Several genre-spanning shows helped fire up and heat up mid-February in Grand Rapids on Thursday and Friday. The recaps in words and photos at Local Spins.
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West Michigan’s music weekend started with a bang. Or make that a “Boom Bap.”
Grand Rapids native Sixman closed out a three-day homecoming rap romp with a Friday night hip hop showcase at The Pyramid Scheme, revving up fans with help from The Fist Coalition, Alfie Da Great, Sonny Skeet, host Joe Walker, DJ Monk Matthaeus and DJ Ill One.
Billed as the “Return of the Boom Bap,” the event described as “a long overdue display of rap prowess” by the veteran artist followed an industry mixer on Wednesday at Wasted Brand Clothing and a pop-up shop Thursday at Vertigo Music in Grand Rapids.
At Van Andel Arena on Friday, meanwhile, it was all about jamming as in Winter Jam — the popular Christian music tour starring Skillet, Tauren Wells, Colton Dixon, KB, NewSong, Abby Robertson, I Am They, Kevin Quinn and more.
Down the road a bit at Calvin University, singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan got “Peopled With Dreams” for fans gathered in the Chapel on Friday evening.
Centered in-the-round, the long revered songwriting and his band rolled through his extensive catalog and played upbeat, synth-driven numbers off his most recent record, “Peopled with Dreams.” McMillan’s words between songs were equally as captivating, as he eloquently voiced his perspective on spirituality and faith. Opener The Timbre of Cedar, hailing from metro Detroit, displayed a catchy, high-energy set of all original material, branded with their signature polished rock ‘n’ roll.
A day earlier, northern Michigan singer-songwriter May Erlewine took her turn to impress fans, about 550 of them gathered at St. Cecilia Music Center as the award-winning artist and her band helped kick off a tour ahead of her release of a new studio album. (That tour gets rolling in earnest in early March, with Erlewine playing several Michigan shows before an East Coast tour this spring.)
A packed auditorium of fans felt the love, settling in for a Valentine’s Day-inspired performance. Erlewine floated through her set with grace and beauty, backed by a distinguished band of tasteful musicians. The Traverse City artist performed favorites “Days Go By” and “Palm of my Hand,” Theo Katzman’s “I Feel Love” and tracks from her upcoming record such as “Easy.” Fans took to their feet for an encore for a soulful, crowd-engaging cover of Carol King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Winter Jam at Van Andel Arena (Friday)
Skillet, Tauren Wells, Colton Dixon, KB, NewSong, I Am They, Kevin Quinn, Abby Robertson
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
PHOTO GALLERY: Sixman, Alfie Da Great, The First Coalition at The Pyramid Scheme
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker
PHOTO GALLERY: John Mark McMillan, The Timbre of Cedar at Calvin University Chapel
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp