August’s final weekend featured a flurry of live music from Grand Rapids’ Breakaway festival and The Pyramid Scheme to the 28th Street Metro Cruise to Kalamazoo’s State Theatre. The images at Local Spins.
The recent spate of extreme heat and humidity didn’t seem to thwart bands or fans in what was one of the busiest live music weeks of the summer across West Michigan.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
It was a weekend of celebratory return engagements after a COVID-impacted year: The return of ska’s Mustard Plug to The Pyramid Scheme, the return of indoor music to Kalamazoo State Theatre with classic rock tribute band Tusk and Southwest Michigan blues guitarist Jake Kershaw, the return of 28th Street Metro Cruise to Wyoming and the return of Breakaway Music Festival to Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park.
Revisit the action in photo galleries below, with complete coverage of Breakaway’s Day 1 on Friday here: Breakaway Music Festival romps at Belknap with Illenium, exuberant fans.
For Day 2’s Breakaway recap, here’s Local Spins columnist and Grand Rapids DJ Todd Ernst’s roundup of Saturday’s highlights, with photographer Anthony Norkus’ gallery of images and video snippets from another wild night at Belknap Park:
By all measure, the fourth installment of Breakaway Music Festival was a resounding success. With what appeared to be record crowds on both nights, no question people were ready to get back out and enjoy a festival gathering.
Below are a few of my highlights.
Quinn XCII: About two-thirds of the way into his closing set, Quinn quipped, “This is my first headlining performance in my home state!” From the moment the first beat dropped, to the closing track where he re-introduced Chelsea Cutler for their duet “Stay Next to Me” it was clear the crowd was in all as they note to note and vocal to vocal. I’m guessing Quinn already knows this, but his ‘super power’ may very well be his bass player. I grew up in a household where my dad was played bass in a Motown cover band, and I played drums for a decade myself, so I know what it sounds and feels like when someone keeps their band ‘in the pocket’ as this bass player did.
Madeon: Personally, as a lifelong electronic music DJ, this was my favorite part of the weekend. My buddy Chad Carter (also a DJ) commented that Madeon had a bit of a Daft Punk feel to his set, and this is with good reason as Madeon is originally from France. He seamlessly weaved between styles, tempo, along with a track that I could have sworn was going to be a contemporary remix of NIN’s Closer. I think my favorite part of his set was at the end, Madeon came out on stage and said he had two minutes left in his set, and thereafter played September by Earth Wind & Fire — not a redux, not a remix, but the original in all of its glory.
The Sound Guy(Gal): Nope, not a typo. In what was likely intended to be a bit of an ironic selection, Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was played between Madeon and Quinn, and with the heat being what it was, the chorus, “Oh, I wanna dance with somebody I wanna feel the heat with somebody” was a huge hit with the crowd singing at the top of their lungs. Well-played sound guy(gal), well-played!
Hats off to the respective teams at MIEntertainment Group and Prime Social Group for producing another resoundingly successful event in Grand Rapids. Every year, the bar gets raised another notch, which will only leave folks wanted more in the following years. I for one put in a vote for someone like Bob Moses or Rüfüs Du Sol. – Todd Ernst
PHOTO GALLERY: Breakaway Music Festival 2021, Day 2
Photos by Anthony Norkus
VIDEO: Breakaway Day 2 Highlights
PHOTO GALLERY: Mustard Plug, Jay Navarro, Dance Contraption, Mushmen
The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids
Photos by Katy Batdorff
PHOTO GALLERY: 28th Street Metro Cruise, Mid-Life Crisis
Rogers Plaza in Wyoming
Photos by Anna Sink