Hamtown nocturne


All the high-volume indoor energy aside for a moment, it is Hamtramck's dense urban grid that is the real winner in the Blowout story. It's in this space, built for people - - simply put -- where all kinds of community life is possible. It's here, man, to paraphrase Dennis Hopper's crazed photojournalist in Apocalypse Now, it's really here.

I've been in this wondrously over-stimulated space through every official Blowout, 12 and counting. And I was here to see the Clash roll into Lili's in 1980, saw something special in a red-leather clad haircut band called the Romantics in a now-demolished Jos. Campau bar called the Misty Inn before that (1975-77). Saw the legendary Mutants in the same location at the same time ... and I'll stop there before I date myself too horribly.

Now, I look down on the street (thank you for that, Stooges) from my second floor window and see rock 'n' roll girls and boys on the sidewalk below, walking and talking on their way to, you name it, K of C, Small's, the Belmont, THC, Whiskey in the Jar, Painted Lady...all within spitting distance (thank you, Sex Pistols) of my house. Kids on the move, on foot (where else can we perform this natural human action, well, shit, so naturally?) right outside Paycheck's (more memories from the early 1980s: the Gun Club, Sex Gang Children, seeing John Cale stumble out of his limo, incoherent and limping, during his sad post-Velvets years). They move up and down Caniff, Conant and back to the concentration of stages on Jos. Campau between Evaline and Trowbridge. You see the kids (of all ages) ducking into Detroit Threads and Record Graveyard, where club clothing and vinyl still rules over all, and into Cafe 1923 and Design 99 --all playing a part this weekend and part of the fabric that helps hold this town together the year round.

Dammit, this urban space is the mutha-effin' place! How many other ways can I say it? It's my party (and yours) and I'll stay happy (thank you, Matthew Smith, my neighbor) here if I want to. And I do, dear Blowout friends, I do.

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