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Blowout Expands For 10th Year

Of the Oakland Press

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The realization that the Metro Times Blowout was turning 10 this year got organizers thinking about how they might want to commemorate the anniversary.

But ultimately, producer Anthony Morrow says, “our man focus was to make it the best one ever — and the biggest one ever.”

And that’s exactly what Blowout X will be.

The metro area’s most ambitious musical festival — whose past installments have featured early performances by the White Stripes, the Von Bondies, Blanche, Obie Trice and others who went on to national fame —will present 250 acts at 20 venues in Hamtramck Thursday through Saturday (March 8-10), with seven more playing at a launch party Wednesday (March 7) at the Majestic Theatre Complex in Detroit.

Morrow expects more than 8,000 music fans to populate the shows, which feature a multi-genre crosssection of groups and artists, some playing on eclectic bills that hop from rap to rock in the same evening.

“I think we’re all in agreement this is as big as it can get in terms of bands and venues,” Morrow says. “We’ve tapped Hamtramck out at this point — but in a good way, I think.”

This year’s Blowout is incorporating some new and nontraditional venues, such as the Polish Sea League, which don’t usually cater to live music. And in addition to the main room at the Knights of Columbus hall, the festival’s largest venue, the Blowout is moving into the downstairs lounge with four bands each night.

Morrow also has added some non-musical elements to this year’s event. The Art Factory and Cafe 1923 will host exhibitions of paintings, drawings and crafts,

while the latter also will host a burlesque fi gure drawing session on Saturday night. Detroit Threads will present a fashion show on Friday, while the Record Graveyard will stay open late and the online Rock ’n’ Rummage memorabilia dealer will set up shop each night at the Knights of Columbus hall.

“That all just adds to the festival feel,” Morrow says. “It all works into one big schedule. It’s not just bands and beer and shuttles.”

The bands, however, are still the draw, and Blowout X boasts a typically potent lineup of established area favorites and newcomers — with 125 acts playing their fi rst Blowout, according to Morrow. The electronic group

Adult. celebrates its forthcoming new album, “Why Bother” (out March 20) at tonight’s launch party, joining the Hard Lessons, Great Lakes Myth Society, the Muggs, the Silent Years, the Satin Peaches (who, word has it, are about to sign with a major label) and Dorkwave in three venues — the Majestic Theatre, the Magic Stick and the Garden Bowl.

Thunderbirds Are Now! — whose latest album, “Make History,” was one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 50 of 2006 — will draw a big crowd for their Saturday set at the Knights of Columbus Hall, while The Go, whose new “Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride” hits in April, will headline the same room Friday. And there’s a buzz for fresh faces such as former Dollfaces member Mick Bassett’s solo band on Thursday at Kelly’s Bar and particularly for Hifi Handgrenades, a new local rock “supergroup” led by John Speck (the Fags, Hoarse, Skeemin’ NoGoods) that’s playing Friday at Smalls.

“My favorite thing every year is when we put the schedule out, everybody e-mails me and says, ‘I don’t know half the bands on the schedule,’ ” Morrow says. “I tell them, ‘That’s good. Come out and learn about them.’

“It’s the kind of thing where we want people to watch a set and either accidentally see something they’d never see or fl y to another place and create motion and movement. That’s what makes it such a magical weekend.”

Blowout X takes place Thursday through Saturday (March 8-10) at 20 venues around Hamtramck, as well as a launch party at 8 p.m. Wednesday (March 7) at the Majestic Theatre Center, 4120-4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Wristbands are $20 and are good for the entire festival. A full schedule and other information can be found at www. metrotimes.com/ blowout.

Web Site: www. metrotimes.com/ blowout

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