Fifth Third Ballpark, Grand Rapids
July 14,5 p.m.
Between his soulful raspy voice and facial hair reminiscent of Justin Timberlake, Mike Posner is seducing women everywhere. Not only does he co-write all his songs, but he also weaves hip-hop, pop, ballad and techno together to carry the audience along for a musical euphoric ride. Nominated in 2010 for the T-Mobile Breakthrough Award at the AMAs, Posner is finishing up the Europe leg of his Up in the Air tour, making a final stop in London before coming to the Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Mich. Raised in Southfield, Mich. and a recent graduate from Duke University, Posner is motivated to leave a musical footprint in the world. "Cooler Than Me" was number six on the Hot 100 Billboard Chart on last July and "Please Don't Go" from 31 Minutes to Takeoff was number 16 in December. Using his own experiences to create authenticity, Mike Posner is creating an edge he is determined not to lose. The concert at Fifth Third Ballpark is sponsored by 104.5 WSNX and also features Big Sean, LMFAO, IYAZ, Christian TV and DJ Jason Veeder.
Orbit Room, Grand Rapids,
July 8, 9 p.m.
$20 in advance, $25 day of show; 16+ only
obritroom.com / (616)942-1328
Umphrey's McGee's bread and butter are not songs that you know word-for-word and chord-for-chord. The war-horse jam band specializes in improvisational riffs and live experimentation to deliver a unique experience during every show. Fair warning; Umphrey's shows are not for those with little patience. Songs tend to wander and grow before retreating and seeming to come to an end only to start to build all over again. If you have the patience, the musicianship can be breathtaking and well worth the journey. Not only is the band a festival fixture, the members of Umphrey's McGee are veterans of the jam band scene. The six-man outfit plays laid-back, guitar-driven rock with an eye toward funk, blues and bluegrass. Eight albums deep and more than 10 years into its collaboration, Umphrey's McGee continues to explore the outer limits of improvisational rock and the audience's endurance. While it's not unusual to see the band make a tour stop in west Michigan, it'll clearly be tackling new material come their July show. If necessity is the mother of invention, Umphrey's McGee continues to feed their creative needs by improvising its way to a new stage show every night.
Frederik Meijer Gardens
July 11, 7 p.m.
meijergardens.org, (888) 957-1580
Nearly every legitimate rock star has held down a crappy day job while pursuing their dreams. Amos Lee is no exception. He went from an elementary school teacher to a singer-songwriter with a golden voice. Maybe not the easiest transition, but he's pulled it off with swagger. Lee has the sweetness of the boy next door in his voice and the pain of a man in his lyrics. After catching Norah Jones' attention with his five-song EP, Lee headed out on tour opening for Jones in 2004 and it's been smooth sailing ever since. Besides touring with Jones, Lee has been all over the land with the likes of Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Many bandwagon fans may have discovered Lee through the use of his song "Sweet Pea" in an AT&T Wireless commercial, or may have heard some of his other tunes in television shows such as "House," "Parenthood" or "Grey's Anatomy." Lee's fourth studio album Mission Bell was released in January of this year and peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 200. Mission Bell features a long list of guest performers such as Willie Nelson, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, Lucinda Williams and members of the band Calexico, proving Lee is at the top of his game.