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In one ear

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MAJOR MADNESS!

While novelty swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy may have blasted its song "Go Daddy-O" during the abysmal Super Bowl half-time show – saved only by the sight of Stevie Wonder hoofing with Savion Glover – Detroit’s saviors of "the Swerve," the Atomic Fireballs have scored a coup much richer in pop culture currency. The mighty Motor City jump-blues octet practices its own musical hoodoo this Friday night, performing during the annual Miss USA pageant (8 p.m. on CBS) taking place in Branson, MO – country music’s Las Vegas and Disneyland combined. The surreal kookiness doesn’t stop there, either. The ’Balls will swing it during, of all things, the swimsuit competition. If, like me, you normally limit your beauty-pageant-on-television viewing to one display of primped-and-primped-again, gleaming smile madness per year, you may just wanna make this the one. If you miss the Fireballs on television, though, you can see them live and in the flesh – rather than live amid the flesh – Sat, Feb. 20, at Detroit’s Magic Stick (4140 Woodward Ave.). After that, they may get scarce ’round these parts as they prepare to go on tour supporting their debut album on Lava-Atlantic – due out this spring.

MUSIC FANS, START YOUR ENGINES!

If you were among the encouragingly large number of folks who braved the weather for the kickoff eve of last March’s first annual local music fest, the Hamtramck Blowout, you know that taking that leap of faith into the horizontal snow yielded untold sonic rewards. You may have caught country-rockabilly legend Eddie Jackson – and the Swingsters – dancing and playing like a man 50 years his junior; maybe you waited to get into the fuller’n a tick and sweaty to boot Attic Bar to see headliners the aforementioned Atomic Fireballs work the crowd into a serious frenzy; perhaps you found your way into the funky, intimate confines of Roadrunners Raft, only to be mesmerized by the Kraftwerkian machinations of Sound Odyssey; hopefully, you witnessed the transcendent, impromptu and unplugged late-night encore the Immigrant Suns performed at Lili’s. All of the performances, over both nights, were further proof that not only does Detroit have a fertile and wildly diverse music community, but there’re thousands of passionate fans and people who appreciate the homegrown talent.

Well, to paraphrase that cute kid from Poltergeist 2 – It’s baa-aack! Blowout ’99 will take place this March 11-13 at seven Hamtramck venues – Motor, Paycheck’s, Lili’s 21, Holbrook Cafe, Lush, Roadrunner’s Raft and the Attic Bar – and will feature 90 of Detroit’s best and brightest musical outfits – from jazz to blues to rock to noise to music that simply can’t be pinned down. The lineup has just been nailed down and a list of performers can be perused at either www.metrotimes.com or www.detroitmusicawards.com.

This year’s Blowout kicks off early, too, with a Band Appreciation soiree and an open-to-all-the-funky-people performance by the Howling Diablos, Thursday night at Motor. Folks coming down will have the opportunity to purchase $10 all-weekend, all-club wristbands that’ll get you into any of the 15 showcases Friday and Saturday – not to mention the opportunity to mix and mingle with "the scene." You can’t know a player without a program, so check in often and plan your moves carefully. For more info, call the Blowout hotline at 313-202-8046.

Proceeds from the Blowout benefit the charitable efforts of the Motor City Music Foundation, the organization behind the annual Detroit Music Awards – this year to be held April 23 at the State Theatre in Detroit.

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