Rain, a tornado and fickle weather couldn’t stop the rock, jazz, EDM and more from churning out across West Michigan. It was another week of big shows indoors and out, captured in images at Local Spins.
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Rain can wreak havoc on outdoor music festivals.
But this is Michigan after all, and even unpredictable weather can’t faze performers and festival organizers who find ways to keep the music humming for devoted fans undeterred by a few showers.
AUDIOTREE MUSIC FESTIVAL
That certainly was the case Saturday in Kalamazoo, where the fourth annual edition of Audiotree Music Festival rolled out EDM acts and more at Arcadia Creek Festival Place downtown for thousands of exuberant showgoers. Local Spins photographer Derek Ketchum filed this report:
After a slight delay from a Saturday downpour, the show went on. Those that made their way Audiotree in the rain got a really unique experience with Michigan’s own Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, followed by Ripe, playing under a packed beer tent/pavilion on the site while the heavy rains rolled through and workers cleaned up the main stage. With the sun finally returning to help dry things out, alt-country Rayland Baxter took the stage with his trio, drawing the crowd out from under the beer tents and over to the main stage. Judah & The Lion then got fans dancing with the group’s “folk hop and roll” as band members themselves literally flew across the stage at times. Starting with electronic, multi-instrumentalist and one-man rock band Robert DeLong, the festival turned into an all-out dance party for the rest of the night. And even though the rain returned for a bit during Robert’s set, everyone embraced it, hands in the air reaching to the clouds for one last downpour. The frenzy continued with New York’s Ra Ra Riot and Colorado’s Big Gigantic.
PHOTO GALLERY: Audiotree Music Festival at Arcadia Creek Festival Place
Photos by Derek Ketchum
At Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, the fifth annual GRandJazzFest powered through the rain and a tornado warning, even after folks had to take a break and take shelter in the basement of the Grand Rapids Art Museum for a little while. Although crowds were certainly smaller than usual, they still cheered the evening’s biggest stars — trumpeter Cindy Bradley and guitarist Tim Bowman. The festival is slated to continue today (Sunday), with the Bierenga-Sullivan Quartet, Lakeshore Big Band, Urban Jazz Coalition, Walter White and Chris Standring.
PHOTO GALLERY: GRandJazzFest 2016 at Rosa Parks Circle
Photos by Hunter Gamble
Elsewhere this week:
• Up-and-coming country singer Kane Brown revved up the Rock the Lot show in the parking lot next to The Intersection in Grand Rapids on Thursday, with a large throng of ebullient fans on board, many of them female fans cheering the heartthrob crooner.
• Iconic rocker Tommy Stinson, one-time member of The Replacements, brought his U.S. tour to Kalamazoo’s Bell’s Brewery on Thursday, with Grand Rapids psych-rock band Heaters opening the concert. Ketchum said some fans in the intimate crowd traveled from the Grand Rapids area for the show, along with representatives from Sparxx Guitarworks, who provided a 49 Tribute guitar for Tommy to shred on at the end of his show. Stinson joked with the crowd and told stories from his years on the road.
• Kalamazoo continued its busy week when The Steel Wheels brought their vibrant bluegrass strains and exquisite harmonies to Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe on Saturday night. Local Spins contributor Chris Falk filed this report:
The Steel Wheels, based out of Harrisonburg, Va., stormed into Kalamazoo on Saturday and promptly mesmerized the crowd over the course of two hours with their amazing harmonies, original songs and multi-instrumental expertise. A beautiful ensemble of songs old and new transported the crowd on an emotional journey of original Americana roots music. Songs such as “Promised Land,” “Kiss Me Like A Stranger” and “Red Wing” were met with cheers and tears.
The Steel Wheels — lead singer/guitarist/banjo player Trent Wagler, standup bass player Brian Dickel, fiddler Eric Brubaker and Ann Arbor native mandolin player Jay Lapp — have the ability to make fans feel like one of their own. With shows in Lansing and Ann Arbor in recent days and wrapping up their Midwest tour in Kalamazoo, The Steel Wheels consider Michigan their second home state — and Kalamazoo will certainly welcome them back.
• Grand Rapids roots rock jam band Bigfoot Buffalo finally got a chance to play the Kentwood summer concert series after an earlier show was scrapped due to the weather.
• Grand Rapids’ Ricky Olmos & The Astronauts made their performance debut as part of the Local Spins Wednesdays series at SpeakEZ Lounge, with singer-songwriter Jonny Carroll opening the show.
• The same night, Grand Rapids’ Mid-Life Crisis played the final show of the summer in the Garage Bar Bock Party series on Ottawa Avenue NW in the Monroe North District of Grand Rapids.
• At Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up on Wednesday, the iconic Peter Asher and Albert Lee played a sold-out show that owners Gary and Michelle Hanks called one of the best in the venue’s history. Photographer Loren Johnson called it “part concert and part music history lecture. … The historic events and pivotal music careers these two have been a part of was incredible to hear about. Plus the playing was fantastic and the crowd was really easy-going and responsive.”
• L.A. rock duo Best Coast made a Grand Rapids tour stop At The Pyramid Scheme on Thursday, with Pity Sex opening the show. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, aka Best Coast, continue to tour behind their 2015 release, “California Nights.”
• The Red Dock on the water in Douglas hosted a special CD-release show featuring The Concussions late Sunday afternoon — an evening that includes the spreading of ashes for the late Eric Petroelje, a mega-music fan, friend to numerous musicians and Holland native who died last year unexpectedly at the age of 49. Although rain swept in at one point forcing an interruption in the set, the surf rock band returned to finish up after drying off. Read Brian J. Bowe’s tribute to Petroelje here.
And finally, to close out Sunday night, The Beach Boys led by Mike Love, returned to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for yet another sold out show filled with familiar, nostalgic hits.
WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERY (Aug. 17-20)
Kane Brown photos by Eric Stoike
Tommy Stinson, Heaters photos by Derek Ketchum
The Steel Wheels photo by Chris Falk
Bigfoot Buffalo photos by Hunter Gamble
Ricky Olmos, Jonny Carroll, Mid-Life Crisis photos by Anna Sink
Peter Asher and Albert Lee photos by Loren Johnson
Best Coast, Pity Sex photos by Anthony Norkus
The Concussions photos by John Sinkevics