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Night 4 of Blowout 2014

Night 4 of Blowout 2014 took place on Saturday, May 3rd

Night 4, in Ferndale starts with a line of food trucks behind the Rustbelt Market. I think we were the last major metropolitan area to jump onto the food truck bandwagon.

First stop was at the Ferndale Public Library. That place was dead all night, which was disappointing, because it killed on the final night last year.

Stopping at the library wasn't a total waste. I got to watch frenzied parking spot hunters. Once the sun went down, the lots behind the WAB and the Emory always had people stalking out scarce available spots. The case above was interesting. The Chevy HHR was in the lot first, but was on the other side of it as the eminently departed was getting into his car. The Cadillac CTS made the approach first, but he happened to turn in off the street at just the right moment. (Maybe I should have nixed this whole paragraph in favor of just saying "This is why I rarely hang out in Ferndale")

 Early in the night The Loving Touch had a turnout that was respectable, but not impressive.

Alexis did their electro-dance-pop thing at Rustbelt Market. The room was about 1/4 full when they started, and about 1/2 full when they ended. They proved that if you start on time, and you're good at what you do, more people will slowly trickle in and stick around to watch you.

Last year the WAB had bands playing upstairs, but this year exiled them to the first floor seating area, which typically only gets used during the summer. Trying to get through two narrow hallways to see the action from inside was a hassle. You could hear the bands almost just as well outside from the sidewalk.

When The Hard Lessons were playing the Loving Touch the place was packed, but as you can tell from the photo above, only about half the people seemed to care what was going on.

Back at the Loving Touch for Siamese, and the place was still packed near the bar, but not as much towards the stage. I guess they were just waiting around for Motion City Soundtrack to start. Siamese is made up of two members of the new defunct FUR. The sound of this new incarnation is very similar to the old one, but there's nothing wrong with that.

I west back to Rustbelt for Electric Six, one of three simultaneous festival headliners. They had the room packed, and started just slightly late. They played the hits everyone expects them to play; Gay Bar, Danger! High Voltage!, Dance Commander, and I Buy the Drugs. I'm sad that they never play I Wish This Song Was Louder, There's Something Very Wrong With Us, So Let's Go Out Tonight, or Germans in Mexico any more.

Never made it over to the New Way Bar, but another source has that covered for you.

Bands I saw that I'm putting in the "whatever" column: Jessica Wildman, Zander Michigan, Zombie Jesus and the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Destroy This Place, and Lightning Bugs.

I don't need a lot of time to reflect in order to come to the conclusion that overall, spreading the festival over three cities simultaneously has been a failure. The people behind it want it to expand and get national media attention, but this wasn't the way to do it. Hamtramck and Ferndale were both seriously underutilized, and including the Cass Corridor may never work out the way you want it too.

Will the organizers put everything back in Hamtramck next year, or will pride prevent any sort of move that will be taken as an admission of failure? They can keep it solely in Hamtramck, and still have it on a larger scale. The Hamtramck Music Festival proved that you can have seventeen bars involved, even without any of the big halls. The Blowout could rent out the PNA Hall and its lounge, along with the old Columbus Hall (although the old lounge there is now a doctor's office, but they could still put a temporary small stage on the opposite side of the main hall). There is also the old PLAV post at Holbrook and Campau, now owned by the city, that has a large stage upstairs. In addition to that, there's the former union hall over by Kelly's Bar that will never serve as a union hall again.

If the organizers insists on a Ferndale presence, they should at least set it up the way they did last year, because five venues for one city isn't going to blow any one out.

Detroit could be better utilized too if they want to have the festival there for one of the major nights. Use the Majestic Theater, and the Majestic Cafe, along with everything on the other side of the building. Use that restaurant next door in the building that used to house the C-Pop gallery (is that even open for business any more?). Use the recently renovated Garden Theater across the street and one block down, along with Great Lakes Coffee. If that big brew house opens in the former Agave spot like it's supposed to, throw that in too.

Just do something other than three cities at once.