West Michigan fans got a sold-out dose of nearly three hours of high-energy indie-soul/roots-inspired rock at Meijer Gardens on Monday. The review and photo gallery.
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Both newcomers to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park amphitheater’s popular summer concert series, The Revivalists and Band of Horses sowed the seeds of lasting performer/venue relationships Monday evening during their respective full sets for a packed, rapt house.
In addition to exceptional weather — mostly sunny skies and a light-but-steady breeze — the mostly-Millennial audience soaked up a 14-song opening set by long-time indie darlings Band of Horses, primarily the project for singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Ben Bridwell.
Fittingly kicking things off with “First Song,” (from 2006’s “Everything All the Time”) the South Carolina-based band ripped through most of its most popular tracks (“The Great Salt Lake,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” “Weed Party,” “Is There a Ghost”) before closing with a raucous, hits-just-right rendition of “The General Specific” (from 2007’s “Cease to Begin”).
Unsurprisingly, the penultimate song of the set, “The Funeral” (a longtime film/TV soundtrack regular), appeared to connect most with the receptive crowd, no doubt because it still hits just as hard as it did when released roughly 17 years ago.
(A challenge/plea to my fellow longtime Grand Rapids indie music fans: Who else recalls seeing an early version of “The Funeral” performed by an equally early version of the Band of Horses as they opened for another popular indie artist of the day at then-Calvin College? Likely 2004 or 2005? Possibly opening for Iron & Wine? Someone, please validate my memory and share details and your memories in the comments.)
After a 40-minute break, New Orleans-based The Revivalists took the stage and rallied the crowd for a nearly 90-minute headlining set of 15 upbeat, rootsy pop/rock tracks with highlights that included “Soulflight,” “Wish I Knew You” and show closer “Good Old Days.”
Led by singer David Shaw (a self-professed new fan of the picturesque venue), the eight-piece collective kept a bulk of the audience on its feet for the duration of its polished but energetic performance.
Up Next at Meijer Gardens: Boz Scaggs and Keb’ Mo’ perform at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The concert is sold out.
PHOTO GALLERY: The Revivalists, Band of Horses at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Joshua Tufts