From a U.K. rock sensation to regional hip-hop stars at Lady Ace Boogie’s Dope Ass Lineup plus Paradise Outlaw’s album-release, it was a crowd-pleasing week indoors and out. Ogle the images at Local Spins.
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It was a hot week in West Michigan, literally and musically.
There were scorching hot tour stops and local showcases:
• At 20 Monroe Live by George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (his final tour) and U.K.’s The Struts,
• At Fifth Third Ballpark’s Party in the Park hosted by WSNX with performances by Juice Wrld, T-Pain and others,
• At The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on Saturday with Lady Ace Boogie presenting “A Dope Ass Lineup” featuring Ajax Stacks, Vee Tha Ruler, Eyrnastine, Rick Chyme, Earth Radio, DJ Dean Martian and more, and on Thursday with Paradise Outlaw’s album-release show which also featured sets by Kari Lynch Band and Deerfield Run.
Check out the images below. And find separate concert reviews and photos of Kurt Vile at Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden in Kalamazoo (Friday), Andrew Bird at Meijer Gardens (Thursday) and Poco, Pure Prairie League and Firefall at Grand Haven’s Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.
THE STRUTS ‘DO IT SO WELL’ IN GRAND RAPIDS
The Struts’ irresistible confidence was on full display at Grand Rapids’ 20 Monroe Live on Saturday night.
“Who’s here to see the greatest show on Earth?” lead singer Luke Spiller gushed from the stage to roars from fans who also were treated to impressive sets from a pair of opening acts in this rock ‘n’ roll circus.
Kicking off an all-Canadian support bill, JJ Wilde got things rolling — her low, earthy voice complementing her whiskey-tinged lyrics as her set oozed with a casual but confident swagger. Her backing band gave a backdrop to the slowest, but not the lightest, act of the night over a satisfying half-hour set.
Meanwhile, The Glorious Sons proved to be an up-and-coming band to watch. The energy of the group and the cheeky performance of vocalist Brett Emmons kept things hopping, with surprisingly introspective and confrontational lyrics. “S.O.S.” brought in a huge wave of fans singing along.
From the start, The Struts’ honeycomb-patterned background offered up an array of saturated colors, calling to mind ’60s variety-show campiness. Silver, on the other hand, was Spiller’s color for the evening, backed by leather pants and color-scheme appropriate jackets from guitarist Adam Slack, drummer Gethin Davies and bassist Jed Elliott.
Brandishing sequins, jewelry galore and eye makeup that eventually melted down over the course of the show, Spiller proved that glam is back in rock ‘n’ roll.
Opening with the statement-making “Primadonna Like Me,” The Struts wasted no time giving the audience what they were after, cutting right to hit singles “Body Talks” and “Kiss This.” Indeed, The Struts’ entire catalog kept the crowd moving, with devoted fans knowing every word.
Audience participation — in a half-full venue with the stage moved up — occurred in the familiar places with guided hand claps and arm waves, and sometimes in surprising ways, with one group of fans in the mezzanine raining down dollar bills during “Dirty Sexy Money”
The full-throttle rock was tempered by unplugged moments, Spiller playing a mean piano on “One Night Only” and during a lights-out moment when the band watched in silence, lit only by cellphone flashlights, as the crowd sang “Mary Go Round.”
Stiller commands the crowd like a master of the craft with boundless energy — a hip pop here, a r-r-rolled R there, a shimmy everywhere one cares to look. And there’s that cheeky confidence.
“How many of you would see us again?” he asked the crowd at one point with a smile. “Well, good news.” Yes, The Struts, like ‘em or not, are here to stay. – Molly Long
PHOTO GALLERY: The Struts, The Glorious Sons, JJ Wilde at 20 Monroe Live (Saturday)
Photos by Anthony Norkus
PHOTO GALLERY: Lady Ace Boogie’s Dope Ass Lineup at The Pyramid Scheme (Saturday)
Photos by Katy Batdorff
PHOTO GALLERY: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at 20 Monroe Live (Friday)
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek