SpeakEZ Lounge, Grand Rapids
Feb. 11, 8 p.m.
speakezlounge.com, (616) 458-2689
Grand Rapids native Rob Jordan isn’t new blood in the music scene ‘round these parts. He’s been writing and performing tunes in one capacity or another for more than a decade.
In 2007, however, after almost eight years of steady gigging, Jordan’s band at the time called it quits and he packed up for Chicago. He took up full-time work away from music and didn’t write a note for three years.
But something brought him back to it in 2011 and he couldn’t quite shake it.
“I started finding music again and started writing like crazy,” Jordan said.
It was at that time that he reconnected with Tory Peterson, a member of GR pop outfit Simien the Whale and a good friend he had met in 2003 through various bands.
“Realizing that the distance could be beaten, demos and riffs turned to songs, soon we were energized, and began recording sessions in Tory’s home studio,” Jordan said.
The duo began writing songs as Bello Spark, and with the help of some wieldy musician friends, they pieced together their self-titled debut album in 2013. Boasting a solid blend of acoustic rhythm, atmospheric touches and three-part harmonies, the album won Best Album by a New Artist/Listener’s Choice at the 2013 WYCE Jammies.
From there, the same drive that brought Jordan back to music propelled the group to play shows in 10 states and get two additional singles onto airwaves across the country. The group also picked up additional talents along the way, including singer-songwriter Cole Hansen, of the band Drawing Monsters.
“(Hansen) has a jaw-dropping voice and writes some beautiful songs,” Jordan said. “We hit it off great with her and she started singing harmonies with us. In early 2014, we met a very talented, creative and energetic drummer, Jay Kolk, who we are also very excited to have in the band.”
Additionally, Zachary Guy, also of Simien the Whale, and Steve Sullivan, of Bless You Boys, have been trading bass duties for Bello Spark.
The group will play as a trio Feb. 11 at SpeakEZ as the Local Spins Featured Artist, and has begun working on its second record. Working with Mackinaw Harvest Music Group and with Peterson handling production, the group has finished up demos and begun tracking with the full lineup, and are expecting a March release date.
For more information on Bello Spark and to follow news about upcoming shows and releases, check out bellospark.com.
Elliot Brood (Toronto), Crow Moses (Chicago) and Grand Rapids’ rock and roll darlings Valentiger play at The Pyramid Scheme on Feb. 5. The show falls on the end of a string of Michigan dates for Valentiger, so expect a show as tight and magnificent as ever.
Grand Rapids retro-rock takes over The Pyramid Scheme on Feb. 12 with Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, Fathom 19 and JOE.
The 16th annual WYCE Jammies award show will take over The Intersection on Feb. 13 and features 20 of West Michigan’s best artists on two stages. The event boasts performances from The Verve Pipe, Mustard Plug, The Accidentals, Alexis, The Concussions, Dante Cope, Ghost Heart, Maraj, May Erlewine, The Muteflutes, Vox Vidorra and more.
The Crane Wives play at Bell’s on Feb. 13 with Chicago bluegrass ensemble Henhouse Prowlers. The Kalamazoo Male Chorus also play at Bell’s on Feb. 15 for a "A Bell-entine Affair: Love is (still) in the air.” If you’re looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day, bring along a loved one for some wholesome, old-fashioned tunes.
The Reptilian (Kalamazoo), Solids (Montreal), Annabel (Kent, Ohio) Everyone & Their Cups (Kalamazoo) and Boring People (Kalamazoo), are bringing an eclectic mix of shoegaze and classic emo tunes to Louie’s Trophy House Grill on Feb. 20.
Cooper’s Glen 2015, The Great Lakes Acoustic Music Festival, takes place Feb. 20-21 at Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. Performances from Grammy Award-winner Tim O’Brien, Special Consensus, Anne Hills and more, plus workshops Saturday from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Grand Haven musician Dave Palmer will perform with different guest musicians at the Grand Haven Community Center on Feb. 28. Check it out to see a whole bunch of West Michigan musicians come together for an open jam of sorts.