The week in music was diversity embodied: a globally acclaimed choral group, a fist-pumping Chicago rock band, uber-popular California alt-rock band, revamped Kalamazoo buzz band, a Detroit-area folk-rock outfit kicking off its world tour and more in Local Spins images.
South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a 57-year history, numerous gold- and platinum-selling albums and four Grammy Awards to its credit.
Chicago’s Twin Peaks recorded its garage-rocking debut album in a basement just five years ago and has nary a plaque or trophy to show for it — though it has earned plenty of critical kudos.
Both bands energized their West Michigan fans in their own inimitable way on consecutive nights this weekend to promote new albums — Twin Peaks uncorking a rousing, sweaty, crowd-surfing set Friday night at Holland’s jam-packed Park Theatre and Ladysmith Black Mambazo delivering its harmony- and dance-laden music at Calvin College’s pristine Covenant Fine Arts Center in Grand Rapids (in the band’s first concert at Calvin in about 10 years, and still educating audiences about the history and culture that’s inspired their art).
It was part of a busy mid-February assault of live music across West Michigan, from Grand Rapids to Holland to Kalamazoo — a weekend that wrapped up with a bang at Wealthy Theatre with the Marcus King Band and Slim Gypsy Baggage. Check out the Ladysmith Black Mambazo photo gallery here, followed by a review and photos from Twin Peaks’ concert, along with images from a host of other concerts below.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Photos by Kendra Kamp
TWIN PEAKS AT HOLLAND’S PARK THEATRE (Friday)
The scene: Park Theatre, transformed into the dark, grungy basement of an angsty, teenage punk-rocker from the 80’s — the DIY vibe made complete with the band’s flag on the back wall: “TWIN PEAKS,” scrawled in spray paint, with a pentagram in place of letter “A.” On the stage floor, an old beige television, its screen vibrating with static and the letters “TP.” Considering the anarchic style surroundings, one may not have guessed it to be an alcohol-free show hosted by a private religious college (Hope College). Even the band seemed mystified about the lack of booze (along with the “old folks” over 21), though this is typical for a Hope College concert.
The crowd: a smattering of tightly packed young college-agers sprinkled with a some dedicated early-30-somethings, including Grand Rapids’ own Brian Hoekstra, a veteran Twin Peaks fan, who’d already seen band four times before Friday night’s show. Hoekstra enjoys seeing the band live because they’re “a lot looser” and “a lot sweatier” than they may sound on their studio recordings. “They’re like Black Lips junior,” Hoekstra suggested, “that sweaty, drunken, throw-a-bunch-of-beer-cans-everywhere rock ‘n’ roll.”
Prior to Friday’s Park Theatre show, I’d seen Twin Peaks perform at MoPop Festival 2016 in Detroit on one of July’s hottest, driest days. The main thing I remember is how not-dry the band was on stage as they unleashed the sweatiest rock show I’d ever seen. So, I prepared myself to be showered in the holiness of rock star sweat and sweet rockin’ solos. And Twin Peaks responded by in no way censoring themselves for a sober audience (if that was ever even an option for them), starting and ending the show with several members jumping onto and off of amplifiers and stage equipment. As soon as the set started, the band seemed to teleport fans to a dirty, tiny, smoky, sign-less, nameless, rule-less dive bar. And it was awesome.
The band’s true rock sound ripped through the venue with ultra-loud, ultra-sweaty, garage-y guitar riffs and heavy, pedal-induced noise trips. Before even reaching the halfway point of the show, guitarist Clay Frankel ripped off his shirt in true sweat-rock fashion, revealing another pentagram drawn in sharpie on his chest. During the final song, Frankel risked a stage dive into the center of the young crowd, and with success he was returned to the stage, where, before exiting, he dipped his hands into his water bottle and started to delicately sprinkle water over the audience, with a subtle murmur into the mic: “Gotta bless you with holy water” — a nod to the religion of rock ‘n’ roll. — By Anna Sink
PHOTO GALLERY: Twin Peaks, Post Animal at Park Theatre
Photos by Kendra Kamp
YOUNG THE GIANT, HEATERS IN GRAND RAPIDS
Saturday’s Grand Rapids lineup included a sold-out concert at the new 20 Monroe Live venue downtown featuring California alt-rock band Young The Giant, touring behind its new album, “Home of the Strange,” with Lewis Del Mar opening the show. And Grand Rapids’ Heaters helped wrap up the weekend with a psychedelically lighted, late-night show at Founders Brewing on Saturday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Young the Giant at 20 Monroe Live, Heaters at Founders Brewing
Young the Giant, Lewis Del Mar photos by Anthony Norkus
Heaters photos by Anna Sink