West Michigan’s mid-April blast ranged from jam-packed shows by national artists to showcases of regional favorites to the enduring pull of vinyl — all recapped in images and videos at Local Spins.
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Earthwork Music collective founder Seth Bernard said it was all about “artists supporting other artists.”
That theme radiated brightly Friday night as 18 Earthwork Music artists representing different genres came together for an inspiring, smile-powered evening of uplifting music as part of the collective’s 2023 spring tour — its first such Michigan tour in five years.
“We’re finally able to come out and do a tour together,” Bernard told the crowd. (The Earthwork Music tour wraps up today, April 23, at Ludington Area Center for the Arts. Tickets for the 4 p.m. show are $30, available here. Local Spins today also feature a photo gallery from Wednesday’s tour stop at Kalamazoo’s Dormouse Theatre.)
Each act took the spotlight during the two-set affair, with varying cadres of backing instrumentalists and singers enhancing those performances, from Kalamazoo hip-hop cellist Jordan Hamilton to old-time folk champion Ben Traverse to violinist-singer Samantha Cooper.
It all culminated in a full-band encore presentation of “Thank You for Being a Friend” (followed by an impromptu, post-show, merch-table rendition of Bernard’s “Turkeys in the Rain”).
As Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles put it before his dance-inducing contribution to the evening: “Music soothes the soul. It’s joy; that’s what it’s about.”
Joyful, soul-soothing music of various stripes bloomed in every corner of West Michigan in mid-April:
California metal merchants Tesla pumped up GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, the same night that Grand Rapids indie-dream-rocker Brie Stoner and her band mesmerized a full house at SpeakEZ Lounge with help from opening act, singer-songwriter Kate Pillsbury of The Crane Wives.
On Thursday, country star Riley Green brought the party for a near sellout crowd at GLC Live at 20 Monroe while Michigan-bred soul/Americana heroes The War and Treaty did much the same at a packed Stache inside The Intersection just a few blocks away.
Beyond Earthwork Music’s tour stop, Friday’s musical offerings included The Intersection hosting August Burns Red and the B93 Battle to the Bash (with Jessie Campbell Band and Stevie Reidz & Co. advancing to the May 13 finals), and Chicago’s piano-driven The Claudettes debuting their dynamic new lead singer, Rachel Williams, at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill. Meanwhile, Muskegon’s Flexadecibel funked up the Funkfest at Benton Harbor’s The Livery.
Saturday, of course, was Record Store Day, with indie record shops across the region packing their stores with vinyl-loving mavens who lined up for special releases before doors even opened. Some shops hosted DJs or other musical entertainment, with Beaver Xing performing outside Dodds Record Shop in Grand Rapids, which also rolled out its short-but-fun Record Store Day Parade on Bridge Street.
Browse the galleries and watch the videos below.
PHOTO GALLERY: Tesla, Kurt Deimer, FLA at GLC Live at 20 Monroe
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
PHOTO GALLERY: Brie Stoner, Kate Pillsbury at SpeakEZ Lounge
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker
PHOTO GALLERY: Earthwork Music Tour at Dormouse Theatre (Kalamazoo)
Photos by Derek Ketchum