October Show Recap


Valentiger always seems to feel rejuvenated after a string of live shows - especially after a string of good ones. October brought a few different challenges for the boys. They began with two shows in one night, hopping between Midland and Bay City, Michigan. The band first found themselves playing the annual Fall Walk at Dow Gardens, a thoroughly enjoyable outdoor event. Though a tad on the chilly side this year, Valentiger still managed to hit the mark in 43-degree weather with a good mix of originals and covers for a large crowd sipping hard cider. There were also doughnuts and Shirey revealed Rider’s rap alias, Hot Cider.

From there, they jetted over to Bemo's in Bay City for a stellar bill with Blanca Luz, George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus and Boyteen. For this set, Valentiger took a few requests, played new material and rocked out a few classics in full effect. One of the requests included Pavement's "Summer Babe," which the band had not played in a few years. Still, Shirey managed to slay his guitar into oblivion and entirely out of tune. As a finale, Nick Chevillet of Handgrenades sang "Frozen Dozing" with the band and mic dropped. Oh yeah, and I think there was a shot of rum with a beef stick in it.

After a short night's sleep, Shirey managed to make $5 after Rider bet him he couldn't eat three hard boiled eggs after he had already eaten three one-egg cheese omelets. Check. Next on the list, was unlocking Bill's car with the keys in it. With two teams on both front windows (one with an antenna and the other with a coat hanger), it was a race to complete the task. Ultimately, the door was pried open with two drum sticks and with the coat hanger bent into a hook on the end, the passenger side team was able to snag the lock and pull it up. This was obviously celebrated with football and Frisbee in the parking lot with Handgrenades, who were also there. It may have also involved Saturday afternoon parking lot beers.

After a stop at Kroger, Starbucks, getting some Mexican food and going their separate ways for a bit, Valentiger reconvened at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit where they'd be playing for the night. Bill had some mussels but no one did feather bowling, which they also feature. Regardless, the Michigan game may have killed the shows momentum but the smaller crowd was super attentive and appreciative. Valentiger was surely glad to have shared the bill with Royal Grand who simply had excellent sound and songwriting skills. The boys played the room somewhere in between Dow Gardens scale and full-blown Bemo's rock. T’was a nice atmosphere where there was 'no need to entertain;' Valentiger could simply play their songs and enjoy the music.


While Bill stayed on the east side of the state, Shirey and Rider made the long trek home, returning to Grand Rapids at 4:30AM. With just a few hours of sleep they would turn around and play another 'matinee' show at Creston Brewery. Yet again, they would have to adjust the sound and set list for another version of Valentiger. The two played as a duo consisting of a full drum kit and Shirey with his '77 Fender MusicMaster through a Supro 1600 Supreme. Given the fact the two have been playing music together for 20 years, they decided to have some fun with the two-hour set, choosing some very deep, early cuts and adding in some obscure covers the two only play as a pair. Some of the tunes included the band's cuts from 2000, 'Let Me Know' and 'Golden Moment' as well as The Doors' 'Love Street,' Pink Floyd's 'Wot's Uh the Deal,' and Neil Young's 'Burned.' One curve ball came as they almost finished their set - a request for their own 'In Your Head' from 2005. It was honored on a dare, and from there the boys made it out alive as Shirey coupled it with 'Married to Change' from the same record.

Now, Valentiger got a little rest for three days but were scheduled to appear at the Grand Rapids Public Library for their Music in the Stacks series. Once again, the fellas molded their sound to the room. Shirey and Rider had their same setup from Creston, but now Bill was in the mix with a whole new set of songs. With sound at a pin-drop (as it is a library) the band flowed through selections from their catalog at a volume and intimacy seldom seen and in such a unique setting. With light banter and a connection with the audience, they broke through what might be a potentially awkward situation for another act - except for when they attempted to explain the band name at request. Though there is no good story for it, Shirey did liken it to Tom Arnold; you can think about that for a few days.

And so Valentiger yet again parted ways on a Thursday after a nice string of shows, thankful for everyone who appeared, listened, chatted and imbibed. These guys have always been a band who enjoyed the live show; the other half of making music - sharing and performing it in real time. There really is nothing quite like it on both ends. And if you still want to see Valentiger morph into eight hours of continuous music with no repeats - catch them at the Beer, Wine and Food Festival at DeVos Place November 16 and 17. Should be a barn-burner.


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We're excited to announce VALENTIGER will be opening for Gin Blossoms 5/29 at 20 Monroe Live!  If you were anywhere near conscious in the 90's, no need for explanation.  If you find yourself unawares, just flick over to YouTube for a taste of catchy jangle pop contained within undeniable hit singles.

I have always enjoyed listening to Gin Blossoms and maybe even more so as time has passed.  It's that pop sense with good lyrics.  But the band also has what's often missing in most cases where those two things are present - that magic when it all comes together perfectly, if but for just a moment in time.

VALENTIGER is no stranger to the term 'jangle pop,' with even our drum set having been described as jangling, however that may be.  This can undoubtedly be traced back to the band's penchant for 50s, 60s and 70s rock and pop.  But we're also 2/3 children of the 90s and I've still got a New Miserable Experience cassette around the house - this is all adding up.

I think it's safe to say some things run parallel between these two bands (other than one being famous and one clearly not), which should make for a great show this upcoming Tuesday, May 29.  You can catch your pals, VALENTIGER, banging out a dense set of 'hits, favorites and a few new ones' in a state-of-the-art venue, as well as jam out to a what I can only assume a similar plan (on a whole 'nother level) from perpetual radio mainstays, Gin Blossoms.  You'll hear some things you know, some things you like; you might ponder...you might even find yourself jangling in time, mid-sip.  I think lead singer Robin Wilson sums it up with a principle VALENTIGER has also held dear over the years as well: 

“We’re entertaining and we have chops,” says Wilson, “but it really comes down to the songs. The reason we’re still here is that we have good songs. When young musicians ask me for advice, what’s the best thing to do to further my career, I always say, write good songs. It always comes down to that.”

Well we all try, anyway.  Amen, brother; see you Tuesday.

VALENTIGER NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2018

VALENTIGER premiered a new video on Sunday, March 25th.  It was produced for the annual NPR Tiny Desk Contest and features Shirey in a solo performance with acoustic guitar.  Outside and donning a jacket in cool Spring temps, he both gently plucks and seems to strum with a sense of urgency on the new track, "No Good Time."  Shot at dusk, the video captures that feeling of the swelling sunlight, as the  birds call their day to an end; a very nice fit with this call to action.  Shirey comments on the video itself:

"It was coming down to the deadline for the video and we just decided it would be the best use of our resources for me to make the video myself.  So, I tried a few locations and this one stuck right from the get-go; leaning back, with the feet up in the shot and everything.  The sunglasses became practical as the sun went down and also relaxed the shot and performance.  If you know a thing or two about videos, you know making them by yourself can be a pretty daunting task - especially when audio is a lot of the focus and performance is involved.  There were two microphones, the recording setup, the camera, the set, the lighting - the list goes on before you even perform the song.  And to top if off, I chose to play a newer song that I'm not even all that familiar with...because that's what I was most excited about playing.  But, outside of it being a characteristically boring, single-shot video, I think a lot of things came together.  The lighting, the birds, the raw take, the colors and the text work in post; not bad for a one-man operation on short notice."

Previous NPR entries can also be seen via YouTube.  In 2015, the group chugged out a full-band, live version of "CONNECTION" in cahoots with Jen Fodor of I Love Music podcast.  2016 found Shirey solo again with a live take on "Ugly Side of Town (Neither Here Nor There)" - it just may rival the album version.  Rider and Shirey teamed up to create an all-analog entry for "The Dawn Just Ain't Enought Anymore" in 2017.  Shot with a VHS camcorder, Shirey gives a solo performance recorded with two SM57s into a 1/2" reel-to-reel.  

November Spotify Playlist

Valentiger’s November playlist has dropped. The boys really touched on a little of everything here, making for a solid mix. Rider has included the band’s own ‘All I,’ reminiscing the video that was shot for it in the Fall – see it here. From there, we’ve got everything from INXS to Alvvays, back to Fats (RIP) and forward into the 90s with a Breeders deep cut. Enjoy!

Valentiger’s November playlist has dropped. The boys really touched on a little of everything here, making for a solid mix. Rider has included the band’s own ‘All I,’ reminiscing the video that was shot for it in the Fall – see it here. From there, we’ve got everything from INXS to Alvvays, back to Fats (RIP) and forward into the 90s with a Breeders deep cut. Enjoy!

October Spotify Playlist

Valentiger has launched it’s Spotify playlist project.  The fellas will all be making monthly submissions, compiled into a 12-song collection, including Valentiger songs.  The installments will loosely cover influences, past, present and future contemporaries and songs the boys generally enjoy.  October’s installment features a couple Tom Petty projects in light of his passing and some funky rock n’ roll, as well as the timely ‘Monster Mash.’  When prompted on the Bobby ‘Boris’ Picket tune, Shirey fires, “Novelty or not, you must mash.  Spoofing the dance craze and still coming out with a timeless hit – spooky, right?  Plus, Leon Russel played?”  And yes, you must.