Friday’s blues performance drew a modest but ardent audience to the reopened Grand Rapids bar, with Delilah DeWylde playing Tip Top’s anniversary show Saturday night. Photos, video.
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Tonight, Grand Rapids’ Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill celebrates its ninth anniversary as a West Side oasis for live music, bringing regular performer and fan favorite Delilah DeWylde to the stage for a night of rockabilly fervor.
But the celebration really began on Friday night, when the bar hosted its first live band show with an audience since the coronavirus pandemic shut Michigan businesses down in March.
As one patron put it upon entering the Tip Top: “I haven’t heard live music in a long time.”
Most folks haven’t, with live music just starting to creep back at a smattering of West Michigan venues due to COVID-19.
With the King Biscuit Trio revving up the blues on stage, the scene inside this cozy and rustic hot spot was more than a shade different than what most patrons are accustomed to: Only about 15 people were on hand for the first set in a bar that removed lots of its tables due to social-distancing and capacity restrictions – and is prohibiting fans from standing or dancing near the stage.
Although the Tip Top asks patrons to wear masks when entering or moving about, many folks weren’t.
Owner Ted Smith conceded he wasn’t sure what to expect as the Tip Top re-starts live music, but he anticipates a much bigger attendance for tonight’s 9th anniversary show with the ever-popular Delilah DeWylde.
To be sure, Friday’s band – Chris Collins, Craig “Griff’ Griffith and Andrew Ogrodzinski – was thrilled to be back performing, and the small crowd on hand was more than appreciative, hooting and whistling after each song.
Griffith, a singer and harmonica whiz who’s also a member of The Verve Pipe, said playing music on stage again nearly brought him to tears.
“I’m so happy to be back here doing that,” he told fans. “This is the longest I’ve ever gone without playing live music, so I’m really glad to be here.”
Added Collins: “It’s good to be back here playing live music.”
The band also paid tribute to Friday’s Juneteenth celebration, performing songs by iconic black artists such as Willie Dixon, including a sizzling rendition of “Hoochie Coochie Man.”
Tonight’s 9th anniversary show with Delilah DeWylde beings at 8 p.m.; tickets are $9. Get details here. (Tip Top also hosts a 4 p.m. Saturday show starring The Leftovers and Tony Geren; $5.)
PHOTO GALLERY: King Biscuit Trio at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill
Photos by Anna Sink
VIDEO: King Biscuit Trio at Tip Top Deluxe
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