Thursday night brought two much-respected international touring acts — The Chicks and Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglova of The Swell Season — to Grand Rapids. The reviews and photo galleries at Local Spins.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thursday was another one of those double-feature nights in Grand Rapids, with two major tour stops taking place within several miles of each other: The Chicks with Ben Harper at Van Andel Arena and The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglova) with MALINDA at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture. Scroll down for the reviews and separate photo galleries.
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The dress code for The Chicks’ Van Andel Arena show on Thursday night seemed to include dress, cowboy hat and lots of glitter.
The mostly female crowd’s energy didn’t falter for a second whether they were dancing with friends to old classics like “Ready To Run” or singing along to newer tracks from The Chicks’ 2020 release, “Gaslighter.”
It’s funny to think that The Chicks were once accused of burning their own career to the ground after speaking up about their political views and yet, 20 years later, they’re still performing to arenas packed with fans who celebrate them for doing just that.
A particularly powerful moment came during a performance of the 2020 track, “March March,” when the song’s political message was accompanied by gun violence statistics, images of protests and the names of police brutality victims.
After an opening set by Ben Harper, The Chicks — Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer — matched the audience’s enthusiasm and made it very clear that they still have just as much fun performing as they did when the band first formed.
The Chicks’ six-member backing band brought a wide range of influences to life throughout the set.
To close out the night, The Chicks played their well-loved classic, “Goodbye Earl” — a song instantly met with a chorus of excited screams. – By Chelsea Whitaker
PHOTO GALLERY: The Chicks, Ben Harper at Van Andel Arena
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker
THE SWELL SEASON’S SPARKLING SONGS FILL MEIJER GARDENS
Renowned songwriters Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova, together known as The Swell Season, turned the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park amphitheater into a house show on Thursday evening.
Midway through the set, Hansard invited fans up onto the stage to sit along its perimeter for the second half of the show.
Nestled between stage lights and rivers of cable, about 50 audience members took in the show a few feet from the Swell Season duo. At one point, Hansard had a young singer from this group join him on a song to rousing cheers from the sold-out amphitheater crowd.
The evening began with “Lies,” one of Hansard’s slow-smoldering heartache hits that crescendos into a furious display of emotion and angst. “When Your Mind’s Made Up” offered similar sensations along with delicate piano melodies and an intensified full band.
Irglová brought things to almost a whisper with “I Leave Everything yo You,” an arrestingly gorgeous number about the non-material things that are passed through generations.
In addition to his band, Hansard was joined onstage by Holland native and Detroit-area artist Via Mardot on theremin for a handful of songs, praising the artist’s “beautiful and spooky” playing style.
Via Mardot also took center stage to perform an original song, a haunting instrumental with ethereal textures.
Returning to stage, Hansard and Irglová played favorites from the musical “Once” that included “If You Want Me,” “Falling Slowly” and “Say It To Me Now.”
The duo displayed a palpable musical chemistry, blending voices in beautiful harmony that captivated fans across the amphitheater.
Even a little rain couldn’t deter from the spectacle on stage, as the pair let their voices float into the heavens.
The cool but pleasant night suited the mood — and the potent and poignant songs — for The Swell Season’s Meijer Gardens debut, which closed with a medley of covers: “Star Star,” “Pure Imagination” and “Hotellounge (Be the Death of Me).” – By Enrique Olmos
Next Up at Meijer Gardens: Maren Morris and Carter Faith play a sold-out show at 7 p.m. tonight (Aug. 18).
PHOTO GALLERY: The Swell Season, MALINDA at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Steve Baran
SET LIST: The Swell Season at Meijer Gardens
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