The Dangling Participles to Play Blue Owl This Friday

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Friday, December 20, 2019, 10:53 am
Christopher A. Wardell

The Dangling Participles (from left): Dan Moreno, Tamiko Rothhorn, Tim Patterson and Austin Kaufmann. Photo by Vincent Brady.

Editor's note: The Dangling Participles will be playing East Lansing's Blue Owl Coffee shop on Albert Ave. this Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, 6-8 p.m., so we're rerunning this article from warmer days, to introduce you to the band.

The members of The Dangling Participles are probably critiquing my grammar right now as you read this article. They might be looking at your grammar, too: when the band was founded, three of its members were English and language professors at Michigan State University. Only one band member remains as an English professor, but he’s keeping an eye on you.

While fine-tuning grammar is their main job, band members also do a fine job as a genre-hopping Americana blues group that makes music that won’t leave you hanging.

The Dangling Participles regularly consist of Austin Kaufmann on vocals and guitars, harmonica and mandolin; Tamiko Rothhorn on vocals, cornet and ukulele; Tim Patterson on vocals and bass; and Dan Moreno on vocals and percussion.

The band has evolved to where it is today after a humble start in a basement, and as a way to unwind and make music that’s fun. The Participles have two releases to their name, having released their latest album, “Present,” in 2018, and the EP “Devotion” in 2015.

Kaufmann admits the group has come a long way.

“The original trio (the MSU instructors) were actually all part of a larger cover band called Gerund and The Infinitives, which was made up of a rotating cast of six or seven English instructors who all worked together at MSU’s English Language Center,” Kaufmann said. “But that band, Gerund and The Infinitives, was mostly an excuse to toss back a few beers, or a little whiskey, and rock out in someone’s basement, you know, for the camaraderie and to blow off steam. We played maybe one gig a year.”

Kaufmann went on to add, “In 2015, three of us Infinitives wanted to start writing our own music and performing live more often, so we created a side project. (And, yes, we thought about going with the name, ‘The Split Infinitives,’ but chose not to!) That was a fun trio, and we put out an EP in December 2015, but that group didn't last long because – as English teachers often do – one headed overseas to teach English. So, over the course of the next year or so, our lineup changed.”

The band has a hefty touring schedule that takes them all around the state, but for Kaufmann, there’s no place like home.

“We average about a show per week, so we gig very regularly,” Kaufmann. “We love doing live shows and it’s what feeds us. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who's been to one of our shows that we love performing. We’ve played bigger stages and we’ve performed at tiny, intimate events and house concerts – and they're all fun.”

The band has a strong following, and it’s easy to see why, as their music focuses on harmonies, songwriting and an enthusiastic stage presence. According to Kaufmann, no stage is too big, or too small.

“As long as there is an engaged audience, the size of the audience is less important to us,” Kaufmann said. “Our album release gig for a sold-out crowd at The Robin Theatre will always be a highlight for me, as it marked such an important turning point for our band. At that show, we had multiple guest performers, the house was packed with our closest friends and family, and the vibe was great.

“The Robin is just a treasure. Dylan and Dea (the owners of The Robin Theatre) have done a lot for music and the arts in this town. More recently, our show at ScrapFest 11 in Old Town was a ton of fun, as well.”

For the complete schedule of shows by The Dangling Participles, check out their website. © 2013-2020 East Lansing Info