Early-week concerts drew varying crowds at several different venues — Van Andel Arena, The Intersection, St. Cecilia Music Center, The Pyramid Scheme, Midtown — with widely varying musical approaches.
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It’s been a tantalizing week of live music in Grand Rapids and it’s only Friday.
Thursday night alone featured a tour stop by 14-time Grammy Award-winning Dobroist Jerry Douglas at St. Cecilia Music Center, an album-release show for Spanish-language rock band EPCYA at The Pyramid Scheme and an unusual, jam-packed spectacle at The Intersection’s Elevation featuring “Vanderpump Rules” actor (and, uh, singer) Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras — described as “the ultimate party cover band” and drawing a mostly female/adoring throng of fans.
The night before, The Moxie Strings kicked off the string duo’s series of Michigan farewell shows for a near-capacity crowd at the Midtown listening room (and you can read a review of that later today at Local Spins, along with the Local Spins on WYCE radio show podcast).
The musical barrage started on Tuesday with a Van Andel Arena tour stop by Skillet, Theory of a Dead Man and Saint Asonia, recapped here by Local Spins writer Terry DeBoer. Browse all of the photo galleries below.
SKILLET, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, SAINT ASONIA AT VAN ANDEL ARENA
It’s dubbed the “Rock Resurrection Tour,” co-headlined by Skillet and Theory of A Deadman, with Saint Asonia serving as an opener.
Tuesday was Skillet’s turn to close the show at Van Andel Arena, serving up 15 songs. The band, featuring lead singer-songwriter John Cooper, opened with “Feel Invincible,” which complemented themes in other songs such as “Surviving the Game,” and “Awake and Alive” that offer affirmative (and strong) musical statements.
The latter song included cellist Tate Olsen, who accompanied the band on several tunes, with drummer Jenn Ledger coming out from behind his kit to share in lead vocals at times while Korey Cooper (John’s wife), doubled her duty on rhythm guitar and keyboard.
Lead guitarist Seth Morrison teamed with Ledger for a brief percussion-and-string flurry, with the guitarist adding some convincing distortion as a prelude to “Whispers in the Dark.” Saint Asonia lead singer Adam Gontier joined the gravely-voiced John Cooper on “Finish Line.”
Theory of a Deadman had a more varied approach within its 80-minute set. More pop influences were in play, including the band taking the stage to the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline.”
Lead singer Tyler Connolly and crew also performed brief cover versions of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” The modest-sized audience (the arena’s upper bowl was closed) took care of singing the lyrics.
“We wrote that one in the dressing room before we came out here,” Connolly dead-panned of the Journey standard.
They opened with the harder, title song from their new album, “Dinosaur.” Also on that collection is “Two of Us (Stuck),” which relies heavily on the old Bill Withers’ song. The foursome included its own hit songs: “Rx(Medicate),” “Lowlife,” and their closing, “Bad Girlfriend.”
Saint Ansonia and Gontier (a former member of Three Days Grace), meanwhile, performed two cover songs from his former band, “Never Too Late” and “I Hate Everything About You.” (Scroll down for set lists.)
PHOTO GALLERY: Skillet, Theory of a Deadman, Saint Asonia
Van Andel Arena (Tuesday)
Photos by Jim Hill
PHOTO GALLERY: Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras
Elevation inside The Intersection (Thursday)
Photos by Anna Sink
PHOTO GALLERY: EPCYA, Moto, Vedma
The Pyramid Scheme (Thursday)
Photos by Joshua Tufts