Tuesday night’s sweltering heat couldn’t temper audience enthusiasm for impressive outdoor shows: Tuesday Evening Music Club’s 2018 kickoff and the Rogue River Blues Series in Rockford.
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Even during the most sweltering portion of Tuesday’s concert at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park amphitheater, the energy of youthful members of the crowd was impressive, balanced by the laid-back vibe of what’s become one of the venue’s most beloved events.
The 16th annual Tuesday Evening Music Club kicked off this week with performances by Hannah Rose & The GravesTones from Grand Rapids and Rachel Curtis from Lansing, with the heat showing the crowd no mercy until the sun started to fall, though a minuscule breeze occasionally fanned attendees.
Guests enjoyed food from their picnic baskets or concessions, with the amphitheater hill consumed by blankets and lawn chairs of every color imaginable. When Hannah Rose and her band hit the stage promptly at 7 p.m., the area in front of the stage was filled with energetic youngins.
Hannah Rose and her band got those kids and those young at heart dancing with high-energy picks from her latest EP, “Awake in a Dream.”
By far though, the two songs that brought out the most joy from the crowd were “Hot Damn” and her rendition of “Valerie” that Amy Winehouse made famous, earning the group a standing ovation at the end of its set.
For Curtis, who made a splash earlier this year as a contestant on “American Idol,” the goal for her band’s set was to play a mix of original works — from her EP, “Senses,” released in March — and familiar covers. She accomplished that, effortlessly mixing the two, with dancers responding most favorably to renditions of “Mercy” by Duffy and “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall.
“Taking in the beauty of the venue and the energy of the crowd,” Curtis said of her favorite aspects of playing Meijer Gardens. “The crowd seemed really excited and happy to be here. I loved getting the chance to play my original music here as well.”
REV. PEYTON REVS UP ROCKFORD
About 20 miles to the north on Tuesday, the nationally acclaimed Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band brought the heat for another impressive crowd as part of Rockford’s Rogue River Blues Series sponsored by United Bank along the Rogue River near the dam.
The Indiana-based, three-piece country blues band that’s become a favorite at music festivals across the country wowed an Independence Day Eve crowd in Garden Park, with frontman Reverend J. Peyton rolling out his arsenal of guitars — from a vintage National resonator guitar to his cigar box classics –accompanied by “Washboard” Breezy Peyton and drummer Max Senteney.
The exuberant performance by the band had plenty of folks of all ages dancing and gyrating in front of the stage, seemingly oblivious to the 90-degree sultriness.
Check out photo galleries from both shows, courtesy of photographer Julia Olmos and Anna Sink.
PHOTO GALLERY: Tuesday Evening Music Club
(Hannah Rose & The GravesTones, Rachel Curtis)
Photos by Julia Olmos
PHOTO GALLERY: Rogue River Blues Series (Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band)
Photos by Anna Sink