Beads, boogie, Blowout 


Spring is finally just around the corner, and this week it was time once again for that favorite hedonistic holiday and excuse to view the naughty bits of the opposite sex in exchange for a handful of cheap plastic beads — Mardi Gras. I missed any Tuesday night celebrations, as I was up all night pondering over what to give up for Lent, before I came to the sudden realization that I’m not Catholic so I get off scot-free — woo hoo!

But I still managed to pick up a few strands of beads in my intrepid weekend reportings, which kicked off Friday at 5th Avenue Billiards in Royal Oak. After taking virtually an eternity to find a parking spot (damn you, Royal Oak) I tooled in just in time to catch take the stage (don’t miss the band’s CD-release party at St. Andrew’s Hall on March 24). The show marked the live debut of new bass player, Dino Zoyes, formerly of Charm Farm. The transition came off seamlessly; Zoyes appeared completely at ease and looked as though he’d been playing with the band for years.

Eagerly bopping their heads along in time with the catchy beats were off-duty Wayne State grad students Mary Mans and Kelly McDowell, Sal Aiello of Perpetual Hype Engine and 5th Avenue waitress Kristi Loewen, who was the unwitting victim of a shutterbug from that other weekly paper, much to her dismay, when she was caught on a bad hair day — however, she looked just smashing this particular evening. Also spotted in the mix: brothers George and Dean Romac, schoolteacher Amy Chavez, Post Bar employee and self-proclaimed babe extraordinaire Jen Carter, lawyer Dave Mollicone, sales rep Rob Stewart, contractor Jim Addis, designer Jimmy Kowalski and John and Victoria Koerner.


Next up on the agenda was a visit to the reincarnation of Karma in Ferndale — in case you hadn’t noticed, the bar was voluntarily closed by owners Mark McConnell and Rob Potter in January, after numerous complaints from Ferndale residents of the noise and general ruckus that occurred when club-goers were leaving the bar. (Witness the signs posted at nearby establishment The Temple that ask patrons to be respectful of neighbors and not go running about the streets screaming like maniacs.) The bar has now reopened, after a little format tweak, as a ’70s- and ’80s-themed dance club, and goes by the name of Boogie Fever. The space has been slightly remodeled; most notable are the posters of John Travolta, the surplus of disco balls and mirrored doors, and the ultra ’70s blinky-bright dance space with lights under the floor — don’t look down when you are doing your requisite boogying, or you might get dizzy.

Colorfully garbed bartenders Derek Howard, Liz Wagner and T.J. Jones kept the drinks flowing for the likes of Jeff Combs, David Mendez, Nichole Minge and Rachel Somlyo. Software rep Bill Wass decided to introduce a little slice of American culture to his buddy, recent German transplant Jeus Haubrich, by bringing him out for the evening. Meanwhile, Jaye Kurtzhal of Emile salon was hanging with bartender Don Sesnie and his fiancee Tess Conrath, and Karen Schmidt, Jim Rothermel and Sue Lovelady were overcome with boogie fever and could be found tearing up the dance floor.

The music consisted of all the favorites from your big-hair days in the ’80s, including Michael Jackson, the Go-Gos and Devo. My guess is the owners picked the retro theme to attract an older, more mature crowd; indeed most of the patrons appeared to be in their late 20s and early 30s, and perfectly capable of enjoying themselves immensely without behaving like loud, drunken idiots and running through the streets after 2 a.m. like reckless screeching banshees … so perhaps the neighboring residents will get some peace and quiet after all.

From that point it was time to skip across Woodward and over to the Magic Bag, for the tail end of the CD-release party for Red Dye 9, Black Lodge, as well as opening band sweatysuedelips. In attendance were tanned and toned Beth Billmeyer, Sarah Allen, Krista Manuel, Amy Fabian and a bunch of other cool people who had already left by the time I got there — so much to schmooze, and so little time.


Heads up: two new theme nights will be debuting at the Magic Stick starting March 21. Brought to you by Room 773 Productions and Detroit’s most eligible bachelor, Anthony Morrow, Wednesday nights will be known as 21st Century, a collection of the best in Brit pop, synthpop and indie rock spun by DJ Warshaw. Thursdays will be Helter Skelter, featuring a tasty assortment of glam rock, punk, rockabilly and garage. Be sure to check them both out. (For the record: That would be Blowout coordinator and former MT promo guy Morrow, and current listings editor Aaron Warshaw.)


Are you bored and listless, yearning for some excitement and a rousing good time? Wishing you could get rid of those pesky 10 extra pounds? Feeling a little inadequate in your manhood? Well, you can solve at least one of these problems by heading down to the annual Hamtramck Blowout this weekend. Many of the bands mentioned in this column, as well as about 90 other outstanding local acts, will be featured in this three-day, eight-venue aural orgy that will go down in the books as the absolute best damn local music festival in the history of the universe. No, I’m not exaggerating — check it out for yourself, and you certainly won’t be sorry you did. See you there.

Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Got gossip, insider info, outrageous cries for publicity? Write, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial

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