MICHIGAN CITY — Some know NYC anti-folk artist Jeffrey Lewis for his series of independent comics “Fuff,” which chronicle many of the misadventures of his family.
Others know him for his “low budget music videos” (performed live as “illustrated songs”) on YouTube, which impart the history of Communism, North Korea, the French Revolution and other historical subjects (as well as some science fiction ones) utilizing singing and art.
And still others might remember him when he visited Michigan City in July of 2017.
On April 19, the internationally touring musician is going to return to the community for a free show at the Uptown Artist Lofts. There Lewis and his latest incarnation, Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts, will be joined by mrey, an alternative musician and solo artist, and Tigershark Don’t Quit, a noisy indie-punk band, for a performance starting at 7 p.m.
Lewis, who has been touring the world since 2001, has produced 12 issues of his independent comic “Fuff,” released seven (what he calls “proper”) albums through the London-based Rough Trade Records, and has seen his work featured on the History Channel, NPR and the Guardian, the last of which published a series of his illustrations answering the question, “What would Pussy Riot do?” in reference to the protest punk band arrested in Russia in 2012.
In a previous interview with The News-Dispatch, Lewis said the “Illustrated Song” idea originally came about as a means for making one of his gigs different from his previous shows. He just liked the songs so much he continued using them.
“The illustrated song thing, what I like to refer to as ‘low budget films’ or ‘low budget music videos,’ that started back around the year 2000,” he said. “It wasn't originally my idea, there was a songwriter here in the NYC scene who wanted to hire me to provide illustrations to accompany his song. Like many jobs in the freelance world it never actually came about, but I could clearly see a way to apply the concept to my own work, since I had certain songs with a narrative. ... At this point I think I have about 45 of them! Just all large crayon-colored books, and each one only exists as a single original hand-drawn copy, most of them are pretty beat up from traveling around on tours, usually on every tour I carry two or three of the books.”
His music combines aspects of folk, punk, comedy, introspection and social commentary.
Mrey has played regularly in the area over the last two years, including performances at Taste of Michigan City and Swale Music Fest. Tigershark Don’t Quit combines aspects of noise rock, folk, and early '90s indie rock. This Michigan City band debuted at last year’s Swale Music Fest.
It’s a free, all ages show, but donations are appreciated. There will be a cash bar. The show will last from 7 to 9 p.m.
For more information on Lewis, go to www.thejeffreylewissite.com.
The Uptown Artist Lofts are located at 717 Franklin St.