From singer-songwriter charm to bass music to rock ‘n’ roll to rising-star country to metalcore, West Michigan’s music week pumped of fans of all stripes. It also produced an unusual on-stage butt tattoo.
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When Mississippi bass music artist TVBOO announced last month that he’d get a tattoo on stage during his tour stop at The Intersection in Grand Rapids if the show sold out, some likely dismissed the vow as a bit of a stunt.
But true to his word, the electronic music star brought a tattoo artist on stage Friday to do the inking deed on his posterior to the delight of fans who gleefully documented the incident on their cellphones (as did Local Spins photographer Eric Stoike, as you’ll see below and in this Facebook video).
Elsewhere across West Michigan, the concerts didn’t quite shift to that extreme when it comes to on-stage antics, though there was plenty of fan enthusiasm for the following:
• Metalcore’s Fit for a King brought its tour to Grand Rapids for a mid-week show at Elevation inside The Intersection.
• Acclaimed Idaho singer-songwriter Josh Ritter regaled a packed house at the historic Grand Rapids venue Royce Auditorium inside St. Cecilia Music Center on Thursday, launching the night with his classic song, “A Certain Light,” and wrapping it up 22 songs later with an encore-ending cover of Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” In between, he presented several songs from his upcoming new album, including “For Your Soul,” “Horse, No Rider” and “Sawgrass.”
• That same night, in yet another Intersection sell-out, country singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson revved up her Grand Rapids fans, touring behind her latest album, “Bell Bottom Country.”
• On Friday, the first night of the 2023 Battle of the Bands at The Stray in Grand Rapids, the six-piece jazz/rock/funk fusion band Pocket Watch took home the win, ahead of Silver Creek Revival, Ja’Leeyna, Sean Stynes and Ethereal. Round Two takes place Saturday with Common Molly, Adrian Wright, Rabbit Fur, Van Tassel’s Uncanny Elixir and Short Panic on stage (with Local Spins’ John Sinkevics as the evening’s judge).
• A few miles to the north, Traverse City alt-folk stars The Accidentals were joined by seasoned singer-songwriters Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman and Mary Bragg for two straight nights of “Time Out” in-the-round concerts at Midtown in downtown Grand Rapids. Chelsea Whitaker of Local Spins recapped Friday night’s show in this way:
A roomful of fans braved a Friday snowstorm for Sav Buist and Katie Larson of The Accidentals’ third iteration of their “Time Out” series. “Is it blizzarding outside? Feels like home,” Buist quipped to start the show.
The night of storytelling offered fans of The Accidentals a few familiar tunes, including “City View,” “Night Train” and “Slow and Steady,” while Georgia Middleman unfurled songs made popular by Keith Urban and Reba McEntire. Gary Burr injected humor throughout the evening, joking about the meaning of his song, “A Thousand Wild Horses”: “This song is either about migraine headaches or crystal meth.” Mary Bragg, meanwhile, entertained the audience with a twist on her tale about the song, “I Thought You Were Somebody Else.”
By the end of the evening, all five tunesmiths earned a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd and long lines afterward to meet up, chat and buy merchandise. – Chelsea Whitaker
• Also on Friday, California rockers Badflower delivered their hard-edged tracks for fans at The Intersection, the same night Michigan faves Chirp and Pajamas lit things up at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo.
• Saturday’s return of the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival to Kalamazoo Valley Museum was celebrated by guitar devotees, music lovers and musicians alike. The full recap, photo gallery and video at Local Spins here.
• Sunday proved to be an action-packed conclusion to the weekend, with alt-rock’s Blue October making a tour stop at Grand Rapids’ GLC Live at 20 Monroe, TobyMac and other Christian music stars lighting up Van Andel Arena and Dogs In a Pile (with The North 41) revving up Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo.
PHOTO GALLERY: Blue October, Beatnik Bandits at GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids
Photos by Anthony Norkus
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
PHOTO GALLERY: Dogs in a Pile, The North 41 at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo
Photos by Derek Ketchum