, Project 418 is lending a helping hand to many people that need a lift.
The main draw for Pizzapalooza was, of course, pizza. Thankfully for a small town, Chelsea is stacked with some phenomenal pizza makers, including Cottage Inn, Jet’s Pizza, Thompson’s Pizza, and Valiant Bar & Grill. Each of them had a steady supply of pies sold by the slice.
There wasn’t a competition for the best pizza, but we did keep track of our favorites. Cottage Inn and Jet’s offered their outstanding classics with crusts that guaranteed no scraps left behind. Valiant had a really good supreme (or at least that is how I think of it with pepperoni, green pepper, and onion). Yet, at the end of the day, my favorite was the Pickle Pizza from Thompson’s. Pickles, cheese, with a bit of tangy heat, how can you go wrong?
Speaking of heat, True North Foods had a Hot Sauce Station for those that like to spice up their pizza.
To give you the maximum beer enjoyment for your dollar, the chamber had 16oz cans available at Pizzapalooza. There were a couple of mega-swill varieties for those who do not enjoy actual beer-flavored beverages. For those of us that enjoy a great Michigan beer, they had Griffin Claw’s Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA, Cheboygan Brewing Blood Orange Honey, and Latitude 42 Party at the Moon Tower; All Right, All Right, All Right!
Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terris Ahrens put together a nice lineup of diverse musical groups. You had some soul, some progressive, funky jams, some Rockin Americana, and a wee bit of heavy metal thunder. Providing the stage, sound, and lights was iQ Audio.
The hard-hitting grooves from Seventh were first up on the stage to get Pizzapalooza rocking. This young band focused on original music. They came ready to play hard with tunes that took me back to the alt-metal years when Sevendust, Papa Roach, and Breaking Benjamin. Seventh is a promising band making heavy and melodic music.
Metro Soul Band
Bringing the funk, the soul, the blues, and some rock is the Metro Soul Band. Fun and funky with sweet singing guitar, soul singing horns, velvet vocals, and an ass-kicking rhythm section made to make you move; Metro Soul Band is all that and a bag of chips. They had people dancing and singing to hits spanning everything from a rocking cover of “Taking Care of Business” by BTO to the Motown classic “My Girl” by the Temptations. They knocked it out of the park with their version of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” also by the mighty Temptations.
The Ben Daniels Band
It has been a while since we’ve caught the Ben Daniels Band in action. I know we saw them the first time back on New Year’s eve of 2017 at the Chelsea Ale House and then probably two years later up in Marquette at the Ore Dock. Each time was fun, and each time they brought something new to the table.
I didn’t get the whole scoop, but it sounded like their guitarist couldn’t make it, and a bit of improvisation was necessary. Now it could just be the direction the band has taken since last I saw them, but there was definitely more of an Americana jam with a dash of sea salt to bring out the flavor. I felt the vibrations of Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter. The bluegrass rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Breeze” was neat, but they blew me away with the nearly danceable jam cover of “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young.
Wrapping up this great evening of pizza, beer, and music at Pizzapalooza is Ann Arbor’s own Chirp. Every time I hear and see them, they are more fantastic than before. I’m not quite sure how they do it. I suspect they are really magicians dressed as musicians. Jay’s soulful tenor soared, Brian’s bass pulsed and grooved, and Sam’s guitar was singing with notes that danced into the sky. Not sure where Gaston was, but Graham Low from the amazing psychedelic jam band Pajamas kept Chirp firmly in the pocket of a positively powerful groove.
Chirp’s set concentrated on their original music. If you haven’t been watching their website, you need to lock that in. Their latest “Little Friend” is weirdly funky and “Hooks” is infectious. At Pizzapalooza, Chirp kicked off with their joyous song “By The Book” and kept the silky grooves flowing. While some may say it was the beer, I say it was the music that had me smiling wide at the end of the night.
We’ve got a few more pictures from Pizzapalooza in our gallery. Be sure to check them out. If you attended Pizzapalooza, leave us a comment as we would love to hear from you.
Become a Supporter!
We need your help to keep our website ad-free. Become a supporter of Life In Michigan! People like you who enjoy our stories help us keep Life in Michigan going strong. If you have the means, consider showing your support on our Patreon Page.
Share the News
If you enjoyed the story, then share it on your favorite social media venue or send it as a link to your friends and family. This is good for everyone!