Grand Rapids, MI was a must visit destination for music lovers, big screen and television buffs and pop culture lovers in general last weekend. Iconic film and television star Kiefer Sutherland was in town promoting his forthcoming debut release, “Down In A Hole” with a concert at The Pyramid Scheme, which is just the third stop on his six week debut cross country tour.
Common knowledge is that Kiefer Sutherland has been an actor for over thirty years, starring in movies like ‘Stand By Me’, ‘The Lost Boys’, ‘Young Guns’, Flatliners’, ‘A Few Good Men’ and TV series 24’. What may not be so common knowledge is that along with being an avid music fan, in 2002, Sutherland, along with his music partner and best friend Jude Cole, began a small record label called Ironworks. That said, it might not as big of a surprise to some as it is to others that Mr. Sutherland is releasing an album and hitting the road.
As the house lights went down Fargo born and Minneapolis based opening act Austin Plaine played to a near sellout crowd. The 23 year old singer songwriter of the Samuel Beam (Iron & Wine) Ryan Adams and Damien Jurado ilk was more than just your standard, run of the mill space filler. Conversely, Plaine drew the crowd in with his songwriting abilities along with the smooth and laid back vocal stylings throughout his thirty five minute set. I give Kiefer Sutherland credit because Austin Plaine was a tough act to follow and is a name that the world should be familiar with for many years to come.
As Sutherland\’s crew readied the stage there was electricity in the air. The crowd although not visibly tense, was full of anticipation for the headliner to hit the stage. From several conversations that I had, there was an underlying sense of uncertainty of what to expect from tonight’s performance. Which, if judging by the string of actors who’ve given music a go (i.e. Russell Crowe, Kevin Bacon and Eddie Murphy) that attitude was somewhat justified.
As 10 o’clock struck, The Kiefer Sutherland Band took the stage to thunderous applause from a ravenous crowd (full of Pabst Blue Ribbon, I might add). Without a word, the band hit the ground running with “Can’t Stay Away” and ran right into “I’ll Do Anything”. After the first two songs, there wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that Kiefer Sutherland was a damn fine songwriter and musician. As Sutherland gulped a healthy shot of whiskey he wore the grin of a Cheshire cat that seemed to say “there won’t be anyone here that’ll enjoy this performance more than me!”
Of the fifteen song set list, he lion’s share of songs were from Down In A Hole mixed in with a handful of cover songs like Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” and Bob Dylan’s classic, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” Sutherland interacted with the crowd and gave an interesting peek inside his personal life with several stories. Current single and country laced “Not Enough Whiskey” elicited the strongest crowd response of the evening that turned into a grand sing-a-long in the crowd.
For years the world has been well aware of Kiefer Sutherland’s talents in front of the camera and for the next six weeks and thirty odd shows he’ll get to prove that he’s more than a one trick pony.
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