The “Comeback Road” series partnership between the Destination Live Music video team and Local Spins continues with a fresh look at the reopening of Skelletones and its owners.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the past year, Local Spins has partnered with the Destination Live Music video team to focus on West Michigan concert venues coping with the COVID pandemic and working to bring live shows back. Grand Rapids’ all-ages Skelletones reopened in September after being closed for 12 years. The video team visited the club for an update. Scroll down for video.
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When Mark “Mirf” Leech and his wife, Annette, decided to reopen the all-ages Skelletones in Grand Rapids after 12 years, they weren’t sure if the young fans, the supportive vibe and the magic would return.
About 10 weeks in, it’s clear that it all has.
“To see a combination of old faces and news faces has been rewarding,” Leech says during an interview for the latest installation of the “Destination Live Music: Comeback Road” video series.
“If we can provide a place for young people – 14 to 19 especially – to give them a place to belong, to give them a place to practice their craft, to feel safe, that’s a win for us.”
Annette Leech, who helped launch Skelletones the first time around back in 1999, says she’s “really encouraged” to see the youthful interactions taking place in the renovated club at 133 S. Division Ave. since reopening in September.
“That feeling and that spirit about Skelletones is still there,” she tells interviewer Michael Whitenack.
Hosting a long roster of young punk, hardcore, metal and indie-rock bands every Friday and Saturday nights, Skelletones has quickly once again become a magnet for teens who previously didn’t have a music venue to call their own. View the upcoming show schedule here, including Dec. 4’s day-long “Sweat Fest” with 16 bands.
Even parents have embraced the musical hangout. “Being a parent and looking around, I feel so good,” says Angela Stanford-Butler. “It seems very secure and it’s so welcoming because that’s a diverse crowd out there.”
With word about the resurrected all-ages haunt spreading by word of mouth and crowds returning, Leech hopes Skelletones might be set for another 10-year run.
“Everybody should come out and support this place,” says teen musician and patron Dom Hart. “It’s awesome what they’re doing here.”
VIDEO: Skelletones (Destination Live Music: Comeback Road)
Video by David Darling and Michael Whitenack
Read more about Skelletones:
All-ages Skelletones set to reopen, rock the house and ‘rekindle memories’
Skelletones reopens with hardcore ‘lightning in a bottle’
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