Blowout was held in both Hamtramck and Ferndale for the first time ever, and each city had an entirely different scene. Bands in both cities got down and dirty, but Ferndale managed to hijack the vibe once exclusive to Hamtramck alone.
Ferndale blew it out to the core and left its co-conspirator of mayhem in the dust. In Hamtramck there was no mayhem- I took notes. The word in bold was "uninspiring." Something was missing in Hamtramck- that indescribable "blowout" feeling that permeates through you as you walk around the corner to the lounge, excitedly anticipating how the next band will sound. And then they play, and it may or may not sound good- but it doesn't even matter- it is fun.
Hamtramck had bikers and punk rockers, and an eclectic group of fans, but the melting pot atmosphere was MIA. Never the twain shall meet sums it up. There was no noticeable intermingling of different genres of people, something truly awesome in years past.
The desolate streets, paired with the lack of crowds in Hamtramck, changed the scene entirely from years past. It was unrecognizable. Everything Blowout could have been, it wasn't. Hamtramck was deflated.
Instead of glorious reverb, the sound of the death rattle could be heard, faintly in the distance, prowling around the alleys of Hamtramck. The unabashed excitement in Hamtramck was gone, maybe left for dead before the event even kicked off.
If the scene in Hamtramck was dull, in stark contrast, Ferndale came ready to rumble. The Ferndale Public Library rocked it out. One witness of the Rogue Satellites performance- after Detroit Party Marching Band blasted through- emptied out of the venue exclaiming "that was so badass!" And it was.
Ferndale was in your face. People were screaming "Blowout" at the tops of their lungs- from the sunroof while rolling through town, while walking down Woodward, from the mic as they performed on stage at the WAB.
Lively banter hit the streets. An opera singer randomly joined pop-up band St. Zeta for a session, someone dressed up in a Grizzly bear costume, people complained about Jack White. Now that is the Blowout I remember.
And as I saw the neon light of Kowalski's glowing in the rearview mirror, I wondered if next year the gigantic polish sausage would be replaced by a star- the star found on the neon sign at Como's.