Cadieux Cafe, a former speakeasy, serves up great live shows, Belgian beers

Cadieux Cafe, via Facebook
Cadieux Cafe, via Facebook

Weekly series about the best local bands and venues by music critic Eric Kiska. 

Belgian beers, mussels and live tunes were served to metro Detroiters Friday night at the Cadieux Cafe in what proved to be a musical spectacle of soul, blues, post-punk, jazz and “shoegaze.”

Moon Lake, via Facebook

Moon Lake was the first act to perform. They were missing part of their band and had to play their drum and bass tracks off an iPod.

This didn’t seem to be a problem, though, as they were readily prepared for it. With just two guitars, two microphones and a few speakers they prevailed in displaying the “beach jazz” they offered.

A bumper sticker on the wall said, “It’s beautiful to be Belgian.” Framed posters of Elvis were mounted behind the stage alongside other old photographs. Cadieux Cafe has stayed true to its Belgian origins. Many describe it as “the heart of the old Belgian east-side.”

Known for decades for having one of Detroit’s only feather-bowling courts and “world-famous mussels,” Cadieux Cafe has proved to be a delightful neighborhood bar for Detroiters to see live music and enjoy delicious food.

King Eddie, via Facebook
King Eddie, via Facebook

King Eddie came on after Moon Lake and stole the show. Lead singer Aurora Adam’s voice contained heavy doses of soul, blues, and Motown, which made this band stand out from the others.

Songwriter and musician Justin Maike shredded blues and jazz licks on his guitar, while King Eddie added trombonist Alex Peters for this show. King Eddie was “formed as the psychic brain child of childhood friends Joshua Thorington and Justin Maike in the tight-knit scene of Hamtramck, MI.”

Their superb artisanship was shown in the song, “No Need to Fight,” a political jam anthem where Adam’s and Maike combined their melodic genius to pack a bluesy punch. Adam’s voice is one of a kind; she has a rare gift for soulfully belting the right notes at the right time.

The bar wasn’t packed, but a considerable number of metro Detroiters came out to support their local music scene. It was hard not to enjoy the lively atmosphere with the smell of freshly cooked mussels in the air.

A historic landmark, Cadieux Cafe used to be a speakeasy during prohibition. There is still a bit of “old-Detroit” left in this east-side bar where Flemish culture covers the walls. They take pride in “maintaining the place’s old-world charm and traditions.”

Cosmic Light Shapes headlined the show. They were also missing a member of their band but they were the loudest act of the night, and not in a bad way. Their punk-blues tonalities were reminiscent to early Black Keys and White Stripes records.

They say their music is “psychedelic pop and free form sonic sounds from outer space.” Each band had a fair share of psychedelia and acid rock influence. You could say that all of these acts wouldn’t be out of place if they played 50 years ago.

Stop by the Cadieux Cafe if you enjoy music, good food, Belgian beers, feather bowling, playing darts, or just want to take a whiff of old-Detroit. A schedule of their upcoming shows can be found on their website.

Other stories in this series:

Eric Kiska

Eric Kiska graduated from Northern Michigan with a BS in English and writing and minor in art and design. He’s also a former video editor at Detroit Public TV.