Orchestral power, indie-folk charm, country crooning, alluring electronic music, rock/pop zest and mummified funk: All on display this past week and recapped at Local Spins.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIES: The Head & The Heart, May Erlewine, Priscilla Block, Pink Sky, Lipstick Jodi, Here Come the Mummies
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Lest a casual sampler of classical music regard it as some staid, never-changing genre of centuries past, this weekend’s performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall proved otherwise.
Conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto, the concerts featuring compositions by 20th century Mexican composers Silvestre Revueltas, Gabriela Ortiz and Arturo Marquez (as well as a striking rendition of Stravinsky’s iconic “Petrushka”) oozed an adventurous, boundary-pushing milieu not unlike contemporary jazz — music bristling with intricate rhythms, splendid dynamics, striking effects and world music textures leaning on Mexican, Cuban and other influences.
As Prieto put it, “Mixing in cultures makes the world go round.”
The concerts also featured a poignant, silent tribute to the late Bill Vits, the Symphony’s principal percussionist who died last week after a battle with cancer. A lone drum and bouquet of flowers graced the front of the stage.
Yet, Friday’s concert was sparsely attended, something noted by those in attendance. “Pretty small crowd in there,” I overheard one concertgoer tell another. “Yeah, it’s sad,” he responded.
Granted, the scheduled guest performer, renowned saxophonist Timothy McAllister, was forced to cancel his appearance at the 11th hour after contracting COVID, which likely diminished turnout.
Still, the enormous talent assembled on stage — and the gorgeously elaborate music those musicians produced — deserves better.
Meanwhile, just down the street at GLC Live at 20 Monroe, indie-folk’s The Head and The Heart attracted a robust turnout of more than 1,500 fans for a Saturday benefit concert raising funds for the Hope Network Foundation and the work of Hope Network.
With Grand Rapids American/indie-rock band Brother Elsey opening the show, The Head and The Heart unfurled its fetching favorites — from “Lost in My Mind” to “Rivers and Roads” (which closed the encore) — as part of the Seattle band’s “Every Shade of Blue” tour.
And Elevation inside The Intersection in Grand Rapids was packed to the gills for a sold-out show Saturday by emerging country singer Priscilla Block, which followed the usual, crowd-pleasing, funked-up party delivered by Nashville’s Here Come the Mummies at the venue on Friday.
Elsewhere, West Michigan’s week of live music included a tour stop at Grand Rapids’ Listening Room by northern Michigan’s May Erlewine with guitarist Anthony da Costa, and a diverse Friday night show at The Pyramid Scheme featuring the electronic duo Pink Sky, indie-pop/rock’s Lipstick Jodi and guitarist Steve Leaf.
Scroll down for all of the photos galleries.
PHOTO GALLERY: The Head and The Heart, Brother Elsey at GLC Live at 20 Monroe
Photos by Anthony Norkus
PHOTO GALLERY: Priscilla Block at Elevation inside The Intersection
Photos by Eric Stoike
PHOTO GALLERY: Pink Sky, Lipstick Jodi, Steve Leaf at The Pyramid Scheme
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker