It didn't take long for a little rock and roll anarchy to turn up at the newly re-launched Val-Du-Lakes Amphitheatre. The moment arrived just three songs into the first live set in more than a decade at the legendary outdoor theater. Sal Coz Costa, the lead guitarist for opening night opener My Darkest Days, invited fans to tip over a barricade fence and rush the stage.
After a year and a half performing live, the Kari Lynch Band is creating quite the sensation. From playing out of state to doing shows in local bars, the small town country band has come a long way in a short time.
The Grand Rapids-based country band released its self-titled EP on Tuesday, May 17 on iTunes. The five-song CD showcases lead singer Kari Lynch, Matthew Kok on acoustic guitar, Ryder Jones on electric guitar, Sam Briggs on drums and Chris Bardolph on bass.
Gags, gusto and far more than simple guitar riffs mark New Odyssey's unique stage show. Three guys wield 30 instruments and combine their individual virtuosity to form a raucous production featuring comedy, skits and audience participation.
Matthew Forbush just spent $350 on Lady Gaga tickets. Now, this is a guy who takes pop seriously. "I'm really just a fan of the enormous amount of pop culture she represents," Forbush said. As frontman of Grand Rapids-based electro-pop duo Alexis, Forbush doesn't consider the world of pop an inferior one.
After Labor Day, September becomes a month that triggers a spontaneous whimsy in me that I attribute to some Pavlovian imprint from my hedonistic years. It is rooted in grade school-era visits to autumn apple orchards, indulging in cider and coffee; naked collegiate nighttime soirees in apple orchards, indulging in spiked cider and coffee; the return of the doughnut as an acceptable carbohydrate to the diet.
Some of the best local apples and cider comes from two of the oldest apple orchards in West Michigan. Instead of picking up some hum-drum cider at your grocer, try some from the farm in Kent City at Fruit Ridge Hayrides (11966 Fruit Ridge Ave.). This scenic farm has been operating for more than 125 years. A great excuse to come would be around the third week of September, when owners Kirk and Nancy Briggs launch the Fall Harvest Festival.
Sitting in my cabin up north, where the walls are lined with dead mammals, I couldn't help but think of hiring a taxidermist to wall-mount my favorite dishes for the kitchen. My first Chateau Briand steak lingering in limbo with wood-fired asparagus would hang next to my first Weber-grilled T-bone; Venetian gelato in a Dixie cup could sit next to an old Sweetland's malted.
Ah, July ... when the rank gym sock and week-old kitty litter-like funk of month-old sweat steeps into your nostrils in an un-air conditioned apartment prone to carpenter ants. It's time to get a dose of good, cold food before your constant head-in-the-fridge relief results in Freon poisoning, hypoxia and freezer burn.
Owner-Operators Keith and Lisa Langdon's Full City Cafe Restaurant & Catering (2026 Parkview, Kalamazoo and 7878 Oakland Dr., Portage) is a delicatessen marvel where salads are ethereal. Keith has worked previously as Muhammad Ali's personal chef and Lisa has learned tricks from Grandma and culinary team world champ member Chef Fraz.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army prevailed over French forces, only to keep fighting for a few more years over unpaid bills. For gringos like me, this means partying it up with Corona specials, burning unkempt cuticles with lime rinds, and tequila body shots slurped off my body by underage girls I'd not touch if it weren't for those margaritas and that rigorous Catholic schooling.
In reality, this meager holiday allows us to enjoy America's comfort food, whether authentic cilantro-laden beef tongue tacos, or muy cheesy Tex-Mex nachos, this nationality has its grip on more American menus than any other.
"Would you prefer smoking or non?" Overjoyed hostesses everywhere are now giddy because not they can shorten their script by one question we've heard thousands of times. Soon enough, you can sit anywhere you'd like-except for smokers. Beginning May 1, the Michigan Smoking Ban takes effect and, as a smoker, I will wallow in the stink of nicotine in public establishments for all of April. It's for the better.