Best Live Music: The Blind Pig

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 3:52pm

Pitch-black paint, smoky mirrors and the vibe of a grunge-addled basement — this isn’t the 1990s, but you can pretend it is at the Blind Pig, and there’s the history to back it up. It almost seems redundant to mention the swath of classic acts who have graced the music venue, but it’s a crime not to. Legends from the ’90s like Nirvana (before they were cool), Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins and REM are just a few. And before that, the Pig was host to a flourishing blues scene, as well as the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Iggy Pop.

Now, reflective of today’s music scene, the Pig is home to a huge variety of genres, from hardcore punk to pop to EDM to burlesque. There doesn’t seem to be a scene that hasn’t passed under that neon sign on South First Street.

But for the huge variety of its performances, the Pig still has its own, singular feel. Waiting for the band to get on stage, you can find that unique Ann Arbor mix of people all jumbled together in the dark, anxious for whatever is about to happen. And when it does happen, it’s an experience unlike almost any other place. Thanks to the barely raised platform, the artist shreds or harmonizes or grooves or claps more with you than at you. There’s almost a claustrophobic feel — in the best way, of course. The angled mirrors on the walls give you another perspective altogether, and it’s an experience in its own right to just look forward, left and right and see the same band in totally different ways. To sum it up, it’s the epitome of Ann Arbor.

Oh, and Nirvana once called the Blind Pig their favorite venue of all time. No big deal.

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