Local artists the focus of WKAR's concert series
WKAR’s BackStage Pass concert series gives audience members an inside look into the making of a TV show. This experience is currently recording its ninth season.
BackStage is a showcase of Michigan-made music, which features six different musical acts during a period of two weeks. BackStage Pass has featured more than 70 acts in the past.
Some performers include "The Voice" finalist Joshua Davis, local band Off The Ledge and the alternative rock band The Accidentals.
Communications manager for WKAR William Richards said BackStage Pass is focused on bringing attention to local Michigan musicians.
“There are a lot of different kinds of music in Michigan, so if you focus on just one or two kinds you don’t have the opportunity to showcase all of the range of music that we have,” Richards said.
Richards said the TV series reaches audiences all across the country. All of the previous BackStage Pass videos are featured online.
“A lot of folks here at the university don’t realize that we have a big TV studio where we can bring a band in and capture an intimate concert performance for our TV series,” Richards said.
BackStage Pass is free to attend, but seating is limited. There are three more BackStage Pass dates: Off the Ledge on March 23, Mama Sol & Tha N.U.T.S on March 24 and The Accidentals on March 25.
“There is so much talent in this state and the area that I am just glad to be apart of the chance to share that with the rest of the country,” Richards said.
Lead singer and guitarist of local band Off the Ledge Matthew Shannon said the band started about four years ago.
“There are people out there who really do want to create something new or try to create something different from what you hear on the mainstream radio or on TV and in commercials,” Shannon said. “I think especially the passion that we try to display, I think that is an important feature that is lacking in a lot of mainstream music today.”
The band includes drummer Eric Brandes, lead guitarist Tabbert Wakley and bassist Luke Dahlstrom. Each member also sings backup vocals. Shannon said they are happy to be featured on BackStage Pass.
“The most rewarding part is just understanding the shoulders that we get to stand upon from the millions of men and women that came before that learned how music worked and was able to convey that information so that we can do what we do today,” Shannon said.
MSU alumnus Bobby Taylor started volunteering at WKAR in 2015 as a student and is currently an on-call production assistant. He said the environment for WKAR is one of learning and excitement.
“WKAR was really good in the sense that when I started working there it was the first week or two it was almost like another class on campus, and I mean that in a good way because I was able to shadow what I was interested in or what I was specializing in,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been working on the set of BackStage Pass and has helped with staging and lighting as well as working with a handheld stage camera.
“This was really cool because when I started working there one of the things I really wanted to do was film these concerts in our studio and in our own house, so it has been a lot of fun this week,” Taylor said.