City Slang: Blowout 2014 is back, announcement party rocks Hamtramck

Feb 17, 2014 at 10:03 am

There was a buzz in the air, a tangible excitement vibe, at the New Dodge in Ham-town on Friday night. There were a few different reasons for this: four excellent bands were on the bill, Valentine’s Day, and the fact that this was the official Blowout 2014 announcement party.

So by now, you all know what’s happening on April 30-May 3. Following the traditional Wednesday night launch party at the Magic Stick, the festival will take place over three nights in three cities (Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale) simultaneously. It’s going to be huge. Of course, not everyone will be happy, but we’re sure that, by the end, most people will appreciate the expansion of this festival.

But anyway, the likes of Amy Gore, White Shag, and Frank Woodman were hanging around to both smooch and enjoy the Blowout festivities. Sleepless Inn were first up, featuring the vocal talents of Laura Finlay alongside producer Eddie Logix. I didn’t really know what to expect from a project out of these two; Logix can usually be found working with local rapper Doc Waffles, while Finlay’s voice is one of great beauty. Put them together, and you have a wall of ambient loops enhanced by soaring vocals. The obvious reference is Portishead; despite the fact that the show was in a Hamtramck bar, it was easy enough to close your eyes and be transported somewhere else.

Next up, After Dark Amusement Park blasted through a set of killer power-pop. Man-about-town Greg Beyer fronts this outfit, with Leann Banks (of Amy Gore’s Valentines) playing bass to his side and David Dionise behind him on drums. The result is glorious soup of glam and indie. Think the Flaming Lips and T-Rex covering each other’s tunes. Never boring, Beyer is evolving into a handy front man, and the material is hooky and strong. Keep watching.

Illy Mack has been away for a while, but the band is back and it put in a stellar performance on Friday. Jeff Milo spoke to them last week, and Jen David told him that, “We’ve known each other so long that we know how to get on each other’s nerves, but also how to make each other laugh really hard. You connect more with a two-piece. You can’t not share a lot of your life with them.”

That chemistry was evident at the New Dodge; the band’s blend of folk, world music, rap, soul and indie is frankly mind-blowing and, even when they just stand and/or sit and play, you can’t take your eyes off them. Friday’s show was no different.

Cold Men Young closed the night with sharp, smart expertise. The force of the crowd surge just prior to the set suggested that a lot of people were there to see that band. The four MCs let nobody down. Great show, great songs, excellent performers.

Blowout is off to a great start but, really, you ain’t seen nothing yet.