With guest musician Patty PerShayla giving the band an extra rock ‘n’ roll wallop, the Traverse City band lit up Calvin’s Covenant Fine Arts Center on Saturday. The recap and photo gallery.
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With the Grand Rapids area representing The Accidentals’ most sizeable fan base, it’s no surprise that band members felt “surrounded by that feeling of coming home” at Calvin University’s Covenant Fine Arts Center on Saturday night.
Wrapping up the second weekend of the tour behind the Traverse City alt-folk band’s new album, “Vessel,” multi-instrumentalists Sav Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause – with special guest Patty PerShayla – had proclaimed their mission to “involve the listener” beyond anything they’d unleashed before.
Larson calls them “awe moments,” especially for longtime devotees the band regards as family.
So, consider the Calvin show the sort of reunion that will be lovingly enshrined in the family album.After all, until COVID-19 hit, the longest break the group had ever taken from performing was only about two weeks, so reacquainting themselves with their Michigan fan base after more than a year clearly has been a joy.
With several concerts already under their belts, band members were even comfortable backstage, casually assessing the tour thus far in upbeat fashion as the show opened with singer-songwriter Sawyer Fredericks, the winner of Season 8 on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Boasting the sort of vocal prowess that’s impressed judges and fans, Fredericks performed original tunes as well as the song he sang in his blind audition for the show, “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
The Accidentals — welcomed with roaring applause – joined Fredericks for the final song of his set before launching into “Vessel” amid swirling psychedelic lights and projections that have pumped up their new stage show.
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“We’re so happy to be back in GR and so happy to be back on a stage,” Buist said.
By the night’s second song, that happiness quickly translated into a full-bore rock show with Larson and PerShayla on electric guitars, Buist on bass and Dause flailing away on drums – enhanced by beautiful, crisp harmonies that filled the arts center.
Another highlight came with the band’s reworking of an older tune, “It’s Mosquito Season Again,” that had Buist alternating between mandolin and violin, and the entire band romping across the stage in hair-tossing fashion.
The set was so energizing that some fans danced along the wings of the stage, with the band joking that the dancers should join them for the rest of the tour.
The crowd of about 400 was attentive and responsive as Larson told stories of their songwriting process during lockdown, songs they’d written about family pets, and getting to write and produce songs with some of their musical heroes.
Larson and Buist rotated between instruments all night, a trademark of the band’s performances, with PerShayla’s own multi-instrumental prowess giving the live presentation extra wallop and giving band members more flexibility in showcasing their talent.
“Having three people switching instruments instead of two has been wild,” Buist had told Local Spins. “We actually had to design our set lists via spreadsheet with columns for each person’s instrumentation so the transitions would be seamless.”
The show ended with a Coldplay cover, “Viva La Vida,” and an encore featuring the band’s hit, “Michigan and Again,” with Fredericks rejoining them on stage.
The robust applause and standing ovation as band members took their final bows seemed to accomplish what The Accidentals had said they were after: “To connect us in the way only music can.”
PHOTO GALLERY: The Accidentals, Sawyer Fredericks at Calvin’s Covenant Fine Arts Center
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp