Humble Pie at The Token Lounge in Westland, MI

Humble Pie @ Token Lounge, Westland | Photo by Jena McShane

Humble Pie was anything but humble during their return to The Token Lounge for their 50 Years of Smokin’ Tour.

It’s hard to find many gritty, original rock n’ roll venues left these days but The Token Lounge has been bringing rock acts to Metro Detroit since 1971. The club’s hard-nosed, almost biker bar atmosphere, combined with an iconic act like Humble Pie made it feel like you were transported back in time shortly after the release of the band’s critically acclaimed Smokin’ album. The only difference this night was the crowd had a lot more gray hair than you would see 50 years ago.   

Humble Pie started in England in 1969 and has been described as one of rock n’ roll’s very first supergroups. The band was founded by guitar legend Peter Frampton and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Marriott. Neither are still with the band but original drummer Jerry Shirley remains involved and retains the rights to the Humble Pie name. 

Shirley doesn’t tour anymore but he handpicked those who would carry the torch for the tour this year. Band leader and guitarist Dave “Bucket” Colwell has been touring and recording with well-known acts like Bad Company since the 1990s. He and bassist Ivan Bodley and drummer Bobby Marks have been in the group since 2018. Vocalist/guitarist Jim Stapley has been touring with Humble Pie since last year. 

It was a little after 10:00 PM by the time Humble Pie was ready for their set. The crowd had waited through four warm-up acts and was eager to see the headliner. Their patience was well rewarded as the band took the stage and launched into “Up Our Sleeve” from their sixth studio album, Eat It. Any doubts about whether the crowd would be left wanting for the band’s original members were immediately erased by Stapley’s powerful vocals and Colwell’s experienced talent.

They rolled right into “Four Day Creep,” a rockin’ bluesy jam that got the crowd on their feet, and then slipped into the Muddy Waters cover, “I’m Ready.” Then came the band’s first single, “Natural Born Bugie.” 

After playing the groovy sing-a-long, “The Sad Bag of Shaky Jake,” they finally got into a couple of songs from their breakthrough album, Smokin’. Stapley moved to the keys to play “Hot n Nasty,” a New Orleans-style blues track, and then back to guitar for “I Wonder,” which featured a slower and more classic blues riff that had everyone in the crowd nodding their heads.  

Either the night was flowing perfectly or someone had been researching past setlists when a fan yelled out “Play ‘Hallelujah I Love Her So’” a second before they started playing that exact song. Humble Pie put a heavy classic rock spin on the classic tune originally performed by R&B legend Ray Charles. 

The band then kept up with the covers rolling when they played their rockin’ version of “Black Coffee,” a fan favorite originally by Ike & Tina Turner which had the crowd clapping on cue. Just as the song was coming to a close, Stapley turned back to Bobby Marks on drums and gave the signal. 

The whole band then took the energy level up to 11 as they broke into “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” another song made popular by Ray Charles. It was at that point when everyone jumped to their feet and the entire venue was singing along. Stapley, Colwell, and Bodley finished the song with a coordinated move, all moving back and forward at the front of the stage to a standing ovation. 

Humble Pie might have had no original members touring but it didn’t matter. Stapley’s broad range and powerful vocals combined with expert musicianship and a classic rock and roll venue to give fans a taste of the nostalgia they had been craving. 

This show was covered as part of our fundraising trip for National Independent Venue Foundation and Musicians On Call. We are traveling across the country and stopping at independently-owned music venues to cover a show and to chat with their owners about the importance of independent music venues within the music industry. Westland/Detroit was our third stop of the trip and we were lucky enough to be able to interview Johnny Anton, the owner of The Token Lounge.

You can read more about this fundraising trip here. If you would like to donate to NIVF, you can do so here, and if you would like to donate to Musicians On Call, you can do so here. All proceeds go directly to your chosen organization. 

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About Jena McShane 27 Articles
Jena McShane is a Lansing, MI based photographer specializing in candid portraiture, live music, and stormy landscapes.