FLINT, MI—The stage, quite literally, is set for rock and roll in downtown Flint.
The Local 432, the all-ages substance-free concert venue will be holding its first concert in downtown Flint in its new location as a part of Red Ink Flint April 21.
“It’s funny, everyone has their generation (of the Local) that they remember, and those people are all happy to tell us, ‘it’s not like it was before, everything’s changed, it’s not going to be the same.’ And I say, ‘You’re right, it’s not going to be the same, but it’s awful close,’” said Joel Rash, manager of Red Ink Flint.
It might in fact be impossible for it to be the same as it was in anyone’s version of the good old days. The Local, started by Rash when he was 18 years old (he’s 45 now) has been housed in several different locations around Flint, ranging from areas that currently house the Brown Sugar Cafe and the Lunch Studio to shows at the Capital Theater.
Line-up for April 21 Show at The Flint Local 432
• 7 p.m. doors open. $5 cover
• 7:20 - 7:50: Sadie Lee
• 8-8:30: Katie Stanley
•8:40 - 9:20 The Claudettes
• 9:30 - 10:10 Maria Rose and the Swiss Kicks
• 10:20 - 11 p.m. Arlow Xan
In fact, the Local’s Facebook page reads: “Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for years.”
“We’ve rebuilt the Local, from scratch, about four or five times over our 25 years, and it’s the same every time,” he said. “We’re working with bands that remember us when they were starting, we’re hearing from new bands that are tracking us down, we’re getting suggestions on bands to find. And once we start doing shows and kids know that if they get in the basement and write songs, they get to not just to play a show, but opening for bands that inspired them. That’s when bands come out of the woodwork.”
In any case, Rash is ready to bring in the next generation of rockers, and that starts Saturday with a line-up of six different acts.
With the exception of The Claudettes, all the bands are local and should make for an eclectic mix. The show begins with rock band Sadie Lee, includes singer/songwriter Katie Stanley, and ends with local band Arlow Xan, who describe their group as an “ethereal folktronica duo.”
Also in the mix is Maria Rose and the Swiss Kicks, a local alternative pop/rock/soul trio.
Rash is awaiting one final inspection of the facility this week, which he said he’s not worried about. In the event that he can’t use the Local, the show will still take place around the corner at The Lunch Studio.
Red Ink Flint’s board chairman Chris Everson, who has been a touring manager for bands and ran different venues, said he’s not worried about booking more shows.
If anything, he said, with the popularity of the internet in the new era of the Local, it’s never been easier.
“When I was in high school, you didn’t know… something was happening downtown. Now with the internet, and again Facebook, the word gets out so fast, word gets spread so quick. I don’t think it’s going to take long at all,” he said.
So far they’ve collected a database of 150 bands at all levels interested in playing shows and are now booking shows for May. In time, they hope to hold about 6-8 shows a month.
“I think by this fall, we’ll be pretty much at full stride,” Rash said, adding that in addition to local bands, he plans on booking bigger acts. Bands like My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold have played at earlier locations of the Local.
Rash said he thinks having young people at the shows will be a boon to the revitalization effort in downtown Flint.
Lathan Goumas | MLive.com February 16, 2012 - Art work featuring band stickers hangs on the walls in the stairwell at the new location of Local 432 in Flint on Thursday.
“In 1987, getting parents to let their kids come to downtown Flint was an uphill battle,” Rash said. “I bet parents had a lot of questions, and now I hope parents still have questions, you know they should know where their kids are hanging out, but if they want to find out about the Local, they can get online and find our mission statement, they can see who our board of directors is and, our guess is, parents are going to feel more comfortable with their kids coming downtown because so many parents have been downtown. … The whole of vibe of downtown is that it’s safer, it’s busier, it’s more attractive, it’s better lit, it’s had this level of activity that it’s never had before.”
Rash said he’s excited about the show, but it’s not yet the grand opening. He’s hoping for a night in the future when he can gather bands who got their start at the Local and gone on to make careers out of their music, like The Swellers, to hold a grand opening show.
Scott Atkinson is an entertainment reporter for the Flint Journal and can be reached at (810) 262-0216 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Scott on Facebook or Twitter.
Man, we’ve kind of been taking over the local newspaper and Michigan’s regional online media source. You won’t hear any complaints from us.
Oh, and come out to the first show at the new building, it really is the beginning of a new era and you’d be sad to miss out.