Cosmic Knot blasts off for northern Michigan

Cosmic Knot plays two weekend shows in northern Michigan: Mancelona's Rez Fest on Friday and Traverse City's Union Street Station on Saturday.

Cosmic Knot frontman and guitarist Tom Wall exudes positivity, something that propels the Michigan band’s “unique song structures” and “blistering level of intensity” during its lengthy stage jams.

But there’s another way that this group stands out from the pack: Cosmic Knot tunes its instruments to 432 Hz — as opposed to the traditional 440 Hz tuning — a slightly different pitch that proponents say promotes healing and expands consciousness.

“We are trying to promote as much positivity as humanly possible,” said Wall, a Fremont native who formed the band.

“We play in a certain frequency, we compose notes in a certain way and we sing in a certain way that is designed to promote a healing effect on people, but will maintain the guise of modern-day music. We feel it is all of our responsibility to make the world a better place and it can be achieved through education and elemental nourishment through clean food and water.”

Since forming a few years ago, the Grand Rapids-based super-group of well-known musicians has certainly made a splash with its distinctive music, winning a Walk the Beat song competition in 2017 and the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival play-in contest the following year.

Released in fall 2017, the band’s full-length debut album, “Inner Space,” reflects Cosmic Knot’s inventive, genre-crossing approach, melding elements of prog-rock, gypsy swing, jazz, blues and more.

It’s drawn national attention, too, remaining in the Top 30 of the Relix national jam-band radio chart for five months.

The band — Wall, bassist Zach Gregory, saxophonists Rolly Smith and Mason Viilo, drummer Hayaman Tzach and part-time keyboardist Ramon Satyenda — brings its jams to northern Michigan this weekend.

Cosmic Knot plays Rez Fest in Mancelona on Friday, kicking off a three-day festival that also features The Giving Moon, Blue Moon Soup and northern Michigan acts such as Biomassive, Charlie Millard, Galactic Sherpas, Soul Patch, The Brothers Crunch and many more.

It follows up with a free-admission show at Traverse City’s Union Street Station at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“I'm a country boy to the core, so naturally I love playing northern Michigan,” Wall said. “The natural beauty is unbelievable. The amazing people that come out time and time again and really have an amazing time are a real inspiration. Northern Michigan shows really get pretty wild.”

Wall’s Cosmic Knot project was 15 years in the making, influenced by his association with a wide array of Michigan bands and musicians, including Four Finger Five, Hannah Rose & The GravesTones, All-American Funk Parade, Skee-town Stylee, Muruga Booker and others.

“I’ve sat in with so many bands, I couldn’t count them all,” said Wall, who also organizes the “Wish You Were Here” festival on his parents’ deer farm every year.

Although Wall has described his music as “gypsycore,” he insisted there’s much more to it than that, incorporating a host of elements and styles.

“We are intent on using music to improve lives, understanding and just plain fun,” noted Smith, who’s played saxophone in several Grand Rapids area bands, including Afro Zuma, Skankadank and River City Stew. “We are improvisational. Most of our songs take on new life each time we play them.”

Wall said Cosmic Knot — a play on the word “cosmonaut” as well as a concept in physics — will be releasing several videos in 2019, as well as returning to the studio to start recording a follow-up album. The band also will perform at several Michigan festivals throughout the summer.

“It’s going to be a productive summer to say the least,” he said. “We plan on playing as many shows as we can muster and spreading the word of positivity wherever we go.”

Weekend Rez Fest tickets are $50 at the gate. Get more information online via the Rez Fest Facebook page.

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