A bracing week of West Michigan concerts: Grand Rapids’ City Lights Music Festival, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Bonnie Raitt, GRandJazzFest and Hoxeyville top the Spins on Music list.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Natalie Prass
7 p.m. Thursday
$40 ($38 for Meijer Gardens members)
Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples
7 p.m. Friday
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids Township
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As I posted recently on Facebook, my exhaustive scientific research has determined that The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin and Cage the Elephant make the best soundtrack for lawn-mowing (not “Mow-town” as one pal suggested).
There may not be time for lawn mowing this week in view of West Michigan’s daunting live music lineup. It’s time to shake off the mud and dust from the Cowpie Music Festival and gear up for another week of musical madness. (Read a roundup of Cowpie and watch some video highlights here.) Let’s start with a short list of sorts.
MONDAY: Start with a road trip north to see Sheryl Crow at Interlochen ($40.50-$60.50) or, closer to home, The Spill Canvas at The Intersection ($15).
TUESDAY: Kari Lynch Band/Delilah DeWylde & the Lost Boys at the Tuesday Evening Music Club at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park,Creolization at the Huntington Rogue River Blues Series in Rockford, or Bo White & The Bluezers at Howard City’s Music in the Park.
WEDNESDAY: Alive & Well playing the Inner City Christian Federation’s Cherry Street Garden Summer Music Series or Walter Trout closing out Blues on the Mall series at Rosa Parks Circle.
THURSDAY: Drew Nelson and Kelsey Rottiers at the free Celadon Summer Concert Series, 2050 Celadon Dr. NE, or Gloriana at the Intersection ($15.93/$18).
FRIDAY: Michigan singer-songwriter Venitia Sekema with the Luna Madre Band at Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up for a Pin Drop Concert ($5).
SATURDAY: Rick Chyme, SP3 and Red Pill at Founders Brewing Co. on Saturday ($5).
Then there’s the big list of big shows.
Somewhat bafflingly, there are a few tickets left to what’s arguably one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer at Meijer Gardens. Having witnessed them before, I can attest to the fact that Grace Potter & the Nocturnals put on an inspiring show, covering the gamut from rollicking rock anthems to rootsy, country-tinged numbers. And with a potent and wide-ranging new album to promote, “The Lion The Beast The Beat,” fans are expecting a special performance by the golden-throated Potter and crew. Read REVUE magazine’s story about the band here. Get ticket information here. And watch a new video from Potter below for the stunning ballad, “Never Go Back.”
Meijer Gardens follows that up with a show on Friday that sold out almost instantly: Bonnie Raitt with legendary R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples. Raitt’s first appearance at the Gardens a few seasons ago with Taj Mahal ranked as one of the most compelling concerts of the year, so I expect the same sort of electrifying show from the guitarist-singer, especially because she’s been riding the tide of a much-praised new studio album, “Slipstream,” which deservedly made it to No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The Deadstring Brothers, Flatfoot, Nathan Kalish
7 p.m. Thursday (21-and-older show)
Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill, Grand Rapids
Yes, the always-bracing Deadstring Brothers are still around. Read my full interview with frontman and Michigan native Kurt Marschke on Tuesday at Spins on Music and get the scoop on his upcoming plans for the band.
By the way, Marschke’s good pal, Grand Rapids’ own Nathan Kalish (who has toured with the Deadstring Brothers), will open Thursday night’s show. Get more details at the Tip Top Facebook page.
CANCELED: Battle of the Bands
6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, 2-10:30 p.m. Saturday
Free, donations accepted for Access of West Michigan food drive and Forest Hills Theater Group
Jam ’N’ Bean Coffee & Café’s Cascade on the Boardwalk, Cascade Township
This new coffeehouse at 6860 Cascade Road SE boasts a 3,000-square-foot outdoor entertainment deck with a stage. But owner Paul Lee today (Wednesday) was forced to cancel the venue’s first-ever Battle of the Bands, which was set to rock Jam ‘n’ Bean on Friday and Saturday. Lee said he didn’t get the required number of bands to sign up, but plans to stage the event instead sometime next year.
Brothers Doug and Paul Lee have beautifully renovated the property (read the GRNow.com story here) and its Cascade on the Boardwalk still plans musical and outdoor movie entertainment this Friday and Saturday, even though the band battle had to be shelved.
City Lights Music Festival
6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday
Calder Plaza, downtown Grand Rapids
Consider it the little brother or sister to the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit.
Grand Rapids’ City Lights Music Festival takes a mammoth leap forward this year, expanding to two full days and adding stages, with DJs and entertainers from the region and around the globe aiming to ignite throngs of electronic dance music fans. Calder Plaza off Ottawa Avenue NW is the site for this year’s action.
With hot EDM names like Darude, Kalendr, DJ Godfather, DJ Icey, Dano, Scooter & Lavelle, Detroit Muscle, DJ Jenna Brown, Flipside, Milk & Cookies and many more on the bill, including dozens of top-notch local and regional DJs (from Todd Ernst to SuperDre to World War Zer0) the event on Calder Plaza holds tons of promise … and some really heavy beats.
Get details and tickets here. Also there are after parties “popping up everywhere,” organizers gush, and fans can keep track of developments at the City Lights Music Festival Facebook page. It could all help turn Calder Plaza into the biggest dance club West Michigan has ever seen.
Read more about the festival in a REVUE story here.
Noon-10 p.m. Saturday
Rosa Parks Circle, downtown Grand Rapids
Celebrate jazz. Embrace it. The debut of the GRandJazzFest in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday features a headlining performance at 8:15 p.m. by acclaimed Detroit contemporary jazz guitarist Tim Bowman. But the rest of the lineup of regional jazz players is every bit as impressive: The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde (12:30 p.m.), Walt Gutowski & the Bridge Street Band with Michelle Covington (2 p.m.), Grupo Aye (3:30 p.m.), The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet (5 p.m.) and Lansing saxophonist Phil Denny (6:45 p.m.) WZZM TV 13’s Eddie Rucker will emcee the event; the presenting sponsor is DTE Energy Foundation.
Live jazz has had its ups and downs in Grand Rapids over the years, but there’s no denying the formidable talent of the region’s jazz players. So, it’s great to see a festival like this spread its wings for the first time thanks to GR and Jazz, a nonprofit organization founded by Audrey Sundstrom. The group has worked with a team of jazz devotees, community leaders and the West Michigan Jazz Society to organize the festival. Check out a video of a Bowman performance below.
Hoxeyville Music Festival,
Bruce Hornsby, Mickey Hart, various artists
Wellston, Michigan (in the Manistee National Forest in Wexford County)
With headliners like Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers and Greensky Bluegrass, Hoxeyville may boast the best lineup ever in its 10-year run of “getting lost in the great north woods.” That roster of performers includes a host of Michigan’s rootsy best: Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, Rootstand, Macpodz, The Crane Wives, Rachael Davis, Garrett Borns, UV Hippo, Breathe Owl Breathe, The Ragbirds, Nicholas James & The Bandwagon, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, The Fauxgrass Quartet, The Red Sea Pedestrians and The Corn Fed Girls playing “Abbey Road,” and way more. Check the full lineup, and get directions and tickets here.