Michael Franti and Spearhead
Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids
July 15, 7 p.m.
$41 for members, $43 for public
meijergardens.org, (616) 957-1580
As one of the modern day torch bearers for poetic, politically charged hip-hop and reggae, Michael Franti has long had his work cut out for him, and risen to the challenge with gusto every single time. Sporting an active music career that spans all the way back to 1986, Franti has collaborated on a number of projects under varying pseudonyms, but found the greatest success with this longest running effort, Michael Franti and Spearhead. Drawing heavily on early funk and soul influences like Sly and the Family Stone and any solo musician with the last name Marley, Franti and Spearhead have continued to convert new fans and spread the gospel through provoking, booty-bouncing funk fusion, one beat-laden single at a time. Get those bright silver short-shorts out of the closet and come check out the original funk soul brother; if nothing else, it'll be nice to have that phrase actually mean something again.