One heavily packed Kia Soul, two best friends and a destination across the country began the journey that helped cultivate a career for Afterglow. Featuring lead singer and guitarist Adrian Mitchell, and backup vocalist and keyboardist Jackson Simmons, the Michigan-made alternative rock band left the Mitten for the promises and potential of the L.A. music industry in 2016. And now, almost a year later, the band is returning for its first Michigan show since.
When the members of Grand Rapids’ The Zannies found out they would get to play as part of this summer’s Tuesday Evening Music Club at Frederik Meijer Gardens, the show came as a complete surprise.
“We’re more used to playing venues like Mulligan’s,” vocalist/bassist Ben Steer said, of course referring to the legendary Eastown pub known for its hard-hitting drinks and even harder-hitting music.
This year's Music Issue profiles of some of our favorite bands on the come up in West Michigan, from lesbian indie rockers to an ever-shifting urban collective of skilled rappers, singers and instrumentalists. Also: Our guide to scores of festivals to check out this summer.
As any musician will tell you, buying an instrument is definitely something to be done in person, because you have to hear and feel the damn thing. So whether you’re a seasoned vet, a rookie or even just looking to get started, pay a visit to one of these local musical instrument shops and let their expertise guide your important investment.
There’s no doubt that West Michigan is home to a rich music scene. Yet even with no shortage of traditional venues hosting some of the best in local and touring talent, sometimes it’s the places that may be off the radar, or perhaps boast another claim to fame, that are offering up some of the best shows this side of The Mitten. Here’s a list of some true West Michigan standouts.
At 24 years old, The Autumnatic’s Nick Arthur might seem young to some, but he’s an old-soul veteran when it comes to the local music scene.
The founder, lead vocalist and rhythm/lead guitarist for one of Grand Rapids’ newest and most exciting bands, Arthur grew up on the tried and true grit of Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Neil Young. Taking a cue from such self-made legends, the Cascade native started writing his own songs at a young age and by 16 got his first break when he performed on television.
Before starting the genre-defying Last Gasp Collective, guitarist/vocalist Justin Jay Jackson had an epiphany.
He had just read an article that challenged his reality by posing one important question about his very existence: What would you do if you only had your last gasp left?
For him the answer was simple: Make music.
Since its inception, Vox Vidorra has set out to engage audiences’ minds, bodies and souls.
On the indie-soul group’s debut LP, 2015’s Promise Land, Vox Vidorra got into important issues like racial inequality, religious intolerance and more, while keeping its feet firmly planted in the harmonic beauty of the bygone days of Motown.
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