(Photos by Kelly Ocock)
PURE PASSION FOR MUSIC — Frontman MC Taylor and his fellow bandmates kicked off the spring semester’s concert line-up with artistic skill and instrumental talent.
Music is not just entertainment; it is an opportunity to spread joy and tell a story. MC Taylor, the front man of Hiss Golden Messenger, clearly agrees with this as he explained the band was going to “make something beautiful” for the Holland crowd last Friday night. The concert comprised of two and a half hours of electric folk sound, Taylor’s rich southern vocals and a grand passion for the artistic channel that is music.
The performance took place in the Knickerbocker Theatre as part of Hope College’s Concert Series. Doors opened at 7:30 p.m. and fans of all ages, students and community members alike, took seats to await the show.
Prior to the first act, Concert Series advisor Chris Bohle and Michael Stone (’19) introduced the artists and explained details of the student committee to those unfamiliar.
Phil Cook opened at 8 p.m. and played some songs solo onstage. Cook sang original songs about life and laziness as well as a cover of Washington Phillips’s “Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave it There.” Even though it was just him and his guitar, he captured the audience’s attention with his visible dedication to the words he was singing and humor between tunes.
When he had finished to enthusiastic cheers, Cook returned to stage behind the keys with Hiss Golden Messenger. Take the pure joy and passion Cook had and multiply it by five to achieve the happiness the band emanated as they performed.
“Heart like a Levee,” their latest album from last October, was featured during the show. One of the best moments was during the self-titled song when Taylor sang call-and-response with the crowd. As he explained beforehand, he was never one to sing when musicians told him to. However, it becomes a great spiritual experience when everyone chimes in together, as everyone proceeded to do.
Taylor switched his guitar out nearly every song in exchange for a different model, whether acoustic or electric. The other guitarist also switched to a banjo and mandolin during a couple tunes to change the instrumentation each time. No two songs sounded quite the same. The set list was littered with guitar solos, appealing vocal harmonies and a lyrical eye for the world with all of its peaks and valleys. Some of the themes were reminiscent of family and the verdure of Taylor and Cook’s homeland, North Carolina.
Although it was a smaller crowd in attendance, those present were highly supportive of the artists. There were hollers of appreciation, bobbing of heads and plenty of applause after each song finished.
Their merchandise was available for consumers in the lobby of the theatre. Members of the Concert Series helped sell items.
Overall, it was a successful event put on downtown, where music was conveyed as the glue which holds humanity together throughout the rough stages of life.
There will be three more concerts coming up in February with other talented and passionate performers. Twin Peaks, an indie-rock band from Chicago, will be playing at the Park Theatre on Feb. 17. Tickets can be bought in Anderson-Werkman. Prices are $5 for Hope student, $10 for faculty or $15 for community member.