The Crane Wives and guests packed Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge like never before, while The Outer Vibe celebrated release of its new album with American WiFi and more. Check out the photos, video.
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Oh, there were other concerts of note this week — Sepultura launching things on Tuesday, Wayland finishing it off on Saturday — but in many ways, this was a local tale of two truly noteworthy shows:
The Crane Wives headlining Local Spins’ Third Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday night at SpeakEZ Lounge and The Outer Vibe toasting release of its new album, “Full Circle,” at The Intersection joined by three promising, up-and-coming West Michigan acts on Friday night.
Here’s the lowdown on these local spectacles:
THE CRANE WIVES, MAX LOCKWOOD & THE MICHIGAN BASEMENT, TOM HYMN & THE EARLY MAGIC BAND (Wednesday night, SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids)
Billed as the final celebration of Local Spins Month (celebrating the third anniversary of the website and tapping of the Local Spinsation Ale), the folks at SpeakEZ Lounge knew they were in for a bigger Wednesday night than usual, considering the ever-popular Grand Rapids folk-rock band The Crane Wives were on the bill.
But no one really expected it would be this big: Patrons were packed wall-to-wall in the intimate venue from the get-go, leaving some fans sitting on the floor in a semi-circle around the stage.
While waiters and waitresses did their best to maneuver through the crowd, fans cheered some of West Michigan’s most talented rootsy acts, starting with Tom Hymn and Max Lockwood and their all-star bands, and finally, The Crane Wives, who unleashed new songs (from upcoming studio albums), old favorites and engaging covers for an audience that sings along and truly adores what they do. (Along the way, Local Spins gave away local albums, Local Spinsation Ale T-shirts and announced the winner of its Instagram contest: Ritsu Katsumata, who gets two tickets to next month’s Buttermilk Jamboree at Circle Pines Center in Delton.)
In many ways, it was the perfect, climactic finish to a special month.
THE OUTER VIBE, WATCHING FOR FOXES, AMERICAN WIFI, DESMOND JONES (Friday night, The Intersection in Grand Rapids)
Coming “Full Circle” so to speak, The Outer Vibe brought their nostalgia-informed “surf-disco” to The Intersection, firing up up a lively CD release show with opening acts Desmond Jones, American WiFi and Watching for Foxes — all rising stars of West Michigan’s music scene (and the out-of-state agents/publicists on hand proved that’s the case).
No other show this week could match the spectacle of beach balls, confetti canons and sheer stage savvy displayed by The Outer Vibe (officially releasing its new album, “Full Circle”) along with its army of musical pals. (Check out some video highlights below.)
Playing a host of songs from the new album for an all-ages crowd, the band was on a mission to get as many of the nearly 500 fans gathered in the showroom dancing. As a result, the night felt more like a party than a concert. Enthused and unapologetic, The Outer Vibe add a unique perspective to modern rock, with sonic nostalgia for the past 30 years of pop.
And the bands that opened all exhibited potential to “break out” in the near future. American WiFi, a remarkably polished group for their age, delivered lively pop-rock that clearly captivated teens in the audience, complete with hooks that could get even a first-time listener to sing them back.
Keep an eye on this band, which has sparked interest from music industry folks outside Michigan.
Self-proclaimed flannel folk-rockers, Watching for Foxes, mellowed things out with their down-tempo tracks about love and loss — with rich sounds and raw emotion — and acting as the calm before The Outer Vibe’s surf-disco storm.
The young rock/jazz fusion jam band from East Lansing, Desmond Jones, kicked off the night with smooth and harmonious, yet energetic songs, delivered with an upbeat and care-free attitude that engaged the crowd.
Bonus: 1) Check out the roundup, photos and video from Low Cut Connie’s show Friday at the Tip Top Deluxe in this Local Spins review.
2) The roundup and photo gallery from Sunday night’s concert by Built to Spill at Founders Brewing online here.
LOCAL SPINS WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERY (MAY 31, 2015)
The Crane Wives, Max Lockwood, Tom Hymn photos by Anna Sink
The Outer Vibe, Watching for Foxes, American WiFi photos by Anthony Norkus, Anna Sink
Sepultura, Destruction, Arsis photos by Anthony Norkus
Wayland photos by Eric Stoike
Click on photo to enlarge gallery; disable pop-up blocker if images won’t load.
VIDEO: THE OUTER VIBE CD-RELEASE SHOW (5/29/15)
Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC