Sometimes when a band takes on an outsize personal importance — like Grand Funk Railroad did for me as a teenager — the passage of time carries the inevitability of disappointment, perhaps brought on by misplaced expectations.
That thought passed through my mind at Meijer Gardens Wednesday night as I watched a conga line erupt in the middle of Grand Funk's ultra-hokey rendition of "The Loco-Motion." Sure, the band sounded good — just like the records — and people were having a high time. But…
Bound for Peru — and untold adventures in the rainforest — Heartless Bastards’ frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom doesn’t have to explain why her blues-fueled rock ‘n’ roll band’s new album is titled Restless Ones. She lives it.
Reaching heights of pop stardom they never expected, the members of Neon Trees go back to their roots with the band’s latest club tour. “An Intimate Night Out” will feature the new-wave rockers — known for such multi-platinum hits as “Everybody Talks,” “Animal” and “Sleeping with a Friend” — playing club-sized venues and connecting with fans face to face.
In 1990, the Indigo Girls won a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Folk Album” — at that same ceremony they also lost in the “Best New Artist” category to another duo: Milli Vanilli. Perhaps that’s an indicator of how the recording industry can work sometimes. Honest and true songwriting isn’t always rewarded. But the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, have retained their staunch following thanks to their never-waning brand of folk rock.
If you have ever contemplated debilitating world issues like war, greed and corruption and thought, “We can do better that this” — you’re not alone. That’s what Anti-Flag has been preaching for more than two decades.
Most big-city orchestras and university-based classical programs take a diminuendo in the off season, but there is always a summer crescendo at the regional epicenter of summer classical music, the Interlochen Center for the Arts in the northwest lower Michigan, about 15 miles southwest of Traverse City.
In some ways Grand Funk Railroad has always been the Rodney Dangerfield of hard-driving rock ’n’ roll — they get no respect.
From the very beginning, the Flint-bred band made a gargantuan noise. Their bombast was not unlike the MC5, but Grand Funk skipped the cosmic revolutionary stance in favor of a more working class, populist worldview. In the argot of the time they were a “people’s band.”
But even at the height of the band’s popularity, in the first half of the 1970s, they took a beating from the critical establishment who mainly complained that they were too loud and lacked sophistication.
It was 27 years ago that New Kids on the Block released its breakthrough pop album Hangin’ Tough and began packing massive venues across the world with Beatlemania-style frenzies. That nostalgic vibe was thick at Van Andel Arena Saturday night when the group, along with openers TLC and Nelly, took over the venue with its Main Event tour.
For years, West Michigan concertgoers with eclectic musical tastes and festival appetites have had one reasonable option to satisfy their craving: Lollapalooza. But in Lansing, the often-overlooked music festival Common Ground provides a similarly vast array of genres. And this fest is cheaper, closer, spread over six days and provides attendees with a little more elbow room.
With a lineup that encompasses deep Afro-Cuban jazz, classic rock, country, comedy and dance, the 2015 summer concert series at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is filled with perennial favorites and some new faces.
This year’s season repeats 2014’s expanded schedule of 30 shows, which run between early June and early September. “It seemed like, because last year was so successful, that this was a good number to shoot for,” said Meijer Gardens spokeswoman Andrea Wolschleger.
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