Don’t be scared of Ferndale Blowout

May 3, 2013

Four days have passed since the conclusion of the Hamtramck portion of Blowout, and the very first day of the festival in Ferndale is here. Let’s not mince words here – this is a bit of an experiment, but it’s a very necessary one. The Blowout had to change to survive, and this is what we’re trying. But man, have we taken some heat this week. Personally, I’m done with justifying the expansion into Ferndale. Facebook is full of spit and fury and, let’s be honest, nobody ever posts something on there with a view to later getting their mind changed. Outrage, grrrr, fury. One guy even told me to piss off back to my own country. Xenophobia is sooo 1990’s, but God love everyone for having an opinion and expressing it strongly. Blowout is still in Hamtramck and that’s important. Here’s something new.


So here we are in Ferndale on Thursday night and the sky has yet to descend onto Woodward and 9 Mile. Satan isn’t in Como’s drinking to the Apocalypse, and the Four Horsemen aren’t rifling through vinyl at Found Sound.

It does feel different though, make no mistake about that. Blowout Ferndale is world’s away from the sweet grit and inherent edge that makes Blowout Hamtramck an exciting and visceral experience. Of course it’s different. It’s a different city with a different atmosphere. The thing is, while Blowout Hamtramck remains (I believe I’ve stressed that once or twice this week already), why is different bad? Different is a good thing. Different is refreshing. Now we have two different halves to the festival in two very different cities (three if you count the pre-party in Detroit), and it feels great. Blowout feels refreshed. ARGH, I feel myself slipping into justification mode again. Fuck it.

So anyway, my night began at Found Sound watching the Philter, who seemed barely interested but that’s their deal. I dig their loopy dark surf, even if it’s weird watching them at Blowout in a record store.

Mind you, the record store seemed positive normal next to watching Satori Circus in the Library. I’ve never been a big fan of clowns. The wackiness of the whole concept just bugs me and, even though Satori Circus isn’t a traditional clown by any means, it’s just not for me. Having said that, the song that goes “These are my friends..” is kinda funny.

Passalacqua went on stage late at the Loving Touch, and then they fucked up the first song and had to restart, so I only caught one song. They had a decent crowd though. Ditto Carjack at the Rust Belt Market. Heard the last song and they sounded great for that little bit.

Poor Anastasia Gold had less luck upstairs at Como’s, performing to barely a handful of people which is a shame because the music is awesome. A touch of ‘50s cabaret and Hedwig and the Angry Inch about the crooning rock.

The Counter Elites were awesome back at Rust Belt, the singer of the duo decked out in a messy Elvis wig and the heavy punk reminiscent of Black Flag at its trashiest.

Eleanora created some soothing noises at Go Comedy. The lead vocals rotate between three members, but I liked it best when the guy was singing and the two girls had dual violin thing going on. Kinda Mumford & Sons-ish

Then it was back to the Library for the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre. I have a soft spot for these guys. Everybody knows that Bryan Metro and co. also blog, and they mercilessly lampoon myself and the Metro Times. That’s ok, we get it. It’s fun to make fun of the big, bad paper. Thankfully, the blogs are witty. Tonight, it was particularly funny looking at the startled faces on the Library employees, plus JCM looked really pretty standing in front of a big Metro Times Blowout banner. And damn, they sounded fantastic. Just noisy, nasty trash rock complemented by angsty performance art and, whisper it, pop hooks. They’ll hate me for something I said. At least, I hope they will. It’s more interesting that way.

I saw a bit of Big Mess at Rust Belt and wasn’t totally feeling it but I got the feeling I need to see them again. Then it was over to the New Way for the Bobby Electric, who were suitably noisy, hiding their tunes under a ton of wailing and riffs. They’re in there though.

Aaaaaand sleep.

  • Flounder Flounder

    The Blowout needed to change to survive? Last year was the most packed Blowout I’ve ever been to. Also, can we please stop this obtuse proclamation that “the Blowout’s still in Hamtramck, so what’s the problem?” The problem, clearly, is that due diligence wasn’t given to the Hamtramck portion of the event. There’s no denying that the vibe of the Hamtramck event was weird and the energy was nothing like it had been the last 15 years. It felt like a goddamn death knell. It’s rude to act like anyone who is offended by this move is overreacting. Hamtramckans felt some ownership of this event, and when the MT’s publisher said, on the record, that he is catering to anachronistic (and let’s be honest, racist) fears of the city, people are going to be rightfully offended. I imagine if a beloved Ferndale event was co-opted and taken to Hamtramck, Ferndalians would grouse. And furthermore…*who’s* xenophobic? Project much?

  • Brett Callwood

    God love you for having an opinion and expressing it strongly.

  • Bryan Metro

    Deal with it, rock and roll, Flounder

  • Ralph Indigo

    Thanks, Metro Times, for destroying what was once the best local musical event in the country. The blowout last weekend in Hamtramck was almost a non event. Attendance was way down. Part of it was the shorter weekend and the move to Ferndale, land of no parking spaces. Part of it was changing the date to later in the spring when there are so many more competing events such as baseball games and CD release parties.

    My initial reaction was to totally boycott the Ferndale event. But then I thought I should at least check it out. And I thought it would be nice to see my favorite local group, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas while they are still playing small clubs. Well, after spending well over a half hour trying to find a parking space, we got to the venue, which was a space in a tiny shopping mall that was obviously too small to handle the kind of crowd that Jessica gets. Her act would have fit perfectly in one of the two catering halls in Hamtramck that have much more space. Well, sure enough, by the time they hit the stage, the place was packed with people with more people lining up out the door. So how does Ferndale handle such an issue? Simple, just crank up the fog machines and turn a venue that is already packed with people like sardines into a sweltering sauna. I thought maybe this was just for the start of the show, but they kept pumping hot steam into the room to the point where you could not see the stage. By the end of the show, half the people were driven away by this sweltering steam bath. What the Hell was that all about? We originally thought we might come back tonight to see Jeecy and the Jungle, but they are playing at the same venue and there is no way I am going back to that sweat lodge.

    So what was the driving force to move the “Hamtramck” blowout away from Hamtramck? I don’t suppose it had anything to do with the fact that the organizer of this event owns 3 bars in Ferndale.

  • danieldresden

    “So here we are in Ferndale on Thursday night and the sky has yet to descend onto Woodward and 9 Mile. Satan isn’t in Como’s drinking to the Apocalypse, and the Four Horsemen aren’t rifling through vinyl at Found Sound.”

    but they are apparently drinking in scary hamtramck bars.