Glorious late-September weather provided the perfect setting for several high-profile outdoor shows in Grand Rapids, from Earth Radio to Melophobix. Recaps, photos, video highlights at Local Spins.
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For the final weekend in September, West Michiganders couldn’t have asked for better weather — especially when it comes to outdoor concerts and celebrations.
Take Saturday’s lineup in Grand Rapids, with this year’s African-American Arts & Music Festival rolling out performances and a social justice panel discussion starting in late afternoon at the Studio Park piazza downtown — part of The Bridge, a month-long series of events taking place in various locations around the city.
The Muse GR Project, Entyce, Jordan Hamilton, Azz Izz and DJs Robert S. and Ed Spillers were all part of the sold-out festival.
On Saturday evening, it was time to “turn the amps up to 11” for the second of two straight Belknap Park drive-in concerts.
The picturesque weekend at “The Belknap” kicked off with riveting performances from Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers and Desmond Jones for a sold-out crowd on Friday night, followed by The Legal Immigrants and Melophobix, who on Saturday unleashed fiery performances for a smaller but equally enthusiastic parking-lot crowd.
The rollicking jams of Melophobix grooved into a cohesive, vibrant set — an impressively tight performance with the rhythm section of Da’Veonce Washington on drums and Nuri Tett on bass serving as a welcome highlight.
The Legal Immigrants took the stage to raised drinks, honked horns and breezy-but-comfortable weather, with the long-standing Grand Rapids rock band offering up a sure-footed performance fit for a collective of veteran musicians. Frontman Joe Bockheim’s vocals were raspy and soulful, as the group rolled through an electrifying set of originals
New members Aladin Kadic (The Autumnatic) and Scotty King (Melophobix) stepped in to fill their respective roles on guitar and drums. Kadic’s leads were scorching, flawless detours with a robust tone, while King’s drumming served as the pounding anchor to a set that mirrored a bounding freight train.
For their part, listeners seized one of the season’s final days and channeled a sense of tight-knit community, despite necessary social distancing.
The same was true in the weekend kickoff concert at Studio Park on Thursday, with The Insiders Tom Petty tribute band led by Max Lockwood regaling a near-capacity crowd with an extensive array of Petty hits and favorites. Earlier in the day, Grand Rapids’ Earth Radio closed out the “Relax at Rosa” lunchtime series at Rosa Parks Circle.
The weekend of outdoor fun wrapped up with Jake Kershaw playing the first drive-in show in the parking lot at The Pinnacle Center (The Underpass) in Hudsonville on Sunday.
Jake Kershaw at The Pinnacle Center/The Underpass
Photos by John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: African-American Arts & Music Festival at Studio Park
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp
Photos by Anna Sink