West Michigan’s ‘biggest night of music’ packed The Intersection with 19 acts on three stages and the year’s top releases, artists and industry leaders honored by WYCE, Local Spins & Michigan Music Alliance.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS AND A PHOTO GALLERY
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Ann Arbor guitarist Andrew Brown’s fascination with jazz manouche, gypsy swing and the legendary Django Reinhardt has produced intoxicating, audience-pleasing music of its own through the distinctive band project Djangophonique.
On Friday at The Intersection, it also produced the biggest wins of the night: Djangophonique not only snagged artist of the year honors during the WYCE Jammie Awards show, but its studio debut album, “Introducing Djangophonique” won the Traditions! Award along with being named best jazz album.
Overall album of the year honors when to Grand Rapids indie-rock band Major Murphy for “Access,” with soul-rock’s Nathan Walton & The Remedy winning both listeners’ choice awards – for artist of the year and for album of the year with “Daybreak,” one of two recordings the group released in 2022.
A hearty, large and enthusiastic crowd of fans packed The Intersection’s three venues for what WYCE dubs “the biggest night of Michigan music,” cheering performances by 19 nominated acts on three stages while celebrating the best of recent releases by local and regional artists.
Several impressive all-star ensembles electrified crowds with energetic, tight performances, starting with the 12-piece version of Nathan Walton & The Remedy and continuing throughout the night with a mix of genres, including the Americana-hued Cole Hansen & The Heartbeats, the Latin cumbia of La Furia Del Ritmo, the art-pop of Kalamazoo’s Fake Baseball, R&B/pop of Sarena Rae and the soulful explosion of the Elijah Russ Collective.
“If this is your first Jammies, welcome,” Russ told the crowd. “It’s something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”
CT McCallister, guitarist and songwriter for the Jammie-nominated rock band The American Hotel System, said he was blown away by the throngs of attendees who showed up Friday night to support the event. “It’s amazing,” McCallister said, reflecting on his first time attending the Jammie Awards. “Every room is packed!”
“I’m excited to share the stage with so many cool artists,” he added. “It’s exciting touching shoulders with so many other talented performers. My biggest surprise was that there were so many other groups I haven’t heard of. When you play a lot of shows, you don’t get to learn about other groups as much.”
McCallister noted that every huge name in music started locally, somewhere. “It’s a great thing, supporting local music,” he said. “Go see local bands, even smaller bands just starting. So someday, when they blow up and you are at a sold-out tour stop at Van Andel (Arena), you can say, ‘I saw them live at the Stache!’ or ‘I hung out with them at the Intersection.'”
A SMOOTH-RUNNING NIGHT, A TRIBUTE TO VITSY AND ARIS, AND THE OVATION AWARDS
Other winners Friday night included pop/electronic duo Cal in Red (critics’ choice artist of the year), alternative rock/pop band Phabies (critics’ choice album of the year), blues/roots artist Luke Winslow-King (song of the year) and Kalamazoo’s Last Gasp Collective (best hip-hop album). Scroll down to view all the winners.
In addition to WYCE’s slate of awards, Local Spins presented its emerging artist of the year to Allegan County-bred Americana singer-guitarist Myron Elkins, just before his set on the main stage. (Read more about Elkins in a Local Spins interview here.)
And for the second year, the Michigan Music Alliance gave out its Ovation Awards, commemorating those dedicated to collaboration, community and equality in building the region’s music scene.
This year’s winners were Nate Dorough, senior talent buyer for Kickstand Productions (and formerly with Audiotree Presents); Chip and Karen VanKlompenburg, owners of The Stray café in Grand Rapids; Jennifer Hudson-Prenkert, founder of Kalamazoo’s Sounds of the Zoo; and John Bommarito, a longtime Southeast Michigan radio personality and podcaster.
The evening also included brief tributes to two local music icons who passed away in the past year: radio DJ and personality Aris Hampers and drummer Bill Vits, a member of surf-rock’s The Concussions and principal percussionist for the Grand Rapids Symphony.
The smooth-running affair — thanks to WYCE’s Shane German, Kikki Lone, Jennifer WolfSchwallie (JWo) and so many other programmers and volunteers — produced some of the most scintillating sets in Jammies history, from the all-out rock assault of The B-Sides in The Stache to the inaugural performance by the Moss Manor super-group to fan-pleasing romps by the Grace Theisen Band, Ficus and Low Phase.
Several musicians worked overtime, playing with several different groups during the course of the evening, including keyboardist Dutcher Snedeker (five bands), drummer Zach Dubay (three bands) and bassist Justin Avdek (three bands).
“I was super impressed about just the orchestration to put this whole event together, the organization, the bodies and volunteerism that goes into it,” said Kendall Wright of the electronic pop duo Cal in Red. “I feel like we’ve played music festivals before that didn’t even have half as many people play in one day. It’s just super impressive, things like this.”
Writers Matt Marn, Holly Holtzclaw and John Sinkevics contributed to this report.
More highlights, photos and Jammie Awards coverage Saturday at Local Spins.
PHOTO GALLERY: 2023 Jammie Awards at The Intersection
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker, Anna Sink and Eric Stoike