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Metrotimes Blowout 2011 Giveaway and Preview

Metrotimes Blowout 14 is next week, and Motorcityblog has a few admission bracelets to give away. Send an email to for your chance to win.

Now for our Blowout preview. Certain to be just as partial and uninformed as all the others:

First, I feel that I should disclose that I’m completely insufferable during the Blowout weekend. I’ll show up with a friend to see a band, and the second after they’re done I’ll say “Okay, we’ve got to leave right now so that we don’t miss the beginning of Carjack”, and their response is often “I’m only halfway through my rum and coke”. I may decide to ditch them at this point.

Second, I have to disclose that I use a lot of location bias when deciding what to see. I’m likely to skip an act I might otherwise choose to see just because they’re playing a venue that’s more on the geographical fringe of Hamtramck. I like Kelly’s Bar, and they have the best burgers around, but covering the distance to a place that isn’t near any other venue makes it harder for me to maximize my listening experience.

Third, I over-think my personal scheduling of Blowout activities. I in no way expect any one else to try to pack in as many bands as I do. My drinking for the extended weekend will be limited, if at all, so I have no qualms about driving between venues.

Fourth, for bands that I decide to take a chance on, and have never seen before, I’m often making a hasty decision based on a few songs I heard on their MySpace page or whatever. I may end up being just as turned off by them as you will.

Opening night pre-party at the Magic Stick and Garden Bowl. I completely skipped this night last year because they keep paring it down. The Majestic Theater is no longer a part of this night. This year you have to choose between a D.J. at the Garden Bowl, or bands that alternate sides of the room in the Magic Stick. You’re not forced to make any tough choices here, so I really don’t need to say a whole lot about this night. For me the best act of that night’s schedule is Lettercamp. I first saw them at the Loving Touch during the DIY Fest in 2009 and thought they were the most over-hyped thing I’d heard all year. Saw them again 6 months later at the Blowout and they were the highlight of the night. I told everyone who would listen to me rant that they should have been there for Lettercamp.

8:40 - I’m going to start by trying Over Macho Grande, at Kelly’s, with Murder in the Dark at Painted Lady as a backup. I like to have alternatives preselected in the event I’m turned off by something.
9:00 – If I can’t stand either of the two previously mentioned bands, I’ll go to Atlas to see Cheat Sheet.
9:20 – New Dodge Lounge. I once saw Prussia several years ago at Small’s on a Tuesday night. This was so long ago that one of the openers, Lightning Love, was still going by the name Minor Planets. I just happened to already be in the place because I was there for ballroom dancing lessons (yeah, that’s right, ballroom dancing, the classes were free and we should all expand our horizons, so fuck you) so I figured I’d stick around and see if anyone was any good. I thought Minor Planets were catchy, and I enjoyed hearing the father one of the guys from Murder Mystery tell me stories about the Grande Ballroom back in the day, but I just wasn’t feeling it with Prussia. Last October I saw them perform as The Pixies at The Crofoot for a Halloween show, and decided that maybe I should give them a second chance.
10:00 – Belmont. Charlie Slick revels in his goofy electro-pop and so should you. I’m glad he’s playing at this central location, close to several other venues.
10:20 – Once Charlie Slick is done, I think I might stop in at Baker’s Streetcar and check out Brian Rottar. Mostly because of convenient location and timing. No offense.
10:40 – As I kill time waiting for 11:00, I think I’ll try out Patrick Davy & The Ghosts at Whiskey in the Jar, which is located directly behind…
11:00 – Mars Bar. Banxx seems very promising.
11:20 – Baker’s Streetcar. I wasn’t all that into Sheefy McFly & The Deloreans when I saw them before, but the cosmos have also put this act in a time and place that I find convenient.
11:40 – Whiskey in the Jar. I might as well come back here and try Skeleton Birds as I wait for…
12:00 – Mars Bar. Marco Polio & The New Vaccines is band that all of you must see. I don’t think of myself as a music snob, but if this band were to call it quits, and you never got around to seeing them, I would ridicule you. They have one of my favorite lines “If I were a ghost, I wouldn’t even want to haunt you”. They know how to get a crowd engaged like nobody else. Sadly, I will have to miss out on Illy Mack, who I also really like, because they’ll be playing at the same time over at Small’s.
12:20 – Gates of Columbus. After Marco Polio has completely finished (I won’t cut them short), I’m going to check out JSB Squad. I’ve heard their name so many times, but I’ve never gotten around to checking them out.
Late night – Songs from the Moon have the distinction of being the only band with a 12:40 start time, over at Whiskey in the Jar. Entrails has the honor of being the only band starting at 1:20 over at Paycheck’s. If I’m not exhausted by the time JSB is over I might gather up the ambition to see one of these acts. How bad could a band named Entrails really be?

9:20 – Paycheck’s for Phantasmagoria. Or Eleanora at Baker’s. Whichever one I see, it’ll be the first time I’ve seen them. Probably Phantasmagoria though.
9:40 – Belmont. Kelly Jean Caldwell.
10:20 – Baker’s Streetcar for Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment. Psych-rock that manages to keep up the pace.
10:40 – Belmont for Aran Ruth. Trippy mellow music that even the most discerning stoner will appreciate. Not that you have to be stoned to appreciate Aran Ruth, but you’ll take it in better when you’re relaxed.
11:20 – Kelly’s. I’m willing to hop in my car and drive to Kelly’s in order to witness the awesome spectacle of Carjack. You should be too.
12:00 – Columbus. Odd Hours, which I believe has one of the members from Sex Ghost, plays in the lounge, while Kickstand Band plays in the hall. I’ll go back and forth. I really don’t understand why the start times for the hall and lounge at Gates of Columbus aren’t staggered for this night. Without that I’m less likely to be spending time there all together. It’s nice knowing that between acts on one stage, you can walk down the hall and see an act going on in another.
12:20 – Skipper’s. I have no idea who the Mythics are, but they’re playing across the street from Gates of Columbus, so I’ll check in on them while I wait for…
1:00 – The Hard Lessons at Columbus Hall. This is supposed to be their last show for a while. I’ve seen them play several times, and they’ve never given a half-assed performance.

9:20 – Kelly’s for Golden. Sounds like they have a trippy folk thing going on. Worth a try.
9:40 – Belmont. If I leave Kelly’s a bit early, I’ll over to The Belmont to try out Atacama. They consider themselves to be progressive rock. Normally when a band describes themselves like that, it typically means they’re in love with the smell of their own farts. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. If I don’t like it, I’ll go a block over to Whiskey in the Jar to see Roofbeam Rye.
10:20 – Back to Kelly’s to take a chance on The Ashleys.
10:40 – Mars Bar to see Robin Parrent for the first time. Jeremy Porter & The Tucos play 20 yards away at Whiskey in the Jar, providing a convenient alternative.
11:20 – Old Empire at Columbus Lounge. I think from this point on I’ll probably be spending the rest of the night cris-crossing Conant.
11:40 – The Perennials at Skipper’s. Another band I’ll be hearing for the first time.
12:00 – The Parting Gifts at Columbus Hall. I’ve never heard of them, but they’re getting the big room, so they must have impressed somebody.
12:20 – Columbus Lounge. Electric Fire Babies. They’re a high energy act that I refuse to miss out on.
12:40 – Skipper’s. I’ll run across the street to see a few minutes of Rogue Satellite. I won’t leave Fire Babies early, and I don’t want to miss…(although if you’re in the vicinity of Mars Bar around this time, you should see Fur. Saw them for the first time at last year’s Blowout at Atlas Bar.)
1:00 – Columbus Hall. The Detroit Cobras. I’ll never get sick of them. A certain friend who’s not from around here (you know who you are) is getting dragged to this. Friends don’t let friends miss out on The Gories, and they also don’t let them miss out on The Detroit Cobras. If it wasn’t for the Cobras, I would probably be at Baker’s to see Macrame Tiger. Last year they played at an unofficial Blowout afterparty over at Sparklewood. A great time.
1:20 – Paycheck’s. If the Detroit Cobras are unplugged before 2, I might try to make it to Paycheck’s in time to see Lord Scrummage. They’re one of those groups that we all had to hear about so many times, to the point that many of us just avoided the band because we were so sick of hearing about them. Maybe I should finally get around to giving them a chance.