From a showcase of exuberant regional punk music at Tip Top Deluxe to an epic display of legendary acts at Founders, Saturday night in Grand Rapids proved the diverse power of punk. (Videos, photos)
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SKITCHIN’ FEST AT TIP TOP DELUXE
Call it punk night in Grand Rapids.
And a night offering two sides of the punk coin.
At its best — and in its most raw form — punk is an immersive experience full of exuberant happiness and vitriol at the same time, where fans can grab the microphone at the right moment and become part of the band or just slam dance and mosh in front of the stage.
Take Saturday night during Skitchin’ Fest at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill on Grand Rapids’ West Side, the perfect earthy venue to celebrate Tyler Dykema and Kristopher Plank’s Skitchin’ punk fan zine with performances by more than a half-dozen regional punk acts, including Two Houses, Bet on Rats, Westside Rebellion, Solitary Subversion, Stubborn Strays, Momentai, Extraterrestrial Lies, No Breaks and Miski Dee.
An upbeat, sometimes rowdy but always happy crowd of punk devotees flowed in and out of the Tip Top as the parade of sweaty punks shook the walls and embraced their fans.
For these ferocious young rockers, it’s not about being pretty musically or aesthetically. It’s about expression, about being passionately punk. And they were.
VIDEO: Skitchin’ Fest 2017
PHOTO GALLERY: Skitchin’ Fest at Tip Top Deluxe
Photos by Kendra Kamp
MEAT PUPPETS AND MIKE WATT AT FOUNDERS BREWING
On the same night, not far away, Founders Brewing Co. was hosting legendary punks of an entirely different stripe.
Bassist Mike Watt — of Minutemen and Firehose fame — brought along his “Jom & Terry Show” (guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Jerry Trebotic) to quite literally launch one of the most impressive displays of prog punk ever to grace the Founders stage (or for that matter, any stage that these guys might play).
The gleeful, 59-year-old Watt exhibited the punk energy of his youth while directing an unfathomably tight display of punk-fueled art rock that so awed the crowd that he spent an hour or more after the band’s set signing autographs, chatting and selling merch at the table next to the stage.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s Meat Puppets — led by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood (also in their late 50s) — definitively validated their unique place in rock history by uncorking an eclectic, audience-inspiring set of loud, psychedelic and jammy cowpunk, with their shirtless Iggy Pop-like drummer Shandon Sahm and guitarist Elmo Kirkwood (Curt’s son) helping power this roaring train of twangy, sonic madness full of insanely hypnotic, groovy guitar solos.
More than one person commented that this was the best show they’d ever seen at Founders — which just goes to show you the power of punk.
VIDEO: Mike Watt & The Jom & Terry Show, Meat Puppets at Founders
PHOTO GALLERY: Meat Puppets, Mike Watt at Founders
Photos by Anthony Norkus
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC