Kicking off next Wednesday, the mid-week concerts will feature Lighting Matches, Hannah Rose Graves, Roosevelt Diggs, Evidence Jazz and more. View the schedule and get details at Local Spins.
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Billy Strings. The Accidentals. Jake Kershaw. The Crane Wives. The Go Rounds.
These future stars and many more have graced the cozy stage at Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge for the intimate Local Spins Wednesdays series, a mid-week showcase of emerging (and established) Michigan artists that began in late 2014.
Heck, Billy Strings — who played a packed SpeakEZ in October 2015 — just won the Americana Music Association’s “Artist of the Year” award for the second year in a row after selling out venues across the country the past few years and winning a Grammy Award to boot.
After a long hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, Local Spins brought the series back to SpeakEZ for winter/spring shows early this year and resumes for the fall on Sept. 27 with a special rock-propelled double bill: Lighting Matches and The Fabulous Vans.
And there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of passionate musicians delivering their art up-close-and-personal for a mid-week SpeakEZ crowd in downtown Grand Rapids.
For Grand Rapids singer and songwriter Hannah Rose Graves – who once worked at SpeakEZ and has played several “homecoming” shows at the club since – her Oct. 25 concert for Local Spins Wednesdays signals both an ending and a new beginning.
“The show is a farewell show before I leave to travel for the winter. It is my last (Grand Rapids) performance before I hit the road,” said Graves, who originally had made plans to move to Austin, Texas, in November but has since shifted gears due to “a major opportunity that is still under wraps.”
“I’ll be traveling a lot. Touring. Starting this winter. I’ll still be visiting and gigging in Austin frequently, but my home base will remain in Michigan with my family.”
As such, the “farewell” show will feature some of Graves’ “closest peers in the music community and we are throwing a campfire-style, acoustic collaboration jam session. Jake of The Bootstrap boys is one of the musicians who will be providing acoustic entertainment, Justin Wierenga, Jerry Wenger, to name a few.
“We are structuring this like an after-party jam at a festival, and we’ll all be rotating and doing interactive collaborating.”
AN ECLECTIC LINEUP AND A ‘LIVELY, ENERGETIC’ KICKOFF
Graves isn’t the only Local Spins Wednesdays act playing an almost-farewell show of sorts as part of the twice-monthly series.
The Fabulous Vans, who kick off the fall series next week (Sept. 27) with Lighting Matches, are performing one of their final sets before lead singer and ukulele player Sierra Van Antwerp joins the Naval Reserves and heads into basic training at the end of October.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play not only for the SpeakEZ Lounge series but with our long-time musician friends Lighting Matches, too.,” she said. “It feels like a well-rounded moment, especially as the fall starts and many of our band’s projects have started to slow.”
“Returning fans and fresh newcomers alike can expect nothing short of a lively, energetic performance. We plan on mixing our bouncy-yet-forceful heavy-hitters with some of our groovin’ jammier tunes. It feels like an honor to be able to kick off this series. It is always thrilling to perform in a new place and feel what kind of energy the crowd is putting out.”
Added Timmy Van Antwerp: “It’s a real honor to get to play this event. I’ve followed Local Spins from a distance the past few years and know it always has the top talent in the area participate in these. To think our daddy/daughter acoustic duo progressed to a point where we get to play at that level is pretty humbling and even more exciting.”
The first night will also serve as a kickoff celebration of sorts for the fall fund drive for community radio station WYCE (88.1 FM). WYCE volunteer will be on hand to share information about the station and take donations.
The every-other-week fall series covers a lot of musical ground, with jazz (Evidence Jazz on Oct. 11), bluesy rock (FlyLiteGemini on Nov. 8), Americana music (Roosevelt Diggs on Nov. 22) and indie-rock (Vernon Potts on Dec. 6).
Co-sponsored by Modelo Especial, Long Drink, SpeakEZ Lounge and Local Spins, shows in the Wednesday series start at 7:30 p.m. For those attending the show, a $5 surcharge will be added to their bar/food bill to help pay the bands. SpeakEZ Lounge is located at 600 Monroe Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids.
LOCAL SPINS WEDNESDAYS FALL 2023: The Local Spins Playlist
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