Even though the members of Gaslight Anthem proudly wear their hearts on their tattooed sleeves via the band’s gritty and honest punk-fueled songs – offstage they’re not the sappiest bunch of dudes. “You’re probably talking to the most sentimental guy in the band,” said drummer Benny Horowitz, while discussing the band’s upcoming 10-year anniversary.
Singer/songwriter Bonnie “Prince” Billy (aka actor Will Oldham) is one man with two names and his own sense of reality. Oldham, 45, has learned to merge his own world with ours on record, stage and screen. July 16 he delivers his mythical musical vision at Bell’s Brewery.
New Pornographers leader/songwriter A.C. Newman vividly remembers the last time his band was supposed to play in Grand Rapids. It was fall 2010 and the critically-adored indie-rock group had just released its Together LP. The band was scheduled to perform at Calvin College until protests came over the band’s name. Ultimately the show was cancelled.
Crooked Doors, the sophomore release from Atlanta-based rock connossieurs Royal Thunder, has been making quite a stir in the hard rock scene. Garnering the band comparisons to Led Zeppelin and being labeled a major step forward in their musical evolution, this album is sure to pique the interest of many; but to judge them based on their studio recordings alone wouldn't be fair. According to guitarist Josh Weaver, where they really find themselves at home is not the studio, but on stage.
Before he finished in the final four last month on NBC’s The Voice, Joshua Davis’ soothing, soulful voice was electrifying Michigan audiences as the lead singer of the roots rock ensemble Steppin’ In It and as a member of the bands Starlight Six and Shout Sister Shout. He’s flying solo this month on a victory lap, of sorts, and he settles into a July 8 gig at Bell’s Eccentric Café for an evening of covers and original tunes.
Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this morning the dates of The Unbreakable World Tour. The shows are in support of her upcoming album. One of the 36 stops is a Sept. 11 show at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, where the show starts at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $99.50 and go on sale to the general public Monday, June 22 at 10 a.m.
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.
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