A near-capacity crowd packed the cozy downtown venue Wednesday, with fans praising the acoustics and atmosphere. Get the reaction to this new venue, watch a video, browse a photo gallery.
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“This space is giving me a lot of good energy,” she raved after expressing gratitude for the opportunity to play the first official concert at the much-discussed, 200-seat room in Studio Park, south of Van Andel Arena.
Backed by her multi-instrumentalist husband, Scott Schultz, the Grand Rapids singer didn’t disappoint her fans, uncorking her trademark passionate vocals while also giving concertgoers insights into her soulful pop songs – from the political to the personal – during the WGVU/NPR Pop Up Series show.
But obviously, Wednesday’s concert was as much about the Listening Room as it was about Molly, with attendees getting a chance to experience this intimate and quiet venue for the first time (with northern Michigan singer-songwriter Joshua Davis playing the second “soft opening” show Thursday night).
First take? The acoustics and sonic quality of this unique room live up to their billing, even with Molly’s varied, unusual instrumentation: keyboard, guitar, electronic percussion.
‘NO EXPENSE SPARED’ TO DIAL IN SOUND AT LISTENING ROOM
“The sound is going to be quickly recognized as one of the best in the country,” insisted Todd Ernst, a Grand Rapids DJ and Local Spins columnist who attended Wednesday’s show. “The L-Acoustics gear that they installed is one of the best speakers made. It’s clear no expense was spared to dial in the Listening Room.”
The layout, seating and furnishings create a cozy and comfortable vibe, with chairs in a semi-circle around the stage and small tables giving folks a place to set their drinks as servers visited patrons unobtrusively.
“What an amazing space,” said Grand Rapids hip hop artist Jeff “JRob” Robinson, adding that Molly “sounded great as usual. The sound in the room is really one of the best. Love the intimate setting. And it’s an all-around good vibe.”
Added Ernst: “The atmosphere is decidedly intimate, but can comfortably hold a respectable crowd.”
Of course, this really is a “listening room,” a unique concept in the city (though hit-and-miss attempts have been in the past to cater to quiet, singer-songwriter-type shows).
As such, concertgoers cooperated surprisingly well – keeping any conversation during songs to a whisper and reserving whoops, hollers and clapping between tunes. As intended, it was all about the music itself.
After noting that Grand Rapids has a host of worthy and diverse venues to enjoy live music, Listening Room operations manager Quinn Mathews made it clear from the outset that this offered something different.
“We thought we’d bring our own kind of experience here,” he said. “We’re here for what’s on this stage tonight.”
That unique “experience” found a receptive gathering of music enthusiasts on Wednesday, which bodes well for serious listeners and for artists who yearn for an attentive audience.
Get tickets for Thursday’s Joshua Davis show online here, along with info about other upcoming concerts.
PHOTO GALLERY: Molly at Listening Room
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
Video by John Sinkevics
Copyright 2019, Spins on Music LLC