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/// LOCAL MUSIC Sawade explained that the renovations would

streamline the process at the Gardens – making parking, finding seats, and reaching the bathrooms mid-show all easier than before. “Our goal for these renovations was to do it

within our means,” Sawade said. “So we wouldn’t have to raise ticket prices. Instead, prices are set by the artists.”

on a partnership with Jeff and Tami VandenBerg (the brother-sister duo that own the local bar The Meanwhile) and Mark Sellers (owner of local bars HopCat, Stellas, and The Viceroy). Originally, Sellers wasn’t involved in plans for


The Pyramid Scheme, Tami said. But when she and her brother discovered Sellers was also planning on opening a venue of around the same size, they jumped at the opportunity for a partner. “We said, ‘We might not need two of these.

Maybe we can join forces and make one really strong business,’” Tami said. “After lots and lots of negotiation, we came to an agreement.” When it opens, The Pyramid Scheme will boast

a seven-days-a-week bar in the front and a 430-per- son capacity venue in the back. Tami said the idea of having a bar integrated to the venue was essential. “Opening a venue is sort of risky, especially if

you haven’t done your research,” she said. “We’ve done lots of research and have quite a lot of experi- ence. But we still felt that we wanted a front bar to support the venue portion.” Tami explained that having a venue the size of

The Pyramid Scheme should open up possibilities for the Grand Rapids music scene. “There’s sort of a vacuum in the mid-sized

venue market and it really impacts the music that comes through Grand Rapids,” she said. “A lot of people are turning down these really amazing shows because they can’t make the numbers work. We have a lot of really small venues and a lot of large venues. But the problem is, either you can’t sell enough tickets to pay the guarantee, or you can’t get quite enough tickets to pay the overhead.” Opening day for The Pyramid Scheme is still

tentative, but VandenBerg said she hopes to be operating by the end of April. In the meantime, check out beginning con-

struction of The Pyramid Scheme at the Feb. 12 open house. n

HILE THE OLDER genera- tion of venues is in the middle of a facelift, a younger genera- tion is just blooming forth. 68 Commerce Street will soon be home of The Pyramid Scheme, a new mid-sized venue based


Intersection for the Jammies XII, an annual evening of performances, drinking, socializing, and friendly competition. Moreover, hundreds of music fans, journalists, radio DJs, and a whole host of other types will also gather there for one of local music’s most anticipated nights. The Jammie Awards is put on by WYCE, a Michigan-

JAMMIES XII Intersection, Grand Rapids

Feb. 15, 5p.m. FREE!

451-8232, (616)


| by Justin Stover

HE GRAMMY AWARDS ARE BORING. Everyone knows it. The Jammie Awards? Much better. On Feb. 15, dozens of West Michigan musicians, representing a diversity of genres from punk to country to indie and a whole lot in between, will gather at the


based radio station that operates out of Grand Rapids. Station Music Director Pete Bruinsma has many fond memories of the Jammies. “I’ve been to each one of these awards ceremonies over the last 11 years,” he said. “It has been a great feeling to see

the organic and grassroots growth of the event.” Past winners and nominees include locals Ralston Bowles, Drew Nelson, and

Organissimo. The Jammies also nominate and award artists of national fame, such as Avett Brothers and Neko Case. This year’s Jammies will include around 20 performers. Some will perform on the

Intersection’s main stage, while others will play from the smaller front stage. Like previous years, this awards show will be free, though donations for local charities will be taken. One significant change accompanying the Jammies in 2011 is the inclusion of a house band. That’s right, Jammies XII will feature the music of the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra Award nominations are determined in large part by WYCE programmers. “Nominations are made by the WYCE staff, and are based on a combination of quality

of each release and how much airplay it received,” Bruinsma said. This isn’t as simple as it sounds, however. WYCE has 70-80 volunteer programmers

each week, thus bringing a host of varying perspectives to the table. Along with the programmer’s input, fans themselves will have an opportunity to

determine the evening’s winners via the “Listener’s Choice” category. West Michigan music critics will also have a say with the “Critics Choice Awards.” Further information (including this year’s nominees) can be found at grcmc.

org/radio. n 40 | REVUEWM.COM | FEBRUARY 2011

AB! & Coconut Brown Benjamin Riley Band Brie Stoner Casey Stratton Chain of Lakes Charles the Osprey Delilah Dewylde & The Lost Boys Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra Great Lakes Art Music Ensemble Jill Jack Ken Bierschbach Kevin Max Nathan Kalish Nervous But Excited The New Midwest Nicholas James Thomasma Nobody’s Darlin’ Ralston Bowles Raya & Mystic Dub Red Sea Pedestrians Ribbons of Song The Soil and the Sun Steve Talaga Stover Vincent Hayes Project


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