West Michigan blues fans got an earful, with Ana Popovic revving up WLAV’s Blues on the Grand and a host of stars at Kalamazoo’s Old Dog Tavern. Plus, Keller Williams made a SW Michigan stop. Photos.
As many fans certainly know, there’s nothing quite like the blues in Michigan’s great outdoors. And after summer 2020 went without most of these opportunities due to COVID, they’ve been more than ready to reacquaint themselves with the experience.
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West Michigan got an earful of that experience this past week, with blues-rock phenom Ana Popovic and Grand Rapids’ own Thirsty Perch Blues Band lighting up WLAV-FM’s Blues on the Grand at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids and Chicago icon Wayne Baker Brooks leading a robust roster of regional blues stars at the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association’s Blues Bash outside Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo on Saturday.
The Saturday soiree for a blues-hungry crowd of more than 500 at Old Dog Tavern came during one of the summer’s hottest days — mirroring the heat on stage delivered by local and national artists.
Local Spins photographer Derek Ketchum described the scene:
“Out of Favor Boys kicked off the day followed by another Kalamazoo favorite, Crossroads Blues Resurrection. Marshall guitarist Jake Kershaw launched into the evening portion of the show by playing a solid, hour-long set, including many tracks from his soon-to-be-released sophomore album, letting the crowd know ahead of the new songs about a change up in his style between the two albums. It led to a well-earned standing ovation at the end of his set.
The national headliners that followed represented some of the best of Chicago blues with guitar master Wayne Baker Brooks (who noted that his first-ever gig under his name took place in Kalamazoo) and king of the harps, Grammy-nominated Billy Branch, getting the crowd involved. It all culminated in an encore performance and sing-along to ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’ ”
Blues wasn’t the only game in town, so to speak. Keller Williams brought his wide-ranging approach to Summer Camp at The Common in Buchanan on Friday night for a free show that drew nearly 1,000 people. And The Livery in Benton Harbor celebrated its 16th anniversary with help from Via Mardot.
Check out the photo galleries here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ana Popovic at Blues on the Grand (Thursday)
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp
Photos by Derek Ketchum
Photos by Derek Ketchum