The Soil and the Sun, Joe Hertler sell out Hunter's Ale House concert Saturday

Victoria Zegler/Photo Editor Grand Rapids resident Ashley Tuthill McGrath plays the accordion while her band, the Soil and the Sun, performs Saturday night at Hunters Ale House, 4855 E. Bluegrass Rd. The seven-piece band helped bring a sold-out crowd to the venue.

Grand Rapids seven-piece band The Soil and the Sun helped bring an enthusiastic and excited sold-out crowd to Hunter's Ale House, 4855 E. Bluegrass road Saturday.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers closed out their last show as Central Michigan University students, as Lake Orion senior Hertler, guitarist and Commerce senior Ryan Hoger and Mount Pleasant senior Micah Bracken will be graduating after this semester.

Moses and Newday Dreamers opened for the indie folk band.

The Soil and the Sun drummer Benjamin Baker-Jackson said the band played Rubble's Bar, 112 W. Michigan St., earlier this year and the experience was something they did not expect; they were eager to come back to Mount Pleasant.

“People sang along to all the songs,” Baker-Jackson said. “Having this show already booked, we were excited to come back.”

Baker-Jackson describes the band's music as “new Mexican space music."

“It's such a genre-less type of music,” he said. “It's tribal, pop, punk, jazz. A lot of times we call it rock and roll.”

The group originally started out as a two-piece, often looping many different parts to fill the sound, but, as the group's sounds expanded, so did its members.

The Soil and the Sun electric guitarist William Campbell said the group is able to fill out their sound without overstepping different members' parts.

“With so many instruments, you need to leave room for each other,” Campbell said.

He said his guitar playing is not riff-based but more atmospheric, often playing simple parts.

“No one can solo the whole time,” he said. “It's all about the greater good of the music.”

The band, which played the South by Southwest festival in Texas last year, tour in a converted bus complete with a living space and kitchen.

He said mechanically maintaining the bus while on tour can be sometimes difficult.

“On the last tour, we had a problem with the antifreeze and had to go through the mountains of West Virginia going 20 miles an hour,” he said.

He said traveling has inspired their songwriting.

The song "Engadine" is about the band's experience of being stranded in the small Upper Peninsula town for two days while on a past tour.

Attendees at the concert took a liking to The Soil and the Sun's musical and instrumental diversity.

“They're very distant,” Fenton sophomore Michael Burgess said. “There are a lot of unique instruments.”

Ann Arbor resident Mike Jarrett, who came to the show based on the recommendation of his friends who had seen them in Grand Rapids, said the band's use of violin and oboe was different.

“You get a change of pace in the middle of the show,” Jarrett said.

Mount Pleasant resident Hillary Hoffman said some of their songs were upbeat and energetic, particularly the second-to-last song in their set.

“Instrumentally, they're very talented,” Hoffman said. “I came away a fan.”

Hertler said he plans to continue his musical endeavors but will also pursue a career in elementary education.

“I would like to use my music in education someday,” Hertler said. “Right now, I want to play rock and roll.”


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