Mixtape: From funk to folk rock to hip-hop cello, West Michigan’s must-see musicians
This month, concert venues across West Michigan are welcoming a series of musical powerhouses.
John Sinkevics is editor and publisher of Local Spins. He joined Stateside to discuss the artists making waves on the west side of the state.
Sinkevics says this self-described “cage-free funk” band is “one of West Michigan’s must-see live acts.” The band released its first full-length album, titled Cage-Free, in January.
“They have this really groovy blend of funk and rock and reggae and ska and pop and R&B, which really makes them a lot fun to dance to and to just hang out with,” Sinkevics said.
- Melophobix will be performing at O’Toole’s Public House in Grand Rapids on February 25, The Livery in Benton Harbor on March 23, and alongside TAUK at Elevation at the Intersection in Grand Rapids on April 11.
Kalamazoo-based artist Jordan Hamilton is a classically-trained celloist who specializes in a kind of “alternative hip-hop.”
“His music blends hip hop, soul, and classical music in a really trailblazing way,” Sinkevics said.
Hamilton’s new EP, titled Forrenland, is one installment in a three-part series. He’s also working on new singles with the Last Gasp Collective in Kalamazoo.
- Hamilton was nominated for several Jammie awards and will be performing alongside the Last Gasp Collective during the 20th Annual Jammies at the Intersection in Grand Rapids on February 8.
- He’ll also be joining Georgia Ray at Final Gravity Brewing Company in Kalamazoo on March 23.
Max Lockwood has played with well-known acts like Big Dudee Roo and May Erlewine, and he even fronts a Tom Petty tribute band. But last month, the artist released his self-titled sophomore solo album.
Sinkevics says he found the album “pretty surprising” with songwriting that is vulnerable and “laid back, but beautiful at the same time.”
“It’s kind of airy. It’s more pop flavored, I think, than a lot of people might expect. It still has that folk-rock underpinning and indie rock kind of flavor to it, but I really think it shows his maturation process as a songwriter,” Sinkevics said.
- Max Lockwood is promoting his album's release on tour with opener May Erlewine. The two will be performing at the Robin Theater in Lansing on February 7, the Livery in Benton Harbor on February 8, and Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo on February 9.
- He’ll also be performing solo at Salt of the Earth in Fennville on February 10 and alongside Morgan Haner & the Transmitters at Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids on February 23.