The state’s outdoor concert and festival flurry took an unexpected turn with the week’s unceasing rain and even tornado warnings, but indoor shows flourished and a few outdoor sets, too. Photos at Local Spins.
The summer salvo of outdoor concerts and music festivals took a turn this week, thanks to a nearly unceasing deluge of rain and even tornado warnings across Michigan.
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Several outdoor events that had the ability to do so — from Listening Room’s Thursday “Listening Lawn” show starring Last Gasp Collective and Isaac Berkowitz in Grand Rapids to the new Free Bird Music Festival at Liberty Mountain in Farwell — moved some performances inside.
At Liberty Mountain, after heavy rains delayed Friday’s festival start and shuffled the schedule, attendees enjoyed sets by Grand Rapids’ Benzing Graves Collective, Kalamazoo’s Ryan Gladding & Lisa Mackey, Southeast Michigan’s Ben Daniels Band and Ann Arbor’s Act Casual with Boyne City funk band Galactic Sherpas closing out the opening night.
Then there were those ever-so-brief moments when the skies cleared. On Friday night in Grand Rapids, with the sun peeking out for couple of hours, Eastern Kille Distillery stuck with its original plan for a “Parking Lot Party” starring Rockford native and recent “The Voice” contestant Bradley Sinclair, and the solo homecoming show came off without a hitch for the gathered crowd and Nashville-based singer-songwriter.
But rainstorms returned with a vengeance on Saturday. So, Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill co-owner Ted Smith was thanking his lucky stars he decided not to stage the West Side music venue’s day-long 10th anniversary celebration outside in the parking lot, something that had been considered.
Instead, throngs of gleeful fans packed the intimate Grand Rapids club by mid-afternoon for sets by Grand Rapids Latin rock band Cabildo and vintage rock outfit The JetBeats, with The Moonrays, Dustbus, EPCYA, Necrophilicons and Barrel Bones following suit. The fun kicked off earlier in the day with sets by Nathan Walton and James Reeser & The Backseat Drivers.
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PHOTO GALLERY: Last Gasp Collective and Isaac Berkowitz at Listening Room
Photos by Anthony Norkus
Amid a week of rain, The Last Gasp Collective performed one of the first full shows inside Grand Rapids’ Listening Room since the start of the pandemic. The Southwest Michigan ensemble performed soulful originals for a captivated crowd. The evening opened up with vocalist Jessica Ivey and cellist Jordan Hamilton playing delicate but moving songs as a duo. Hamilton’s ability to loop parts and utilize the cello to compose backing parts was a highlight. Topics included police brutality, cultural issues and themes of social justice. Eventually, the full band joined and lit up the stage with charisma and stellar musicianship. Bass lines were funky, drums grooved with electronic beats, and guitars and keyboards danced soulfully around a unified vision of exquisite hip hop and R&B. The collective playfully bantered with the crowd and with each other throughout the evening, and even incorporated singing parts and snapping from the audience as part of the set. – Enrique Olmos
PHOTO GALLERY: Bradley Sinclair at Eastern Kille Distillery
Photos by Anna Sink
PHOTO GALLERY: Free Bird Music Festival at Liberty Mountain
Benzing Graves Collective, Ben Daniels Band, Act Casual, Galactic Sherpas, Ryan Gladding & Lisa Mackey
Photos by Derek Ketchum