The kickoff to autumn 2022 had it all: country, folk, symphonic metal, Americana, soulful pop and German party music. Local Spins revisits the action in words, photos and video.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIES & JOE HERTLER VIDEO
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When Australian-American country music superstar Keith Urban serenaded the throngs at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena on Thursday night, his latest single, “Brown Eyes Baby,” seemed to speak directly to his devoted fans:
“I can put the sun right back in your sunshine, bring a little love back into your late night.”
Urban certainly made the late night lovely for thousands of his groupies, and he wasn’t the only Australian native to impress a Grand Rapids audience the very same evening.
Sydney singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin made a tour stop nine miles away at Calvin University’s Covenant Fine Arts Center, performing for a mellow but engaged audience.
The set included melancholy tunes such as “Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You,” along with the more upbeat “Pressure to Party” and “I Was Neon.”
“I feel like today I’ve returned to who I once was,” she told the crowd, noting she had spent several “very sad days” while sick in a New York hotel room earlier in the week.
The dichotomy of Thursday’s shows just scratched the surface of the musical diversity that greeted West Michigan fans as summer turned to autumn this week:
• Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica pumped up The Intersection in Grand Rapids on Wednesday with its unique lineup of classically trained cellists and a jazz drummer.
• Former West Michigander and alt-country/Americana singer-songwriter Nathan Kalish enjoyed a homecoming Thursday by unfurling a duo show at Listening Room.
• Oktoberfest kicked off at Grand Rapids’ Riverside Park on Friday with big crowds, beer, food, “stein-holding contests” and performances by Route 161 Happy Wanderers, among other acts. The festival continues all day Saturday.
• Guitarist-singer Joe Hertler, frontman for mid-Michigan’s Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, closed out Day 1 of the second-year Confluence Festival at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids with an engaging, often-humorous set for a nearly full Listening Room. His message? Embrace rainbows, beauty and life the way it is. The festival continues all day Saturday, with Tall Tall Trees playing Listening Room at 7:30 p.m. ($20). Read more about the festival here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Keith Urban, Tyler Hubbard, Ingrid Andress at Van Andel Arena
Photos by Jim Hill
PHOTO GALLERY: Julia Jacklin at Covenant Fine Arts Center
Photos by Adrian Van Stee
PHOTO GALLERY: Mary Gauthier, Jaimee Harris at Listening Room
Photos by Bryan Bolea