Speciation Artisan Ales celebrates the music of Tiny Tree and Arcem with a special beer and show in Grand Rapids.
Speciation Artisan Ales with Tiny Tree and Arcem
I’ve been intrigued with Speciation Artisan Ales since we first encountered them at the 2017 U.P. Fall Beer Festival up in Marquette. The idea of wild fermentation is fascinating. I envision mad scientific experiments where the results vary from scary to sublime. My intrigue peaked when I saw on social media that Speciation collaborated with Battlecross and Vox & Hops podcast to create a beer called “Rise To Sour”. I really wanted to check that out, but sadly schedules didn’t align for a trip out to Grand Rapids.
More recently, I saw that Speciation had another collaboration beer coming out. This time with Tiny Tree and Arcem. The new brew is called “Misinformation Effect”. It is a tart saison made with blood orange, dark sweet cherry, and lime. To celebrate the beer as well as new music from Tiny Tree and Arcem, Speciation was hosting a show at their pub. Having recently discovered the amazing music of Tiny Tree, I had to go.
It was a quick 10-minute drive from our room at Homewood Suites in downtown Grand Rapids over to Speciation Artisan Ales. You have to pay attention as the pub is not right on the street; it’s actually behind Studio Z Textiles. Failing to pay attention to this detail, I walked right past the driveway that leads to the pub. Thankfully, I saw some dudes in black hoodies heading down the drive toward the former 100-year-old garage that Speciation calls home. I figured black hoodies were a sign of a nearby post-metal show.
My ticket to the show included a ticket for a Misinformation Effect beer either in a can to take home or at the show. I figured I would buy a glass of Misinformation Effect to try at the pub and use my ticket for a beer to take back home. As advertised, Misinformation Effect is tart. The orange, cherry, and lime flavors subtly create a uniquely flavorful beer. I also very much enjoyed the Reinforcement* stout and TRI-21 New England IPA. So much so that I bought a couple of four-packs to take home. Sadly, I completely forgot to cash in my ticket for a Misinformation Effect can.
I pondered the meaning behind the name “Misinformation Effect” as I savored the flavors and marveled at the wall of speaker cabinets at the garage door. Speciation Artisan Ales is a sweet little pub, with emphasis on little. Given the array of amps, this is going to get loud; very loud.
Opening up the Misinformation Effect beer release show at Speciation Artisan Ales is Arcem. The band includes Dave Mckie (guitar), Scott Kooima (drums), Matthew Pressel (bass), and Babe Woodward (guitar/vocals). The awesome artwork you see on Speciations labels as well as some of the art on the walls is created by Dave.
The music of Arcem is seismic and awe-inspiring. Ethereal notes and chords build into crushing sonic mountains. I felt like I was in an ocean of sound as wave after wave broke over and through me. The splashing cymbals, thundering drums, thrumming bass, rapturous guitars, and bellowing vocals combine to saturate the senses. I felt physically and emotionally exalted.
After Arcem’s set, I immediately purchased their full-length album called An Amalgamation of Loss, Defeat, and Renewal. If you are a fan of bands like Cult of Luna and Neurosis, you need to hear Arcem.
I’ve got to thank the guys in Bonehawk for turning me on to Tiny Tree. I saw that Bonehawk was opening for this band called Tiny Tree back in November. I thought “Tiny Tree”, that’s a strangely interesting name for a band. By association with Bonehawk, I checked out Tiny Tree. I’m so damn glad I did.
I bought the new Tiny Tree album called XI and loved the celestial grandeur. As I mentioned earlier, seeing that Speciation was doing a special beer collaboration with Tiny Tree and a show, I decided to make it a music weekend. I’d hit Jeff Fest in Kalamazoo on Friday and experience Tiny Tree and Arcem at Speciation on Saturday.
With just a couple of spotlights, the mood for Tiny Tree was set. The light and the dark accentuated the contrasts within their music. The vast and cosmic guitars of Addison Eilers combined with the tight and punctuated percussion from Paul Jensen lend a sense of revelation. I would find myself drawn into a passage of music and then a change would snap my attention like the rays of a dawning sun.
While the entire set by Tiny Tree at Speciation was mesmerizing, I found the song “Idle Eyes” outstanding live. The album version is great, but hearing it live was invigorating. As with Arcem earlier, Tiny Tree’s musical performance took on physical as well as sonic characteristics. There was a sensation of witnessing discovery. Like walking within a forest and for the first time seeing the trees. I could not help but smile at the wondrous stories within the music of Tiny Tree.
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