Launching a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a few weeks early, Gaelic Storm kicked up its heels Tuesday, followed by jam band Proxima Parada and Kalamazoo’s own Fake Baseball Wednesday. Recap, photos.
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What a long strange trip it’s been.
Nearly two years after COVID first shut down music venues and canceled tours across the country, Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo is finally diving back into the concert fray with both feet.
On Tuesday, California Celtic favorite Gaelic Storm revved up a sold-out backroom crowd, followed on Wednesday by another California product — the soulful Proxima Parada jam band — and Kalamazoo’s own Fake Baseball, kicking off Bell’s busiest week since March 2020, with two more weekend shows in the offing.
As Local Spins’ Derek Ketchum put it: “Gaelic Storm brought an early teaser to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday with a sold-out show boasting bagpipes, kilts, dark beers, and did I say, more bagpipes? The capacity crowd celebrated the Celtic rock band’s return to the backroom as if it were already March 17, unleashing a full two-hour set that had fans dancing all night long.”
The scene was much the same on Wednesday, as Kalamazoo super-group Fake Baseball — playing its first live show since releasing its debut album earlier this month — got the party started, with Proxima Parada also unfurling new music.
“Proxima Parada’s happy vibe had the crowd hooked from the start playing songs that had you feeling the warmth of the California sun on a cold, cold night in Kalamazoo — so cold in fact that band members said they’d never felt the cold of the Midwest like this,” Ketchum reported, adding that the music kept the crowd entranced throughout the night.
Bell’s aims to keep that vibe rolling into the weekend, with Kalamazoo alt-rock/ambient rock band Celestial’s album-release show at 8 p.m. Friday (Mighty Big Rig and Ficus will open) and Alabama progressive rock jam band CBDB at 8 p.m. Saturday (with Pajamas opening). Get details and ticket links online at bellsbeer.com.
On Monday, Bell’s extends the weekend with a tour stop by Superwolves (Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy), Emmett Kelly and Caldwell/Tester. (The rest of next week? A Mardi Gras party with Kanola Band on Thursday, a sold-out May Erlewine show on Friday, The Accidentals’ “Time Out” tour stop on Saturday and Cycles with Ma Baker on Sunday.)
While the concert calendar has ramped up, Bell’s continues to require from all concertgoers proof of vaccination status through the CLEAR health app or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of a show. Those unable to use the CLEAR app can show their vaccination cards at the door.
PHOTO GALLERY: Gaelic Storm, Fake Baseball, Proxima Parada at Bell’s
Photos by Derek Ketchum