Ag Silver
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Ag Silver

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"AG Silver is golden, winning Rock Search"

By John Serba

The third time was the charm for AG
Silver. The Grand Rapids band took home the top prize in Aris Hampers’ Hometown Rock Search Friday night, after being a semifinalist and a finalist the past two years.

“It feels great,” said singer-guitarist
Jon Ornee. “It’s just a big honor to win this, because a lot of great bands have won it in the past.”

AG Silver — consisting of Ornee,
guitarist Chris McKellar, drummer Craig Vanderwier and bassist Steve Huizenga — was first to perform of the five finalists, the others being Grand Rapids groups The Jim Crawford Band and Joyride, Plainwell’s Decadence and Hastings’ 6 Prong Paw. Ultimately, AG Silver’s smooth, listener-friendly blend of guitar-oriented rock with big pop hooks won over the judges and crowd. The group, propelled by Ornee’s energetic stage presence and McKellar’s top-notch guitar work, won a free photo shoot, gift certificates for Firehouse Music, an opening slot at FoxFest 2004 — the annual summer concert held by WBFX-FM (101.3), which sponsors the Rock Search and employs Hampers — and $1,000 in studio time at Mackinaw Harvest (which is owned and operated by Michael Crittenden of Troll for Trout).

AG Silver, which has been together
since 1996, plans to release a new CD next year. The band recently was a finalist in WGRD-FM’s Rockstar contest at the Intersection and won Christian
station WayFM’s battle-of-the- bands contest earlier this year.

The group had some tough competition in The Jim Crawford Band, which played an upbeat amalgam of funk, rock, blues and pop; indie-rockers Joyride, which mixed raucous moments into its poignant pop; Decadence, which
played intense mainstream rock with stellar lead-guitar solos; and the evening’s loudest band, 6 Prong Paw, which rattled skulls with riff-heavy metal.

“There were a lot of great bands here tonight,” Ornee said. “We just attempted to be more energetic and make everything flow more than last year.”

- Grand Rapids Press

"40,000 rock in the sun at fest"

By Troy Reimink


Despite the somber atmosphere
at Allegan County Fairgrounds
following a traffic accident
Saturday that killed three fans from the B-93 Birthday Bash, Sunday’s companion rock ’n’ roll event, Fox Fest, drew a crowd of about 40,000.

The concert, sponsored for the third year by WBFX-FM (101.3), featured classic rock bands .38 Special, Lou Gramm, Warrant, Great White and Firehouse and local group AG Silver. Aris Hampers, music director for WBFX, said the weather played a role in the high attendance. “It’s a beautiful day, and we’ve got a great crowd,” he

He said he was excited by the
reaction to AG Silver, which opened Fox Fest after winning Hampers’ Hometown Rock Search in December. Lead singer Jon Ornee said his band relished the chance to
play for such a big crowd. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “A sea of people is always a good thing to look out on.”

In that “sea” were Chris Schumacher, 33, of Grand Rapids,
and Terri Katz, 33, of Belmont, who waited in line to meet Warrant after the band’s set. They agreed fest organizers made a good decision in keeping alcohol out of the event, a response to a fatal crash after following a concert at the fairgrounds Saturday.
“I’m glad the beer tent isn’t operating,” Schumacher said. “It’s just more trouble.”

Allegan County Fair manager Terry Bonnell said there were relatively few incidents of misbehavior among the fans.
- The Grand Rapids Press

"Stoke 9 w/ Ag Silver"

Ten Bells was bustling with people by the time I got there. I had missed most of the first band, or who I believe was the first band, Kissed By Daylight. I only caught a small amount of their set, but they seemed like a band I would enjoy to watch in entirety.
AG Silver was next up. I had not seen or heard much of them before, but I had heard just enough to be curious. I was amazed. I have seen a lot of bands in my time, and these guys really had it down. They just had immeasurabel energy, powerful songs, an impressive front man, and most unusually, they had style. Each member dressed in a suit with the shirt collar turned up. Sometimes these things are a bit too gimicky, but it really just worked for them without being cheesy.

I was really impressed by their whole set, they are a very strong local band with quite the fan base. Many supporters crowded the front of the stage. This band really kept me from my usual wandering, holding my attentions throughout; which is no small feat.

After AG Silver left the stage I was really excited and could not wait for the headliner, Stroke 9. After a set like that, you could not help but be pumped up for more great rock.

Somewhere after midnight, I believe, is when Stroke 9 began to play. The people who stuck around after AG Silver played gathered themselves around the stage. The front layer, of which, was filled with fans singing along to every word of every song that Stroke 9 played. Among the most excited were a goup of preppy punk boys, they were quite amusing to watch, but a pain to photograph around. It is rare I see that sort of 'metal fan' enthusiasm in a rock crowd.

Stroke 9 played much of thier old songs, in addition to the new. They rounded out the night with their biggest radio hits from years ago, such as "Little Black Backpack" and a cover of the Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch", mixed with the chorus of "You Spin Me Right Round" by Dead or Alive. An odd mix to have in one sort of medley, but the crowd ate it up. Even with their radio hits and the cover sparking some energy in the crowd, I could not help but be bored. I actually moved away from the side of the stage where I was taking pictures, not wanting the bassist a foot away from me to see how unimpressed I was.

I made my way to one of the several now vacant tables in the back and propped my feet up to start writing my review. A friend of mine was with me and was a huge fan, she was having a great time, though admitted, it could be any band up there singing those songs and she would have liked it just the same. I just felt that even their most energetic songs were lacking in real enthusiasm. I felt more into the songs when I heard them on the radio years ago.

They do have their following, and their hardcore fans really seemed to enjoy themselves and the band. But for the casual fan or observer, this performance was nothing special by any means. I was more impressed by the local bands before them, than with them, this national band. Don't get me wrong, it was a good show, I guess I just expected too much out of them, like to be entertained. So if you are a hardcore fan, please, do go see them sometime, their fans love them. Otherwise, stick to their recorded material. As for AG Silver, be absolutely sure to catch them the next time they are out.

- Annex 22 Magazine


2006 - Wake Up and Smell Reality (13 tracks)


Feeling a bit camera shy


After winning Michigan’s largest Battle of the Bands in December of 2003, Ag Silver did something that seemed counter-intuitive to some, they locked themselves in a basement for the better part of 2 years. “We really felt like we were just beginning to scrape the tip of the iceberg with our songwriting,” said Jon Ornée, lead singer and lyricist. “Even though we were beginning to gain some regional attention from our live show, we decided to step back, trash most of our music and re-dream the whole thing.”

The result of all that dreaming is Ag Silver’s 2006 “Wake Up and Smell Reality” which will officially release on September 5. “It’s a very home grown project,” said Ornée, “we did all the initial engineering and production ourselves, everything down to the album art. We just knew what we wanted and decided that we wanted total creative freedom this time around.” In the end, the band called in Grammy Award Winning Engineer Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Wilco, Green Day) to put on some of the final touches. The result? 13 tracks of emotionally charged, radio friendly, thoughtful rock music.

Perhaps the most unique trait of the new music is it’s believability. Whether they are in a hushed bridge or a climactic outro, you can feel the passion behind the music, and you get the sense that Ornée is bearing his soul in the lyrics. Most of the songs deal with common human themes of doubt, love and hope. Ornée seems to be striving for something that he can’t quite put his finger on. While the lyrics are believable, the music itself makes you want to believe in something, anything. “We really strive to make music that, in it’s nature, regardless of the lyrics, moves the listener,” Ornée explained. They seem to be succeeding. Their revamped live shows have become known for their arena like experience, even when they’re playing in a small club.

So what’s next for this four-some? According to Ornée the band intends to tour heavily in support of the new album and then he says “it’s back to the basement.”