From the EDM mania of Virtual Riot to the jazz of Christian McBride to the blues of James Reeser, it was a resplendent weekend of live music from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo, captured in Local Spins images.
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This was a pivotal weekend for some of the performers making highly publicized stage appearances in West Michigan.
Multi-Grammy-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride heated up St. Cecilia Music Center’s much-anticipated three-day WinterFest — delayed by a year due to COVID — with Edgar Meyer on Thursday, his trio and singer Cyrille Aimee on Friday, and his quintet, Inside Straight, on Saturday.
And that was just the kickoff to a big month for the acclaimed McBride: Inside Straight heads to Europe next week, starting with a concert in the Czech Republic on Thursday and wrapping up in London on March 21.
That means Grand Rapids fans got first crack at soaking in that quintet’s lively jazz strains, not to mention McBride’s versatile collaborations earlier in the week as part of WinterFest.
On the funky rock/pop side of the things, mid-Michigan’s Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers reveled in a jam-packed homecoming at The Intersection on Saturday, part of the band’s national tour with Boston’s Ripe, a show further enhanced with an opening set by Grand Rapids’ own rambunctious jam band, Desmond Jones.
As Lansing’s enigmatic collective, Hertler and company put on a riveting, high-energy show for a packed Grand Rapids crowd. Opening for Ripe, the hard-touring Rainbow Seekers bloomed with a sonic flora that included groovy rhythms, ripping saxophone solos and entertaining audience engagement.
Another band celebrating a milestone this weekend: Grand Rapids rock band The American Hotel System celebrated release of its brand new studio album, “Interrobang,” at The Pyramid Scheme on Saturday, with Feeding Grizzlies, Laine Rex and Darcy Moran also on board.
The Intersection, incidentally, also hosted German DJ and producer Virtual Riot for an evening of electronic music mayhem as part of his “Simulation” album tour, accompanied by Eliminate, Lowke and Submit.
In Kalamazoo, Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe’s most hectic live music week in two years also featured an album-release show, with Kalamazoo psych-rock/alternative ambient rock outfit Celestial finally uncorking a delayed performance for about 200 attendees celebrate the EP release on Friday, along with Ficus and Mighty Big Rig.
On Saturday, Bell’s hosted a tour stop by Alabama prog-rock band CBDB, along with Ann Arbor’s Pajamas, the same night that West Michigan’s James Reeser & The Backseat Drivers brought their blues hues to Old Dog Tavern.
PHOTO GALLERY: WinterFest at St. Cecilia Music Center
Christian McBride & Edgar Meyer (Thursday) Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
McBride & Cyrille Aimee (Friday), Inside Straight (Saturday) Photos by Jeffrey Wilkinson
PHOTO GALLERY: Celestial, Ficus, Mighty Big Rig at Bell’s Brewery (Friday)
Photos by Derek Ketchum
PHOTO GALLERY: Virtual Riot at The Intersection (Friday)
Photos by Eric Stoike