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Crofoot Ready To Get Pontiac Rocking

By Gary Graff
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

After more than a decade of laying dormant and months of construction, the Crofoot is ready to rock in downtown Pontiac.

The two-story, 20,000-squarefoot venue opens this weekend at the corner of Saginaw and Pike streets after hosting a couple of ChryslerArts, Beats & Eatsrelated events.

Local rockers the Dirtbombs and the Muldoons will play a free show at 9 p.m. Friday (Sept. 7), while DJ Tom Zito kicks off the weekly 180 Degrees club night on Saturday (Sept. 8).

“We just wanted a great party for our first weekend,” says Crofoot talent buyer Greg Baise, who came to the Crofoot after a long tenure at Detroit’s Majestic Theatre Complex. “The Dirtbombs are important; they’re from Detroit, and they’re a stellar live act. It’s a great way to get things started.”

The Crofoot already has 16 shows booked into its multiple venues — the 1,100 capacity Crofoot Ballroom, the 600-person Eagle Theater (formerly Industry) and the intimate, 250-seat Pike Room.

All are decked-out with stateof-the-art sound systems and decor. National touring acts such as the Redwalls, the Hold Steady, Golem and Pinback are already on the docket, and Baise is planning to keep the facility hopping with a diverse range of offerings.

“It’ll be an eclectic blend,” he says, “everything from DJs who do everything on their laptop to 20-piece Afrobeat orchestras, from classic rock fo the ’60s to cutting-edge stuff that might not catch on for a couple of years.

“Agents are really excited to hear about a new room in the market, especially when they hear about what we have to offer with our production and our backstage facilities and our amenities for the audience. It’s snowballing; people are calling and asking about the place all the time now, and they’re very impressed with what they see.”

The Crofoot building was built in 1830 and condemned and slated for demolition in 2005. But the building was rehabilitated by a team led by Blair McGowan, who was a partner in the original Clutch Cargo’s and St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit and the current Clutch Cargo’s in Pontiac. The $3 million project received a $100,000 Cool Cities grant from the state of Michigan.

For a schedule of events and other Crofoot information, call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.the crofoot.com.

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