Friday 15th December 2017,
West Michigan Indie

Concert Review: Gunnar and The Grizzly Boys

Concert Review: Gunnar and The Grizzly Boys

Artist: Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys

By: Jack Calamyne


When WMI editor, James Quatrine, called and asked me to come out and review Gunnar and The Grizzly Boys at the Back Forty Saloon in Grand Rapids the conversation went a little like this:

Q: Come out and see Gunnar and The Gunnar and The Grizzly Boys

J: I hate country music.

Q: Come out anyway.

J: I hate country music.

Q: I heard they’re pretty good.

J: I hate country music.

Q: I’ll buy your drinks.

J: Okay.

Q: Be there at nine bitch.

Not long before that conversation, a good friend of mine told me a story about visiting  The Back Forty Saloon during a bachelorette party.  She described it as, “A bunch of nineteen year old girls with a MASSIVE black marker ‘M’ drawn on their hands expertly line dancing to an assortment of country songs while sixty year old men stood around leering at them.”  Remembering that, I got my dirty old man on and headed downtown.

I arrived at the Back Forty Saloon around 9:30; Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys were finishing up their first set.  The place was about a quarter full of hot chicks. Quatrine was big timing it in the corner with the cool kids.  He recorded Episode #7 of the WMI podcast with the band before the show.  What the cheap bastard didn’t tell me was that, between nine and ten, The Back Forty Saloon had RIDICULOUS specials.  Damn near everything was $1.  Q ordered me six Jack and Cokes and then sat back with a smile.  I wanted to punch him in the face.

While the specials were amazing, the Back Forty Saloon is not a country bar.   It’s got modern decor and pastel colors.  There is no sawdust on the floor, picnic tables, or dead animals on the wall,   Outside of the country music playing in the background, I see no discernible reason why this is a country bar.  It just felt…weird.

Gunnar and Grizzly Boys, however, kicked it in the ass. There was, like, six of them surrounded by hot young chicks, working it, and rocking the place.  With songs like, “Cowgirls Make Some Noise,” and their signature, “Tanlines,” they’re unapologetic, hard driving, booze laden, and obnoxious.  I totally dug it.  Front man Gunnar Nyblad is a solid showman with a great stage presence.  The boys looked like they were having a blast and the show had a fantastic energy.  If I knew anything about country music I might be able to draw a comparison…maybe Hank Williams Jr. or something.  (Did I mention there was a ton of hot young chicks?)  They even worked in a cover of Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” which was pretty sweet.

So, if you at all like country music, boozing, or hot young chicks; you should definitely check out Gunnar and the Grizzly Boy’s when they’re playing near you.  The WMI podcast interview with them should be pretty awesome too.

Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys’ new EP Country My Whole Life and their debut Homegrown are available at their website or on itunes.

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1 Comment

  1. John Verburg July 8, 2012 at 3:55 am

    sounds like fun. I like cheap booze and chicks.