After being closed the past year – outside of a brief stint last summer – the Grand Rapids venue is now packing its weekend schedule with West Michigan acts. The story, plus concert listings for other area bars.
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Understandably, after a year of COVID turbulence, Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill co-owner Ted Smith is “nervous and excited” about this week’s reopening of the beloved and intimate music venue on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
After officially flinging open its doors Tuesday with a comedy night – followed by DJs spinning alternative music on Wednesday and rock ‘n’ soul on Thursday – Grand Rapids surf-rockers The Moonrays at 7 p.m. Friday will be the first band to take the Tip Top stage since a few limited shows last summer.
Up-and-coming vintage country artist Myron Elkins & The Dying Breed, along with The Luke Lenhart Band, play Saturday night.
Due to the state’s current 50-percent, indoor capacity restriction, Smith said he’s limiting show attendance to 70 people – selling a maximum of 60 tickets in advance. Tickets are $5 each night and available online here; masks must be worn.
Smith is looking ahead to a more robust concert schedule down the road.
“I have several great national shows on hold in the fall, and am filling up dates with locals now,” he told Local Spins.
For The Moonrays – whose difficult year of COVID included the death of former guitarist Michael Hall II after a battle with leukemia — it will be their first performance in a year and the first since Hall passed away.
“We will be missing him for sure, but Michael wanted us to keep playing. He lived for live music and it’s very fitting that our first gig is at the Tip Top Deluxe,” said bassist Jim Braun. “That was one of Michael’s favorite places to hang out and to play. It’s very nice of Ted Smith to welcome back live music with The Moonrays. I’m sure we will have a few toasts dedicated to Michael’s memory as we play.”
The current lineup of the band features Braun on bass, Fitz Green and Mark Huizenga on guitars, and Dan “DJ” McCoy on drums. And they’re all eager to knock off the rust.
“It’s been tough to keep practicing without a live event coming up. With no feedback from the audience, there’s not the motivation to keep the calluses on the fingers,” Braun said. “I set up my bass amp in the kitchen and told my wife that I’m not removing it until we get to play out. She can’t wait for us to get out again!”
One thing to note: Because bars currently are required to close by 11 p.m., bands are taking the stage earlier than usual at the Tip Top.
The Tip Top’s weekend performance schedule continues with the Aquatoons guitar duo on April 2, The JetBeats and Jesse Ray on April 3, Weezil Malone Band on April 9 and Dusty Chaps on April 10. Get details and find more events on the Tip Top’s Facebook page.
Of course, other West Michigan bars and various venues are starting to offer live music as well. Here are the lineups for some of them:
Cedar Springs Brewing (Cedar Springs): Kevin Schaffer
Coopersville Farm Museum (Coopersville): Homemade Jam Band
GR Noir (Grand Rapids): Djangophonique Trio
Cedar Springs Brewing (Cedar Springs): The Carl Webb Band
Sandy Point Beach House (West Olive): JMM Jazz
Cedar Springs Brewing (Cedar Springs): Vincent Hayes
Log Cabin Cocktail Lounge (Grand Rapids): Hattrick
Twisted Bull Saloon (Grand Rapids): Brian Randall Band
735 Ritzema Court SW (Grand Rapids): Steven Malcolm, Mark the Baddguy, TVNK
Louie’s Trophy House (Kalamazoo): John & Sally Hershey
Park Theatre (Holland): Dalmatian Stone
Vybe Studios (Grand Rapids): Ajax Stacks, E-Will, Michael Trae, K Veen, DJ Buck
River City Saloon (Grand Rapids): Trapped on Mars
Log Cabin Cocktail Lounge (Grand Rapids): Blue Jay Bridge
Ed Dunneback & Girls Fruit Farm (Grand Rapids): Nick DeKoff
Twisted Bull Saloon (Grand Rapids): Double Wide Ride
The Iron Well (Grand Rapids): Rusty & The Razorblades
KC Banquet Center (Wyoming): The 6 Pak
Caledonia Family Tavern (Caledonia): Seek Lamp
The Kirby House (Grand Haven): Drew Behringer
Wick’s Park Bar & Grille (Saugatuck): Acoustic Shenanigans
The Stockyard Tavern (Perrinton): Sonic Voodoo
Cedar Springs Brewing (Cedar Springs): Jack Leaver
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