An abrupt end to touring in 2010 for alleged health reasons was the start of an implosion for the Pennsylvania-based rock band Breaking Benjamin. What followed was a disagreement leading to a legal dispute and ultimately the group’s disbanding. Despite the inner turmoil, founding member and frontman Ben Burnley assured fans it wasn’t the end.
A band doesn’t acquire a cult following overnight. Longtime beloveds of the jam scene, Umphrey’s McGee have played nearly 2,000 shows in its 18-year existence. The diligent band has toured the world, played the first-ever Bonnaroo Music Festival, and even hosts its own Summer Camp Music Festival for more than 20,000 fans each year.
The Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt vividly remembers the first time the Austin-based doom group played here in Grand Rapids. The heavy-as-hell band had just released its 2006 debut LP, Age of Winters, and was playing for a packed house at the legendary Jukes Bar when a fan in the front split his hand open on the stage, spewing blood everywhere. “It was a hallmark of live shows,” Shutt told Revue. “It was like, ‘Wow, how are we going to top that one?’”
When people ask Woodroe Weatherman what kind of band he plays in, the affable guitarist for Corrosion of Conformity describes it simply as a rock group. But really, the Raleigh, N.C.-based COC has long stretched the musical boundaries for hard and heavy music, morphing from a band that lays down blistering one-minute-and-30-second-long hardcore punk, flat-out thrash, southern-fried metal and stoner rock — sometimes all on the same album.
Over the past couple of years, electronic music producer SuperDre has been on a trajectory that has taken her from Grand Rapids to Los Angeles and back to Detroit. These days she balances film and television work with her own recording projects and international gigs at huge festivals.
Buzzing down a long, lonesome highway east of Kansas City, singer-guitarist Nathan Kalish and his upright bassist, Eric Soules, are en route to a honky-tonk bar. The duo, which performs as Nathan Kalish and the Lastcallers, is headed to a bar that’s known as ground zero for Kansas City’s roots music scene, the Westport Saloon. Over the past year, they’ve played the Westport “four or five” times on a tour that has seen them zig-zag across the country several times, performing their unique brew of Americana, rockabilly and outlaw country music. In all, they’ve played nearly 260 shows in about 14 months.
When Jake Simmons gets home from his day job at a family-owned scrapyard, the Kalamazoo-based blue-collar rocker goes down to his basement, plugs in and continues to work. The dim basement is where he labors over his signature brand of Springsteen-spirited Americana songs, and his time in the cellar has paid off. His new Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts LP, “No Better,” is testament to his diligence — the disc is hooky and sonically ambitious.
The origins of Wayland’s Big Dudee Roo read like something you might hear in a folk song. Years ago, in a small town on the banks of the Rabbit River in Allegan County, three string-pluckin’ kids tapped into their love of old-timey tunes with the help of their next door neighbor on skins.
Those looking for a taste of feel-good tunes a la Kings of Leon, The Killers or other alt-rock heavy hitters would do well to check out American Wifi’s release show.
If you look up Conklin, Mich., on Google Maps, you’ll see a post office, Fenian’s Irish Pub and not a whole lot else. Tucked between some utilitarian-looking shops and a dusty grain elevator, Fenian’s isn’t really where you’d peg a celebrated West Michigan synth-pop group to have come to life.
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