The California rapper’s weekend tour stop was just part of a rambunctious week of live music across West Michigan. Check out the week-in-review concert recap and photo galleries at Local Spins.
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A chilly and blustery early March aside, rapper Vince Staples insisted emphatically that it “Feels Like Summer,” opening his Grand Rapids show at 20 Monroe Live on Saturday with that track from his much-praised latest album, “FM!”
And it didn’t take long for the 25-year-old California hip hop artist to heat up the crowd, performing songs from across his discography during his set.
The same night that KISS (led by 67-year-old Paul Stanley and 69-year-old Gene Simmons) regaled baby boomer fans at Van Andel Arena across the street, this much younger crowd at 20 Monroe Live got the pit spinning, and left the venue breathless and sweaty.
Staples skipped recent hits from soundtracks such as “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse,” instead delivering the crowd-pleasing songs “Lift Me Up,” “Big Fish” and “Norf Norf,” among others.
After closing the show with “Yeah Right,” Staples left the stage with a tribute to the late rapper Mac Miller: the video screen backdrop featured the entirety of Miller’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert from August 2018.
Baltimore’s JPEGMAFIA preceded Staples with an impressive and intense performance, elevating what could have easily been a show where he pressed play and rapped along to his beats without much else. Pasadena’s Katori Walker has a solid but brief set to open the night. – Kendra Petersen-Kamp
PHOTO GALLERY: Vince Staples, JPEGMAFIA, Katori Walker at 20 Monroe Live (Saturday)
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek and Kendra Petersen-Kamp
VERONICA SWIFT & THE BENNY GREEN TRIO – St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids hosted an enchanting evening of jazz, swing and blues by way of vocalist Veronica Swift and the Benny Green Trio. To begin the evening, Green emerged with an impressive rhythm section and skipped from one dizzying jazz number to the next, displaying some truly mesmerizing piano work. The musicians traded solos and teetered on nuanced dynamics for songs like “5021” by Thad Jones and the soulful “Hip Sippy Blues.”
Swift took the stage after a few numbers and immediately showed off her dazzling vocal capabilities. The 24-year-old New York singer swung, scatted and swelled with soul through a flurry of songs. Highlights included “I Get a Kick” and “An American in Paris,” during which the artist was especially expressive and brandished a staggering range. Although not sold-out, the audience was a lively bunch, raving and applauding between solos and prompting a one-song encore after the 90-minute set. – Ricky Olmos
PHOTO GALLERY: Veronica Swift & The Benny Green Trio at St. Cecilia Music Center (Thursday)
Photos by Blake Wisz
PHOTO GALLERY: Nothing More, Of Mice and Men, Badflower, Palisades at 20 Monroe Live (Wednesday)
Photos by Anthony Norkus