The colorful mid-Michigan band celebrated its new album and kicked off a U.S. tour Saturday with a big boost from Grand Rapids’ The Legal Immigrants and Kalamazoo’s Less is More. (Photos, videos)
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No April fooling: This could go down as a pivotal moment for the West Michigan music scene.
With three uber-talented, fast-rising, musically disparate bands from the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo areas lighting up Grand Rapids’ newest concert venue, 20 Monroe Live, Saturday night’s tour kickoff and CD-release spectacle for Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers — with rock’s The Legal Immigrants and pop’s Less Is More also on the bill — was proof of the region’s emerging power on the rock/pop scene.
The crowd of exuberant fans cheered the colorful, pop funk spectacle that capped the evening, with mid-Michigan’s Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers uncorking an animated performance just a day after the release of the band’s new album, “Pluto.” (Read a review of the album here.)
The show marked the band’s debut headlining performance at 20 Monroe Live after opening for Trombone Shorty at the venue’s official premiere in February.
The group’s devoted Grand Rapids following – which Hertler noted made up the band’s largest crowd to date – showed its support loudly, singing along to catchy choruses, including the anthemic new single, “Lonely.”
Fine musicianship, the band’s trademark flower arrangements and a vibrant light show cultivated an energetic and care-free, EDM-hued atmosphere. Hertler marched in place, proudly presenting one stuck-in-my-head chorus after another, while the crowd roared at saxophonist Aaron Stinson’s charismatic solos.
It was hard not to smile as the band danced playfully, grooving through every song from “Pluto,” as well as favorites such as “Future Talk” and “Feel.”
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers now embark on a two-month U.S. tour in support of “Pluto.” And appropriately enough, considering this resplendent crew’s festival-flavored vibe, the band will return to Michigan in June for two performances at Electric Forest.
Saturday’s openers added to the night’s celebratory feel.
Grand Rapids rock faves The Legal Immigrants, with former bassist Kevin Kitsch back in the fold, oozed an energizing, bring-the-party charm during a 45-minute set led by frontman Joe Bockheim, with band members looking remarkably comfortable on the big stage in their 20 Monroe Live debut. (They headline the Feedback 2017 benefit at Founders Brewing on April 9.)
Kalamazoo’s Less is More, meanwhile, thoroughly engaged the Grand Rapids audience with its distinctive and unusual pop, soul and electronic music melange.
The bottom line: These were all national-caliber acts getting their footing. We’ll see how far their march might take them.
PHOTO GALLERY NO. 1: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Legal Immigrants, Less is More
Photos by Anthony Norkus
PHOTO GALLERY NO. 2: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Legal Immigrants
Photos by Anna Sink
VIDEO: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers at 20 Monroe Live
VIDEO: The Legal Immigrants at 20 Monroe Live
VIDEO: Less is More at 20 Monroe Live
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