Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Indie-Rock Invitational Celebrates Five Years as the Downtown Music Festival in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Saturday night, Washington Boulevard had transformed into a concert hall for a second night of the Indie Rock Invitational, and Bella Ruse, Valentiger and the Real Lazy Genius closed the evening after the sunshine failed. This wasn't the Real Lazy Genius's first rodeo in downtown Grand Haven as the band specializing in psychedelic sonic waves performed for the Second Avenue Arts fundraiser at the Dee-Light earlier this summer. 

The Real Lazy Genius band works the stage far harder than their name suggests, and the big sky in front of Dewey Hill made it possible for their big sound to open up. I'm hoping the event photographer caught some great shots of Kristi Prindle and her tambourine routine. I had joked that the singing multi-instrumentalist had reminded me of Velma from Scooby Doo until she started using her tambourine in a way that reminded one of Lady Liberty's torch.

The Real Lazy Genius couldn't get off the stage without an encore, the audience demanding just one more before the evening was called to a close. Valentiger moved the audience into dancing in front of the stage. I am inferring from the difference between the press release and the official line up that Valentiger stepped into the void when a few bands showed up short of their promise to perform.

Gnarly Varley's, the food truck with the gourmet Mexican food, bailed on the festival and rolled into ArtPrize for the larger turnout. I'm giving Gnarly Varley a free pass on their absence because the circle of business friends lost their business, the Coffee House up in Muskegon, to what looks to be a legal trap that made their purchase of the business based upon a defective agreement. And for goodness sake, the good guys hauled in plenty of cash from Taste of Muskegon, and then some miscreants bashed in a window and stole the take. Same night, Verdoni's next door had an intruder take off with valuables, maybe the same people. More, we'll catch up with those culinary wizards at the Electric Delicatessen, now open on Beacon in Grand Haven, thank goodness for people missing their sandwiches and coffee.

Plus, the cuisine from their truck is all that motto on the sign promised, righteous cuisine. I enjoyed a trio of gourmet tacos from GnarlyVarley's during Indie Rock in 2011, and I still remember how good they tasted. I'm not sure of the relationship, but I think the business friends field a food truck actually called Righteous Cuisine, with a scorching paint job by Ben Gutierrez. Plus, Harbor Restaurants stepped into the void with a concession stand headlined by a three ticket cheeseburger, such a good value I had to check the price of three tickets and was happy that tickets were a dollar a piece.

It was so much warmer for the festival this year; last year we shivered as the evening drew to a close. A runner with a painting by Chris Protas and Danny Parker adorned the backdrop of the portable bandshell, which is far too high to work well at the foot of Washington Boulevard. The brighly colored mural with colorful painted characters from the collective unconsciousness reminded me of images from Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso's Guernica and Joan Miro. It was a pleasant carry over from Indie-Rock Festival last year. It changed mood and hue dramatically with every change of the lights, an effect that gave the warm evening a primal feeling. When the stage lights went brightest, the stage cover reflected a diminished image of the painting.

We didn't entirely miss the VIP area. We did miss the artist demonstrations, including Ben Guiterrez executing portraits under a cozy tent. Ben could never be described as a person who makes photographic images of his subject. What's beautiful is to believe that Ben Guiterrez actually sees people the way he draws them. Missed Mark Sterenburg and Joe Anderson as masters of ceremonies although it was enjoyable seeing the producer, Mike Coleman, doing the honors. Every year has to be different.

Thanks to the evenings triple sponsors, the IRI continues to be free: JSJ Industries, School-Zone Publishing and the Preferred Automotive Collection. The IRI team placed a donation vase on the food ticket table, and visitors dropped five, tens and twenties into the glass, a good sign of perceived value.

Local Spins has the story of the the Real Lazy Genius.

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