The holiday weekend brought out some regional favorites for outdoor celebrations and a West Michigan tour stop by a songwriting legend. The concert recap in photos from Local Spins.
A jam at the ballpark, a packed beer garden double-header and an intimate indoor performance by a folk hero and humorist.
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The Labor Day holiday weekend has given West Michigan music fans varied ways to celebrate live music, and Local Spins has captured it in vibrant images. Scroll down for the photo galleries, with a recap of Friday’s “Ballpark Jam ’21” at Grand Rapids’ Sullivan Field here, courtesy of Local Spins writer Enrique Olmos.
Overcast skies and a sprawling outfield set the scene for Ballpark Jam ’21, a four-band concert featuring Groove Ground, The Hacky Turtles, The Legal Immigrants and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, hosted at the historic Sullivan Field on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
Attendees dotted both the infield and outfield with blankets and chairs. Drink and food vendors were stationed along the fence line, serving barbecue, pretzels and craft beer favorites.
Kicking off the first musical inning, Groove Ground Music performed a smoldering set. The rhythmic turnarounds and dreamy chord progressions were a homerun with attendees, who swayed at their seats to each saxophone-laden groove.
Up next to the plate, The Hacky Turtles pitched a funky full band set. Floating between stadium rock, funk and indie-rock, The Turtles were lively and animated onstage, particularly frontman Marc Kanitz, who flailed his limbs in every direction like a life-sized cartoon character with epic dance moves. The set highlights included songs “Fizz” and “Overloaded,” which featured a musical game of catch with the audience participating in a call and response chorus.
The Legal Immigrants took the stage next in a flurry of roaring guitars, drums, and style. The set included epic guitar solos and a runaway rhythm section. The moment felt like a collision of two of America’s pastimes: baseball and rock ‘n’ roll. Only red, white and blue fireworks and a distorted Star-Spangled Banner could have propelled it further into a patriotic spectacle. Frontman Joe Bockheim was as charismatic, sentimental and hip as any frontman could be, and his voice was a powerhouse.
Before taking the stage, Joe Hertler made his way through the crowd to the mound for an opening pitch. Winding up in a colorful cape, Hertler lofted the ball towards the stage amid celebratory applause. Climbing onto a vibrant stage, Hertler and crew began their set during light rainfall, perfect conditions for a musical rainbow.
The set included “No Money,” a lighthearted jam, “”Disconnected,” and the ever-groovy “Evening Coffee,” which featured dueling saxophone solos. Despite the light raindrops, attendees danced and waved sunflowers above their heads. One thing is certain, Grand Rapids has a new outdoor music venue, fit for late summer nights and musical connection. – Enrique Olmos
PHOTO GALLERY: Hacky Turtles, Legal Immigrants, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers
Ballpark Jam ’21 at Sullivan Field (Grand Rapids)
Photos by Anna Sink
PHOTO GALLERY: Steppin’ In It, The Sweet Water Warblers at Bell’s Beer Garden (Kalamazoo)
Photos by Derek Ketchum
PHOTO GALLERY: Loudon Wainwright III, Kyle Rasche at Listening Room (Grand Rapids)
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek