Feature, Recap

Lazer Lloyd, Live at The Griswold

By Kevin Alan Lamb

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare

Nearly four years ago I began a journey with a man named Lazer Lloyd, who spent his early life on the east coast, before following a mystic and music to Israel. There he has made his home in the hills outside Jerusalem, built a family, and has since spread an uplifting message of hope, love, and community across the globe.

Each night Lazer takes the stage, he leaves this world and takes the audience on a voyage to a place in their hearts that cannot be beaten or broken by the heavy hand of hate. He is the modern spaceman, connected to source through quantum entanglement, love, and a bond forged by devotion to serving others with the blessed gifts bestowed upon him.   

Last night I had the great privilege of spending an evening with Lazer in Allegan, Michigan where he performed at The Griswold Auditorium. Produced by Positively Allegan, The April Series is one of several community happenings designed to draw folks to town, and discover hidden gems like The Griswold.

Built in 1929, The Griswold is a 650 seat historic performance venue and event center built through a $100,000 bequest from lumber baroness Marilla Griswold. Her dream was to provide a place for the Allegan community to come together, experience a variety of entertainment and most of all, enjoy themselves.

Prior to 2019, The Griswold was sparsely used. In an effort to invite the outside world in and enrich the Allegan community with the pulsating heart beat of Michigan’s music community, Positively Allegan drew a line in the sand and proclaimed this land to be supple and ripe with artistic, and communal inspiration.

I arranged a rental car by way of my local Hertz Dealer on Thursday morning. I drove two and a half hours west to Zeeland where I picked up my good pal Jim Lion. We grow up hoping to make dreams come true, but the real magic is a dream shared. Jim and I arrived to The Griswold Auditorium in downtown Allegan at 4:00 PM, four hours before showtime. Jim asked “So, what are we gonna do for four hours?”

I laughed, and trusted the answer was so inherently implied it didn’t require an answer. Upon landing we introduced ourselves to the fine folks on site from Positively Allegan, opened a couple Two Hearteds, and proceeded to breathe in the beauty of this pristine and sacred space before anyone or anything else imprinted their being on the way it was supposed to feel for us.

I giggle as I recall the irking presence of a squeaky fan in a 650 person – which presented my first order of working business. “We can turn this off before the show right?”

We walked up the lobby stairs to behold the beauty of this hidden gem from the upper auditorium, put our feet up, and took a moment to recognize and celebrate that most of our moments together are met with a tsunami of noise and shiny objects to distract our attention. It might have been Thursday, but only a fool tries to convince you that you’re not in church while the great spirit tickles your soul.

Peaks and valleys. Pluses and minuses. No matter how many times anyone tells you about the push and pull of the frequency or amplitude of the wave, it feels like we experience joy for the first time when we find ourselves in a place we’re certain we’ve never been before, yet cannot deny the unwavering belief that this very moment has defined us in lifetimes come and past.

Etched in stone across the promenade are Shakespeare’s words “All the world’s a stage,” and within these words lie the existential question and challenge that each of us are faced with when we look into our souls long enough, with enough courage to accept the very reasons we were given life. While it terrifies so many to ponder upon an origin story of purpose and placement, there is crystal clear eloquence in the willingness to not only see, but embrace yourself for the first time.

With each sunrise and deep breath resides the potion to concoct the choices which will serve the life you will lead and leave behind. No matter the storms which shake you, or sirens which seek to enrage you, every moment of every day presents a seed with the potential to blossom into the reason another being chooses to endure. Folks like Lazer Lloyd actively remind us that serendipity is functional therapy for the keepers of the flame, and hope isn’t a pharmaceutical prescribed in a lab, but magic manifest to combat evil intent on devouring the spirit in a steeple.

A few hours ahead of the rest of the team, Jim and I found our way to Iron Bridge Sports Bar in downtown Allegan. We were greeted by the owner, Rich, before we had even stepped into his establishment. We told him that we were in town for the concert series with Lazer Lloyd; he later shared with us how he hoped the program would give folks like us a reason to visit, and connect. Rich took us around back to B’s Beer Garden where they host live music from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It was his son Brandon’s favorite bar before he passed, leading Rich to its eventual purchase, naming the venue space in his memory.  

We ordered dinner and drinks, getting to know a little bit more about Rich who visited Boogie Records in Kalamazoo to get his vinyl fix, growing up. Excited to bring in some new bands, Rich grabbed his calendar and shared all of his available dates. He was also nearing completion on the living quarters above the bar, perfect for accommodating bands and other guests through Airbnb.

After some tacos, mushrooms, and a french dip we thanked Rich, his wife Melissa, and encouraged him to come to the show. I book far more shows than I’m able to attend, but I’ll never discount the fruitful potential of showing up, and being present.

We returned to The Griswold where fans began to trickle in with excitement, plenty early for the 8:00 PM show. Yoseph was manning the merch table, freshly stocked with a groovy new T-shirt displaying the credo “Live. Love Learn. Listen. Lazer Lloyd.”

Yoseph is a young, intelligent man, and son of Yo, Lazer’s manager extraordinaire. Enough cannot be said to describe the effort she makes, across a multitude of spectrums and directions. She once described Lazer as an oasis who we must protect and share with the world. His songs, storytelling, and musical abilities quickly break down barriers, enabling him to connect with folks in a vulnerable, humble place.

There were moments during this show where I felt God pouring through this man, channeling divine spirit to carry each and every one of us in that room on his shoulders to forget about our troubles for a great, deep, series of breaths. Each of us has a number of roles to play across the seven acts of our lives; within this current act it is my role, duty, and joy to help deliver Lazer Lloyd to the Allegan, Michigan’s of the world. To quote my dear friend, and Godfather of Groove, Norm Kittleson, “One show at a time.”

The audience that evening was warm, receptive, and fun! They clapped their hands, sang songs, and embraced one another while dancing just below the stage. Lazer had no intention of playing his last song, and no one was complaining. After the show he was taken aback by the kindness and support he felt from the Allegan community that night.

“That was one of my favorite performances” Lazer said as we stood outside The Griswold, saying our goodbyes, grateful for all of the Michigan performances we will experience together this summer and fall. Yes, that’s right folks – Lazer Lloyd is coming to a town near you. Pure, unadulterated Lazer, with a little bit of Norm on the side if we’re so lucky.

We are more similar, than we are different – or at least, that’s what I choose to believe. Let us live, love, learn, and listen. Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound.

Upcoming Lazer Lloyd Michigan Shows

7/27 Dunesville, Lake Ann

7/28 Harbor Sunset Series, Elk Rapids

8/6 Wildwood Amphitheater, Lake Orion

10/26 Park Theatre, Holland

Stay current http://www.lazerlloyd.live/

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