Michigan rock bands to join Korn and Rob Zombie at Upheaval

The two-day rock ‘n’ roll onslaught of the new festival at Grand Rapids Park is shaping up to be “surreal and incredibly exciting” for regional acts. The history and program of Local Spins.

Ready to “leave it all on stage” Saturday: Michigan Heartsick. (Courtesy picture)

Grand Rapids rockers The Legal Immigrants consider it “an honor” to play the first Upheaval Music Festival this weekend at Belknap Park.

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Heartsick, Lansing’s hardcore/metalcore band, describes it as “surreal and incredibly exciting all at the same time”.

Both bands are part of Michigan’s representation at the metal/rock festival that was forced to delay its freshman debut due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

An honor to play Upheaval: Joe Bockheim from The Legal Immigrants. (Photo/Anna Sink)

Starting Friday, thousands of fans will flock to the Grand Rapids venue for headlining sets by Korn, Chevelle and evil pop on Friday, and Rob Zombie, Spot and Skillet Saturday. Other Michigan acts on the bill include Vestigial, assume nothing and Holiday Deadlight.

“We were so excited when we found out we were part of the inaugural festival in 2020 and heartbroken when we later found out it had to be canceled,” said Alfonso Civile, lead singer of Heartsick.

“COVID has really done a number on everyone, but also grateful that it all worked out and we can come back and the value shows so much more.”

The Legal Immigrants and Heartsick have performed to live audiences since COVID restrictions were lifted earlier this year, but Upheaval clearly represents a major opportunity for both bands to strut their stuff in front of large audiences.

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“We’ve been locked up for a year, so probably safe to assume we’re going to lose our minds on stage, vomit, smash the fake bees with our guitars, and leave absolutely everything on stage that day,” joked Civile, whose group – Civile, bassist Waylon Fox, guitarist Richard Pruneau and drummer Talmadge Jake Bryan – will perform at 4:40 p.m. Saturday.

The Legal Immigrants, meanwhile, plan to release a few songs from all of their albums as well as “a few new ones that I can’t seem to get out for some reason,” singer and guitarist Joe Bockheim said.

“It’s an honor, really,” he said of the band Upheaval’s 4:40 p.m. Friday appearance. “It’s really cool to play with another local rock band like Pop Evil too.”

Indeed, Pop Evil – formed in West Michigan 20 years ago by North Muskegon’s Leigh Kakaty – celebrates a homecoming in Upheaval when they perform on Friday.

Pop Evil’s appearance in Grand Rapids is wedged between tour stops in Antioch, Illinois, and Rock Fest in Cadott, Wis.

Two-day tickets to Upheaval are currently priced at $139 plus fees; day passes are $75 plus fees. Get tickets online here.

Other bands on Friday’s lineup include Happy wolf, Gemini syndrome and Royal Happiness. Saturday, Nonpoint, Blacktop Mojo, Stitched Heart and blue felix are also on the invoice.

Presented by MiEntertainment Group and WGA Entertainment, the festival takes place at the same site in Belknap Park as the annual Breakaway Music Festival, an electronic, pop and hip hop festival that debuted in Grand Rapids in 2017.

This year’s Breakaway takes place on August 27 and 28, with headliners Illenium, Quinn XCII, Gryffin, Big Wild, Chelsea Cutter and Made on. Get more information about Breakaway Online here.

Homecoming: Pop Evil plays Upheaval at 5:20 p.m. Friday. (Photo/Anthony Norkus)

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Virginia F. Goins