Sunday, 29 September 2013 13:14

Mustache-A-Palooza: Five years of local music and facial hair

Written by  Jayson Bussa
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Mustache-A-Palooza! 5
Louie's Trophy House, Kalamazoo
10 bands over two nights

Oct. 4-5; 8 p.m.
$7; Ages 18+

These days, Mustache-themed merchandise, events and everything else that pays homage to the upper-lip surprise is considered a tad cliche. In fact, there is probably a share of us that would like to place a moratorium on all things mustache.

However, among this throng of mustache pop culture is one man that could be considered an original mustache connoisseur. Kalamazoo resident and former musician Devon Bynon (Seriously, Facebook him…he sports a legit 'stache) tailored a local music showcase around a mustache theme five years ago — and it's alive and well today.

Dubbed Mustache-A-Palooza!, the event will take over Louie's Trophy House in Kalamazoo on Oct. 4 and 5 for its fifth installment.

"This year, we will be hosting at Louie's," said Bynon, who used to play guitar for now-defunct Kalamazoo indie rockers Hello! Victor. "There are a bunch of quality Southwest Michigan bands coming from all directions to play across our two-night span. We're able to get back to a 18-plus (age) admittance (rather than 21+)! Sadly, this will be my last MAP! with myself at the helm, so I'm looking to make it as memorable as possible."

A loaded bill of bands certainly will help make it the memorable occasion Bynon is looking for. Friday night features Small Parks, Combat Corduroy, The Goldenrods, I Am Band and east side rockers Flint Eastwood. Saturday features The Honey Pot, STRDSTR, Crash City Saints, Pro Con Pro and Narco Debut.

Tunes, booze, mustaches…that all sounds good and well, but there is a more noble purpose behind the annual music showcase. Portions of this year's proceeds, per usual, will go to The Children's Hospital at Bronson to help pay for treatment and care of children with cancer.

"We had already had the first MAP! event, when I decided I wanted to start hosting themed shows with a priority for raising money for children with cancer. From then on, these shows became part of a 'Rock Against Cancerz' campaign, with MAP! becoming the yearly gem," Bynon said. "I searched around for local centers and hospitals, and ended up speaking with the Director of The Children's Hospital at the time. I wanted to be able to donate straight to those who need it, rather than go through American Cancer Society or the wretched Susan G Komen Foundation, where 70 percent of the funds raised go toward advertising, administration costs, or suing other cancer organizations.

"Bronson truly cared about what they do there, and it allowed us to donate the money directly to the cause, and for us to choose how the money was the be spent," Bynon added. "This means every cent does count, and that it will be used for it's intended purpose."

MAP! kicked off at Rollerworld in Kalamazoo before hitting Papa Pete's the next year. In year three, MAP! invaded both stages of The Strutt and made yet another stop at Papa Pete's for its last installment. Now, the mustached madness will overtake Louie's, and, as Bynon is hoping, someone will be able to step up and continue the tradition for years to come.

"I would love to see this yearly staple carried on for years to come," he said. "My main concern would be to pass it on to someone/a group to keep the main goals in place of bringing great music, great facial hair, and supporting a great cause. I've had plans on expanding it to a multi-city level, but with already working 50 or so hours a week, it's a tad overwhelming to take on such tasks without enough sponsorship coming in.

"If there's a person or organization out there willing to take the reigns, I'd definitely love to speak with them about it. Preferably, a dark-haired, mustachioed man known for his Magnum P.I. days."

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