Monday, September 21, 2009

I've Got a Feeling - DIY / Ferndale

The curtain falls on summer.

What a way to go out.

When we look back at the year - it almost feels like we've had four "Blowouts." Blowout-proper, back in March; Cityfest in July (which was noticeably lighter on the might of their touring headliners thus drawing more attention to the Silverghosts, Charlie Slicks, Child Bites and I Crimes of our local scene); The Majestic-set Fucking Awesome Fest back in August (four days, and nearly 70 local bands ricocheting all around in a convulsive celebration) and now The DIY Street Fair - concentrating all the countless bands and musicians of the area on the small stretch of pavement between the Emory and W.A.B. and the bumpy blacktop under the beer-tent.

Collected through the WAB parking lot were more than 20 tents of local self-trained artists with their handmade labors of love. On the Metro Times main stage - we were treated to yet another onslaught of local talent - ranging from the country-rock class of Dan John Miller right into the addictive electro-pop/plastic-sword-wielding of Champions of Breakfast; from the epic pop/rock of The Hard Lessons to more dark-horse or underground acts like experimental indie-rock trio Mother Whale. Not only did we see more than 30 bands pour out upon the main stage - but there were three consecutive after parites (for all three days of the weekend) inside the Loving Touch pool hall. The Saturday and Sunday after-parites featured the Curare IV festival and the special Eat This City hosted affair, respectively.

At this early point, I'm not sure to where the heart or the mind drifts most immediately, when we look back: is it to the ever-increasing emphasis/appreciation on the city of Ferndale as a cozier more suburban nexus for the Metro area scene, or the potential that the formidabble string of Emory--WAB--Loving Touch is something like the community bar, the hang out, the place to meet, the stirring soup bowl within which of all these tireless DIY-ers and musicians constantly meet up, share, collaborate, argue, hug, drink, et al - where you can often share a drink with--or be served a drink by--memebers from Oscillating Fan Club, or Octopus, or Grande Nationals, or Oblisk, or Wildcatting or Serenity Court or Pop Project or The Sights or........

and it just goes on. The Sights, meanwhile performed Sunday night on the roof of the Emory - surviving the threatening rain clouds above (that didn't decide to flood the streets until after 2 a.m., thus washing away the various spills of different brews from plastic cups). With all our music geek minds no doubt drifiting toward the Beatles' legendary roof top set - the band pleasingly embraced the sentiment and covered much of the mop-tops Let It Be days, including "One After 909" and "I've got a Feeling" - the latter of which containing the anthemic and appropriate line (for such a geographic area as Detroit) "Everybody had a hard year..." but "Everybody had a good time" - the theme for the whole event.

and it just goes on. Maybe it's starting to feel like we're getting closer each year. To what? I don't know. But as the state continues to go through financial hell, the arts only gets stronger - why--or how--else....could we have four Blowout-feeling affairs and still continue to come back. As Jeff Howitt (of Pinkeye) once put it to me, "We're fans..."

Dwell on that a minute. Out of all the beer-tent side conversations, I lost count of how many times I would fall into one chat with a member of a band, and have them say, "Hey, I'll be right back, I have to go check out ___'s set..."

Here's to Ferndale, to DIY, to letting our hair down and pulling our socks up...

Autumn's here. Everybody saw the sun shine.

(photos: mike milo)

The Grande Nationals

The Hard Lessons

High Speed Dubbing (Curare IV)

The Glass Orphans


Champions of Breakfast

Pinkeye (with John Sinclair)

The Friendly Foes

The Sights (above the Emory - with Gordon)

The Hentchmen

(Personal highlights/favs? The Glass Orphans had a strong set - as did the up-and-coming High Speed Dubbing quartet; Computer Perfection were tight and Mother Whale was a pleasant surprise; great to see the debut of Lettercamp - though they're not pictured, as many aren't - apologies, sometimes we just didn't have the camera on hand...)

P.S. - true to the actual Beatles performance, Eddie quipped at the end, directly quoting John Lennon as he thanked the Ferndale crowd, "I hope we passed the audition..."

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