Longtime fans of Short’s Brewery, Valentiger was honored to play the second annual Short’s Fest at their Elk Rapids production facility. Since Kahler had joined the band, the boys were feverishly working toward getting four hours of material up and serviceable. It was a bit of a rainy day in August and there was a lot of moisture in the air. The boys hauled and ran their own sound, setting up in a tent in the facility parking lot. Short’s debuted their new beer truck, the S.S. Honey Badger and Valentiger got a picture on the thing. And after setting up, Rider took a dive into the bay before the event started.
Given the free admission, there was already a sizable crowd when Shirey opened up the evening with a solo set. It was filled with Valentiger B-sides and rarities as well as covers the band doesn’t play. I remember the Breeders’ “Drivin’ on 9′ and Sam Cooke’s “What A Wonderful World” (which the band plays now). It was a nice way to ease music into the evening. A couple beers later and a little food from Blue Pelican and the band was ready to dive into three hours of music for the muggy crowd. The band played just about their entire catalog at the time, as well as many covers but the stand out moment was definitely the Ween song they’d learned for Joe Short himself. They pumped out a cover of “Your Party” complete with a saxophone player that’d been recruited from the earlier parade. The band was surely glad to be a part of the event and especially enjoyed sharing a few (literal) sodas and talking to Joe. But, before they knew it, it was time to load out and head to Woj’s backyard for the night, where there was beer, mustard and ‘adventure camping.’ In the morning, Valentiger stopped for breakfast on the drive home. And who was their server but the very saxophone player who’d jammed with them the night before. What Wonderful World.
Valentiger always has a special place in their hearts for Short’s – “We had the best time at your party.”
Hey ya’ll – VALENTIGER is back to hosting open mic at Elk Brewing. Our first night back had a full list of great performers, keeping us bumping well into the night. Myself, I missed the laid back atmosphere that mixes craft beer with music and camaraderie, without seeming to overwhelm. Come down and play, come down and say ‘hey.’ It’s whatever you want it to be. We run 8-11PM every Tuesday. Cheers!
VALENTIGER usually steers clear of ‘battle of the bands’ style gigs, even though we’ve won a few here and there. This one was sponsored by Mackinaw Harvest and billed more as a music festival with a lot of cool things coming together right at the dam in Rockford, MI. We were on board for a set and it proved to be a really nice day for outdoor music. VALENTIGER did not progress to the next round, which would require a return performance. But, kids, you’re better off not winning a battle of the bands; you’ll be moving that trophy for the rest of your life.
Coming off a slew of a few high-stress and high-energy shows, VALENTIGER was happy to play a relaxed and acoustic set at Mocha-N-Music where Rider once worked. It was also one of Kahler’s first strip-down sets with the band. Shirey remembers, “We had just played Comerica Park and a live taped performance in addition to just some weird spaces and a raucous Jukes show; I think the three of us were ready to present our songs without a whole bunch of malarkey. I recall Rider saying something along those lines, like, ‘There’s no pressure. Let’s just be ourselves and play our songs.’ Meaning, there was no need to promote our records or our social media or whatever else – we just had a great time playing the music we’d written. We’ve always enjoyed strip-down gigs for that reason. I think some bands have a hard time trimming down their gear and taking away effects. We enjoy the challenge.” And so it was another one in the books, with Shirey off to play a wedding that weekend.
It was incredibly hot. It was so hot that summer it was officially deemed The Grand Rapids Heat Wave. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that VALENTIGER played an outdoor show during one of the hottest weeks. Children and the elderly were advised to stay indoors. Meanwhile, we were out and about hauling equipment and singing, dancing and slapping drums in the full sun. Kahler, who tends to run hot, was having a rough one. Rider and Shirey assured him, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” and the joke lives on forever.
The Celadon amphitheater is large enough to be comfortable but small enough to create an intimate performance. VALENTIGER fit right in with the mixed crowd, playing material from various records in their catalog. I particularly remember Shirey wearing a yellow headband that he’d acquired at a SXSW gig at a banana stand; an unusual move for him, but it was that hot. And so, they sweat thoroughly having setting up their own PA, but drank a lot of water throughout the evening. It was almost too hot to drink beer. The boys made it out alive at dusk, only to have the timed sprinklers come on and soak their gear. In the end, it was a nice warm up for Kahler who, recently joining the band, would be plunged into four hours of VALENTIGER material at the upcoming Short’s Fest.