Saturday’s concert at Fountain Street Church highlighted a robust spate of live music from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo to Hudsonville: Caroline Jones, Beach House, Mungion, Marc E. Bassy & more in photos.
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The walk into Fountain Street Church feels oppressively cold on this February night. A small line of people show their vaccine cards and IDs, before being allowed to enter the warmth.
Opening for headliner Waxahatchee on Saturday is singer-songwriter Madi Diaz, alone with her guitar on a mostly dark stage and joined every few songs by drummer Adam Popick.
In reverence to her confessional songs, the audience responds with rapt attention.
“You’re quiet! You’re freaking me out!” Diaz exclaims, before launching into a song about crying in public. “I love it though. We’re in church. The church of feelings.”
Indeed, the musical expression of feelings and emotions encapsulates the evening ahead.
With a defrosted audience settled in, Waxahatchee, aka, Katie Churchfield and band, takes the stage with an elegant, quiet confidence.
The lights reflect off of the organ pipes and stone magnificence with a fresh, ocean blue; flowers cover every mic stand, with everyone on the stage garbed in white or floral.
The opening song, “Oxbow,” gets things started with a bright, warm twang.
For some, the songs on singer-songwriter Crutchfield’s most recent album, “Saint Cloud,” might transport them to early spring 2020, when Waxahatchee released the album and everyone needed something cathartic yet hopeful to embrace. Mostly though, this music tonight reminds the audience of summer and warmer moments of release.
Speaking of hot: Waxahatchee’s sixth song, “Hell,” gets a few audience members excited enough to stand and dance amid the mostly seated crowd.
Reflecting the tradition of classic country or Americana with artists known for stage banter and jokes to offset darker themes in the music, Waxahatchee seems comfortable with these awkward juxtapositions. While “Saint Cloud” revolves around intimate, difficult feelings and the decision to become sober, the performance makes it easy for listeners to feel as if they’re kicking back beachside.
The final song of the regular set, “Fire,” also inspires a few more people to dance right from the opening notes.
Then slowly, the audience as a whole rises to their feet by the second verse, some dancing more enthusiastically than others, but all at least bobbing along. And to leave the warmth of this music, back into the cold, feels inappropriate. – By Kendra Petersen-Kamp
PHOTO GALLERY: Waxahatchee, Madi Diaz at Fountain Street Church
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp
CAROLINE JONES AT THE PINNACLE CENTER: MUSIC TO BENEFIT MUSIC
Safe to say, those unfamiliar with singer-songwriter Caroline Jones before her Saturday night appearance for the Music to Benefit Music fundraiser at The Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville became diehard fans by the end of the evening.
In only her third show of 2022, the heralded singer, multi-instrumentalist and New York native — backed by a drummer and guitarist — electrified the crowd of about 400 on Saturday in the Pinnacle’s first benefit for area music education programs since 2019, prior to the pandemic.
With soaring vocals, fetching original tunes and impressive twists on covers of songs by Steve Earle, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac, the trio made the most of its West Michigan debut while also helping raise thousands of dollars for the cause (with attendees taking part in pre-show auctions for a wide variety of merchandise and prizes).
Those newly created fans will get a chance to see Jones again in Michigan this summer: She opens for the Zak Brown Band July 29 at Pine Knob Music Theatre and July 20 at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant. – By John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Caroline Jones at The Pinnacle Center
Photos by John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Beach House, Colloboh at GLC Live at 20 Monroe (Sunday)
Photos by Anthony Norkus