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West Michigan’s Entertainment Guide for 27 years  July 2015

Free! / Music / art / Culture / Dining / Beer

Inside: Must-hear Local Bands Traverse City Beer Tour Nathan Kalish and more

e h T c i s u M ue Iss

n music a g i h c i M t out Wes b a w o n k need to u o y t a h W

Joshua Davis:

The story of his long road to fame

© 2014 Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, MI





Get your tickets at the Soaring Eagle box office,, or call 1.800.514.ETIX



First class room. Based on double occupancy.


REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |





Vox Vidorra Indie Rock/Soul JUL 16

The Crane Wives

Female-fronted, harmony-driven, Folk Rock JUL 23

Walter White Trumpet Jazz JUL 30

The Concussions


Surf and Instrumental Rock



Grupo Aye


Afro-Cuban/Salsa AUG 13

An Dro

Celtic-based, globally-infused, Worldbeat music THE FUN BEGINS AT 5:00 PM! ACTIVITIES ARE FREE!

• • • •



Media Sponsor: WYCE


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a r t m u s e u m g r. o r g

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


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What’s Inside 27

July 2015 | Volume 27, Issue 7


The Music Issue

11 Random Notes, Best Bet 15 A Day On The WestSide 18 Eclectic: Turn Back Time

SOUNDS: 21 On Tour: New Pornographers 22 On Tour: Bonnie Prince Billy 24 On Tour: Gaslight Anthem 25 Local Music: Album Reviews

MUSIC ISSUE SECTION: 27 Intro 28 Local Bands You Gotta Hear 30 Nathan Kalish 32 Locals List Favorite Tunes 34 West Michigan Venue Guide 36 Joshua Davis 38 Kalamazoo Scene Report

41 54

SIGHTS: 41 Visual Art: DAAC at KCAD 42 Style Notes: Summer Essentials 44 Rob Bliss: Back in GR 46 Indie Film: Wolf Pack 48 Lit Life: GRPL Events 50 Comedy: Taylor De La Ossa

DINING & DRINKING: 53 Restaurant Guide 54 Taste This: The Southerner 56 Get Juiced


60 Beer: Traverse City Beer Tour

W est M ichigan ’ s E ntertainment G uide

Letter from the Editor Hello Readers, You’ve snagged a copy of REVUE’s annual Music Issue. Inside you’ll find mentions of local venues, bands and solo artists. From scene newbies to road vets like Joshua Davis, this issue recommends some crucial local talent to seek out — and the places to hear them live. One local songwriter I spoke with is Grand Rapids native Nathan Kalish. He’s a touring road warrior whose entire life depends on his next show at the next bar in the next state. He’s averaging 250 shows a year. This guy literally lives out the lyrics to “Turn the Page.” He’s submerged in the working-class underground circuit of touring bands. While life on the road can be tough, Kalish’s Gypsy lifestyle also feeds his creative output. Recently his duo has gigged in honkytonks across the map — like clockwork his new album echoes the rustic sounds of Gram Parsons and Carl Perkins. Like many true songwriters, his surroundings and life inform his body of work. He sings what he knows and lives. Aside from his recent country-tinged tunes, his back catalog goes from psyched-up rock‘n’roll, to Tom Petty-style power pop and stripped down Americana. Getting stale is not in his wheelhouse. Kalish is the blueprint of a hardworking musician, which is why we chatted with him — among the many other locals featured this month. But, obviously, there are many bands/artists we regretfully missed. Let us know who we should have covered, drop me a line at:


Editorial Publisher Brian Edwards / Associate Publisher Molly Rizor / Editor Joe Boomgaard / Managing Editor Rich Tupica / Design Creative Director Kim Kibby / Ad Design Rachel Harper, Kim Kibby Contributing Writers Andrea Billups Audria Larsen Missy Black Dwayne Hoover Brian Bowe Ben Mepham Steven G. de Polo Eric Mitts Mark Deming Allan I. Ross Alexandra Kadlec Josh Spanninga Nolan Krebs Josh Veal Contributing Photographers Katy Batdorff, Nicole Rico Revue Minions Tayler Keefer and Kimberly Peloquin Sales / 616.608.6170 Kelli Belanger / Molly Rizor / Digital Editor Jayson Bussa / Find us online! Website: Twitter: Facebook:

Rich Tupica, Managing Editor

Revue is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. 65 Monroe Center, Ste. 5, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182

Advertising index

Grandwich. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

San Chez Bistro. . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Gravel Bottom Brewery . . . . . . . 64

B.O.B.’s Brewery. . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Saugatuck Brewing Company. . 61

Holiday Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

DeVos Performance Hall:

Saugatuck Ctr. for the Arts. . . . 51

Bartertown Diner. . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Jerry Seinfeld. . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

Bell’s Brewery . . . . . . . . . . . 2, 23

Dr Grin’s Comedy Club. . . . . . . . 50

BMW Motorcycles. . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Erb Thai. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

of West Michigan. . . . . . . . . 39

Firekeepers Casino . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Long Road Distillers . . . . . . . . . 13

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. . 3

Founders Brewing Co.. . . . . . . . 10

Meijer Gardens. . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Terra GR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Ganders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

New Belgium. . . . . . . . . . . 21, 45

The Intersection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Boba Bliss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Brewery Vivant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Cascade Optical . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Lansing JazzFest. . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Literacy Center

Schuler Books. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Seven Steps Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

GRAM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Old Dog Tavern. . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Central City Taphouse. . . . . . . . 29

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. . . . . 68

One Trick Pony. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Grand Rapids Public Library. . . 19

Palazzolo’s Gelato . . . . . . . . . . . 25

CityFlats Hotel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Grand Rapids Symphony. . . . . . 20

Pearl Street Grill . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Cult Pizza. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Grand Rapids’ WestSide. . . . . . 17

River City Saloon. . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Unity Christian Fest. . . . . . . . . . 23

Deltaplex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Grand Woods Lounge. . . . . . . . . 67

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. . . . . . 59

Woody’s Press Box. . . . . . . . . . . 47

Celebration! Cinema. . . . . . . . . 51

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©2015, Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part granted only by written permission of the publisher in accordance with our legal statement, fools.

The Pyramid Scheme. . . . . . . . . . 5 The Score. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 The Union. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

On the cover: Joshua Davis, Michigan musician who became a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice”

See full story on page 36.


FireK Casin



July JOB











Tickets available at the FireKeepers Box Office, online at or by calling 877.FKC.8777.

Must be 21 or older. Tickets based on availability. Schedule subject to change.

FK-23543_July_RevueMag_9.25x10.indd 2

9:29 |AM REVUEWM.COM | 6/12/15 July 2015 9

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Random Notes Music ///

Bryan Adams was only nine years old in the summer of ‘69, which seems a little young to be starting a band, getting a job at the drive-in and watching your band break up when one of the members gets married. (Fun fact: Adams has confirmed he picked the title as a not-so-sly nod to a particular sex act — cheeky!) To commemorate the birth of the song and the 1984 Reckless LP, Adams launched the Reckless 30th Anniversary Tour – July 24 it cuts (like a knife) into the Van Andel Arena. The Reckless tracks get the most play, but his set list includes songs from his full catalogue. He wasn’t going to, but hey — everything he does, he does it for you. That’s not the only momentous musical anniversary being celebrated this month. It’s been 50 years since the Grateful Dead started its long, strange trip into American pop culture. The four remaining original members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh,

Bryan Adams

Jen Kirkman and Bob Weir — reunite at Chicago’s Soldier Field for Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead, a final farewell trio of concerts. Three West Michigan Celebration! Cinema locations, Grand Rapids North, Crossroads, and Carousel, will simulcast the event live July 3-5. The late Jerry Garcia obviously can’t make it, but special guests include Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby. Milwaukee-based Americana songwriter Peter Mulvey, who’s no stranger to the West Michigan music scene, wrote a song on June 19. One hour later he sang it on stage during his opening slot on an Ani DiFranco bill. The song is a protest number called “Take Down Your Flag,” a direct narrative on the tragic Charleston church shooting and the accompanying push to remove the Confederate flag from the state’s capitol.


ay Anything burst out of the hard-rocking L.A. scene in the mid-00s with a slew of EPs, full-length albums and an aggressive live show that quickly earned them a legion of fans. The members have infused indie sensibilities into pop punk to create something fiercely intelligent and dynamically eclectic. The band’s bio doesn’t do it any favors in the “trying to describe our sound and win new fans” department. Actual quote: “Imagine if Larry David fronted a Fugazi cover band with the members of Queen.” Three great flavors that, together, taste … how exactly? You can find out July 15 when Say

Within 40 hours of the song’s genesis, other songwriters were singing the song live while adding their own interpretations and verses dedicated to victims of the tragedy. DiFranco even offered up her own take. She played it at the Clearwater Festival in New York and recorded a video of herself playing it. Search Youtube for the song title — more covers are appearing rapidly. Grand Rapids native Kari Lynch also penned a Charleston-tribute track, with Mark Barger Elliot, called “Better Than Today.” The song was produced by Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe. A video for the tune is on Lynch’s official Youtube channel.


You know how some of your friends will loudly proclaim how happy they are to be single as a not-so-thinly-veiled attempt at broadcasting how very available they are? Jen Kirkman is not that person. Sure, she called her comedy special I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), but she seems to mean it. “Don’t tell me I’ll change my mind,” she says when her friends scoff at her decision not to have children. “I don’t go to your kid’s first birthday party and go, ‘Oh, you still got this thing? You’ll change your mind.’” The former

Continued on next page 8

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

Best Bet: Alternative

Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and Bill Hader on the set of the film Trainwreck.

Anything rolls into the Intersection, which will do its best to contain their arena-ready performance. Say Anything is touring in support of their newest album, Hebrews, which veers from playfully experimental to their signature brand of raucousness. Opening the show are Philadelphia emo outfit Modern Baseball, San Jose punks Hard Girls and Staten Island shoegazers Cymbals Eat Guitars — which took its name from a Lou Reed quote; Reed often said “cymbals eat guitars” in the studio during mixing. Say Anything with Modern Baseball, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Hard Girls: The Intersection, Grand Rapids / July 15, 6 p.m., $22/$18 adv. /, (616) 451-8232

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


Random Notes Chelsea Lately panelist brings her raw comedy style to the Pyramid Scheme July 15. Lansingbased comedian Taylor De La Ossa opens the show. (More on De La Ossa on page 50.)


It-Girl Amy Schumer wrote and stars in her big screen debut, Trainwreck, which does for 30-year-old commitment-phobes what another Judd Apatow comedy did for 40-year-old virgins. Schumer plays a jaded writer at a men’s magazine who falls for a nice guy (Bill Hader)

Ben Kingsley) has his consciousness uploaded into a younger, healthy body (Ryan Reynolds), he discovers he’s been deceived — the body’s owner is not quite ready to give up the ghost. Find out who wins — Gandhi or Van Wilder — on July 31.

with whom she develops a (gulp) relationship — or as her character calls it, “a prolonged onenight stand.” LeBron James takes some time away from licking his wounds to pop up as a Downton Abbey-loving friend who doles out dating advice. Tip #1: Don’t show your junk on national television. From Tarsem Singh, the visionary director of Immortals and The Cell, comes Self/less, an existentialist sci-fi trip through a postSingularity world. When a dying billionaire (Sir

TV ///

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

SchulerBooks&Music 32 years as your local, independent bookstore!

Turn memories into memoirs.

Your words. Your book. It’s that easy.

It was funny enough watching Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and the cast of MTV’s The State play teenagers when they were in their thirties in the 2001 cult hit Wet Hot American Summer. Now, 14 years later, the Camp Firewood gang reunites for a prequel miniseries, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, which means we’ll see them in their forties playing even younger. We wouldn’t have expected anything less. New faces include Chris Pine as a Mysterious Figure and Kristen Wiig as a Snobby Counselor (yes, those are their character names). The Netflix original series debuts July 31, making for a perfect mid-summer binge in the A/C.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Schedule | Dining | sights | Sounds Scene

ART ///

It’s time to publish your book. Put your words in book form at Chapbook Press the quantity, quality, and timing you desire. We have a full print-on-demand book machine that allows full control over the bookmaking process. Stop by the store or visit for details.

266028 28ththStreet StreetSE SE••(616) (616)942-2561 942-2561 2660

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The Exhibition On Screen Series brings guided tours of the world’s greatest art collections to a theater near you. Do you love art but either a.) Hate waiting in long lines to appreciate pieces you may not even understand, or b.) Can’t pop for a plane ticket to Europe to stand before a world-renowned objet d’art? No worries — this five-film series creates an immersive experience that allows you to soak in fine art in high definition, including interviews with art experts, biographical information about the artists and plenty of bonus material. The flick about a Matisse exhibit, for example, is paired with dance and music segments. n

Random Notes is compiled by Allan I. Ross.

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


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A Day in... GR’s WestSide by Missy Black

S Head of the Pride

o much growth has happened on Grand Rapids’ WestSide in such a short period of time. It’s a mecca of services, specialties and wildly inventive shops. Now is the time to get in on the ground level and experience the boom firsthand. This scene here is all about “history, tradition and pride,” says Mark C. Lewis, President and CEO of Neighborhood Ventures. “People really identify with the WestSide and value the investment and new businesses and are cognizant of what’s happening as things move forward.” There’s the surprising stretch of retail on Bridge Street. An immense diversity of businesses on Leonard, including: restaurants, home furnishings, auto services and shoe and jewelry stores. Mapping out a day in this thriving social scene is a lesson in packing it all in. Here’s where to start!


Shakedown Street

The cozy Westsider Café represents the Polish heritage in the neighborhood with the popular Polish Skillet. There are Philly, Irish and Cuban options as well. Breakfast choices are named after streets in the area so the place has a real hometown personality. Come back for lunch to try different Polish Plates and find out what’s up with the Dill Pickle Soup.


Local musician Emma Loo gets weird at Captain Bizzaro’s Treasure World



The Anchor Bar

Photos: Emma Loo by Robert Roblin, Exit Photography; Head of the Pride by M. Tosh Photography; Anchor Bar by Kim Kibby; Shakedown Street and DENYM by Missy Black

Denim devotees will love DENYM, featuring fashions for men and women. The store’s boutique items and local T-shirts will become habit-forming. Next door is The Conscious Collective, a consignment store with discerning pieces for both sexes with local artwork and handmade jewelry. I spotted a pair of flamingo Vans here. Across (Continued on next page)

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

The bright and airy Maggie’s Kitchen will surprise you. Choose from salads, tacos, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortas and platillos such as the famous Barbacoa (beef cheek) that everyone raves about. Treat yourself to authentic Mexican food at this WestSide landmark with a huge following. It’s the perfect spot if you’re going to the nearby John Ball Zoo.


(GR’s West Side, continued from previous page)

the street is Renee Austin Wedding, your source for wedding, prom and special occasion dresses. It’s pretty much frocks of every color dripping in sequins, lace and frills. Neighbor Head of the Pride, a boutique salon and modern men’s barbering spot, offers Oribe haircare and Baxter of California grooming products. Ask them about the ‘Stache and Scruff’ club deal.


It’s still here! Shakedown Street is a sweetly strange little gift shop on Leonard Street where you shop or just lose an hour of your life gawking. The patchouli scent slaps you hard in the face upon entering but then the smoke clears and you find all your psychedelic needs including smoking devices, hippie clothing, incense, candles, concert posters and rock t-shirts. P.S. Root beer incense is a thing …


The Holiday Bar on 5th Street has a spot waiting for you in their Bier Garden and Bar. Yeah, it’s spelled bier as a throwback to the German and Polish neighborhood heritage. Enjoy canned Michigan draft beers outside while inside you can watch the game, enjoy pub grub and on Wednesdays there’s half off bottles of wine and karaoke (a perfect pairing). “The WestSide may be a little grittier than other parts of the city, but that’s what gives it charm,” says owner Todd Wawee, whose family has been in the bar business for around 100 years. “I was on the forefront of the resurgence and reinvestment on the WestSide. I like to think The Holiday Bar kicked off the domino effect and started the momentum.”

Now open: Long Road Distillers

“The WestSide has a cooler vibe and real people over here. We love the area.” —Scott Luecht of Two Scotts Barbecue, whose favorite spots are Broadway Bar and Putt Putt’s Bar

Schedule | Dining | sights | Sounds Scene


Billed as the best meeting place in town, Story Café offers coffee, tea drinks and sweet and savory edibles. The space has themed nights focusing on music, storytelling, singing, writing and theatre events. Because they’re not busy enough, they also sell vintage jewelry and furniture. It was hard to leave all the Namaste vibes here.


Belly up to the reclaimed wood service counter at the recent addition of Two Scotts Barbecue for traditional barbecue with inspiration coming from Texas and Kansas for what they’re calling Michigan style — which doesn’t really follow any one region. Try the signature pulled pork featuring smoked pork on a brioche bun with coleslaw and sauce on the side. Similar to a craft brewery, they feature select recipe sauces and craft sodas on tap (which is fitting since the building was an old root beer stand). There’s a patio in the back so you can scarf down your meal in peace. Takeout is an option, too.

16 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Scott Luecht at Two Scotts Barbecue

Scott Luecht, one half of the Two Scotts, says the WestSide has “a cooler vibe and real people over here. We love the area.” Luecht also shows some love for his WestSide favorites: Broadway Bar and Putt Putt’s Bar.


The regulars I spoke to at River City Saloon stay here because it’s a friendly, clean neighborhood bar. Inside signage boasts Mexican fare and the regular burgers and sandwiches you’d expect. Happy hour is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday — so you’ve got a pretty good window there. Known for live music, you can catch bands on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and there’s never a cover charge. Things that caught my attention: $1 Jell-O pudding shots and on Saturday and Sunday

Mitten Brewing Company’s Westerdog Pizza

there’s an offer of three hard shelled tacos for $2.75, Deluxe Olive Burgers are a big hit on Wednesdays.


The Mitten Brewing Co. is a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery expertly pairing handcrafted beers with gourmet pizzas. Located inside historic Engine House No. 9, a Victorian-era firehouse, you can watch the game and relax with a Peanuts and Crackerjack Porter and the Westerdog Pizza (a Yesterdog collaboration), which keeps in the baseball theme with hot dog inspiration. Sit in original Tiger Stadium seats while you wait for a table.


Check out The Anchor Bar’s nautical-themed makeover. Snack on appetizers, paninis and burgers and updated rum-based

Open Hours


Come see us on Grand Rapids’ WestSide!

Happy Hour


Enjoy an eclectic mix of old and new in these historic business districts.

Contact Info


Dining • Shopping • Entertainment



ANY BURGER OR SANDWICH at regular price with purchase of a beverage. Monday through Saturday 4pm–7pm Dine in Only. Valid until 9/1/2015

The WesTbar on The besTside STOCKBRIDGE



beverages. This place likes to party so start your bar-hopping here with a shot and beer roulette activity. “You can get more expensive beers for a cheaper price or buy a beer you won’t want,” says General Manager Molly. Risky, that’s how I like my nightlife …


Vintage and thrift heaven. Wade among mugs, records, clothing, garden gnomes, stage props, jewelry and enormous amounts of ridiculously cool stuff. Owner Tim Garrod has “real pickers” to accumulate all the collectible wackiness such as KISS rock memorabilia. Here I ran into loyal customer

801 5th St NW, Grand Rapids, MI (616) 456-9058 Like us on Facebook!

Brittany sporting an antique floral beret from the store. Look for the oversized neon feather boa decorations outside to know the business is open.


If you’ve never cruised the WestSide now is the time as fresh businesses start to make a name for themselves. Meet The Black Heron, a new American Restaurant and Gastro Pub with Michigan beers, ciders and specialties such as Bone Marrow or Poutine — fries with gravy and cheese. They’re on Bridge Street in the same building as Monte’s and O’Toole’s. Also on Bridge is Harmony Hall, a majestic WestSide beer

hall featuring a full lineup of lagers, ales, and barrel-aged brews. Harmony Hall was first built as a sausage company in 1908. They’re bringing it back to its roots with a house-made, sausage-based menu. Come in and try the Capricorn, a dark chocolate absinthe doughnut stout. Long Road Distillers is creating a lot of buzz. They are the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids utilizing locally sourced products for their vodka, gin and white whiskey. The 2,500-square-foot tasting room and cocktail lounge is more than hang-worthy from the two owners that are WestSide diehards. n

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


/// Eclectic

happy hour $2.00 Well Drinks, $2.00 Domestic Bottles, $1.00 off Large Pitchers, $0.50 off Pints & Small Pitchers, 12 Draught beers available!



Happy Hour All Day Long!


Happy Hour 11 AM - 7 PM & 11:30 PM - 1 AM

Jam with Everett Eve 8 PM - 12 AM (First & Third Tuesday of the month)


RECOMMENDED BY JOHN GONZALEZ FROM MLIVE! $3.50 Deluxe Olive Burger BIKE NIGHT (after Blues From the Deltaplex) Beveridge Brothers B Live Rock & Roll 9 PM -12 AM

Turn Back Time The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson once wrote “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” If you share a similar take on life, turn up the nostalgia knob and experience bygone eras, from 1930s Berlin to Medieval midways. For those yearning for the golden age of the AM/FM dial, tune into the sweet sounds of vintage radio waves. Here are a few throwback events happening in West Michigan. By Audria Larsen


Happy Hour 11 AM - 7 PM Karaoke with Patty B. every Thursday 8 PM - 12 AM


Happy Hour 11 AM - 7 PM Live Entertainment 9:30 PM 1:30 AM - No Cover Charge!


Happy Hour 11 AM - 7 PM Live Entertainment 9:30 PM 1:30 AM - No Cover Charge! 3 Hard Ha Shell Tacos for $2.75


Happy Hour 12 PM - 7 PM

Schedule | Dining | sights | Sounds Scene

3 Hard Shell Tacos for $2.75 Beer Pong starts at 9 PM



18 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Michigan Antique Radio Club’s Extravaganza ‘15

Kalamazoo County Expo Center July 10–11 Friday 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. $5, free for 12 and under, (734) 316-2803

Dubbed the “road show of radios and vintage electronics,” the Michigan Antique Radio Club’s 2015 Extravaganza is headed to Kalamazoo to tickle the fancy of ancient-knob twisters everywhere. In an era where most gadgets and gizmos have been replaced by cell phone apps, there are still diehard folks dedicated to keeping the culture of bygone devices alive. Sure you can get a replica but you would miss out on the fuzz, crackle and alluring designs of former coveted music boxes. Collectors congregate from across “the world” to buy, sell and swap their wares. The Radio Rescue is a popular attraction that offers appraisals and repairs for beloved radios. Other features include a silent auction, a donation auction and public vote contests.


Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck Through July 12 $36–$39, (269) 857-2399

Spice up your summer with a fabulous night of theater and enjoy the iconic production, Cabaret. Following a successful run on Broadway, the newly updated show hits Michigan offering ample dates. Dive into the provocative world of a 1930s Berlin nightclub. Scintillating song and dance numbers tell the tale of a relationship between an English entertainer and an American writer, amid decadence and the lure of bohemian ways. Described as an evening of “gritty glamour,” Cabaret will sass you up with a bit of drama, danger and dancing dames.

T.J. Wilcox: In the Air

Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Through August 30, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. $5-$8,, (616) 831-1000

New York City has been romanticized (and reviled) by artists, poets and writers for as long as it has been a beacon of culture — piquing our collective imaginations. Once again, an homage to the fair and mighty city has been crafted, this time by artist T. J. Wilcox. In the Air is his ambitious, panoramic film installation that captures a single day in the city. What sets this work apart is the “multidirectional, bird’s-eye view of the New York City skyline,” presented on a 360-degree screen, shot from his penthouse studio, situated 18 floors above Manhattan’s Union Square. The 24 hours of video content has been compressed into a visually digestible 30 minutes. According to a review in The New York Times, “The majesty and

clarity of this wraparound vista is stunning. The city looks older, almost timeless, without the details of street traffic and storefronts.”

BlackRock Medieval Fest The Olde World Village, Augusta July 11–August 2 Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. $10, ages 12 and under free, (269) 580-1290

The BlackRock Medieval Fest returns this summer to satisfy your heathen desires for the trappings of Renaissance culture (except with the bonus of modern bathrooms). Head to the Olde World Village and experience the festival that was voted “Best New Event” in the 2013 issue of Renaissance Magazine. Launched in 2012, BlackRock prides itself on offering a superior festival, suitable for the entire family. Enjoy dressing up in period-appropriate garb, or shop for handmade garments, watch live jousting tournaments, eat a turkey leg, catch variety acts and see live blacksmith demos. “If you go into their shop, you can talk to them and they can tell you how people used to make [items] back in the day versus how people make things today,” said Rachel Kuhn, artisan coordinator. Among the six stages showcasing live entertainment is an “adults only” stage. “It’s called Bawdy. It’s more innuendo based,” said Michael Kuhn, general manager — noting the comedy shows are for the 18-and-over crowd. n

JULY HIGHLIGHTS SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK Saturday, July 11, 2015, 7:00 pm Riverside Park – Bandshell


Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will perform William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Low-back lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. Come early and grab dinner from local food trucks.

LOCAL HISTORY TRIVIA NIGHT Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 pm Graydon’s Crossing – 1223 Plainfield NE Come test your knowledge at our Grand Rapids and Michigan-themed trivia night. Bring your friends and be prepared to eat, drink and think!

ALSO CHECK OUT THESE EVENTS GR Reads: The Movies – The Haunting Tuesday, July 7, 8:00 pm Wealthy Theatre – 1130 Wealthy SE A Day in the Life of a Zoo Veterinarian (Registration required) Wednesday, July 8, 3:00 pm John Ball Zoo Ballroom – 1300 W Fulton


Science on Tap: Profile of a Poisoner Thursday, July 9, 8:00 pm SpeakEZ Lounge – 600 Monroe NW Shakespeare in the Park Saturday, July 11, 7:00 pm Riverside Park – Bandshell Introduction to Archery (Registration Required) Monday, July 13, 7:00 pm Tuesday, July 14, 7:00 pm Wednesday, July 15, 7:00 pm Archery Unlimited – 824 Lake Michigan Dr NW GR Reads: The Movies – Hedwig and the Angry Itch Tuesday, July 14, 8:00 pm Wealthy Theatre – 1130 Wealthy SE Petpalooza Saturday, July 18, 2015, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Outside the Main Library – 111 Library St NE



Covering the Crisis: The Impact of Media in Times of Disaster Thursday, July 23, 2015, 7:00 pm Main Library – 111 Library St NE REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


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Bikes, Beer & Bemusement

This is (Not) Hardcore

Bikes, Beer & Bemusement

New Pornographers Finally Arrive in GR |  by Eric Mitts






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“When I first started writing songs, I think I was really fascinated by the idea of the songwriter,” Newman said. “I wasn’t really trying to be like Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards – I wanted to be like Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. It’s fun to be in a band, but I also just love that personal side. There’s something about the solitude of writing to me. It can be painful, but it can be a lot of fun when you find it, when you get to those eureka moments.” Not one to compare himself directly to those past songwriting legends, Newman humbly dismissed any claim he’d help continue their legacies in the new millennium. But he’ll continue to do just that, as Brill Bruisers is charting higher than any other New Pornographers’ album to date. “I’m content just to be inspired by those people,” he said. “As for my place in the universe, I think I just want to keep making my living doing what I do. As long as I can do that, I think I’ll be happy.” n


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ew 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. “That worked in our favor so much,” Newman said, immediately recalling the incident when the name Grand Rapids came up in conversation. The New Pornographers’ 2010 tour continued unabated following the controversially canceled Calvin show, bolstered by new buzz surrounding the name controversy. It rallied their staunch fans to encourage people to actually listen to the band’s harmony-rich power-pop. “In the history of rock ‘n’ roll has there ever been a band that had somebody The New Pornographers protest against them and it didn’t work out wsg Thao & the Get Down great for the band?” Newman said. “People Stay Down never learn that lesson. Tipper Gore was Frederik Meijer Gardens, the best thing to happen to rock music.” Grand Rapids It’s been five years since the Calvin July 15, 5:30 p.m. doors, 6:30 p.m. show cancellation and a lot has happened in the $35,, lives of the Canadian supergroup, fronted (616) 957-1580 by Newman, alt-country firebrand Neko Case and elusive indie songwriter Dan Bejar (of Destroyer fame). They’ve all released other projects and had massive milestones occur in their personal lives – including the death of Newman’s mother and the birth of his son. Yet The New Pornographers have found a way to continue on. Fifteen years removed from their beloved debut, Mass Romantic, the band is now middle-aged. Its latest album, last year’s Brill Bruisers, saw them reconvene and reconnect with that first record’s spark of daring as Newman and company welcomed a more retro-futurist sound. “This record is the record we’ve been hinting at making for a long time,” he said. “I wanted to be consciously synthetic, like we wanted to go for sounds that were very cool, but not necessarily real in any way. I find modern music very interesting in that way because there’s this back and forth between the human and the completely synthetic.” Utilizing recent changes in recording technology, while drawing inspiration from the history of New York City’s legendary Brill Building – home to such famously prolific songwriters as Carole King, Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the 1950s and ‘60s – Newman brought a celebratory feel to Brill Bruisers that had somewhat dissipated on the band’s last few records.



Fantastic Voyage

Bonnie “Prince” Billy lands in Kalamazoo |  by Eric Mitts


Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

inger/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. “We are presenting a world to different audiences each time we perform,” Oldham said of his life on the road. “When we come to Kalamazoo, there will be glimpses of Kalamazoo for us, but we will be essentially on our own planet. So we will be presenting that reality to the audience.”

22 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

“The stronger we believe in our reality that we’re presenting to the audience, the more willing the audience is to suspend their disbelief, or welcome the idea of existing in an unreal environment for a couple of hours,” Oldham said. “And usually the audience has a willingness to let go and allow us to be their guide.” Oldham’s vast collection of work goes back more than 25 years, from his early days in the ‘90s working under various forms of the “Palace” moniker, to his numerous independent film roles. He even scored an unexpected part in R. Kelly’s peculiar, yet engaging “Trapped in the Closet” video series.

His prolific output as Bonnie “Prince” Billy over the last decade and a half has earned widespread acclaim for its daring approach and haunting execution. Most notably, the legendary Johnny Cash personally asked him to perform alongside him on his cover of the Bonnie “Prince” Billy song “I See A Darkness” for his 2000 album, American III: Solitary Man. “It’s something that continues to resonate pretty actively through today,” Oldham said of working with Cash, recalling a recent visit to the Johnny Cash Museum with a friend in Nashville. “It was mind-blowing because the man who owns and curates the museum, he wanted to meet me and get a picture



“We are presenting a world to different audiences each time we perform. When we come to Kalamazoo, there will be glimpses of Kalamazoo for us, but we will be essentially on our own planet.”

taken with me. Through this circumstance I’ve become a minor player in the myth of Johnny Cash. It makes my brain hurt to think about that.” Oldham’s personal group of colleagues and musicians centers in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., but reaches all over the world. He’s played in places as remote and isolated as Cuba and said he hopes his music can resonate across all cultural divides. For his Kalamazoo show, Oldham and his band will team with longtime friend Dawn McCarthy (of opening act Faun Fables), who he recorded an album of duets with in 2013. “We’re leaving Kentucky specifically to play these shows with Faun Fables,” Oldham said.

“So we will definitely be learning a number of songs centered on the idea that she’s going to be joining us for five or six songs during our set. Usually the set should have some sort of specific, contemporary purpose. In this case we’re going to use Dawn as our driving force.” n


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Turbo Suit & North American Scum

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Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

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ve n tho u gh th e m e m - features “45,” their biggest single to date) and bers of Gaslight Anthem proudly last year’s Get Hurt. Coming after lead singer/songwriter Brian wear their hearts on their tattooed sleeves via the band’s gritty and honest Fallon’s divorce, Get Hurt has a more personal punk-fueled songs – offstage they’re feel than most of The Gaslight Anthem’s past storytelling. The record is slower and somber. not the sappiest bunch of dudes. “You’re probably talking to the most At some points it’s heavier. “I think it’s good for the whole band sentimental guy in the band,” said drummer Benny Horowitz, while discussing the band’s to challenge ourselves,” Horowitz said. “To let ourselves write songs we feel like writing upcoming 10-year anniversary. A working class band from the start, and not worry about the genre or how people the Gaslight Anthem cut their teeth playing are going to react to it. Just be really honest basement shows around their home turf: about the kind of music you want to write. I think that’s how this record The New Jersey punk scene. happened.” The band quickly catapulted So while it’s something of to prominence with its second The Gaslight a departure, the band hopes its album, 2008’s The ‘59 Sound. Anthem new direction, and burgeoning The LP drew comparisons to wsg Matthew Ryan & fame, will never overshadow Bruce Springsteen and eventuthe Northern Wires District Square, Kalamazoo where they came from and ally caught the attention of July 16, 7 p.m. doors where they still live: New Jersey. “The Boss” himself – the band $30, all-ages “Sometimes you see bands opened for him in England in, lose focus, and they get caught 2009. (269) 264-4229 up in their new reality,” he “We were just punk-rock said. “They don’t understand kids who never thought somewhat they used to understand. thing like that would ever be in the cards,” Horowitz said of the Springsteen I hope to God we’re not one of those bands.” “When something goes from being gig. “It all kind of flew by and it was surreal. When I watch the videos now, I’m all nervous something you’re yearning for and striving for, to something you’ve achieved, and all and stoned and sweating.” Older and wiser, the band has matured of a sudden it’s your livelihood, that kind of over the last seven years, touring constantly changes how you view things,” he said. “That and releasing three more full-lengths: 2010’s might be the even trickier part to navigate than American Slang, 2012’s Handwritten (which making it.” n

/// album reviews: Local edition

Back Catalog:

The Sinatras Life in Flames

(Leppotone Records, 2009)


attle Creek may not have been the hub of the alt-rock universe in the mid-1980s, but that’s not to say the Cereal City didn’t produce a handful of worthwhile bands, and one of the very best was the Sinatras. Featuring Ron Casebeer on guitar and vocals, Karl Knack on bass and vocals, and Scott Stevens on drums, the Sinatras could be concisely described as a loud pop band, not quite punk but sharp enough to pass in dim light, and possessing plenty of sharp, hooky tunes in a variety of styles. The Sinatras were eager to push the energy into fifth gear on tunes like “The Length” and “Action Party,” ease up on the more contemplative “Bad Neighbor” or “When I Was King,” and ascend to power pop heaven on “You Remind Me of Yellow” and “Gonna Getcha Back.” But the Sinatras were more than just another guitar-fueled trio that went over well in college towns. There was an unpretentious intelligence and confessional sincerity in their best songs that suggest Paul Westerberg’s beer-infused smarts without sounding as if they’ve ever given the Replacements more than a passing glance. Life In Flames is a 21-song collection that mines many of the best moments from the band’s sporadic recording career. If ever there was a group that deserves a bigger audience (or at least one outside Western Michigan), it’s the Sinatras. Thankfully you can still buy Life in Flames through popular digital music retailers, suggesting MP3s might not be such a bad thing after all. —Mark Deming

New Release:

Brown Company Spring 2014 EP (Bandcamp, 2014)


Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

band of middle-aged guys who have been banging out various forms of punk rock noise since the 1980’s might not sound like something fresh or challenging, but Brown Company are here to show you that experience can lead to remarkable new ideas. One of the most unique and compelling bands currently making their home in Kalamazoo, Brown Company features former members of Violent Apathy, King Tammy, Minutes, and Dr. Xeron and the Moogulators, but most of their previous work will only prepare you so much for their ambitious sonic attack. Suggesting a psychedelic fusion of Hawkwind, Pere Ubu, and Shellac, Brown Company brew their music from atonal clouds of synthesized sound, unrelenting rhythmic structures, crashing drums and sheets of grand-scale guitar. The result is a bracing aural gumbo that pushes at the boundaries of both hard rock and experimental music. While Brown Company’s music is best experienced in person, the group released a three-song preview of its upcoming album available at The extended journeys through “Tidal” and “1333” are heady stuff highly recommended to adventurous listeners, while “Edwards” confirms they’re just as potent in smaller doses. A live version of “1333” is also available on Bandcamp, but the digital EP (which, at 33 minutes, is close to an album on most planets) gives a better picture of the scope of their music, which is something discriminating music fans owe to themselves to discover. —Mark Deming

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


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/// Special Feature

The Music Issue I t ’ s A L o n g Way t o t h e T o p ( If Y o u W a n t t o R o c k ‘ n ’ R o l l )


o matter what scene or city they’re spawned from, musicians are a peculiar bunch. They don’t mind playing gigs for little-to-no pay. They’ll pour countless hours into their art, crafting songs in their jam spaces or living rooms. They’ll perform to exasperating drunks at the bar and deal with notoriously cranky sound guys (seriously, what’s their deal?).

The fiercely dedicated songsters sacrifice good-paying jobs so they’re able to venture off into the night on a D.I.Y. tour across the country. Their cramped van, packed with equipment and band merch, becomes their sweaty, makeshift home. These songsmiths often give up the essential luxuries in life (sleeping on their own bed) so they can experience the feeling of plugging in on stage and belting out a new tune in front of an audience. After that, they’ll blow their entire tax return on studio time — then stream the songs online for free. Sure, there are some perks associated with playing in bands (i.e. looking cool, right?), but dealing with one shady, coked-up booking agent at some far-away dive bar trumps the little victories. Being a working musician is hard work. That’s why Revue celebrates West Michigan’s scene each year with the Music Issue. We celebrate the the bands and solo artists who take the craft of songwriting seriously and, when on stage and provoked, have absolutely no problem poking fun at the drunk annoying guy in the front row. After all, somebody had to tell him to shut the hell up. —Rich Tupica

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


/// Music Issue

Ten local bands you’ve gotta hear! Revue music writer Nolan Krebs suggests must-hear local acts





The Soil & the Sun

(Grand Rapids/Indie) — One of the state’s most ambitious bands and a powerful group, the Soil & the Sun are West Michigan rock royalty. The group has been touring relentlessly behind 2014’s Meridian LP with no signs of letting up. Most of their shows the past month or so have been in the Midwest — fingers crossed a new record is in the works.

The Go Rounds

Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

(Kalamazoo/Rock) — A Kalamazoo staple, Graham Parsons and his merry band, The Go Rounds, tout high-energy rock for the masses. Most of the dudes in The Go Rounds have a hand in Kalamazoo’s amorphous Double Phelix Collective – but this particular project focuses on solid country and soul-tinged rock tunes. The group plays July 31 at Farm Block Fest along with some of the region’s best folk outfits.

28 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Vox Vidorra

(Grand Rapids/ Soul) — Vox Vidorra craft rich, colorful soul songs with flecks of jazz and indie rock. The group’s exceptional debut 2015 album Promise Land was recorded at Goon Lagoon in Grand Rapids. The foursome has a number of performances lined up for this month — including GRAM on the Green on July 8 and Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater on July 28.

Jade TV

(Grand Rapids/Dreampop) — Jade TV is the project of Grand Rapids popsmith James Allen. Allen has a hand in a number of Grand Rapids-area bands, including Sapphic and Jimmy Pop, but he released his stellar, self-recorded debut, Parallel Moments, earlier this year. While the songs on the album are dreampop through and through, the live show is a lesson in shoegaze catharsis.

Legendary Wings



(Kalamazoo/Hip-hop) — Another offshoot of Kalamazoo’s Double Phelix Collective, Maraj’s inventive take on hip-hop is one of the most exciting things to come out of the scene in a while. Maraj consists of multi-instrumentalists Andy Catlin and Ben Lau, rappers MotorCityKam and Darius G, Teath Leisure on bass, and singers Sam Cooper and Julia Toro. The result is an inventive fusion of hip-hop, funk and psychedelia.

Vox Vidorra



No Bails

(Kalamazoo/Punk) — No Bails is a group of skate punks from Kalamazoo who dish out classic, unapologetically snotty hooks. Fans of The Spits or Cosmic Psychos might want to check out the band’s 7-inch single, Soundproof Room + 2. Different iterations of the band have been ripping it up for a while now and have worked with some legendary record labels, including Memphis’ Goner Records. The band is hitting the road this month for shows in Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans.


Legendary Wings

(Kalamazoo) — Another excellent garage-punk band from Kalamazoo, Legendary Wings is the brainchild of Jeff Mahannah and Scott Terrian. Specializing in poppy blown-out punk gems, the group debuted in 2012 with its Making Paper Roses LP released via Portland, Oregon’s Dirtnap Records. Last fall the band dropped its killer second LP, Do You See, and are working on material for a third record. Their tunes can be found at


The Crane Wives

(Grand Rapids/Folk) — The Crane Wives are a paragon of West Michigan’s lush folk scene. The group is set to release their next full-length, Coyote Stories, in August — as well as another in February 2016. According to the group’s PledgeMusic site: “The albums are separated by lyrical themes, but share common threads, and both feature a balance of soft and heavy tunes, bright and dark tunes, our most intimate work and our most rockin’ work.” The group is playing quite a few West Michigan shows this month, check out the full list at


Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish

(Grand Rapids/Blues) — Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish are a two-piece that’s hell bent on reviving the spirit of classic

Shane Tripp rock‘n’roll. Delightfully retro and full of swagger, the duo won “Best Roots Album” at the Jammies this year for their album Gravedigger. The duo plays Founders on July 4 and heads south for a few dates in Alabama later this month.


Shane Tripp

(Grand Rapids/Indie) — While Shane Tripp has been an active player in the Grand Rapids music community for a few years now, his most recent solo endeavor is promising work from a talented fella. His latest album, Silk Challenge, was recorded with Matt Ten Clay in Grand Rapids and is available for streaming and download at n

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REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

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Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish


/// Music Issue

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Nathan Kalish toughens up on the road, releases new LP at Founders By Rich Tupica


uzzing down a long, lonesom e h i ghway e ast of Kansas City, singer-guitarist Nathan Kalish an d h is

upright bassist, Eric Soules, are en route to a honky-tonk bar.

The duo, which performs as Nathan Kalish and the Lastcallers, is headed to a bar that’s known as ground zero for Kansas City’s roots music scene, the Westport Saloon. Over the past year, they’ve played the Westport “four or five” times on a tour that has seen them zig-zag across the country several times, performing their unique brew of Americana, rockabilly and outlaw country music. In all, they’ve played nearly 260 shows in about 14 months.

30 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

“We found these places that worked and kept going back,” says Kalish about his latest tour regimen. “We played bars, a few restaurants and hotels everywhere from Vermont to Southern California.” While Kalish, 31, has been a fixture on Grand Rapids’ music scene over the last decade, his rusty minivan and extended stays in Nashville feel more like home these days. He’s been a road warrior, averaging 250 shows per year for three years running. “We did 14 months straight for this last album, Alpine Way,” he says. “Before that, I did a month-long solo tour and [then toured] in Europe with the Wildfire band. Prior to that I was out drumming with the Deadstring Brothers for over two years — and I’d tour with the Wildfire on my breaks from that.” After drumming in a series of bands since his teens, Kalish’s career got serious in 2007 with the release of his debut solo record, Desert Love. Since then, he’s surely earned his keep. Aside from the incessant touring, he recently completed

work on his new album, How am I Supposed to Get Back Home, his seventh studio album and first as the Lastcallers. The disc is an even further departure from his earlier, Replacements and Tom Petty-influenced rock‘n’roll. How am I Supposed to Get Back Home echoes more rustic American icons like Merle Haggard, John Prine, Gram Parsons and the Sun Records’ rockabilly roster, circa 1956. Kalish describes it as “a hard honky-tonk band without drums.” A free album-release show happens July 2 at Founders Tap Room. “We did the record in Nashville — we’d been touring, doing honky tonks and bars all year,” he says. “We were doing a lot of classic country and a little bit of Americana and bluegrass. That’s what shaped the sound of the record, being on the road. We didn’t tour with a drummer. We used Eric’s slap bass. A lot of people say, ‘I can’t believe how full you sound without drums.’ After a while it just developed into its own sound. I had some ballads and sadder music we incorporated in — more desert country.” Continued on page 35 8




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/// Music Issue

The Music That Made Me The Outer Vibe and Crane Wives gush over their favorite tunes

The Outer Vibe

Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

|  by Eric Mitts

Fresh from releasing their brand new album, Full Circle, at a fun-filled show at The Intersection, this Grand Rapids outfit has re-discovered their influences on the way to creating the perfect pop-rock escape. This summer The Outer Vibe will not only help kids learn how to rock with their annual Rock Camp program (July 6 to St. Cecilia Music Center), they’ll also be spending their nights with fans — riding the “surf disco” wave, including July 16 at the Ionia Free Fair. Nick Hosford (guitar): “Home” — Foo Fighters “When I listen to the song it reminds me of all the hellos and bittersweet goodbyes I experience on the road touring. Such wonderful memories that leave me asking myself: ‘Where is home?’”

32 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

For REVUE’s annual Music Issue, we got in touch with a couple of West Michigan’s busiest bands to discuss the music that made them decide to become musicians, play the music they play and shape them into the artists they’ve become. Perhaps you’ll discover some new inspiration for yourself.

Andrew Dornoff (bass): “ Road Trippin’” — Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication was the first album that took me to another place, an alternate reality. The sounds from this song made me want to travel to California and visit the magical places the Chili Peppers sang about like Big Sur and Los Angeles. I’ve been trying to get to that alternate reality through music and touring ever since. I really want to write songs that inspire and take people to another place like this song did for me.” Lisa Kacos (trumpet/keys): “Strawberry Fields Forever” — The Beatles “This song blends everything I love about The Beatles: rich orchestration, innovative songwriting and recording techniques and a lyrical message that is not the norm. ‘Strawberry Fields’

is still as big of an influence now as it was the first day I heard it.” Sean Zee (lead vocals): “A Pirate Looks At Forty” — Jimmy Buffett “This was one of the first songs I learned and I still love it. I’ve listened to a lot of music, but I always go back to Jimmy for his simple and clever storytelling. That’s something I strive for when I write. To me, Jimmy Buffett is more than a guy responsible for Parrotheads and theme restaurants. He actually has an amazing catalog of music and I’ll back him up until the day I die.” Noah Snyder (drums): “When You Wake Up Feeling Old” — Wilco “No matter what sort of mood I am in, if I listen to this song I am immediately centered and ready to move forward with whatever I need to do. At the end of the song it leaves you with the line: ‘Can you be where you want to be?’ It brings balance to the positive message and makes the song feel like reality instead of a fantasy land.”

The Crane Wives

Emerging from an epic run of recording that goes back to the winter, this Grand Rapids’ indie-folk favorite will release the first of two new “sister” albums next month. They’ll preview the record, Coyote Stories, July 18 during a special show at the Wealthy Theater before making a push onto the national stage. With their next release already slated to follow in February, the band members shared their individual and group influences, giving us a unique look at their shared history and songwriting styles. Emilee Petersmark (vocals/guitar) “Waltz #2 (XO)” — Elliott Smith “I remember the exact moment I heard this song for the first time, the way it made me feel and the way it hung around in my head like a ghost for days afterward. I was 16, driving home from an old boyfriend’s house in the middle of the night when it came on NPR. I drove in circles around the block until it was done. I remember thinking this was the kind of song I wanted to write — something that was simple and pretty but maintained a tangible emotional weight.”

Ben Zito (bass) “Blue Jay Way” — The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour was the first album I owned, purchased for me by my father when I was pretty young. The whole album was pretty transformational for me but I vividly remember listening to this track on repeat. Probably because of all the novel sounds and various ear candies sprinkled throughout it.”

Dan Rickabus (drums/vocals) “Gravity Rides Everything” — Modest Mouse “When I was 15, my friend Doug and I would drive around with this tune on repeat. It really opened my mind up at a young age. It got me excited about unique instrumentation and wild creative sounds that add depth and texture to a song.” “Aqueous Transmission” — Incubus “I was way into Incubus when I was 13. They were my first favorite band and this was my first favorite song. It’s this beautiful, deep, groovy, ethereal cut that happens at the very end of a rock ‘n’ roll album. Beautiful, deep, groovy and ethereal were all qualities in music I ended up falling in love with and strive for in my own creativity.” Kate Pillsbury (vocals/guitar) “If It’s the Beaches” — The Avett Brothers “This is one of those rare songs that is almost too honest. The song tells a story of a man begging his lover not to leave in a completely desperate and undignified way. It perfectly captures the essence of heartbreak and the measures we will go to just to keep someone around — someone who will ultimately leave regardless of what we do. I think honesty and openness are the most crucial elements of songwriting. Songs like this one showed me how to be vulnerable in songwriting. My stance on songwriting is: If you’ve got something to say, put your pride away and say it.”

“Movement and Location” — The Punch Brothers “I heard this song after a long musical drought. I’d been in a state where music just wasn’t doing it for me. Leave it to Chris Thile to be the first to inspire me again. I love the inventiveness and eccentricity in the songwriting of The Punch Brothers. Hearing this song revitalized me and reminded me that music doesn’t have to follow the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure. It doesn’t hurt that the band is composed entirely of master musicians who know how to pair droning banjo riffs with subtle, moving bass lines and percussive mandolin with lilting fiddles. One of the most important lessons I keep learning, from listening to great artists like these, is knowing when to let loose and when to back off and give the music some room to breathe.”

What inspires Crane Wives as a whole: “Ain’t No Sunshine” — Bill Withers “This is one of the first songs we learned to play together. We all come from such different musical backgrounds that choosing songs we all believe influenced us is tricky. But one thing we can all agree on is that this song is the perfect example of simplicity in great songwriting. As artists, it’s easy to sometimes get carried away and overcomplicate songs. Some of the best songs that have ever been written are bare-boned.” “Helplessness Blues” — Fleet Foxes “There’s a line in this song that captures our feelings about being in the band together, compromising and making sacrifices for each other so we can function as a whole: ‘I’d rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me.’” n

Bill Withers

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

“Fast as You Can” — Fiona Apple “I could write a small novel about why Fiona Apple is a major component to my musical growth, but this song in particular has stuck with me for years as one of my favorite Fiona songs. Fiona was one of the first female artists I felt really connected to and this song demonstrates how one can write a song that exposes vulnerability without making the song completely toothless — this tune has bite. I love the unpredictable nature of her melodies, the risks she takes. Emotional instability aside, I still want to be her when I grow up.”

“Everything Went Numb” — Streetlight Manifesto “In my angst-y teenage years I identified with a great group of friends that were musicians with a lot of energy. When we heard Streetlight Manifesto for the first time it was amazing to hear the complex and energetic arrangements coming out of people not much older than us. “Everything Went Numb” was the first track they leaked in 2003 and inspired me to help start a band and pursue music relentlessly.”


/// Music Issue

n a g i h c i M West

e d i u g e venu A ver |  by Dwayne Hoo

thriving music scene not only requires an amazing mix of talented musicians, it also needs a collection of solid venues to provide the stage and atmosphere. And while what follows is by no means a comprehensive list of West Michigan’s assorted music spots, it’s definitely a mix of the ones you should have on your radar – if you don’t already.

Bell’s Eccentric Café Bell’s hosts an array of both local and national act. Catch an album release show from a local favorite in The Back Room or enjoy the stage in the outdoor Beer Garden, opened again this year by Greensky Bluegrass during a three-day musical celebration. Bell’s will host a number of acts throughout the summer including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic July 11 – that show is sold out. Tickets are still available for the July 30 Marshall Crenshaw show – check out his 1982 pop classic, “Cynical Girl.”

The Intersection Cited as one of the best mid-sized music venues in the entire country, The Intersection consistently brings West Michigan a solid mix of local, regional and big-name national talent. Sporting an extensive show schedule at both their main stage and the smaller 400 capacity lounge dubbed The Stache. The Intersection plays host to the top metal, punk, electronic, rock and country artists that roll through. Great sound, staff, bands and atmosphere truly make this one of the area’s premier venues. A few of the upcoming shows are Tonic (July 7), Against Me! (July 8) and Death From Above 1979 (July 23).

Orbit Room

The Score PHOTO: Raul Alejandro Velasco

34 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

While the show schedule for the Orbit Room isn’t necessarily steady, it always boasts some of the more popular shows that swing through Grand Rapids. This past year has seen the likes of Marilyn Manson, Breaking Benjamin, The Wailers, Flogging Molly, Black Label

Society, Chevelle and more. With multiple bars and a capacity of over 1,500, it’s one of the largest venues in the area and a great place to take in a performance from your favorite, big-name act. Upcoming show: Halestorm on July 2.

Van Andel Arena What can we say about the Van Andel Arena? It’s the largest, most impressive, colossal venue around and, accordingly, draws the most popular acts by far. Heck, July alone will bring Shania Twain, Bryan Adams and OneRepublic to the stage, followed shortly thereafter by Aerosmith in early August. This is the place to go to lose yourself in that larger-than-life concert experience.

Kalamazoo State Theatre A truly multipurpose venue, the historic Kalamazoo State Theatre has been host to everything from ballet and burlesque to comedy and concerts since its genesis in 1927. The musical talent that graces the historic stage is all over the place, having seen the likes of Social Distortion and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, to the second half of 2015 bringing Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy and Melissa Etheridge.

The Pyramid Scheme After strolling past the front bar and pinball arcade, make your way to the back of The Pyramid Scheme and into their separate music venue area for one of the coolest smaller dedicated concert spaces in West Michigan. It houses some big sounds and sometimes some pretty big names, with past performances that include Andrew W.K., Reverend Horton Heat, Melvins, Living Colour and Future Islands. The real benefit of catching a show here, however, is hearing some of the best local staples and regional up-and-comers the area has to offer. This month it hosts The Ataris (July 3), Koffin Kats (July 16) and Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (July 28), to only name a few.

Old Dog Tavern There’s a lot of history packed into the Star Paper Co. building that Old Dog Tavern calls home, so it’s only fitting that much of the music that finds its way there has strong roots in folk and blues. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find an occasional punk or indie rock show on the inside stage – below the old Kraftbrau sign. In fact, as the summer heats up, so too will the lineup on its outdoor stage. The venue is also host to non-musical special events, like the Brickyard Bike Show on August 29 – attendees are invited to buy, sell, trade and look.

One Trick Pony The patrons of One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom are often blessed with the melodic sounds from some fantastic musicians, in particular during the Thursday night “Acoustic Stew” shows. Organissimo, The Accidentals, Serita’s Black Rose, Faux Grass and Drew Nelson are just a few of the many talented artists to pass through its doors. Add to that the neat building and friendly staff – this is definitely a must-visit for an intimate musical performance. A

(Nathan Kalish, continued page 30)

Since his split from the Deadstring Brothers, Kalish has remained hyper focused on his own music — and that means a lot of touring, for better or for worse. “It’s always an adventure,” he says. “There are always things going wrong and things going right. I’ve been broke down on the side road, but I’ve also stayed in mansions in the Hollywood Hills. I’ve had all sorts of ups and downs. You might have a great night and make $1,500, but you may not have another good show for a month. You have to constantly be working. That’s just the way it is for people who weren’t born rich.” Life on the road seems to agree with Kalish, but being disconnected from his hometown has its emotional drawbacks.

The Pyra mid


PHOTO: Kat y Batdorff

couple of the upcoming shows are: Mulebone (July 9) The Weatherheads (July 23).

The Union Cabaret & Grill If you’re in the mood for some jazz, or milder indie rock or jam band action, head on down to The Union Cabaret & Grill on the Kalamazoo Mall. What you won’t find is a screaming metal band with circle pit or head-thumping EDM with strobe lights. It’s a relaxed, somewhat classier sit-down atmosphere with great food and, of course, seasoned bands and musicians. A couple upcoming shows: Shelagh Brown Band (July 11), Blue Lake International Big Band (July 23).

The Score

Seven Steps Up Located in a renovated Masonic Temple in the heart of Spring Lake’s Art District, Seven Steps Up is a 160 capacity venue that hosts some standing room only public concert events, as well as their Pin Drop Concert Series. Given

Shakespeare’s Lower Level Formerly The Globe Theatre, you’ll experience an eclectic mix of bands at Shakespeare’s Lower Level, from local folk rock favorites to touring noise punk bands and everything in between. For a small venue it’s a great concert space, has a good sound system with attentive people working it, and is very much in tune to the local and regional music scene, as is very evident in their show schedule. This month’s roster includes Third Coast (July 11), Flops Ego (July 12) and The Ultimate Concept Band (July 17), to only name a few.

Founders Brewing Co. It should come as no surprise that a brewery that gets its beer so damn right gets its music right, too. Founders’ tap room events bring in acts from not only West Michigan but from around the country, whether it’s bluegrass or ska punk.  And much like its beer, which is finding its way across the country, Founders welcomes musicians from all over yet has a loyalty to the place it calls home.  That’s why their show slate sees regular representation from local bands. This month the venue hosts The Legal Immigrants and Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish (July 4), The Claudettes (July 16) and The Macpodz (July 30) – and more. n

—Nathan Kalish Coming home can be difficult these days for the wayfaring songwriter. “It’s pretty hard actually,” he says. “Everybody kind of moves on, but when you’re on tour you don’t get to move on. Your life isn’t a personal life — it’s a professional life when you’re on tour. You have personal moments. You meet people and have relationships, but they only go as far as one day. I don’t really appreciate being (in Grand Rapids) much anymore. Every time I come back, there seems to be one less friend.” The long-term departure from West Michigan has also slowly isolated him from the local music scene as well. “In my mind I’ve grown and changed as an artist, but I haven’t been changing here,” he says. “A lot of times a scene develops and it’s all linked together. The music that’s developed in Grand Rapids is good, but I don’t really feel like a part of it.” After one local called Kalish a “hick” following a recent hometown gig showcasing his country-tinged tunes, he was reminded of the negative facets often associated with any music scene. “You get a lot of weird people that want to f**k with you because they’re jealous or they think you have an attitude,” he says. “You do get an attitude. Yeah, I got a chip on my shoulder. I’ve been on the

Nathan Kalish & The Lastcallers

w/ Mike Blair and the Stonewalls, Benjamin Riley Founders Tap Room July 2, FREE, 9:30 p.m.

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

Billed as “West Michigan’s only Beach-BeerBand-Bar,” The Score, 5301 Northland Drive – on E. Beltline north of Plainfield, offers a more tropical environment than any other local music spot. Complete with real palm trees, attendees can groove to the tunes with the sand beneath their feet seven nights a week. Each show starts at 6 p.m. If you need some food, there are wings, burgers, pizza and more. And if you need to burn off those calories sign up for The Score’s Beach Volley-Ball League. After that long Top Gun-style volley-ball game, cool off with a brew. This watering hole has 128 beers on tap – 120 dedicated to craft beer. Note: The Score boasts the “lowest priced growlers – guaranteed!” For all of the brains, each Monday at 7 p.m. is team Trivia Night.

the size of the space and the acoustics, you’ll largely (but not strictly) find quieter, acoustic performances here. But you’ll also find that the artists they draw, like the singer/songwriters in this summer’s Pin Drop lineup, are among some of the best in the country. This month the venue hosts Anna Nalick (July 8), Brendan James (July 10) and Griffin House (July 11)

“(Touring is) always an adventure. There are always things going wrong and things going right. I’ve been broke down on the side road, but I’ve also stayed in mansions in the Hollywood Hills.”

road for three or four years. You have to get a f ***ing attitude if you want to survive. You can’t be Mr. Nice Guy all the time.” On a positive note: Being a weathered veteran has left him stocked full of solid tour advice, relationships with booking agents around the country, and tales from the road. “I try to live smart and meagerly,” he says. “I try to not spend money on hotels and just meet friends everywhere, which is fun. “I’ve had crazy nights in both directions. I’m sure if I was sitting down and drinking I could come up with some wild stories, but a lot of those I would not want in print until my parents are dead.” And while the new Lastcallers record is completed, Kalish knows the work is far from over. “You have to be out working all of the time — an album doesn’t work by itself,” he says. “To support an album you have to put down over 200 shows a year just to be able to feed everyone in the band.” And it’s not like he’s complaining. The Lastcallers got its band name from the duo’s drive to play from dusk ’til closing time at any bar with a budget and a crowd. “Eric and I had just finished up the first run of shows — but we went out and picked up some more. We didn’t feel like coming home yet so we drove up to Green Bay — it was a Sunday — and picked up a ‘tips gig’ at this hippie jam bar. We played all night. We started at like 6 o’clock and played until close at 2 a.m. We just decided that was going to be the premise of the band: Play songs all night until last call.” Luckily for Kalish, sometimes hard work actually pays off. Nathan Kalish & the Lastcallers recently inked a record deal with Little Class Records, locking in support on its upcoming LPs. “We’re probably going to cut a record fairly fast, a follow up to this one,” he says. “I’ve written a bunch of songs for it already. When we cut the Lastcallers record, I didn’t even know what we sounded like — now I know what the band sounds like.” As for the near future, Kalish will remain transient and focused. The steady upsurge he’s experiencing in the music biz keeps his drive alive. “I’m living my life and having a good time. I’m successful enough right now. If it grows — great. If it doesn’t, I may have to figure something else out. But when it’s growing, you know it. You can feel it.” n


/// On Tour

Holding the Torch

“The Voice” star Joshua Davis sticks to his roots in the mainstream spotlight by Rich Tupica 36 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015


h e n s i n g e r - so n gwr i t e r J osh ua Davi s appeared on the season-eight premiere of “The Voice” in February, the viewing audience that one evening was a staggering 13.97 million viewers — a far cry from his previous string of intimate gigs.

“Last time I went to East Lansing I played (SCENE) Metrospace — there were maybe thirty people there,” recalled Davis about a late 2014 show at a tiny art gallery. That was pre-“Voice.” “Now I’m playing Wharton Center and over half of the tickets sold already,” he said. “It’s huge. I don’t know what to expect anymore. Since the show, everything is different now.” It’s no surprise being on NBC’s hit reality television singing competition would be a game-changer — finishing in the final four didn’t hurt. Over the course of the season, which wrapped in May, Davis transitioned from Michigan’s folk gem to a household name. But you can’t say he hasn’t paid his dues. As the frontman of the esteemed roots-rock band Steppin’ In It, Davis, 37, has been

Select Joshua Davis Show Dates: July 8 @ Bell’s Brewery — Kalamazoo July 10 @ Fountain Street Church — Grand Rapids August 13 @ Interlochen: Kresge Auditorium — Interlochen August 14 @Hoxeyville Music Festival - Hoxeyville

How did you manage to land a spot on “The Voice”? I’d never seen the show before. They called me late in the game. I was one of the last additions to the auditions. They’d seen some videos of mine. They called me up and said, “How about you come out to Los Angeles in two weeks and do a blind audition.” I was like, “What’s that?” They said, “Watch the show a little bit and call us back.” So I checked out the show. I take it you’re not into reality shows like “American Idol”?

Full Schedule:

embedded in the Michigan folk-music scene for over 15 years. His acclaimed solo records on the Earthwork Music imprint, including 2013’s A Miracle of Birds LP, further solidified his place in the thriving Michigan Americana underground. This year Steppin’ In It has been on somewhat of a hiatus: Davis relocated his family from Lansing to Traverse City and upright bassist Dominic John Davis split to Nashville, joined Jack White’s band and proceeded to tour the world. During this transitional period is when Joshua Davis got the call from “The Voice.” Still riding the wave of press and buzz from the show, Davis decided to stick close to home for the summer, playing a string of Michigan dates including July 8 at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo and July 10 at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. He chatted with Revue from his home in Traverse City. Here’s what he had to say about his past and future.

It’s not really my bag, especially the reality show thing. It really kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But this show specifically, I watched it with my nine-year-old daughter and I felt comfortable with her watching it. It’s very positive. Unlike a lot of the other shows, nobody is trying to embarrass anybody. Nobody is trying to rip anybody else down. It’s positive and inspirational. It’s really well done. Being on a reality TV set is something new for you. What was a typical day like? Early on there’s a lot of hurry up and wait because there are so many contestants at that point, 108 people or so doing the blind auditions. You go get wardrobe on, go rehearse with the band, get makeup on, do interviews, go shoot b-roll somewhere. You move to a location and then sit there and wait for four hours. You have like five minutes of activity and then go to a different location. When it went live, there was less people and a lot more to do. It was a lot more constant activity. By the time it got further, down to the final 10, eight, six — it was 18-hour days. I’d learn three or four songs in a week — rehearse them and then play them on live television. It was madness by the end of it. It was definitely totally exhausting. In a lot of ways it’s kind of a stamina game — who can outlast everyone else without getting sick or losing it.

Going way back, where were you born and raised? I was born in Marquette, raised in Detroit. Then I went to Michigan State for theatre. I lived in East Lansing for 15 years. You prefer to dig back and find great, old American tunes. How did you first get into roots music? I grew up going to folk festivals. My parents took me to Hart Plaza in Detroit where there’d be a blues fest, world music fest, bluegrass festival or a gospel festival. We went out and saw a lot of live music when I was growing up. One of the things about those kind of festivals is the artists are very accessible. That’s the core difference between mainstream music and roots music. One of the main points of music is you have to pass the torch otherwise it’s going to die out. I got to meet a lot of my heroes like Dave Van Ronk and Joel Mabus and learn from them. They’d take time to talk to a young kid about guitar — about what they do and how they do it. That’s something that’s important to me: Passing the torch and keeping the music alive.

How do you pick the songs you perform on “The Voice”? All the contestants have a list of the songs we want to do. My list consisted of all sorts of obscure stuff that they’d never, ever in a million years let me do. Which is fine, it’s a television show — it’s entertainment. In my case usually they’d say, “There’s absolutely no way we can do any of these songs.” But we’d compromise on some things. You performed your original song “The Workingman’s Hymn” on “The Voice.” How did you make that happen? The most important thing to me was playing the song I wrote on the show. I can’t tell you how hard I had to fight to get my song on that show. It was an incredible battle. I really put my foot down and was kind of a jerk about it. I finally got my way. It turned out to be one of my bestsellers on iTunes — I had a few songs in the Top 10 of iTunes. So I’m hoping that tells the show they can do some actual original songs, songs

people can’t sing along to right away, and have a little more faith in the American public. Have you noticed the boost in your fan base? How so? I’d be walking through LAX to fly out and everybody there would recognize me. Another is social media. Before “The Voice” began I think I had something like 800 Twitter followers, now I have around 31,000. Likewise with Facebook. I had maybe 5,000, now I have 60,000 likes. That’s a monstrous bump. I think the goal is to use that momentum. It’s strange. Because “The Voice” is what it is, I had to fight every day to maintain who I am in that environment. You have a minute and half or two minutes out there to show millions of people what you can do but it doesn’t show the entire you. So there are a lot of people who just know me from “The Voice” now. That’s going to be an interesting thing to navigate — to see what they think of Joshua Davis not on “The Voice.” Do you plan to put out a new record soon? Yeah, that’s one of the things I’m going to be doing. Maybe at the end of the summer or very early fall I’m going to be in the studio recording at least a few tracks — maybe for a 7-inch single — and then work toward a record. I want it to be really good. With all of my albums I put a lot of intention into it, make sure there’s a storyline and consistent thread to the songs. I’m a perfectionist so I want to take my time with it, as well. I don’t want to just throw something out there. When did Steppin’ In It get together? Steppin’ In It formed in the spring of ’98. They were already playing together a little bit as a trio when I met them. I called Dominic (John Davis) up and he said, “Come on over, we’re auditioning people,” so I went over there. Honestly, playing with them for the first time — the feeling was so incredible. It’s one of those moments you never forget. We knew a lot of the same music — it’s almost like we were reading each other’s minds. What’s the difference between a Steppin’ In It album and your solo LPs? When I was writing for Steppin’ In It, it was a lot more genrebased. My bandmates, the Wilson brothers, play so many different instruments and we all love traditional American music so I’d find myself writing genre-specific songs. It’d be like, “Okay, this is going to be a Cajun song,” so the Wilson brothers would pick up an accordion and fiddle. Other genres would call for other instruments. It’s amazing the band can do that. There are very few bands that can pull that off. But when I’m writing for me, I’m focusing on the songs and telling a story. n

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


/// Music Issue

o o z k e n e c s rt o p e r

Kalamazoo Scene Report

A Beginner’s Guide to the Zoo’s Musical Landscape

Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

|  by Dwayne Hoover

A few years ago, the Martin Prosperity Institute released a study measuring the country’s most active music scenes. As one would expect, cities like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles claimed the top spots. But there was one little blurb that caught the attention West Michigan locals: “Other smaller metros that do better than expected are Kalamazoo, Michigan (the former home of the Gibson guitar factory, founded in 1902, and the site of some major classical music festivals) at 8th overall...” Better than expected?  Maybe to the rest of the country, but if you actually play a part in Kalamazoo’s music scene, you probably thought it was about damn time outsiders acknowledged it. To be sure, the music scene in the Zoo waxes and wanes. Bands peak and then disband — new venues pop up after your favorite one closes shop. It can be a vicious circle. Nostalgia will always have you convinced that the current scene can

38 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

never measure up to what it used to be. But it’s always done that and not even its cyclical nature can stave off its vibrancy. A large part of the reason for Kalamazoo’s sonic success lies in the many festivals it hosts throughout the year. Classical music events like the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the Stulberg International String Competition are staples in the community. Add to that the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival and the various summer events at Arcadia Creek — including the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and Irish Fest. Not in the mood for classical or world music? Catch a bluegrass performance at Concerts in the Park, listen to an amazing jazz vocalist at Epic Theatre, enjoy a late night of dueling pianos at Monaco Bay, or throw back a few while experiencing a new niche rock genre at your favorite watering hole. The true pulse of the Kalamazoo music scene can be found at the multitude of venues hosting live music all year long.  Whether you want to take in a performance from a nationally recognized act at the wonderfully historic and aesthetically pleasing Kalamazoo State Theatre, or bang your head to the best in local rock at Kalamazoo’s oldest bar, Louie’s Trophy House Grill, this city has you covered. While the metal scene isn’t a prominent force in the Zoo, the traditional roots music scene is. Bell’s Eccentric Cafe draws nationally recognized talent which has included the likes of The Steel Wheels, Run Boy Run and legendary blues guitarist Larry McCray. Across the street, Old Dog Tavern opens up its stage to a variety of artists. “Having an audience that was interested in what you were playing — I didn’t know how to react,” said Jake West, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for area string band The Alabama Spanking Machines, reflecting on the group’s first performance at Old Dog. “The beer-soaked wood, the stage — it’s my favorite

Hex Bombs

Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts

Glowfriends venue in Kalamazoo. I’ve seen everything from old time string bands to hardcore punk there,” West said. There’s a lot of room for rock, punk, garage and jam bands as well, with venues like Shakespeare’s Lower Level, Papa Pete’s and Louie’s Trophy House Grill welcoming both local

and touring outfits — there’s also the Entertainment District with its outdoor music space, District Square. If you’re looking for a hyper-local taste of the Kalamazoo music scene, while browsing for vinyl take in a show at Satellite Records or try to find your way to the semi-underground network of house shows in Kalamazoo’s Vine Neighborhood put on by DITKalamazoo. But you can’t have a vibrant, healthy music scene without quality bands and artists to support it. Fortunately, Kalamazoo has just that.

The Hex Bombs have been dominating Kalamazoo’s punk scene for some time, with a few albums to their name and a faithful following stretching down to their “second hometown,” Chicago. Another band making waves in the hard rock category is BoneHawk, the band released its second album, Albino Rhino, in late 2014 and has gigged regularly across the state. Jake Simmons, former member of The Implodes and Dead Scene Radio, has come in to his own with his band the Little Ghosts.  The group released its new LP, No Better, earlier this year, put out a music video for their song “All My Friends Are

Sexy Toxins

Dead.” In May the band toured the east coast and hit the road again this month, traveling as far as Texas. Other notable Kalamazoo music scene veterans include the shoegaze sextet Glowfriends who released an album in 2014 and coordinate the annual Kalamashoegazer Festival. Blues rockers Fly Paper continue to impress audiences not only in West Michigan, but across the country, including a show at the world famous Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. Folk-rock group Branden Mann and the Reprimand continue to be a Kalamazoo fixture and just released a live album, recorded at Bell’s. Some new blood is preparing to make their mark in Kalamazoo, too. “[The] biggest up and comer is Honeydew Squeeze,” said Sean Micklin, general manager of Shakespeare’s Lower Level. The band is a reggae/funk-rock group.  “They haven’t been on the scene long, but they have gotten quite a bit better musically in the last year and their draws continue to grow,” Micklin said. Another group that has been turning heads recently is Sexy Toxins, a disco-punk band made up of a husband and wife duo — both former members of Kids With Cobras. “Sexy Toxins [have] an act that is certainly worth catching,” said Amy Smith, co-owner of Old Dog Tavern. “It’s a chick drummer and her husband — they have a great stage presence.” A couple of other regular bands in and around Kalamazoo, Pleasant Drive and That Freak Quincy, also look poised to really break out in the thriving jam scene.  The Red Sea Pedestrians and Who Hit John? keep wooing roots crowds and fans of old-timey tunes.  This was just a nutshell — there are plenty more not mentioned here. The scene is enormous and constantly evolving in Kalamazoo. Did we miss someone? Feel free to contact Revue with any tips on emerging local musicians. n

Volunteer Help an adult become a better reader

To register for a tutor orientation, call 616-459-5151 or visit

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

Learn more on July 1, 6, or 8








Great Tickets Are Still Available! PINK MARTINI ............................................................................................... JULY 3

GARRISON KEILLOR ................................................................................... JULY 29


DANCING WITH THE STARS ........................................................ AUGUST 6 ORQUESTRA BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB ......................................................................................... AUGUST 27 JOHN HIATT & THE COMBO THE TAJ MAHAL TRIO .............................................................. SEPTEMBER 4

PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO...........................................................JULY 13 THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS .............................................................. JULY 15



by Ben Mepham

Other Visual Art Events AFRICA! LowellArts! King Gallery 149 South Hudson Street, Lowell June 2–August 15 Free!, 897-8545 An African theme unites the work of four artists in this group show which includes safari photographs by Robert E. Lee, mixed media art by Gary Eldridge, Nancy Clouse illustrations based on an African legend, and the hyper-realistic, often life-sized, papier-mâché sculpture animals of Lori Hough. PHOTO: Matt Gubancsik, courtesy of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

The DAAC Takes Over The Fed Galleries at KCAD DAAC @ The Fed

The Fed Galleries at KCAD Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, 17 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids June 17-25 Free! Open to the Public 451-2787

Scheduled Events include:

The 4th Annual SASS Fest in conjunction with Have Company — a celebration of the DIY/DIT spirit with handmade goods, zines and workshops Sunday Soup: A grassroots fundraiser where money generated from meals sold at the event is awarded, based on votes cast by anyone who participates, as a creative arts grant; GR Zine Fest: A celebration of self-publishing culture with workshops and exhibitors selling zines.

DAAC encouraged people to get involved creatively, leading to more engaged citizens and positive change. True to the experimental nature of DAAC, the Fed show is part artist residency, part exhibition and will explore and challenge what can happen in a gallery space. It will look at the history and culture of the DAAC through a series of events, workshops and public discussions. Viewers can expect to see old show flyers, a collection of works by DAAC artists, a recording studio in collaboration with Lamp Light Music Festival, a Free Store and a Zine Library/Reading Room in conjunction with Bandit Zine & GR Zine Fest. (Note: Zines are small-circulation, self-published magazines). Locals can help the DAAC and its mission for a new home by making a tax-deductible donation through their Fractured Atlas profile or find ways to get involved on the DAAC website: n

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids June 16–Sept 5. $3 adults, $1 children, 957-1580 Meijer Gardens’ impressive 30-acre Sculpture Park includes more than 180 works by such luminaries as Rodin, Moore, Haring, Oldenburg, Serra, Goldsworthy, Bourgeois, Gormley and Kapoor. This summer, hop aboard the tram for a fun, interactive experience where kids learn about art while singing, rhyming and rapping to familiar tunes.

The Cosmic Psyche: Sheila Grant Acrylic Paintings The Design Gallery at Design Quest 4181 28th St SE, Grand Rapids July 17–August 30 (Reception July 30, 6–8 p.m.) Free!, 944-3232 In the abstract-expressionist tradition, Sheila Grant’s vibrant, viscous “nonrepresentational” images seem to be her innermost raw emotions poured directly onto canvas, laid bare in the form of paint. Exploring binaries of harmony/ disharmony and inwardness/outwardness, flatness/depth her imagery brings to mind storms, firing synapses and the cosmos.

Scene | Sounds | Sights Diing | Schedule

Live music shows featuring veteran DAAC performers


all e r y - go e rs th i s month have an opportunity to once again engage with one of Grand Rapids’ most contemporary, vital and forward-looking art collectives as the DAAC takes over The Fed Galleries at KCAD. DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Collective) gets its name from its former venue, 115 S. Division Ave., where for just under a decade the all-volunteer-run collective hosted innumerable exhibitions, concerts and fundraisers – all in an all-ages, alcohol free environment. In 2013 a $7 million redevelopment project in the blighted Heartside neighborhood forced it out. While the DAAC is still searching for a new physical venue – its mission and activity remains as strong as ever. Some of the events related to or co-sponsored by DAAC include: Light, SASS Fest, GR Zine Fest, GR Feminist Film Festival, Avenue for the Arts, and Art. Downtown. Emphasizing DIT (Do-It-Together) Art where everyone has something to contribute,

Singing with Sculptures: A Kids’ Tram Tour

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


Style Notes

by Missy Black

Gotta Wear Shades H it the R oad with Summer E ssentia l s

Whether your plan is to hit up a beach house or festival, there are some things you’ll need to be the ultimate weekend warrior.

Haul it all in style with the Mona B bag made of recycled and upcycled materials in an olive denim material with leather straps. $45. 6.25 Paper Studio in Grand Rapids.

Schedule | Dining | Sights Sounds | Scene

Shades made from reclaimed wood at Lost Wood


ow could you forget sunnies that look like this? Lost Wood sunglasses, made right here in Grand Rapids, are more than a typical pair of shades. “Everything we make is out of either reclaimed, free-fall or recycled wood, hence the Lost Wood name,” said owner and designer Jack Woller. Materials range from old skateboards to wood found in a bog in Australia. The company likes to utilize cherry wood and is passionate about creating sunglasses to fit someone’s personal identity and life style. “We wanted to make a way people could add their own flair to it. A big part is the engraving.” From map patterns to an elephant drinking a beer and riding a unicorn (they don’t judge), you can create cool, custom shades. The company is also in the accessory business crafting wooden dog-tag jewelry, belt buckles, money clips and more. Look into the three different frame styles (Canvas, Union and Andy) where you’ll pay around $130 to $180, that price includes lenses, a bamboo hard case, custom engraving, soft sleeve and one-year warranty. Available at and Sight Optical Boutique.

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It isn’t enough to have a cute swimsuit. Your cover up must be equally fetching. Try this breezy and colorful style. $118. Threads on 8th in Holland.

This splatter-maxi dress goes from day to night and every occasion in between. The back features black criss-cross straps. $118. Frances Jaye in Holland.

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REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


/// profile

No Place Like Home

Event ringleader and viral video guru Rob Bliss returns to GR By Andrea Billups


our years ago, Rob Bliss questioned his professional mettle. He was in the middle of shooting a now-famous Grand Rapids lip-dub video, taking a chance on his creative dreams but uncertain about his professional future, which he feared was headed nowhere fast.

fruitful, broadening his national connections but also cementing his One evening during the filming, Bliss returned home from a heartfelt feelings about West Michigan as the place where he needed date where he was so poor he “paid for it in quarters.” He found his to hang his hat. modest apartment destroyed after a water main broke and flooded “I have found that I am most in my element in Grand Rapids it, swamping his computers and treasured possessions – including and it’s the best place for me,” said Bliss, who went to high school his guitars. in Forest Hills. It went from bad to worse quickly in the “crap” house he’d been “There has definitely been a dramatic transformation,” Bliss says renting on the cheap. The hole left by the flood released a squirrel that of his confidence and career. “When I left, what people thought of had been living in the walls. And it would come out intermittently to me at the time was related to all the events I did in Grand Rapids,” eat the little food he had, making a humorous but defeating period he said, most notably a 500-foot waterslide in his life. in 2010 and 2008’s massive pillow fight and “I was so poor for so long. A lot of times citywide Zombie Walk, all promoted on thenI did question ‘can I really do this, make these emergent social media but also leaving him events work, have a future?’” Bliss confided, with substantial debts to the city that looking back to the days when the community he says have since been forgiven. college dropout said his ambition was fueled The 2011 “American by his lack of a plan B along with his own sheer —Rob Bliss, on his new project, Pie” lip dub, filmed as a belief in his ability to generate cool ideas. screw-you push back on Minus a degree (and after a brief stint “The Giving Machine” Newsweek magazine, working at TGI Fridays) his life philosophy which had named turned scrappy: “I knew I could hit the paveGrand Rapids one of the nation’s top 10 ment harder than anyone else, recklessly throw myself into my ideas. I dying cities, “finally broke through a glass had nothing to lose. I didn’t really have a future. I had just the slightest ceiling in my events,” Bliss said of his own nugget to grab onto when I did my first event. I had nothing to back tipping point, which seeded his career. me up… And I fought like someone who has nothing to lose.” “Before that, I would get tons of covSince then, however, Bliss, 26, has proved his tenacity to hustle, erage and all that in West Michigan, but parlaying that early city-inspired music video — which drew 5.6 million I could barely get any kind of coverage web views and earned praise from the late film critic Roger Ebert as outside of Michigan. I saw the power “the greatest music video ever made” — into a much-in-demand career of that medium to supremely express as one of the nation’s most successful viral video content producers. myself.” “In the past three years alone, we have had over 100 million Now, with his focus entirely YouTube views for our content,” Bliss shares of his company, Rob on creating viral content, Bliss has Bliss Creative, which has worked for several nonprofits as well as become a go-to guy on the subject, music giant MTV. appearing on CNN nearly a dozen Bliss returned to living in Grand Rapids full-time in February after times, Good Morning America and two years in Chicago. His girlfriend, WOOD TV’s Kendal Pektas, The Today Show, among many others. was finishing college at Loyola. Bliss also spent two summers in New Thanks to the buzz, emergent clients York City where his creative juices were fueled. His time away was

Schedule | Dining | Sights Sounds | Scene

“I’ve never felt more confident in an idea for a video that will go viral.”

44 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Scene | Sounds | Sights Diing | Schedule

from around the country search him out for projects. “To be honest, I don’t think we could find a news organization that hasn’t run a story on a piece of content of mine,” he says to some prodding, noting he is simply supplying market demand. His brand of content creation for a fickle online audience has become a coveted proposition, he adds. “It used to be all you had to do is fill a newspaper with stories. All you had to do was twenty-four hours of a news cycle,” he said. “Now, there is truly no roof to content in stories and producing content online. There is such a ferocious appetite for good stories and content. It has meant that people are constantly scouring for viral stories like the stuff we create.” And he enjoys making his signature pieces positive. Many may remember the transformation video he shot of a local homeless man who changed before viewers’ eyes with a clean-shaven appearance (and a new lease on life thanks to rehab and community support). Others may recall Bliss’s 2014 holiday video where one Michigan police department surprised local residents by pulling them over and returning not with a ticket but with the gifts of their dreams. In a new project called “The Giving Machine,” Bliss will send drones equipped with GoPro cameras to the sky to capture reactions after both help and goodies are air-lifted to those in need. “The idea is to take it and fly it around Grand Rapids to anonymously gift to people,” Bliss says. They plan to fly over cars that are stuck on a highway because of rush hour and drop off gift cards, spray flower petals from above over a wedding party, or even spot someone alone outside of a hospital and dip to drop off a teddy bear. The fun part? All their reactions will be captured on film. “I’ve never felt more confident in an idea for a video that will go viral,” Bliss said of his project, adding that they might even swoop in some warm afternoon to deliver an icy six-pack to a group of boaters. “We can have so much fun.” Bliss says he also hopes to share his fondness for his home city with the world. “While I may not be doing events here anymore, my goal is to further the narrative of all the good stuff happening here,” he says. “Instead of doing events that maybe 1,000 people come to, I can do a video based in Grand Rapids that maybe 10 million people can see. That is so exciting. I can take that story internationally to show that, ‘Wow, there are cool ideas coming out of GR.’ With this kind of content, I can reach a much larger audience.” n More on Rob Bliss at:

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


indie film

by Josh Spanninga

Wealthy Theatre’s Visual Verse Program Redefines Summer Camp

Schedule | Dining | Sights Sounds | Scene


t’s that time of year again where awkward youth flock to ramshackle cabins in the woods and brave mosquitoes, campfire ghost stories and Mystery Meat Tuesdays in hopes of forging friendships and embarking on unforgettable adventures. That’s right: We’re smack dab in the middle of summercamp season. While to most people summer camp draws up images of nature and esoteric rituals like canoe races, Wealthy Theatre’s summer camp is the alternative, designed for the creative, less outdoorsy individuals. This year the Wealthy Theatre teamed up with the Creative Youth Center of Grand Rapids, a local nonprofit organization that offers tutoring, writing workshops and other such programs free of charge to students in the Grand Rapids school district. It’s hosting the Visual Verse Animation Camp July 20–24. Gretchen Vinnedge, Wealthy Theatre’s education director, explained how this year’s animation camp will work. “We choose the best poems from the Creative Youth Center and offer them to our animation students to do an animation for the poem,” Vinnedge said. “Or if they write poems themselves they’re welcome to bring their own poems in and animate them too.” The camp will focus on both stop motion paper animation and Claymation. Students are given full creative control over the final product. “It’s their interpretation, so it’s how they view the poem,” Vinnedge explained. “It’s a collaboration between the writers and the animators. The writers have to have a lot of trust. The writers don’t really know what the animator’s going to be doing, but that’s how it works a lot of times in the field.” In past years the camp has built itself around various themes affecting local youth, such as societal ideals of masculinity and femininity. This year the focus is on creativity and the process of interpretation. It’s also an experiment that Vinnedge is particularly excited about. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do myself,” she said. “I don’t think we can lose, really. They can interpret it literally, they can interpret it experimentally — so there are a lot of options.” The camp is open to local middle and high school students and the cost for tuition is $75. Completed works from the program will screen at the Mosaic Film Experience in November. For more information, visit

46 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

UICA to Screen Award-Winning Doc The Wolfpack


or most of us, movies are a divine form of entertainment. For the Angulo brothers however, they can be a way to experience a world they may not otherwise see. Crystal Moselle’s new documentary The Wolfpack follows these brothers as they recall being confined to a four-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, a home they rarely left. Homeschooled by their mother and all but isolated from the outside world, these brothers turned to movies to learn about a world they never got to experience. They throw themselves into the roles of the movies they love and, through the use of meticulously-crafted home-

made props, reenact their favorite films to battle feelings of loneliness and frustration. When one of the brothers escapes, however, the brothers must learn to cope and see how strong their bond is. Last month the New York Times praised the film’s honest approach: “‘The Wolfpack’ doesn’t drag you down or offer packaged uplift, but instead tells a strange tale with heart and generosity.” The Wolfpack runs through July 16 at the UICA. For more info, visit

‘Movies in the Park’ Heats up in July


n an age of Netflix instant queues and being able to watch entire movies on your phone, it seems convenience is king. For those of us who yearn for a yesteryear spent necking, gorging on popcorn and watching classic flicks on an outdoor screen, a good movie — and the right setting — can make for the perfect social event. Luckily for us, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and Wealthy Theatre host the Movies in the Park at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. This is the third year for the series. Celebrate your secret crush on the late, great Patrick Swayze by attending a showing

of Dirty Dancing on July 10 — then channel your inner child while watching Hook on July 24. As always, the event is free to the public and various pre-show activities will take place from around 7 p.m. until dusk when the movie starts. Local food vendors will be onsite and legal patrons can bring a cold one to enjoy during the film — just be sure to bring your I.D. too. For more information, and for a full list of movies in the series, visit

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REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


by Kimberly Peloquin


Booked Up

Grand Rapids Library boasts busy July schedule The Grand Rapid’s Public Library is hosting numerous educational and literature-based events throughout the summer. Books, theater, science, comics and even animals can be expected to make an appearance at a few of their events. The best part: They’re all free. For all the details, visit

Science on Tap: Profile of a Poisoner

SpeakEZ Lounge: 600 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. July 9–10

Schedule | Dining | Sights Sounds | Scene

Looking for some late-night intellectual discussions? Science on Tap, which is cosponsored by Grand Valley State University and SpeakEZ Lounge, hosts monthly scientific discussions geared toward adults. This month, join Dr. Bryan Judge, toxicologist and Program Director of the Emergency Medical Residency Program with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University, for a conversation about poisons. Sit back, enjoy delicious food and adult beverages while listening to Dr. Judge discuss how and why criminals use poison.

48 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Shakespeare in the Park

over time. This event will reveal your creativity as you produce a four-panel comic.

Relax under the sun at Riverside Park, while watching Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company perform William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets as you follow the fairy-tale story of King Leontes of Sicilia and the crazy journey he and his family undergo. Bring your own meal and drinks, excluding alcohol, and feel free to purchase food at one of the numerous food trucks.


Riverside Park: 2001 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. July 11, 7–9 p.m.

Family Comic Night

Main Library: 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids. July 15, 6:30–7:30 p.m. This isn’t a stand-up comic night – this family comic night focuses on the different elements of newspaper comic strips. Cartoonist Sam Carbaugh, Comics in Literature student Mary Hancock, and Charley Tucker from Vault of Midnight will educate guests on the elements of comics and how they have evolved

Main Library: 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids. July 18, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. For those in search of a new furry friend Petpalooza is where you should be July 18. Multiple animal rescue organizations such as Pet Tales Rescue, Allies for Greyhounds, Michele’s Rescue, LuvnPupz and Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance will show off loving pets. Most of these organizations do not allow same day adoption, so get ahead in the game and fill out an application for pre-approval.

Animal Hero Tales

Seymour Branch: 2350 Eastern SE, Grand Rapids. July 22, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Story time and a petting zoo is the perfect summer-morning happening for animal-lovin’ families. Bring your children to the Grand Rapids’ Public Library Seymour Branch July 22 to experience animal hero tales

Petpalooza, July 18. (Pictured: Allies for Greyhounds) with Animal Encounters. Words and pictures of Mercer Mayer’s acclaimed children’s story There is an Alligator Under My Bed will be displayed on a nine-foot video screen. After the story, children and adults will have the opportunity to meet and interact with friendly live animals.

Genealogy Lock-In

Main Library: 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids. July 31, 6–10 p.m.

up July. This summer happening is impeccable for the future genealogists out there. Meeting in the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections department, you will have the opportunity to learn how to use a microfilm reader/scanner/printer, save images, search databases, and receive answers to any genealogy questions. To attend, registration is required. Visit or call (616) 988-5400. n

Come to the Main Library for a scientific, analytic event to wrap

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It’s always a good day at Old Dog! REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


by Josh Veal

Comedy At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000

Funny, Fearless

Taylor De La Ossa opens for Jen Kirkman at Pyramid Scheme COMMUNITY SHOW CASE

July 2



Schedule | Dining | Sights Sounds | Scene

JulyS PAT 16-18

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50 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015


n the ‘80s, stand-up comedy boomed. Clubs were packed, legends were born and anything was possible. For one glorious decade standup reigned. Decades later the Internet has introduced the new generation of stand-up comedians. A comedy renaissance is underway and it’s larger and more diverse than ever before. That’s where Taylor De La Ossa comes in. “There’s a second boom happening, it’s exciting,” said De La Ossa, a Lansing-based comedian and semifinalist at this year’s Funniest Person in Grand Rapids competition. She opens for Jen Kirkman, Los Angeles-based comic, July 15 at The Pyramid Scheme. At age 24, De La Ossa’s story acts as a shining example of the modern stand-up’s journey. No stranger to the stage, her career began with theatre productions and film sets, but it didn’t take long to realize her real fearless, personal and sometimes vulgar. Some passion: Comedy. It loomed as a personal bits are centered on her deceased mother’s fantasy. After discovering Mac’s Monday drug addiction, often leaving the audience Comedy Night – an open mic night at Mac’s wondering if it’s okay to laugh. Bar in Lansing, De La Ossa resolved to test When asked about her inspirations, the waters. De La Ossa name dropped After two weeks as an heavyweights like Louis C.K., Jen Kirkman audience member, she made Doug Stanhope and Mitch w/ Taylor De La Ossa the leap. Terrified for her Hedberg. Still, much of the July 15, 8 p.m., 18+ first show, especially with time her greatest inspirations Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids everyone she knew in atcome randomly throughout $16, $14 adv. tendance, De La Ossa began each day. preparations. “I wish it was something “I decided it was time you could turn on and off at to stop talking about wanting to do comedy will. Most of the time I’m at work and just some day and just go to the open mic,” De writing fifty things down on pieces of paper,” La Ossa said. “I wrote down every word I De La Ossa said. wanted to say verbatim on notebook paper The drive and ambition to jot down and I brought that up with me – and I got jokes is likely encouraged by the tight-knit way, way, way too drunk.” community of stand-ups in her hometown Regardless of her alcohol level – or maybe of Lansing, the home base of fellow stand-up as a result of it, the set was a success. It was comics Dan Currie, Mark Roebuck, Robert time to make the switch. “Even in my drunken Jenkins and Pat Sievert. haze I realized, ‘I’m better at comedy than “Comedy is like one big family,” she acting,’” De La Ossa recalled. said. “I’ve been blown away by the fraternal She’s been addicted to stand-up ever vibes. In Lansing we’re spoiled. It’s something since, performing over 100 shows in less than other comics remark on – how we’re all so two years. In that time she’s developed a sigsupportive of each other. That’s part of why I nature brand of funny business. Her style is fell into it the way I did.”

Beyond the Capitol City, she said there’s just as much of a community in West Michigan, particularly in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Saginaw is also bubbling up. “There are pockets of awesome people everywhere,” she said. De La Ossa has built her own collective with three other local comics, all women, known as the Comedy Coven. When asked about what it’s like to perform in a maledominated industry, she had plenty to say about misogynistic stereotypes – including stories of unwarranted amazement and being referred to as a “female comedian.” “It’s never not an issue, you know? Even when people are well-meaning they can be condescending with how surprised they are when they thought it was funny,” she said. “There’s no shortage of stupid things people say to me.” Moving forward, De La Ossa and the Comedy Coven plan to utilize the Internet in spreading their alternative comedy. “The age we live in, it’s very easy to make something. As a comedian that opens more doors. You can not only do stand-up, but sketches, web series – whatever,” De La Ossa said. “It’s different now.” n





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Scene | Sounds | Sights Diing | Schedule ! KING THTA BREA


52 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Restaurant listings arranged by region

Grand Rapids Angel’s Thai Café 136 Monroe Center NW. 616-454-9801 THAI. This downtown restaurant makes your order fresh, fast, and hot. You can order your entree with your choice of meat and spice level, or create your own. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Thai Steak and Yum Talay. Bar Divani 15 Ionia Ave. SW. 616-774-WINE. ECLECTIC. Bar Divani offers a sophisticated environment, with the chefs use local ingredients in their creations. Taste the homegrown flavor in the Prosciutto Flatbread, the Linguine Alfredo or the Plum Salmon. By pairing with Dancing Goats Creamery, Otto’s Chicken, S&S Lamb, Ingraberg Farms, Mrs. Dog’s and Madcap, Bar Divani serves extraordinary tastes. But, what would a night out be without a few drinks? The bar serves more than 300 types of liquor, 300 wines and 50 beers to compliment each handcrafted meal. » SERVING: Dinner after 4 p.m. OPEN ON: Everyday but Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Local Cuisine. Bentham’s Riverfront Restaurant 187 Monroe Ave. NW. 616-774-2000 AMERICAN. Enjoy great breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options while looking out at the Grand River. Casual attire. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days, closes at 2 p.m. GO THERE FOR: Lunch buffet.

The Bistro 11 Monroe Avenue NW (at Courtyard Marriott). 616-2426000 AMERICAN. Serving American food bistro-style, whether it’s grab-and-go or guests dining in for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Bistro offers fresh seasonal options, serves Starbucks beverages and has a full-service bar. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Sandwiches. Bistro Bella Vita 44 Grandville Ave. SW. 616-222-4600 ITALIAN. One of Grand Rapids’ best dining experiences, featuring Mediterraneaninspired country cuisine, a swanky yet comfortable downtown

Blue Water Grill 5180 Northland Dr. 616-363-5900 SEAFOOD. One of Grand Rapids’ most inspired restaurants in terms of overall ambiance, with Frank Lloyd Wright-style architecture, a massive fireplace, and some of the best water views in West Michigan. The food is similarly inspired, drawing from Italian, Mediterranean and classic American influences. All the traditional favorites are accounted for with a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas, seafood, steaks, chops, salads, and sandwiches. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Grass Fed Beef. The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW. (616) 356-2000 ECLECTIC. If you’re not sure what kind of dining you want, you can just head into The B.O.B., where you can choose from one of its several venues. Go into Gilly’s, where you can dine on seafood or B.O.B.’s Brewery, the restaurant’s in-house brewery. You can dress down for some pizza at Bobarino’s or dress it up for a steak at Judson’s Steakhouse. For after dinner, take in a show at Dr. Grins or enjoy live music at H.O.M.E. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and numerous dining options. Bombay Cuisine 1420 Lake Dr. SE 616-456-7055 INDIAN. Offering savory and subtly spiced dishes from northern India, Bombay Cuisine is a hot spot for those who like to add a little flavor to their lives. With a lunch buffet served every weekday, this restaurant provides its eaters with an array of traditional Indian cuisine. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Naan, Butter Chicken. Brewery Vivant 925 Cherry St. SE. 616-719-1604 BREWPUB. Housed in a former funeral chapel, Brewery Vivant crafts Belgian-style ales with a focus on barrel aging. The brewpub also brings Belgian tradition when it comes to food, featuring French and Belgian-style meals to pair perfectly with the beer. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Burger Chapbook Café 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids. 616-942-0595. CAFE. Take a break from browsing the shelves at Schuler Books with a homemade selection of soups, sandwiches and quiches. Soups are prepared in-house daily and served with fresh baked bread

to accompany a small-but-elegant sandwich menu. Try a quiche or traditional Italian Panini grilled on fresh ciabatta bread, or for a quick bite, grab a bagel or scone from the dessert case. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days GO THERE FOR: Homemade soups and sandwiches CitySen Lounge 83 Monroe Center St. NW. 616-608-1720 AMERICAN. CitySen Lounge, located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, is a bar with a big-city feel, offering exciting options for lunch, dinner and breakfast on the weekends. The focus is on fresh ingredients and a full bar with local brews, wine and creative cocktails. » SERVING: Weekend Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Daily happy hour The Corner Bar 31 N. Main St., Rockford 616-866-9866 AMERICAN. The downtown Rockford tavern serves a solid menu of burgers, burritos, salads and sandwiches, but it is best known for hot dogs — serving almost 1,000 per day. Its hot-dog-eating challenge has been conquered by more than a few, but it raises the question: Why would you want to consume Corner Bar dogs in a hurry rather than savor each bite? » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Hot dogs. The Cottage Bar 18 Lagrave Ave. SE. 616-454-9088 AMERICAN. The Cottage Bar is the oldest operating restaurant and bar in downtown Grand Rapids. Come in for the Cottage Burger, smothered with green olives, bacon, lettuce, tomato, hickory mayonnaise and Swiss and American cheeses. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays GO THERE FOR: The Cottage Burger. Cornucopia 187 Monroe Ave. NW. 616-774-2000 DELI. A refreshing option for on-the-go, or casual, lighter fare. Enjoy deli options such as homemade soups, salads, Panini sandwiches and freshly brewed gourmet coffee. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Sandwiches. Cygnus 27 187 Monroe Ave. NW. 616-776-6425 ECLECTIC. Enjoy the skyline as you dine atop the Glass Tower. Indulge in a variety of globally infused dishes at this AAA FourDiamond restaurant. Casual attire; no jacket required. Private dining also available. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Seasonal Sunday Brunch.

Erb Thai 950 Wealthy St. SE #1A. (616) 356-2573. Additional locations at 4160 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite B, and 820 Michigan St. NE. THAI. Food rooted in traditional Thai cuisine, but also made to accommodate health conscious and special diets. Not too strong, not too weak, like harmony and melody. Marketing representative Molly Rizor was a Thai virgin when she went and is now glad Erb Thai was her first experience. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Peanut Curry Noodles. Founders Brewing Company 235 Grandville SW. 616-776-1195 BREWPUB. A beer-lover’s paradise with a national reputation for flavorful, award-winning beers. Likewise, the brewpub’s menu consists mainly of flavorful handcrafted deli sandwiches that can stand up and complement the beers (or vice versa). » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Award-winning beer, handcrafted sandwiches. Ganders 4747 28th St SE. 616-957-0100. AMERICAN. Ganders by Hilton Doubletree presents modern American menu options dedicated to locally grown ingredients representing the best farms, markets and food artisans of West Michigan. The restaurant also features a number of local craft beers on tap and by the bottle. The restaurant works directly with local breweries to create multi-course beer tasting menus featuring beer incorporated into every course. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 Days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh, locally grown ingredients and Michigan-made beer. Garden Court Lounge 187 Monroe Ave. NW. 616-774-2000 LOUNGE. An excellent choice for a quick drink with friends or when you desire relaxing with your favorite drink. The Garden Court Lounge offers a fine array of beer, wine, cocktails and liqueurs. » SERVING: Drinks OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails. Gilly’s 20 Monroe NW. 616-356-2000 SEAFOOD. Gilly’s may not be the biggest name on the seafood block, but it takes second place to no one in regards to quality, freshness and inspiration. A vast array of exotic fish is line-caught, flown in and prepared fresh daily. Every facet of Gilly’s speaks to impeccable attention to detail. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Fresh seafood at a great price.

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Big O Café 80 Ottawa NW. 616-451-1887 ITALIAN. The downtown (and downstairs) restaurant has a reliable menu featuring pizza, pasta, and sandwiches that are Italian and Cuban influenced. A great spot for lunch or a quick glass of wine and plate of pasta before a downtown event. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Dead Head Vegetarian Pizza, Cuban dinners on Friday nights.

atmopshere and personable service. BBV’s culinary team creates authentic, housemade recipes made with locally grown produce, fresh seafood and rotisserie roasted meats. Specialty gluten-free menu, and can prepare custom dishes for lactose intolerant, vegetarian, and vegan diets. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mediterranean Country Cuisine and Martinis.

REVUE’s dining listings are compiled by staff and minions. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of restaurants in the region. For an expanded list, be on the lookout for new and improved dining changes on our website, The listings are not intended to be reviews of West Michigan restaurants, although we will inject some opinions into the listings based on staff experiences and personal preferences. To submit or to correct information in a dining listing, e-mail editor@


Taste This

Down Home

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The Southerner is a ‘love letter to Appalachia’


itting next to a crackling hickory fire outside Saugatuck’s new fried chicken-and-barbecue joint The Southerner, chef Matthew Millar reflected on this moment in his career, which finds him going back to his roots. “I’m a blue-collar guy,” Millar said. “I never wanted to be an artist. I always wanted to be somebody who just did something well.” Yet, in the next breath, a flash of Millar’s earlier training as a literature major at Grand Valley State shows when he drops a reference to W.B. Yeats’ admonition to Irish poets to learn their trade instead of succumbing to current fashion. “It always really resonated with me, not for poetry, but for cooking,” he said. “You should be surrounded by it. You should be living in it, instead of trying to turn into something else.”

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by Brian J. Bowe

Food PHOTOs: Walcott Imaging

With the 2003 opening of Fennville’s Journeyman, Millar began to be regarded as one of the Midwest’s it-chefs. He stretched to the boundaries of his culinary vision. Everything was the highest quality, locally sourced, expertly prepared. Sure, it had a reputation of being a bit spendy, but Millar tried to justify the higher price point on the plate — and the rapturous reviews suggest he succeeded. In a 2006 article I wrote about Journeyman’s role in the burgeoning revitalization of Fennville, Millar said he actively avoided opening a resort town restaurant. “We didn’t want to fill up with 400 fudge-seeking tourists every Saturday afternoon being in downtown Douglas or Saugatuck,” Millar said at the time. A decade later, Millar’s attitude on that point has mellowed enough that he’s excited about opening a restaurant that welcomes the tourist traffic he once shunned. It’s a softening that comes in part from the tax-related shuttering of Journeyman at the height of the U.S. economy’s 2008 armageddon. “Showing up to the restaurant one day and getting thrown out by the taxman is certainly a powerful wake-up call for you to say, ‘Your standard’s one thing, but you’ve got to live life,’” Millar said. “Your standard is meaningless if the door is closed.” But, deeper still, Millar relishes the additional challenge of finding a bridge between his creative vision and prevailing customer tastes. Stung by the closure of Journeyman, his next gig was leading New Holland’s quest to increase the quality of food at its flagship pub. Faced with this more populist crowd, Millar said he was forced to ask himself: “What does that ranch dressing-drinkin’ motherf***er want that I can do? Where’s the bridge?” That conversation became more interesting to the chef than “just operating in this little bubble of niceties.”

In 2010, Millar was the chef behind the launch of the Grand Rapids’ hip-upscale Reserve. His work there attracted attention on a larger stage and Millar was a two-time semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award. While he continues to be proud of the work he did at Reserve (and displays an obvious affection for the place), he also recognized that he was out of his natural habitat. “We did very good work there,” he said. “But every time I walked into that dining room, I just knew it wasn’t me. I didn’t belong in that dining room.” He left Reserve in 2013 to launch a restaurant. His first concept — a celebration of Michigan’s French immigrant history called St. Anthony — never got off the ground. In the interim, he kept himself busy, including learning cheesemaking at Evergreen Lane Creamery and experimenting with the dishes that will be mainstays at The Southerner. In early May, there was a morel mushroom-themed dinner at The Southerner that was a reward for backers of the restaurant’s Indiegogo campaign. The event featured courses by guest chefs and the assembled culinary firepower was impressive: Paul Virant, Chris Pandel, Joel Wabeke, Matthew Green, Matthew Pietsch and James Rigato. Even with all the talent in the room that night, Millar emerged as the star of the show. It was touching to watch the way his peers worked to pay tribute to the preternaturally gifted chef who is on the cusp of getting his groove back in a serious way. “You think it’s about us,” said Rigato, a Top Chef contestant who works at The Root in White Lake. “It’s not about us. It’s about Matt Millar. That’s why we drove here tonight.” For more information visit or The Southerner’s Facebook page: n

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

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That combination of proletarian intellectualism and deep fascination with agrarian culinary traditions informs Millar’s cooking. He approaches his work with a reverence for the history behind dishes, focusing on making them correctly so they can tell their stories, while his artistic contribution happens subtly on the edges. “I find the basics of cooking … to be a lot more compelling to me than looking around for the next novelty,” Millar said. Millar calls The Southerner, located at 880 Holland St., his “love letter to Appalachia.” It’s named for the passenger train that ran between New York and New Orleans from the 1940s until the 1970s. That era saw tremendous migration from the South as people chased good Rust Belt jobs. “Detroit was a boom town,” Millar said. “The auto industry was ruling the nation and Detroit was a great place for work. Appalachia at that time was not.” Among those transplants was Millar’s grandfather, who fled the collapse of the lumber industry in eastern Tennessee for a job at Ford. Millar’s family may have been working class, but sitting around his grandma’s dinner table provided moments of comfort and delight. Millar still cites his nana, Laura Waters, as one of his biggest influences. “Her food was so good. It was like my introduction to the idea that food can be something more than something to eat, that it can be something that brings you real joy,” Millar said. “That’s what we want to do here. We want to replicate this experience of being made so insatiably happy by the things and the people that are in front of you.” Millar, who I first met in the ‘90s when we were both GVSU undergraduates, is a veteran of the West Michigan restaurant scene. He got his start at Gaia before moving through stints at the Gilmore Collection, Gibson’s and Butch’s in Holland.


taste this

by Alexandra Kadlec

July Juicing: A local guide to detoxing


ith all of the junk food served at festivals, you might need a detox. One option is juicing. For some, the words juice cleanse conjures up an image of self-inflicted suffering, sacrifice, and near-starvation. And then there’s the price tag (not cheap), and the connotation (Gwyneth-y), and the crimp it puts in your social life (goodbye bars, hello board games). Sure, we’re talking about foregoing solid food for three to five days or longer in favor of a mixed-veggie liquid diet, with hopes and likely suspicion this exercise will yield quantifiable health benefits. I get it, but I’ve done the juice cleanse more than once and experienced positive results. I’d do it all over again — and I love food. The prospect of exiling cheese, bread and chocolate will always sound difficult. But that’s the point. A juice cleanse is a reminder we aren’t slaves to our bodies and we can live without the mouthwatering tastes we’re hooked on. And while day one of a cleanse time will move at a snail’s pace, it’s worth the fight and it’s only a few days. As a juicing advocate, I want to share some truths and tips, along with the perspective of more experienced juicers.

TIP 1:

The worse your diet is, the more unpleasant a juice cleanse will be.

Everyone will have a unique juicing experience based on mindset, type of cleanse (innumerable), and adherence to the program. The same goes for current health/diet. If you’re a caffeine addict, you’ll probably experience headaches, fatigue and even muscle cramps. If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, be prepared for irritability, anxiety and cravings. The good news? It’s in your power to lessen the pain.

TIP 2:

What you do before and after a cleanse matters.

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You probably won’t like the thought of sacrificing in the days leading up to a juice cleanse, but your body will thank you for it. Follow a light, healthy diet filled with easy-to-digest foods for at least three to five days before juicing. Cut out alcohol, added sugars and caffeine – or, for serious coffee drinkers, cutting down and taking it black. Do it in phases, if that helps, with meat and dairy eliminated for at least the last few days. You can

Where to Go: GreenBox Organic Juice Bar 5570 Wilson Avenue Southwest, Grandville Two-to-seven-day cleanses are available and made every Friday for pick-up. You can choose from four different options. Tailored to newbies (more fruits) and juicing pros (heavy on the greens).

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also start incorporating some green juices to get your mind and body in juicing mode. Depending on the length of the cleanse you’ll also want to ease back in to a light, healthy diet. In short, don’t run out and wolf down a burger. Actually, you probably won’t want to. Post-cleanse your palate will be much more sensitive to processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and other “toxins.” And because you’ll also likely be experiencing increased energy, empowerment and overall improved mood, you won’t want to derail those hard-earned results.

TIP 3:

Feeling bad can actually be a good thing.

Experiencing weakness, exhaustion, headaches, even cold- or flu-like symptoms in the midst of a juice cleanse is enough to make some people want to give up. But sometimes you got to feel bad before you can feel good. These and any withdrawal symptoms are part of the detoxifying process, says Jennifer Apol of GreenBox Organic Juice Bar. She calls this a “healing crisis” and a sign your body is cleansing.

Customizations are also available—like adding matcha to your morning juice if you normally rely on caffeine to start your day. E-mail or stop by and chat with the staff. Malamiah Juice Bar 435 Ionia Ave SW #128, Grand Rapids Malamiah offers five different cleanse plans, from one-to five-days. The “partial” plans include four juices and

one health shot a day. Those are best for those wanting to consume a light, clean meal in the evening. “Exclusive” plans include five bottled juices and a health shot for each day. You also get to select a flavor profile to suit your palate: clean greens or spicy beet. Local Roots Juice Bar Kitchen coming to Portage

GreenBox Organic Juice Bar

For me, feeling achy and tired for the first day is the worst. But by day two or three I’m noticeably energized, without my morning coffee! So don’t give up. Just take it easy and make sure you’re getting adequate rest and try to drink an equal amount of water for every juice you consume.

TIP 4:

Perfection is not the goal.

If cleansing gets beyond what you can handle, rather than bail on the whole thing, have a small cup of black coffee to lessen caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Or, if you are really struggling, grab a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or have a small cup of vegetable stock, says Kourtney O’Reilly of Local Roots Juice Bar.

With an emphasis on supporting West Michigan farmers, Local Roots offers raw, cold-pressed, organic juices with ingredients that change along with the produce currently in season. Contact to place your customized cleanse order, lasting from one day to as many as you want. Sip Organic Juice Bar 888 Forest Hill Ave SE, Cascade 432 Norwood Ave SE, Grand Rapids

Sip’s detox program is all about retaining fiber for the nutritional benefits, as well as its ability to help stabilize the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, says Jennifer Pohlman. This spot offers three and five-day programs, which incorporate green and protein-rich smoothies alongside organic, plantbased, gluten-free, nutrient-dense raw foods. On the menu you’ll also find juices in three different categories: green antiinflammatory, sweet and robust, and savory. n






820 MICHIGAN ST NE GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49503 616-454-0444

Limit 1 ad per customer. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Void if copied or where prohibited.

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |



GP Sports 187 Monroe Ave. NW 616-776-6495 SPORTS BAR. Catch the big game on one of 30 televisions, including a big screen for optimal game viewing. This colorful and casual restaurant not only caters to sports fans, but also features top-notch burgers, pizzas and specialty drinks. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Score Big Burgers. Graydon’s Crossing 1223 Plainfield NE. 616-726-8260 TAVERN. An authentic take on the English Pub, with a huge selection of beers on tap and a menu that includes classic English dishes like Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Stew, as well as Indian specialties like Tandoori Chicken and Tikka Masala. A great casual atmosphere for drinking and dining. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and authentic pub food. G.R.P.D. (Grand Rapids Pizza and Delivery) 340 State St. SE. 616-454-9204 ITALIAN. The current location opened in 2004 as the first established pizzeria in Heritage Hill A common meeting spot for local folks, business professionals and college students, a place where one could gather for a quick meal or a reflective lunch. It offers both hand-tossed pizza and Chicago-style stuffed pizza, as well as pasta, sandwiches, salads, and wings. Online ordering, too. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza.



Wrapped in local kale, a raw blend of organic beets, cucumbers, shredded carrots, parsley, sprouts, and our savory cashew spread. Served with our creamy spiced avocado dipping sauce. All organic ingredients. $6.50

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s i p o r g a n i c j u i c e b a r. c o m

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PARTICIPATING LOCATIONS: Eastown: 423 Norwood Ave. SE, Grand Rapids Forest Hills: 888 Forest Hill Ave., Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Brewing Company 1 Ionia Ave SW. 616-458-7000 BREWPUB. Good for the environment and your palate, GRBC is Michigan’s first certified organic brewery and features a menu stocked with locally grown ingredients. With a diverse selection of beers on tap inspired by historical Grand Rapids figures and a hearty array of burgers, melts and hand-cranked sausages, this place represents the best of the brewery’s 120-year legacy. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Organic beer and locally sourced food. Grand Woods Lounge 77 Grandville Ave SW. 616-451-4300 AMERICAN. The restaurant’s interior exudes a warm, casual ambiance reminiscent of the great eateries of the Pacific Northwest; the outdoor porch features two outdoor bars and a fireplace. Menu stocked with affordable appetizers great for sharing, plus salads, sandwiches, and entrées. Lots of domestics and microbrews, plus an array of martinis including the “Woodstini,” a tasty mix of Stoli Orange Vodka, mandarin oranges and raspberries. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Cocktails. The Holiday Bar 801 5th St. NW. (616) 456-9058 AMERICAN. Tucked smack dab in the “Heart of the Westside, The Holiday Bar boasts a classic 40-foot Horseshoe bar, along with cheap eats and drinks, both served until 2 a.m., with specials happening daily. The Holiday Bar has a full menu that features pub fare like chicken strips, pierogis, battered homestyle mushrooms and more. It’s a great place to watch the game, listen to music or just hang out with friends. » SERVING Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Cheap eats and drinks. Harmony Brewing Company 1551 Lake Dr. SE (616) 233-0063 BREWPUB. Harmony features 12 craft-brewed beers in addition to signature root beer for the kiddos. Named one of the top-five brewpub menus in West Michigan by yours truly, Harmony’s ultimate deal

is a take-out combo that features one of its 10” gourmet wood-fired pizzas and a growler of beer for $20, as well as a $5 cheese and $6 pepperoni pizza deal every Tuesday. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza and brews. HopCat 25 Ionia SW. 616-451-4677 TAVERN. Rated the 3rd best beer bar on the planet by Beer Advcoate, HopCat’s spin on its food is thus: “It’s the food your Mom would feed you, if your Mom loved beer.” That’s specifically true for HopCat’s beerbar cheese, cheese ale soup and porter braised beef, but mom would also love the Hippie wrap (it’s vegetarian), the crack fries (not real crack), and Killer Mac and Cheese. Because what mom doesn’t like mac and cheese? » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Widest variety of beers, crack fries. Lumber Baron Bar 187 Monroe Ave. NW. (616) 774-2000 LOUNGE. Settle into the warmth and charm of this historic bar — complete with a fireplace, leather club chairs and a large selection of premium drinks and appetizers. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays and Mondays GO THERE FOR: Scotch or Brandy after a Symphony concert. Marie Catrib’s 1001 Lake Dr. 616-454-4020 ECLECTIC. The East Hills eatery makes everything from scratch with local ingredients, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Get there early for lunch, as there is almost always a wait. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Salads, soups and sandwiches. Mixology 235 Louis St. NW. 616-242-1448 LOUNGE. Casual, upscale service and atmosphere allows guests to relax and enjoy the city views. This type of service allows guests to complete business tasks while still enjoying the accessibility to great food and libations. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails. O’Toole’s 448 Bridge St. 616-742-6095 PUB. This West side pub offers delicious and outrageously topped burgers, as well as an extensive beer selection, and arguably, the best happy hour specials in town. If food is not your passion, this is a prime place to kick off your Sunday Funday with its $3 Absolut Bloody Mary bar. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 Days. GO THERE FOR: Gourmet burgers, Absolut Bloody Mary bar. Olive’s Restaurant 2162 Wealthy St. SE. 616-451-8611 ECLECTIC. Gaslight Village mainstay for Easties looking to have a cocktail and casual dinner. The menu is surprisingly broad, with innovative starters (e.g., Napoli fritters, Paella cakes) and diverse entrées like Southern meatloaf, braised short ribs and mobu tofu. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: A broad selection. One Trick Pony 136 E. Fulton. 616-235-7669 AMERICAN. One Trick Pony unveiled a new menu in April with the tagline “Fresh, Local Fare with a Beat.” The restaurant is a part of FarmLink and supports local growers and remains focused on sustainability. Connected to the Cottage Bar, the menu spans pizza,


served all our steaks are


tender, juicy and



Grand Rapids | 616.776.6426 | Inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel |

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

200 Varick St. New York, NY 10014 : Phone 212-805-7500


/// Beer

by Joe Boomgaard, Revue Beer Czar

A generous flight at Right Brain Brewery (left) and a view of the electic artwork decorating the interior (right).

Northern Exposure: Exploring Traverse City’s craft beer scene

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raverse City may be known for its cherries and wine, but the Northwest Michigan town has been slowly making a name for itself because of its thriving craft beer scene. The city of around 15,000 people has no fewer than 10 microbreweries or brewpubs — and that’s not even counting many more beer producers that continue to pop up in nearby towns like Acme, Lake Ann and Suttons Bay. (Lest you fudgies forget: Short’s Brewing Co. is actually based 40 miles away in Bellaire.) In many ways, Traverse City breweries mirror their West Michigan counterparts with their purposeful focus on craft and farm-to-glass ingredients — and there’s also no shortage of interesting characters involved with the companies, either. With that in mind, the dedicated team at REVUE West Michigan decided to make the ultimate sacrifice of leaving their desks for a day last month to head north to Traverse City to sample some beers. Here are some of the highlights.

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Right Brain Brewery

225 East 16th St., Traverse City (231) 944-1239, Patrons learn to expect the unexpected at Right Brain. After all, this is the brewery that made a name for itself by brewing the Mangalitsa Pig Porter, a beer with pig heads and bones. (Seriously — and it’s damn delicious.) The brewery also shares a building with a salon, a nod to founder Russell Springsteen’s former career as a hair stylist. Right Brain has served up its “culinary-inspired” craft brews for eight years and has grown distribution of its 16-ounce cans and specialty bomber bottles to cover most of the state. The mainstays, including CEO Stout, Willpower Pale Ale and Smooth Operator Cream Ale, were all on tap — along with four to five different IPAs at a time — but a visit to the taproom isn’t complete without sampling the latest in experimental beers. We tried everything from the spicy Thai Peanut brown ale to Spear Beer, a pale ale made with asparagus. The space itself is open and airy and full of interesting art, including several ArtPrize-related pieces. There’s a mix of intimate settings and long picnic tables for large groups and families — perfect for observing an indoor game of cornhole or for playing board games. Springsteen said he loves to see people come in for conversation and games — and, of course, the beer. The results speak for themselves, he said, noting the company has been growing at a fast clip. (Heh, barber humor.) Right Brain continues to

expand its production capacity, which is now at 5,500 barrels just to meet the demand from thirsty patrons. “We’re just trying to keep up and make better beer,” he said.

The Workshop Brewing Company 221 Garland St., Traverse City (231) 421-8977,

Channel your inner Bolshevik and head to The Workshop to grab a round of honest ales after an honest day of working for the man. The worker-centered iconography at the pub is a testament to founder Pete Kirkwood’s vision of a locally-focused brewery built on a mantra of “nature, community, craft.” Power to the proletariat! While The Workshop certainly embraces experimentation, the microbrewery features traditional, true-to-style offerings, most of them made with as many organic ingredients as possible — and all of them named after workers’ tools. The tap list generally has nine “Journeyman” beers

Nachos at Workshop Brewing Company

The [frickin’ amazing] S’more Pizza at The Filling Station

ranging in style from Tenpenny blonde ale, Sickle saison and Ball Peen ESB to 10 lb. Sledge IPA, Uncapper stock ale and Pry Bar porter, plus a handful of seasonals. (Pro tip: Try the saison and the ESB.) “You should not be judged for your taste. We wanted everyone to feel welcomed,” Kirkwood said. Revue also indulged in the Wrecking Bar, a nitro imperial porter aged in locally sourced bourbon barrels. The brewery plans to add wine and cider this month. The Workshop’s beers share the spotlight with the company’s food offerings, many of which use beer as ingredients. We tried (and recommend) the Workshop Nachos made with pulled pork and black beans, as well as the Pork Belly Confit. For Kirkwood’s part, he’s focused on growing a Zingerman’s-style network of locally-sourced, workercentered businesses. This year he opened the adjacent Remedy Café, a breakfast joint. “There’s a deeply rooted culture of support for local food and drink in Traverse City,” he said.

Her brother, Dustin, serves as head brewer. The beers range the gamut from a traditional wit, brown and pale ale to the weird, including the very strong LSBT — an ale made with lapsang souchong tea that tastes smoky, almost like drinking a summer bonfire. Another way they experiment is with locally sourced herbs and fruits. Living on Yarrow-ed Thyme, for example, uses yarrow as the bittering agent and contains no hops. A fashion designer, Kirsten also sells unique beer-themed jewelry and apparel at the taproom. A favorite among Revue staffers was the resin-encased hops jewelry.

Brewery Ferment

511 S Union St., Traverse City (231) 735-8113, Tucked away in a small storefront in Traverse City’s Old Town neighborhood, Brewery Ferment’s taproom offers a laid-back vibe in which to enjoy the founders’ innovative approach to traditional beer styles. The brewery has five “approachable” flagship styles but is known for its sour beers. Since Ferment works on a 1-barrel system, “it allows us to experiment and do all sorts of crazy things,” said co-owner Kirsten Jones.

The Filling Station Microbrewery 642 Railroad Place, Traverse City (231) 946-8168,

We wound down our northern exposure beer tour with what was intended to be a quick stop at The Filling Station, a former train depot that was converted into a microbrewery. However, good beer, inviting outdoor seating and the prospect of a tasty artisan pizza (or two) convinced us to stay awhile and enjoy. They make a refreshing Erding Helles Lager, an array of IPAs — we opted for the balanced Huntington IPA — and the roasty London Porter. In fact, the porter paired well with dessert, a slice of heaven known as the S’more Caboose. Get this: It’s a pizza crust made with graham cracker crumbs that’s spread with Nutella, topped with marshmallows, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce and then roasted like a s’more. O.M.Effing.G. What a way to cap off the trip. Cheers until next time, Traverse City. n

Beggars Brewery Production brewery not open to public. Look for its beers on tap around town. Brewery Terra Firma 2959 Hartman Rd.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales 13512 Peninsula Drive (Old Mission Peninsula) Mackinaw Brewing Co. 161 East Front St.

Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule

Releasing Wed., July 15 at Spelling Bee(r). Event Info at

BEER CITY (NORTH)? Traverse City has a thriving and creative craft beer culture. Here are some of the other microbreweries and brewpubs to check out on your next northern adventure.

Traditional Belgian Wit blended with citrus and brewer’s sugar resulting in a truly unique beer. A beer creamsicle!

North Peak Brewing Co. 400 West Front St. Rare Bird Brewpub 229 Lake Ave.

20 Monroe Ave | Grand Rapids REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


Dining salads, homemade soups, smoked prime rib and more. Pair the food with live music, which OTP features weekly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Eclectic pizzas.


Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

ALL BOBA TEA & WRAPS JULY 10 - 12, 2015 5 TO 9 PM NEW HOURS: TUE - SUN 950 Wealthy Street Southeast Suite 1B Grand Rapids, MI 49506

62 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Pearl Street Grill 310 Pearl St NW. 616-235-1342 AMERICAN. Dine in a relaxing environment where kids eat free and the chef uses local vendors and suppliers. Conveniently located in downtown Grand Rapids, Pearl Street Grill offers nightly happy hour specials that include signature cocktails and Michigan beer, as well as a $10 burger and beer special, $5 pizzas and more. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Late night specials. The Pita House 1450 Wealthy SE, 3730 28th Street, 4533 Ivanrest SW (Grandville). 616-454-1171 MEDITERRANEAN. Gyros so big you can club someone with them, the smoothest hummus in town and other Mediterranean fare, including kibbe, kafta and falafel. Additional locations on 28th Street and Kalamazoo SE. Sandwiches are made to order with fresh vegetables and ingredients. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh pita wraps. Red Jet Cafe 1431 Plainfield Ave. NE. 616-719-5500 ECLECTIC. The funky restaurant in Creston’s old library is the kind of place you’d find in Chicago’s hip neighborhoods, offering non-sequitur menu items that somehow seem to work. Seriously, how many other places in town can you find that serve high-end organic coffees, crepes, wood-fired pizzas and artisan baked goods. Is it a bistro? Is it a coffeehouse? Does it matter? » SERVING: Breakfast (weekends) Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days; 11 a.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. weekends. GO THERE FOR: Crepes. Reds on the River 8 E Bridge St #100, Rockford. 616-863-8181 AMERICAN. Relaxed ambiance, great food and a view of the river equate to an enjoyable time out. With quality food and fresh ingredients you’re sure to find a meal that tickles your fancy. Staff is trained to help you should you encounter unfamiliar territory. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days GO THERE FOR: Red’s Steak Burger Reserve Wine & Food 201 Monroe Ave. NW (616) 855-9463 ECLECTIC. With 102 wines available by the glass and more than 300 by the bottle, paired with an ever-changing food menu influenced by West Michigan grown foods, Reserve promises diners a unique experience. Cocktails and craft beers add depth to the primarily wine-centered menu. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday GO THERE FOR: Wine and food pairings, charcuterie, happy hour. River City Saloon 1152 Leonard St. NW. 616-451-0044 AMERICAN. Combine your tastes of live music and filling food at River City Saloon. The restaurant and bar has Mexican options, burgers, salads and more. On the weekends, indulge in any of these menu items or a couple drinks while listening to some local music by bands like Hey Marco, OTC, Litt Up, Drop 35 and more. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Wednesday olive burger special Rockwell-Republic 45 S. Division Ave. 616-551-3563 ECLECTIC. Menu offerings range from sushi to burgers and everything in between. The cocktail menu runs the gamut from classics like the Manhattan to more modern variations and the beer and wine menus are nothing to sneeze at either. » SERVING: Lunch

Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails, broad menu, lively atmosphere. Ruth’s Chris Steak House 187 Monroe Avenue NW. 616-776-6426 STEAKHOUSE. Serving only the best steaks, Ruth’s Chris hand-selects its steaks from the top 2% of the country’s beef, which is then broiled to perfection at 1800 degrees. Enjoy the freshest seafood, classic sides and homemade desserts that satisfy any craving. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays. GO THERE FOR: Steak. San Chez Bistro 38 West Fulton St. 616-774-8272 ECLECTIC. Using local products, San Chez is both a café and a Tapas Bistro, and is now both housed in the same room. This is a social setting where people can remember the one rule of kindergarten: sharing. Featuring small, delicious dishes, San Chez can satiate your desire for variety. It’s also a hidden secret for breakfast in downtown Grand Rapids, offering a great start to any day. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 Days. GO THERE FOR: Tapas, Breakfast, Sandwiches The Score 5301 Northland Dr. NE. 616-301-0600 SPORTS BAR. The perfect combination for beer and sports lovers. More than 70 TVs carry major sports packages and there are 128 beers on tap. During summer, enjoy live entertainment every day, outdoor dining (with real palm trees) and volleyball tournaments. The menu ranges from burgers to pizzas and wings tossed in one of The Score’s 16 sauces. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner .OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Lots of beer options. Six.One.Six. 235 Louis St. NW. 616-242-1448 ECLECTIC. Marketinspired menus, sweeping views and progressive rhythms combine to create a memorable dining experience. The dishes tempt taste buds and is the perfect spot for foodies. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 Days GO THERE FOR: Variety and being seen. Speak EZ Lounge 600 Monroe Ave. NW. 616-458-3125 ECLECTIC. While this lounge may be modeled after the year 1933, its food is not. There’s a variety of food for all to enjoy whether you’re omnivore, vegan or gluten free. Come in for a bite of Rustic Sage Risotto that goes perfectly with one of the lounges signature drinks. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: The diverse menu Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Ave. 616-356-2700 TAVERN. The Chicago-style whiskey bar has more than 200 varieties of distilled spirits, old-school video games, a superexcellent jukebox stocked with rock and punk classics, and a menu filled with vegetarian and vegan bar food — and stuffed burgers. Did we mention you can sip cans of PBR and other classic beers out of a mason jar? » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Vegetarian and vegan bar food. Terra GR 1429 Lake Dr. 616-301-0998 AMERICAN. Terra boasts fresh, healthy ingredients in every dish. The restaurant doesn’t feature one menu, either. It offers a Saturday and Sunday brunch menu, as well as menus for lunch, dinner, dessert, beverages, wine, happy hour and kids. The food is inspired by the seasons and ingredients come straight from one of Michigan’s many farms. » SERVING: Brunch Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh foods with ingredients from regional growers.


A new look, a new menu, a new restaurant For GranD rapiDS

now serving breakfast five days a week WE’RE STIRRING UP A REVOLUTION AT BARTERTOWN DINER WITH DELICIOUS, PLANT-BASED BREAKFAST, BRUNCH AND LUNCH ITEMS. We make everything from scratch using produce from local farmers and we carry a variety of locally made beverages including direct trade coffee, kombucha and soda.


DELIVERY HOURS Wednesday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. RESTAURANT HOURS Wednesday-Sunday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located inside the DoubleTree Hotel 616.957.1111 • 4747 28th Street SE

6 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Visit our Facebook page for daily specials.

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule

F O R D E L I V E R Y, C A L L


Dining Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill 760 Butterworth St. SW. 616-272-3910 AMERICANA. You might walk into Tip Top for the cheap happy hour specials or one of the many rockabilly acts. But get comfortable with one of the venue’s signature menu items. Get classic with a sandwich or burger, but we recommend immersing yourself fully in GR’s west side and ordering Tip Top’s Polish Plate. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Dinner, drinks and a show. The Winchester 648 Wealthy St. SE. 616-451-4969 ECLECTIC. Upscale Wealthy Street bar and restaurant feels like it was plucked from Chicago’s Bucktown or Logan Square neighborhoods. A comfortable spot to drink or dine, with an always evolving menu featuring shared plates, salads and inventive sandwiches. The Cuban Reuben, originally created as something of a joke, remains a (very tasty) staple item. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: DIY Bloody Mary Bar Special, Yucca Fries.

Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

Wolfgang’s Restaurant 1530 Wealthy St. SE. 616-454-5776 BREAKFAST. The bustling Eastown breakfast spot is home to some of the heartiest breakfast dishes and funniest menu descriptions. Courteous staff never fails to offer a cup of coffee to go after we’ve finished breakfast. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Breakfast all day.

64 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

Lakeshore 8th Street Grille 20 W. 8th St., Holland. 616-392-5888 AMERICAN. This eclectic grille offers a mix of draft and bottled craft beers and a variety of pub classics and new, American beer-inspired dishes. Happy hour includes half-off appetizers and $1 off drafts. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: 28 taps of craft beer.

restaurant along the lakeshore. The atmosphere is casual and upbeat, the staff knows its stuff about wine and food, and the seasonal menu is filled with meticulously prepared, eclectic comfort food like Butternut Squash Risotto, Braised Lamb Shank and Ahi Tuna. A great wine list and tremendous desserts. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Gorgonzola Pork Chop, Greek Salad with Grandma Gigi’s Dressing (Edwards).

Bil-Mar Restaurant 1223 S. Harbor St., Holland. 616-842-5920 AMERICAN. A destination restaurant for more than 60 years. Dazzling sunsets and an all-American menu featuring fresh seafood and handcut steaks. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Lake perch, lobster strudel, prime rib.

Fricano’s Pizza Tavern 1400 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven. 616-842-8640 ITALIAN. Claims to be the first pizzeria in Michigan, but customers care less about its longevity than the amazingly crispy thin crust and simple ingredients atop its much-lauded pies. Four other locations around West MI, including Comstock Park, Muskegon, Holland and Kalamazoo. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza.

CityVu Bistro 61 E 7th Street, Holland. 616-796-2114 AMERICAN. A distinctive rooftop dining experience in downtown Holland with fresh gourmet flatbreads and an array of seasonal entrees are in. The contemporary-yet-casual atmosphere, full bar and unique menus make it the ideal spot for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: flatbreads

Kirby House 2 Washington, Grand Haven. 616-846-3299 AMERICAN. The Grill Room doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is — a chop house and grill. Atmosphere is warm with Tuscan tones, atmospheric lighting, classically cool music and leather booths. The menu focuses on steaks and chops and makes no apologies. The steaks are prime USDA choice, the seafood selection immaculate, and the wine and beverage list is top shelf. Relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Nightlife.

Everyday People Cafe 11 Center St., Douglas. 269-857-4240 AMERICAN. REVUE Publisher Brian Edwards calls Everyday People Café his favorite

Mia & Grace 1133 3rd St., Muskegon. 231-725-9500 AMERICAN. Calls itself a bakery and bistro, but that’s too limiting to describe the creativity of Mia & Grace’s menu. The farm-to-table eatery in

downtown Muskegon is casual and comfortable and serves lots of one-of-a-kind items like the Pork Belly Reuben or the Duck PB&J (duck confit, carmelized onions, cashew-peanut butter, green pepper jelly, anadama bread). » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Salads, Soups, Creme Brulee. New Holland Brewing Company 66 E. 8th St., Holland. 616-355-6422 BREWPUB. One of West MI’s premier microbreweries serves up better than average pub grub, including the Tarheel barbecue Pulled Pork, Grilled Portobello and The Treehugger, which is billed as “a vegetarian sandwich utopia.” » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mad Hatter IPA, Dragon’s Milk. Phil’s Bar & Grille 215 Butler St., Saugatuck. 269-857-1555 AMERICAN. This cozy (some would say “small”) bar and grille in downtown Saugatuck is one of those unassuming spots you might easily overlook, though locals in Saugatuck will tell you about their love affair with Phil’s. Eclectic menu is all over the place, but in a good way, and the staff is super-friendly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Mushroom Fries. Piper Restaurant 2225 South Shore Drive, Holland. 616-335-5866 AMERICAN. Upscale-but-casual spot located on Lake Macatawa, offering great views from virtually every table. Menu includes tastefully prepared items like Almond Crusted Walleye and Grilled Pork Loin, as well as wood-fired pizzas. Reservations are welcomed. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Almond Crusted Walleye.

Farm crust you CVLT Pizza is now delivering West Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original farm-to-crust pizza right to you. At the office or at home. Made with fresh produce, cheeses and meats from Michigan farmers. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

D E L I V E R Y H O U R S / R E S TA U R A N T H O U R S Wednesday to Friday: 12 noon to 10 p.m. Saturday & Sunday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

to order, call 616.490.4911 10 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Visit our FB page for daily specials


BEAUTIFUL OUTDOOR PATIO SEATING Join us for a drink this summer just outside CityFlatsHotel at CitySÄ&#x201C;n Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids.

REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule

83 Monroe Center St NW / Downtown GR / / 616.608.1720



TASTE THE SUMMER AT TERRA GR locally sourced ingredients born from the earth

• Wood fired pizzas • Handcrafted cocktails • Sustainable seafood • Pasture raised meats • Michigan craft beer 616.301.0998 • Insta: TerraGRrestaurant • 1429 Lake Drive Southeast • Grand Rapids

Open for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner: 7 days a week

Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

Note Worthy Dining.

Downtown Grand Rapids

10% OFF Inside Holiday Inn 310 Pearl St. NW (616) 235-1342

66 | REVUEWM.COM | July 2015

with this coupon

Excludes alcohol. Cannot be used on holidays. Expires 12/31/15. Revue Magazine.

Salt of the Earth 114 East Main St., Fennville. 269-561-7258 AMERICAN. Salt of the Earth is a farm-to-table-inspired restaurant, bar, and bakery located in the heart of SW Michigan farm country in Fennville. Focuses on fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients whenever possible. Also serves up live music on weekends. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: House made rustic cuisine. Saugatuck Brewing Company 2948 Blue Star Highway. 269-857-7222 BREWPUB. Enjoy a traditional Irish-style pub that features quality beer, wine, food and service. Try one of 12 unique brews that are served in the pub and bottled and distributed throughout the Midwest. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer in a family friendly pub environment. Vitale’s of Zeeland 59 W. Washington St. (616) 772-5900 ITALIAN. This family owned restaurant specializes in Italian dining, but also has a full menu including Mexican and American specialties. Family friendly atmosphere with newly remodeled dining, and an expanded sports bar with big screen TVs. Happy hour specials, live music every Saturday and has been voted Best Pizza seven years in a row by the Grand Rapids Press. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza.

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Arcadia Brewing Co. 103 Michigan Ave., Battle Creek. 269-963-9520 BREWPUB. You’ll find some of the usual suspects on the Battle Creek brewpub’s menu, including wood-fired pizzas and some of the best barbecue in the region. But you’ll also find some delightful surprises — Osso Bucco in a brewpub?! — on the menu, courtesy of award-winning Chef Sean Kelly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Handcrafted ales and barbecue. Bell’s Eccentric Cafe 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. 269-382-2332 BREWPUB. Eccentric Café’s regular menu of appetizers, sandwiches, sides and salads — plus the daily soups and specials — exists for a simple and important purpose: to complement the Kalamazoo microbrewery’s award-winning beers. Eat up while you drink up. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Beer. Bravo! 5402 Portage Rd., Kalamazoo 269-344-7700 ITALIAN. Muchlauded restaurant has earned its stripes over 23 years as one of the region’s best dining experiences, including a 3-star rating in the 2010 Forbes Travel Guide. The Tuscan-inspired cuisine is spectacular, the atmosphere comfortable and intimate, and the service first-rate. Also brews its own beer in small batches for pairings with menu offerings. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. (Closed Sat. lunch) GO THERE FOR: A great dining experience. Central City Taphouse 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. (269) 492-0100 TAPHOUSE. If Central City doesn’t have the kind of beer you want on tap, you’ll probably find it with the 75+ bottles. OH, you say you’re not a beer drinker? Well, Central City offers 20 wine ‘taps’ and a full bar. If you’re not the drinking type, that’s cool too. There are a number of food options to pick from, including a raw menu, a pizza menu and the all-day menu, which features burgers,

soups and entrees. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Diverse beverage selection. Fieldstone Grille 3970 W. Centre St., Portage. 269-321-8480 AMERICAN. Lodge-retreat atmosphere overlooking the Moors Golf Club natural wetlands. The “field-to-plate” menu features burgers, pizzas, steaks and some eclectic items like quail. Try the FSG chips, a combination of potato, beet and sweet potato chips. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Blue Burger, Almond Crusted Walleye, FSG Chips. Food Dance 401 E. Michigan Ave. 269-382-1888 AMERICAN. Food Dance is committed to building a thriving and sustainable local food system, supporting artisans who practice craft food processes. It’s about the connection with people and places the food comes from. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, private dining space, catering and delivery, while an on-site market offers humanely raised meats, artisan cheeses, fresh bread and pastries. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh Local Foods. Old Burdicks Bar & Grill 100 W. Michigan Ave. (269) 226-3192 AMERICAN. Old Burdick’s Bar & Grill features tasty sandwiches, burgers, salads and entrees, as well as a great selection of cocktails, wines and beers. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner. OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Old Burdick Burger. Old Dog Tavern 402 East Kalamazoo Avenue, Kalamazoo. 269-381-5677 AMERICAN. The food at Old Dog Tavern is just about as eclectic as the entertainment offered. The menu has so much on it that it might even bring some harmony between picky and adventurous eaters. » SERVING: Brunch Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The eclectic menu options. Olde Peninsula 200 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo 269-343-2739 BREWPUB. Downtown brewpub serves up the expected (e.g., steaks, ribs), the authentic (e.g., London Broil) and some pleasant surprises (e.g., extensive vegetarian offerings, Italian food). Offers a range of beers brewed on the premises and served on tap, plus a full bar. Check out the seasonal porters on tap right now, including the Vanilla Porter (5.5% ABV) and Stout Chocula (5.25% ABV). » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer-B-Que Ribs, London Broil. Martell’s 3501 Greenleaf Blvd., Kalamazoo. 269-375-2105 AMERICAN. Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood that overlooks Willow Lake, Martell’s offers casual ambiance and an expansive menu with steaks, prime rib and other comfort food entrées like Italian style meatloaf and pork shank. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days (Sundays-dinner only) GO THERE FOR: Quiet casual ambiance. Union Cabaret & Grille 125 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo. 269-384-6756 AMERICAN. A partnership with Western Michigan University, Union features eclectic food and cocktails, plus live jazz music performed by WMU faculty and students. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Fries, Bloody Maries with infused vodkas. n

To submit or to correct information in a dining listing, e-mail editor@

The Best

o i t a P ! t e n a l eP

on th

Kari Lynch Jake Mellema & Friends Jam Session

w w w . g r a n d w o o d s l o u



cover starts at 9:00pm July 3rd – DJ Matt B July 10th – Three’s A Crowd July 17th – DJ Keller Shaw July 24th – Romance for Ransome July 31st – Revivng The Era REVUEWM.COM | July 2015 |


July 2015, Revue Magazine  

REVUE is West Michigan's most comprehensive free entertainment guide covering music, arts, film, dining and family entertainment. We distrib...

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