Five years ago, long before COVID, mid-April rocked West Michigan as musicians and fans packed record shops, Wealthy Theatre, Pyramid Scheme, Intersection and Billy’s Lounge. Revisit the special weekend.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It seems like forever ago, but in the years before COVID, mid-April weekends were chock full of tantalizing musical discovery, from Record Store Day hoopla at independent shops across West Michigan to tour stops by national stars to the annual Jake’s Music Festival, which showcased regional bands while raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Organizers of Jake’s announced this week that the festival won’t take place in April 2021 due to pandemic uncertainties, with hopes it might return in the fall. Until then, revisit Local Spins’ coverage of a special musical weekend that took place in Grand Rapids exactly five years ago. Might that be repeated in April 2022? Time will tell.
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RECORD STORE DAY 2016: THE BEST EVER?
“Best Record Store Day ever.”
Those sentiments were expressed by one of many who turned out on a gorgeous Saturday across West Michigan in 2016 to celebrate independent record stores from Grand Rapids to the lakeshore to Kalamazoo.
It accurately reflected the mood of vinyl buyers, live music lovers and, of course, record shop owners, who saw droves of shoppers and browsers throughout the day.
A jam-packed Vertigo Music on S. Division Avenue in Grand Rapids not only had music devotees lined up most of the day to snag special releases and classic LPs, but also to revel in beverages and music from DJs and sets by wide-ranging local acts ranging from Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish to Vox Vidorra to Zen Star Beat Cult.
On the city’s West Side, Dodds Record Shop heated up its new location on Bridge Street NW with a street party: a full day of sidewalk performances by a host of bands and a .65-mile parade to Harmony Hall and back (representing the 65 years that Dodds has been open in Grand Rapids). The Dodds Record Store Day party — led by ebullient owner and PotatoeBabies frontman Rev Charles Preston Smith — continued deep into the evening at Flamingo Lounge just down the street.
The same lively attitude was evident at record stores elsewhere across the region, including Corner Record Shop in Grandville and Green Light Music in Kalamazoo. Check out the photo gallery below.
By the way, the 2021 celebration of Record Store Day will take place on June 12 and July 17.
PHOTO GALLERY: Record Store Day 2016
Photos by Anthony Norkus, Anna Sink and Derek Ketchum
JAKE’S MUSIC FEST ROCKS WEALTHY THEATRE
The atmosphere backstage for the 2016 edition of Jake’s Music Festival said it all.
Broad grins, warm handshakes and hugs, jovial banter and musical camaraderie was the order of the day — and long evening — as a dozen bands and solo artists covering a myriad of genres lit up the stage Saturday at Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre.
That all of them donated their time and energy to the cause, raising more than $5,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, seemed to just make the 12th annual edition of the festival that much more upbeat and inspiring.
“I love it,” said Joe Bockheim, frontman for The Legal Immigrants right after the band’s rousing early evening set at Jake’s Music Festival and just before the rock group left for yet another Saturday gig.
Indeed, several of the performers — including The Legal Immigrants, Emma Loo, Charlie Darling, JOE and Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish — did double-duty (or even triple-duty) on Saturday, also playing events for Record Store Day at Vertigo Music, Dodds Record Shop and Flamingo Lounge. (Return to Local Spins on Sunday night for a Record Store Day photo gallery.)
A solid turnout of attendees cheered them and the rest of the lineup (Take3, Brother Adams, Nick Arthur & The Habitat, The Sailor Kicks, Fathom 19, Murder Party) on a picture-perfect spring day that left organizers Clay Grueber, Tom Scheidel and Scheidel’s son, Jake (for whom the festival is named) beaming.
“You could feel the energy in the room from the very first band and it just seemed to grow all night,” said Tom Scheidel. “I think the festival went great. The bands were fantastic. Clay did an excellent job of putting together a killer lineup.”
Not surprisingly, he added: “Our whole team is pretty tired today.”
Tired but happy.
PHOTO GALLERY: Jake’s Music Festival photos by Anthony Norkus and Taylor Mansen
KIEFER SUTHERLAND, WE CAME AS ROMANS, LOCAL BLUES MATTERS
There was plenty more to embrace across West Michigan that very same weekend back in 2016.
Actor Kiefer Sutherland brought the tour in support of his new country/Americana album to The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, packing — though not selling out — the nightclub. The raspy-voiced guy better known to most as the intrepid Jack Bauer from the popular “24” TV series delivered an appropriately twangy set.
PHOTO GALLERY: Kiefer Sutherland photos by Katy Batdorff