Collaboration over competition: Local bands gather to spread new music

Shelby Pendowski

Breaking into the music industry takes hard work and determination to face fierce competition. Although there tends to be a contention amongst musicians, local Grand Rapids bands The Dockside Fever and West & Run have found that collaboration is key to success.

“There is comradery around the local scene,” said The Dockside Fever member Jimmy Versluis. “Everybody is playing each other’s shows and there is really no outside sort of support for a lot of them, so it is really DIY (do it yourself) and I think that is very necessary to keep everyone grounded.”

According to Versluis, this joint effort is an effective way of spreading everyone’s music, which is why on May 11, West & Run, The Dockside Fever, Flint Eastwood and Yum are set to perform at the Pyramid Scheme. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10.

Both West & Run and The Dockside Fever have members from the Grand Rapids area as well as students from Grand Valley State University.

“We have never played with Flint Eastwood before, however we have played with Dockside Fever,” said West & Run member Taylor Robida. “It is always fun to see what other people on campus are doing. It really feels like a community, and we are all very supportive of each other.”

The opportunity to play with local bands not only gives musicians a chance to discuss their music, but also allows them to bond over the experience of breaking into the music industry. Robida and Versluis agreed that playing with other bands isn’t a competition but a chance to learn.

Fusion Shows, the label to which Flint Eastwood is signed, organized the show and selected each of the performing bands. In doing so, Versluis explained, the organizers blended local and state bands to present an interesting line-up.

“This show, we are really focused on having a high energy show and playing really well; it’s going to be a good time,” Robida said. “Fusion Shows always does a great job running the show.”

And while this show is an opportunity for collaboration, it’s also a chance for the bands to premiere new music.

“We are rehearsing new songs that we’ve written for our upcoming record,” Versluis said. “It’s going to be a really great show to premiere those new songs that people haven’t heard before and we have been trying as tight as possible.”

Although the support amongst the bands is important, the support of the local music scene and fans is what makes the show.

“Flint Eastwood is incredible. They are just one of the hottest bands coming out of Michigan,” Versluis said. “It is going to be a night of pure energy.”

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