Founder's Brewery St. Patrick's Day Show: Black Jake & The Carnies wsg Chuck Whiting & His Rowdy Friends
Saturday, March 16.
Saint Patrick's Day comes a day early to Grand Rapids this year as Ypsilanti-based sextet Black Jake & The Carnies brings their brand of punk-laced Americana to Founders Brewing Co. on March 16. After a rowdy Halloween performance last October (involving a very messy game of bobbing for apples), it only makes sense that Founders would bring the boys back for America's favorite bar night.
Black Jake & The Carnies' growing popularity in Grand Rapids can be traced back to Michigan's own Emerald Isle, Beaver Island, and the annual Beaver Island Music Festival held there every summer. The festival has become a regular stop for many a Grand Rapids native, and it provided the first major exposure of Black Jake & Co. to the west-coast audience. After several successful appearances on Beaver Island, the band made their debut at the 2011 Wheatland Music Festival, also with a huge Grand Rapids-based following. Their performance was so well-received as to earn them a return invite in 2012, where they shot several music videos capturing the energy of their performance and the crowd. Wheatland organizers reported, "Black Jake & The Carnies set a new bar for Wheatland's Centennial Stage! They brought the young and old to their feet with their unique blend of music called 'crabgrass' and turned many Wheaties into Carnies overnight! Can't wait to have them back!" There was also some candid appreciation of the accordion player's unique ability to drink a PBR while continuing to play.
This Saint Patrick's Day show marks only their seventh visit to Grand Rapids since 2006, but their second already this year. Early this January the band was called upon to fill a sudden vacancy in the lineup at the 4th Annual Winter Wheat held at The Intersection. Despite being a late addition and playing first in what was a long night of music, organizers reported the Carnies garnered one of, if not the largest attendance level of any band to hold that slot; not surprising considering their popularity at the Wheatland Music Festival, with which Winter Wheat is associated.
Of the Carnies, Jeff Milo of iSPY Magazine has said, "All the Carnies cut rugs like pure bottled lightning, they don't play so much as they gracefully pummel, they pinball, even, from song # 1 to song #13 ½ …or however long their sweaty sets go. Set aside their eclectic music, the Carnies' blend spindly bluegrass and honky-tonk croons to some psychobilly-bent for punk-spat pirouetting; swampy yet sophisticated, old timey like a jukebox's warble but warped and shoved and shunted with a rock n' roll romp."
Black Jake & The Carnies play Founders Brewery on Saturday, March 16th and are supported by Kalamzoo-based Chuck Whiting & His Rowdy Friends. Music starts at 9:30. Cover is $5. Ages 21+