This weekend concert wrap-up focuses on a trifecta of locally bred lo-fi, pop and rock that fired up a big Grand Rapids crowd, images from Liquid Stranger’s Swedish-bred electronic magic and other concerts.
Every weekend brings a dizzying cornucopia of live music to West Michigan, and the first weekend of March was no exception: alt-rock, dubstep with an international flair, harmony-propelled folk, acoustic grace of all stripes and styles, hip hop, blues, dreamy indie-rock, addictive electronic beats and psychedelic splendor.
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At The Pyramid Scheme on Saturday, it was a wild night of chill beats and guitar riffs — with a woman’s bra flying into the mix.
Filled to the brim with fans young and old, the Grand Rapids venue hosted an evening of attention-getting, locally bred musical magic courtesy of Heaters, Major Murphy and Ghost Orchard. Local Spins writer Matthew Tep and photographer Anna Sink were on hand to capture the action in our kickoff to the weekend photo gallery roundup of concerts.
Ghost Orchard – There’s an effortless way Ghost Orchard’s Sam Hall performs. Hall is completely comfortable in his skin and that translates to his music. His soft, addicting beats combined with dazed vocals create a sense of bliss. When Hall moves around the stage with zombie-like motions, it only enhances his music. The hauntingly calm track “October 2013” left listeners in a trance-like spell, with the harsh blue strobe lights that engulfed the stage creating imagery of a vast ocean. The heads of listeners swayed back and forth hypnotically like ocean waves beating against sandy shores. Hall painted a picturesque scene with his lo-fi sound — the calm before the storm.
Major Murphy – There is a dream-like quality to Major Murphy. Lead singer Jacob Bullard has such a warm and welcoming voice, making listeners feel as if they are toe-deep in grass and basking in the rays of the sun. The indie-rock band’s dreamy pop lyrics call for simpler times, something that clearly resonated with the mob of swaying listeners, especially when the band started playing “Mary.” “It’s super current,” remarked fan Olivia Reedy of Holland, who loves the band. “It’s now.”
Nothing could stop Major Murphy from performing that night: Drummer Bud Voortman walked onto stage with a broken foot, and the crowd cheered Voortman’s determination. He impressed the audience even further by switching places with fellow bandmate and guitarist Jacki Warren, performing the group’s biggest hit, “One Day,” without a hiccup.
Heaters – For fans of Heaters, the band’s welcome return to The Pyramid Scheme with its signature psychedelic “heavy cream” rock proved to be nothing less than a night of shock and awe. The unassuming rock stars owned the stage, unleashing heavy guitar riffs and booming drums that completely transformed the crowd into a frenzied, dancing throng, with one listener so riveted by the music she ran to the front and flung her bra onto the stage.
The Heaters seemed to amp up the energy every time they began a new track. They played songs from their latest album, 2018’s “Suspended Youth” — including “Ad Astra,” “Highwind” and “Lysander” — while mixing in selections from previous albums (“Thanksgiving,” “Master Splinter”). The band closed out the night by combining the songs “Centennial” and “Ara Pacis,” leaving fans’ ears ringing with hypnotizing vocals and pure rhythmic rock. It all made for an unforgettable night. – Matthew Tep
PHOTO GALLERY: Heaters, Major Murphy, Ghost Orchard at The Pyramid Scheme
Photos by Eric Stoike (On the Run Photography)
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek