|12-18-2012, 12:22 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2012
Concert Venue Spotlight: The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan
Going to see a great concert is one of the best things a music lover could treat themselves to. Live music has the ability to entertain in a profound way. The troubles of the day seem to disappear when a band you really love begins to play those opening chords. As you start to sing along loudly and proudly you will find yourself completely lost in a fun moment. Concert-going is an activity that many have enjoyed over the years. If you’re lucky enough to have a good local concert venue, then perhaps seeing live bands is part of your normal social routine. For the people of Flint, Michigan and the surrounding area, the Machine Shop is the place to go to see all of their favorite national acts when they’re on tour.
For those not familiar with the Flint, Michigan area, it’s a very blue collar, working class town. Like many of the cities in Michigan, Flint was an automotive town. After the auto industries much publicized downfall, Flint suffered economically. It became one of the areas hardest hit by the recent recession and fell on very hard times. The town is famous for a few things and many of them are not something to be particularly proud of. A very high rate of violent crimes and a problem with arson are just some of the things that have plagued the city over the last couple of years. The city has a resilient spirit though and always sallies forth despite the problems it faces. Even with the hardships, Flint is home to many positive things that natives hold very dearly. Some of the best things about Flint include Flint style conies, Big John’s Steak and Onion and above all else a nationally renowned concert venue in the Machine Shop.
For ten years the Machine Shop has been rocking and pulling in some of the best bands to play there. When the club first opened up no one knew that it would become the sort of phenomenon that it is now. Rock clubs aren’t something new to the Mid-Michigan area. In fact, the building that plays host to the Machine Shop used to be a rock club/night club called the Razzmatazz. It never garnered the support or love that the Machine Shop has been privy to. When Kevin Zink, the club’s owner, took over and set out to make a great rock club in Flint the game changed for the Michigan concert scene. It used to be that if you wanted to see a big, national act play you had to go to Detroit or even further out. Kevin Zink was able to create a club that national acts not only wanted to play at, but loved playing at. The Machine Shop has become a legendary rock club over the last ten years. Bands absolutely love playing there and the crowds are always pointed out as some of the best in the country for their enthusiasm and energy. There’s just some sort of vibe in the Machine Shop that makes it special, because it certainly isn’t the location that is making the Rock Gods stand up and take notice.
One of the greatest things about the Machine Shop is its size. It is not a huge venue by any means. By most people’s descriptions they would tell you that it is a pretty small club. When a band sells out the Machine Shop, somewhere around five hundred Flint area natives pack themselves inside. With the Machine Shop not being a gigantic venue it winds up having a very intimate feeling. When you go to see a really big concert, you lose a lot of that intimacy and closeness that you feel when seeing a band in a smaller place.
At the Machine Shop, it really does feel like you are in the action of the concert no matter where you are standing on the floor. Anyone who attends big festival concerts from time to time will tell you that there is no comparison between seeing their favorite act in a stadium and seeing them at a small concert lounge. When you’re one of a sea of thousands you feel like part of the crowd. At the Machine Shop, when you are one of the few hundred you truly feel like part of the moment. There is a significant difference between the two.
Randy Riddle, the singer and bassist from Core Effect, had high praise for the Machine Shop when we spoke with him on the subject. “The Machine Shop is professionalism at its finest. This, by far, is the best venue to see and play a show. This is the best place you can see your favorite band with 500+ rabid fans. Kevin and Craig set the bar by delivering a great product at a reasonable price. Go there!”
Another aspect of why the Machine Shop is such a cool venue is that the place has a sense of style. It’s a damned cool looking place from top to bottom. From the outside it’s a fairly interesting building. At the moment the Machine Shop itself is painted blue and the sides of the building are adorned with various interesting pieces of rock flair. From metalwork skulls, to painted murals the outside certainly has good rock swagger. Stevie D. from Buckcherry had this to say about the Machine Shop: “Ahhh the INFAMOUS and world famous Machine Shop… ****in’ legend…located right smack-dab in the pit of the ‘murder mitten’, Flint, Michigan. I’ve seen its swag clear on the other side of the world. A lovely staff (where) even the beer tub girls would and could break your jaw for stepping out of line. They’ve got it all there… great music, dancers on swings, outlaws, hand-jobs in the audience…think of an American muscle car… but a club. We’ve played many a sold-out show there for Kevin…****ing love that place. Seems to be doing quite well when a lot of things in that part of the country have gone to ****.”