The southern rock/alt-country band made a Bell’s Brewery beer stop on Thursday, the same night that Piano Cottage Rocks! unfurled the first of two nights in spotlighting teen talent at Wealthy Theatre. Photos, video
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS AT BELL’S BREWERY BEER GARDEN
After selling out Bell’s Beer Beer Garden on a rainy night a year ago the Drive-By Truckers returned to the Kalamazoo venue to play to a modest a crowd of about 650 Thursday evening — getting ahead of a storm system this time around by less than a day.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
The Truckers, led by Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, brought their own storm to the stage however with an onslaught of hard-driving guitars and left-leaning, eye-opening rock ‘n’ roll coming from the heavily conservative deep south.
The Athens-bred band let their unapologetic music do the talking as they didn’t stop between songs to address the crowd until deep into their two-hour set. From the month-old “Babies in Cages” to American Band’s “Ever South,” “American Band” and “What it Means” Cooley and Patterson put the country on blast with songs about deportation, prejudice and what it truly means to be free.
If there was anything disappointing about last night’s show, it was that a good chunk of the material, from a cover of Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” — though it did kick serious ass — was the exact same as last year’s Bell’s show, despite the band having an extremely deep catalog (11 studio albums deep) to pull from. They hit on quite a few of the same “Southern Rock Opera” favorites as well as newer “American Band” tunes as they did a year ago.
Favorites such as “Zip City,” “Used to Be a Cop,” “Plastic Flowers on the Highway” and “Let it Rock” all made appearances this time around, though, as did a great story told by Patterson about once seeing Patti Smith instruct a crowd to put their differences behind them and “love each other, mother f***ers.” She went from 4’9” to 65-feet tall in that instance, Patterson said. “Maybe that’s the answer, just love each other mother f***ers!”
Opening the show was Grand Rapids alt-country act Winnow (formerly Watching for Foxes). Singer/harmonica shredder Joey Frendo and guitarist Jared Meeuwenberg, clearly inspired by the newer cast of musicians playing alongside them, left nothing on the table as they performed tracks off their forthcoming release and fired up a crowd hungry for the Truckers.
After a night in Indianapolis tonight, DBT will return to Michigan Saturday, where they will play Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights as part of the Wheels of Soul Tour headlined by the Tedeschi Trucks Band with opening support from the Marcus King Band. – Ryan Boldrey
PHOTO GALLERY: Drive-By Truckers, Winnow at Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden
Photos by Derek Ketchum
PIANO COTTAGE ROCKS! AT WEALTHY THEATRE
It was almost impossible not to smile throughout the entire two-hour concert at Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre on Thursday, in part because it was so obvious that the young performers were thoroughly enjoying their time on the stage.
Opening the show with an ensemble performance of “Uptown Funk,” students of The Piano Cottage music school got the evening rocking with a solo by Brandon Harris and the rest of the Piano Cottage cast.
It got the crowd hyped to see the rest of the concert — the first of two nights displaying the talents of 85 young students. The choir was dancing, the horn section was spot on and the soloist had enough energy to power all the lights on Wealthy Street.
Parents, peers and fans had lined up all the way down the block to Fuller Street SE prior to doors opening, eager to get a good seat or purchase tickets beginning at 6 p.m.
The stage setup included a horn section, an array of band instruments and a beautiful baby grand piano. Stage managers scrambled to ensure fast and smooth transitions between songs.
Performers brought plenty of energy to the stage, too, not content to stand in one place to sing.
Choruses were choreographed and every student was enthusiastic about his or her time in the spotlight, solos or no solos — showing support for one another whether providing instrumental accompaniment, backing vocals or just cheering each other on. The second Piano Cottage Rocks show Friday (July 20) begins at 7:30 p.m.; get tickets online here.
Read more about the Piano Cottage shows at Local Spins:
VIDEO: Piano Cottage Rocks, “Uptown Funk”
VIDEO: Piano Cottage Rocks at Wealthy Theatre
Copyright 2018, Spins on Music LLC