Maybe it’s the fall, maybe it’s ArtPrize, or maybe it’s just dumb luck; but, every once in a while, Grand Rapidians are graced with something rare: MUSICAL CHOICE. This past Saturday (September 22) we had just that: two awesome line-ups at two of my favorite venues. The Intersection featured an exciting CD release party byGrand Rapids’ own The Crane Wives (featuring Lucas Wilson and The Fauxgrass Quartet). Meanwhile, The Pyramid Scheme showcased The Heavy + The Hounds Below + Silent Comedy. Choices, choices, choices… What’s a music dork to do??? Why, see them both of course.
We mustered at The Intersection. The front door was open when I arrived about 6:45. I suspected it would be busy, and it was, but not for the reason I thought. People were there to see the Crane Wives, sure, but there was also another band playing in the front room. Now, I can’t fault the management at The Intersection for trying to squeeze as much out of a Saturday night as they can. And, I couldn’t resist the overzealous father of one of the teen emo band member that convinced to buy their EP. However, I can bitch about the fact that there was only ONE BARTENDER on at the front bar amidst all this chaos. It took forever to get a beer. Although I didn’t realize that their shitty service was actually doing me a favor, because Founder’s beers were half off after seven… I wonder if that was their plan.
Lucas Wilson was first on-deck. Formally of the band Sweet Japonic, Luke and his band have been playing around GR quite a bit since the release of his self-titled debut solo CD. It’s quite a departure from the jam/rock band that was Sweet Japonic. Luke’s new stuff is soulful and powerful, yet had no problem filling The Intersection’s large backroom with sound. As people continued to file into the venue, they were immediately captivated by the show. It was a great warm up. The Fauxgrass Quartet was up next. I don’t know them, but the hippie kid in the bathroom said they were the band he was most excited about. Didn’t matter, we had to go.
To The Pyramid Scheme! Where The Hounds Below were about to start. This is a new band fronted by Jason Stollsteimer (formally of the VonBondies). We did a podcast with them (Episode 14) a couple weeks ago when they warmed up for Turbo Fruits and they were LEGIT. We had to see them again. Even though their debut album isn’t going to be released until October 9 and no one knows any of their songs; they took an ice cold crowd, utilized a little humor, and rocked the place. By the way, any band that successfully pulls off a Pixies cover has a special place in this old heart. Check out their CD “You Light Me Up In The Dark.” They’ll be back in town soon. We were sorry to miss Silent Comedy, but we had to go.
Back to The Intersection; where the atmosphere was absolutely vibrant. It was so cool to feel all the positive energy surrounding The Crane Wives. We did a podcast with them too (Episode 10) and they are genuinely nice people. Even though M.C. Ralsten Bowles’ introduction (in which he proclaimed that we were witnessing history) made my gag reflex kick in; it truly was the The Crane Wives’ night. Thousands of fans piled into The Intersection to celebrate their sophomore CD “The Fool In Her Wedding Gown” and The Crane Wives did not disappoint. Their three part harmonies, dual guitars, and banjo electrified the adoring crowd. We watched almost all of the first set. It was awesome, but we had to go.
Back to The Pyramid Scheme; where The Heavy closed out the evening. And…HOLY SHIT! This guitar heavy and funky horn neo soul band from the UK BLEW THE MUTHA FUCCA UP! Touring in support of their new CD, “The Glorious Dead,” songs like their hit “How You Like Me Now?” and their new single “What Makes A Good Man?” absolutely raised the roof off the place. Even in front of an embarrassingly small crown (what’s up with THATGrand Rapids?) this band absolutely dominated and may be one of the best shows I have ever seen.
And while it’s a crying shame that more people didn’t show up to see this AWESOME show; I can’t help thinking to myself, “Good! It was practically a private show for me and the cool kids.” But, I can’t think like that. ‘Cause I want to keep these great bands coming to town. If people don’t show up to see them, they won’t come. So, get your ass out of the houseGrand Rapids! Come check out some of these awesome bands that we talk about at West Michigan Indie….So I don’t have to drive toDetroitall the fucking time.