In its 11th year, there’s been a changing of the guard at the top of the Metro Times Blowout Music Festival.
Longtime producer Anthony Morrow left after the 2007 festival to start the online entertainment magazine Detour, which briefly considered a rival festival but ultimately pulled back; his replacement is former Metro Times staffer Eve Doster Knepp and her company, Norwegian Blue PR.
Having seen and worked on previous Blowouts, Knepp says she “didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken” — evidenced by the event’s continuing popularity, including an estimated 10,000 who trooped to shows in 2007. But, Knepp adds, “The one thing that was definitely important to me was to be a little more inclusive of demographics Blowout just never really nailed, specifically metal and urban music.”
So this year’s Blowout lineup — 240 acts playing in 23 venues from Wednesday through Saturday (March 5-8) in Hamtramck and Detroit — will cut a wider swatch. Detroit’s Urban Organic, which is curating hip-hop-oriented showcases Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Capo, 10215 Jos Campau St., while Detroitcountrymusic. com will host three nights of twang at the P.L.A.V. Post 10, 11824 Jos Campau, while Detroit rockers the Hard Lessons picked some personal favorite up-and-comers (the Decks, Champions of Breakfast, Empty Orchestra and the Darts) for a showcase Thursday at Baker’s Streetcar, 9817 Jos Campau.
Blowout will feature lots of familiar names — Thunderbirds Are Now!, the Prime Ministers, the Polish Muslims, the Earwigs, Liz Larin, Outrageous Cherry — but Knepp also took pains to book from the newer “experimental” rock scene (“Big, nerdy kids who love to have a good time,” she says) with bands such as Carjack, Pinkeye and The Oscillating Fan Club. The Record Graveyard, 10201 Jos Campau, will celebrate its sixth birthday with the Sole Heirs and Dan Kroha & Friends on Friday, while Detroit Threads, 10022 Jos Campau, will hold a fashion show at 9 p.m. Saturday.
And this year’s Blowout will also nod to Detroit rock past when Mitch Ryder and Scott Morgan’s Powertrane perform Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 9632 Conant St. “We had to do it,” Knepp says of Ryder. “Without him or his ilk, there would be none of us. You’ve got to have respect for that.”
The Metro Times Blowout Music Festival kicks off at 8 p.m. Wednesday (March 5) at Detroit’s Majestic Theater Center, 4120-4140 Woodward Ave., before moving to Hamtramck Thursday through Saturday (March 6-8). Wristbands for the entire festival are $20. For information visit www.metrotimes.com/blowout.
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