Driving back from Blowout, my brother and I babbled, our burbles made a bit extra giddy or rose-tinted in retrospect by whatever spirits we’d partaken from, upon our trick-or-treating approach of bar-bellying-up-to’s throughout Hamtramck – looking back on the thirteenth Blowout. Taking stock while we drove home at 2 am, slaked quite well enough after four long nights and feeling no need to go haunting around for more after parties.
The same way you can apply the old adage of – every year Uncle Charley is going to drink too much at Thanksgiving and yell at Gram-Gram and your cousin’s kids are going to chase after the dog outside and piss off the neighbors – like any ceremonial (and, sometimes perfunctory) holiday – the Blowout proceeds with the usual takes of: “Ah, every year you’re gonna miss a great band or two” or, “Every year there’s that one performance that just blows your mind” or “man, I’m glad I walked in on so-and-so, even though I had no idea who the fuck they were or what they sounded like, hey, I kinda liked it…”
And the politics are always there – tensions or rivalries or nuanced disagreements in taste, view, personality, character, sound, style or whatever other kinds of wrong moves or ill-advised comments stoke embers of bellicosity or hostility between bands – I tell you what, friends, every year at Blowout I get, admittedly rosy again, and I turn my nose up at it.
There’s so many sunshines and thunderstorms to the perspectives or regards of this scene – but at the end of the day – one has to remember that we are in weird times of internet induced attention deficits and rapidly varying tastes and buzz-booms-birthing-reactionary-hater-snipers, it doesn’t seem like 10-years-back of England and the world going bananas over us is ever coming back (yet?)… And, considering that, any scan of the news would communicate that this already isn’t the most cheery place to live, economically or politically… if our tools our guitars and our co-workers/allies are our fellow noise-makers and bar-goers, then, …we got to take care of what we have, the arts, the music… –
"Let’s hang on to what we got…” if I could borrow from The 4 Seasons…
Blowout has it’s downsides, sure, no doubt about it. We can debate band alignment via schedules, band compensation, sound-guys and sound-girls, bartenders – but it gets somewhat petty in the larger scheme – Hey, Christmas has its downsides too – we still go through the motions, we still love getting the presents and we still all indulge in some egg-nog and flares of good cheer. (Ed. Though I regret using a christo-centric metaphor…then again, Christ is really not in anyone’s modern day celebration of said-holiday…Macy’sMas or AmazonMas or BestBuyMas might fit better). Anyhow…
But, this-should-be-a-celebration…! (As should all family get togethers, holidays, what have yous…even if those things also turn snippy sometimes…)
At the end of the day – regardless of who you missed or who had a bad set or whatever…it’s a maddening revelry that all this is going on, here, at once, and all of it is born from 96% of this corner of the lower-thumb-area of the mitten, of Michigan, of Detroit, of Hamtramck, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Pontiac, Ann Arbor…
Blowout, to me, feels like the official start of the year, the concert year –
…it’s like New Year’s Eve crossed with the first day of summer vacation – of course there’s so much you want to do and see in that first burst of freedom and jubilance – but Blowout can’t be viewed as an absolute – it can’t be tainted with a checklist approach of wishes and desires – it can’t be viewed as a make-or-break –
…it’s a shrug and a tumble! It’s a hug and a laugh! It’s a grin and a puke! It’s whatever! It is not end-all-be-all, it’s just the start of something! The start of the next season! The weather warms, we’re all revved up on the crazy drunken music-filled weekend we all rolled our way through and now we’ll all get some sleep for a week and be ready to take our coats off and run through the streets to see each other at our respective shows be it the Belmont or the Lager or up to the Pike Room or summer’s eve’s cruise over to the Elbow Room or maybe some secret house party show where we can sneak out onto the back porch for the warm air
…– and now…now friends, now we have the actual (mental) checklist because we can look back at Blowout and say, I missed so and so – so I’m gonna make sure I see their next show in April – or, G’damnit that was a great set from so-and-so and I’d never seen them before, now I’m a believer and I’ll be front and center at their next April show!
And that’s the beauty of it. We start all over. We roll through again. We find new bands. We make new friends. (Some make new enemies). But it keeps going. Does it keep getting better or does it keep getting worse? Nit-picking’s negative energy and negative energy’s wasted energy.
Save your energy for the next show. Let’s hang on to what we got…
“There’s no security or peace and tranquility, except Underground. And then, if your ideas get larger and you want to expand – why, a dig and a scrape and there you are!”
(Badger, …Wind in the Willows – Grahame.)
"Don't give up, think it over and stay... " (The 4 Seasons - "Let's Hang On")